It is possible to make a vacation out of a pistol training course.
Shooting schools, more formally known as firearms academies, can be a worthwhile investment for someone looking to learn either the basics or more advanced techniques for shooting a pistol and other guns. Many academies last several days and take place in remote locales, making it possible to make a vacation out of your firearms training. If shooting guns all day is your idea of a vacation, you’re likely to do well; many courses are quite rigorous and put in long hours on each training day.
While the geography and offerings may vary a bit for different shooting training schools, the aim of most school leaders is to teach you the skills you need to protect you and your family. Front Sight Firearms Training is a well-known school, with locations in Nevada and Alaska. Handgun courses include skill builder courses, defensive handgun courses and a tactical scenarios course. Another industry leader is Gunsite Academy, located in Arizona. Courses include a defensive pistol course, ladies pistol course and advanced pistol skills courses. Thunder Ranch in Oregon is also well-known, offering a defensive revolver course, defensive concealed carry and defensive handgun courses.
To be admitted into a firearms training school, schools require an application and some supporting materials. Typically, schools require that you show proof that either you do not have a criminal record, that you are a member of law enforcement, or that you are authorized to carry a concealed gun. Most schools also require you submit a copy of your driver’s license and other personal information. A significant deposit on the balance for the course is typically required.
Where to Stay
With the exception of theme “schools” like the U.S. Cavalry School and hunting/learning excursions, most training academies require that you stay off-campus, even if the course lasts several days. Most will provide contact information for the closest hotels or guest houses, but it’s up to you to book your rooms. Since many training schools are in rural areas, there are limited hotel rooms and you should book as early as possible. RV parks are another option for course attendees, and some locations even provide private camping for their clients.
What to Bring
Most schools require that you bring your own pistol, and often recommend you bring a backup gun. Shipping these things on an airplane can be tricky, so if you’re flying, be sure you contact your airline to find out their policies on bringing your gun in your luggage.
One of the most important things to bring, according to firearms instructor Patrick Rogers, is a good attitude. If this is your first time on the shooting range, you have a lot to learn. If you know your way around a gun already, use the opportunity to learn a new way to do an old thing. Try out the techniques taught at the school, at least while you’re there, and decide later whether you’re going to adopt them as your own.