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  #1  
Old 02-02-2017, 01:51 PM
wccountryboy wccountryboy is online now
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What is "quality" training?

Another thread with a video of a rather questionable "instructor" got me thinking...

We often advise others to seek "quality" training from a "qualified" instructor. Those seem to be rather ambiguous terms and concepts. What is "quality" training, what is a "qualified" instructor?

For the sake of discussion, lets focus on pistol use for carry and defensive purposes. What constitutes "quality" training for:

- the complete beginner?
- the novice shooter?
- the intermediate shooter?
- the advanced shooter?

There's also State mandated "training" for CC permit, but thats different discussion... for the purposes of this discussion, exclude such minimum-standard required courses.

What should be taught at each stage, what skills and material should be covered, how should time be divided between classroom and range, what should student-instructor ratios be, how long should POIs be, what kind of round count should be expected, how should student performance be evaluated, should students be dismissed or "fail" the course for violations or not meeting performance mesures....?

For each level or type of training, what experience, background, or 'credentials' should the instructor have?

If you were advising a friend or family member to obtain professional training, what would you suggest they look for in a class and instructor?
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Old 02-02-2017, 05:43 PM
Cappi Cappi is offline
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Specific, Pard ...what kind of "training"?

first, any good instructor needs to be a good "communicator"
Smartest people don't always make the best teachers

training to be a better and faster shooter?

a "good" instructor should be able to explain/show things in a way that makes sense to the weakest student
They also have to have the understanding of what "economy of motion" means.
Lastly, they need keen observation skills to not only identify and correct the glaring flaws, but more importantly the smallest ones
(in particular if/when the student advances )



Tactical training? ...I know you're a highly trained veteran professional soldier, but I'd lean toward the LE market instructors there over the "operators"


what's "good training"??

any training that made you better than before the course.
Whether or not you got the best bang for your buck or not, is another matter.

lastly, any good instructor needs to be a good communicator.
Not everyone can teach..that's a skill set of it's own


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Old 02-02-2017, 05:57 PM
wccountryboy wccountryboy is online now
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Originally Posted by Cappi View Post
Specific, Pard ...what kind of "training"?

As I said, training focused on handgun for carry and defensive purposes.

first, any good instructor needs to be a good "communicator"
Smartest people don't always make the best teachers

Absolutely. They don't even have to be the 'best' at the skill they're teaching. They have to have a very solid understanding of the principles of what they're teaching, and the ability to convey that information, as well as spot, identify, and correct deficiencies. I'll prefer a mediocre shooter who can convey the fundementals to a Grand Master who soils himself when speaking in front of more than 2 people....

training to be a better and faster shooter?

Thats why I identified various core skill levels, and asked what should be taught at each point in ones education. What you try to convert to an absolute beginner is different that what you'd try to teach in an intermediate class...

a "good" instructor should be able to explain/show things in a way that makes sense to the weakest student

Concur.
They also have to have the understanding of what "economy of motion" means.
Lastly, they need keen observation skills to not only identify and correct the glaring flaws, but more importantly the smallest ones
(in particular if/when the student advances )

Again, no disagreement.

Tactical training? ...I know you're a highly trained veteran professional soldier, but I'd lean toward the LE market instructors there over the "operators"

For what reason?


..L.T.A.
Some observations, and questions....
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  #4  
Old 02-02-2017, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post
Tactical training? ...I know you're a highly trained veteran professional soldier, but I'd lean toward the LE market instructors there over the "operators"

For what reason?....
I think it generally more applicable to the everyday CC'er.
No instructor is reinventing the wheel on fundis and tactics .
and all being equal there, I think their experience dealing with everyday common thugs and rogue situations offers an element "in their lane" that others may not have as much experience with






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Old 02-02-2017, 11:25 PM
YVK YVK is offline
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This is a huuuge topic, don't think it is possible to answer in one post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post
What is "quality" training, what is a "qualified" instructor?
Absent agreed on criteria, there will never be an agreed on a definition unless it is very ambiguous. I personally like to start defining with what training is specifically intended for, and my big groups are technical training, practical (also called often called "tactical"), and some combination thereof. "Quality training" and "qualified instructors" will mean different things for those broad categories.

Qualified instructor for a defensive use, since that's the specific question, should have a full insight of existing range of technical shooting abilities spectrum and be at least above average on that scale. My personal take is that if the instructor can't run a gun at a skill of a decent B class USPSA shooter or IDPA Expert, he/she has no place teaching. From practical/ "tactical" credential standpoint, my hierarchy would be:

- current of former professionals who operated solo / in pairs armed with pistols only and from concealment (very select group but closest to the needs of a solo armed citizen; examples would be UC cops, air marshals, select SOF personnel)
- people who have an established track record of students successfully defending themselves
- people who are known to be reputable and effective instructors, mostly word of a mouth/web reputation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post

- the complete beginner?
- the novice shooter?
- the intermediate shooter?
- the advanced shooter?


Beginner: handle gun correctly, safety, discipline, don't shoot self or others, malfunctions, shoot big targets without time requirements.

Novice: as above + introduce time and target size constraints, one handed shooting.

Intermediate: as above, tasks on the move, accuracy in isolation from time is meaningless.

Advanced is advanced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post



What should be taught at each stage, what skills and material should be covered, how should time be divided between classroom and range, what should student-instructor ratios be, how long should POIs be, what kind of round count should be expected, how should student performance be evaluated, should students be dismissed or "fail" the course for violations or not meeting performance mesures....?
No dismissal other than for safety violation. The instructor will never survive in this business if he is known to kick the students out for "not meeting performance marks".

Evaluations are mostly motivational tools since there is no one agreed on test / battery of tests that exist. Up to the instructor.

Will not attend a class of higher than one to 12 ratio.

Round count is solely dependent on class content and student body. I am typing this 5 hours after finishing a semi-private day with a nationally recognized instructor. Just under 700 rounds. I got tired and lost concentration for about 30 rounds before the lunch. Everything else, full concentration and accountability. We shot the FAST test last, I did my best "formal" in a class time, confirming that I wasn't wasted. A novice would've gotten burned out at half that volume

Quote:
Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post
what would you suggest they look for in a class and instructor?
I'd name the names I can personally vouch for.

Last edited by YVK; 02-02-2017 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 02-03-2017, 06:09 AM
Rwehavinfunyet Rwehavinfunyet is offline
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self defense/concealed carry training

IMHO, a qualified instructor is one that is able to assess the shooting skills of each student, and communicate effectively so the student learns the best technique and grasps the concepts for shooting at any given target presentation and distance.

A "quality instructor" does not need to be a Nationally ranked shooter, but needs to know how "to teach effectively" for different learning styles. The majority of people are visual learners, so demonstrating the technique is good. Some people are auditory learners so visual demonstration and speaking/discussing the proper technique at the same time is good for auditory and visual learners. Some people are more tactile learners, and need to touch and feel the technique for their learning style. Extra help on the firing line may be needed for them to learn the proper fundamentals and technique for tactile learners.

I believe a "quality instructor" will use a combination of all of the above teaching styles to cover the different way individuals learn, at any level of shooting....beginner through more advanced shooters. In addition, a good instructor may use a quiz or even have the student demonstrate the proper technique to assess whether or not the student has retained the necessary information/instruction to reach their objectives.

A quality instructor should have a broad base of knowledge regarding firearms, shooting techniques, and shooting styles. In any shooting class with multiple students, some students may demonstrate a higher level of shooting skills than others. A quality instructor can tailor their instruction for the individual needs of the shooter regardless of the skill level of the student.

When teaching self defense/concealed carry classes, a quality instructor should discuss the state laws regarding concealed carry for that state, and cover the use of justifiable lethal force for that state. The instructor should emphasize the need to understand the state laws when carrying concealed, and always emphasize it is not legal advice.

Last edited by Rwehavinfunyet; 02-03-2017 at 06:17 AM.
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Old 02-03-2017, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post
What constitutes "quality" training for:

- the complete beginner?
- the novice shooter?
- the intermediate shooter?
- the advanced shooter?
Quality training focuses on the ability to apply the fundamentals of shooting, to include safety rules, mindset, gun handling and marksmanship. For the first 3 groups of shooters above, that's probably most of what's needed.
For advanced shooters, focus on the fundamentals with distractions... i.e. increasingly complicated drills and tasks.
Legal considerations are more didactic, and can be covered in a separate class or through independent reading. Application of legal considerations can be drilled in shoot-house exercises or FoF drills by intermediate and advanced shooters.
It all comes down to fundamentals.
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Old 02-03-2017, 08:29 AM
Cappi Cappi is offline
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Originally Posted by Tim Burke View Post
It all comes down to fundamentals.
That's the bottom line methinks too, Mr Burke

the "good" instructor/coach helps to improve the student's execution of such


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Old 02-03-2017, 08:58 AM
wccountryboy wccountryboy is online now
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Lots of good observations and ideas...not sure I agree with all of them, but thats to be expected...the idea isn't to come to a single, simple answer that can be articulated in a single sentence. The idea is to get people to think about whats important to them, what they look for, to share ideas and concepts, and to discuss options and possibilities. Its a series of questions without "right" answers....

One thing I don't agree with the "everyone passes" mindset that seems to be the industry norm. To call someone "trained" in a physical skill if they have not met some kind of quantifiable performance mesure is just seems absurd on the face of it... nor would I personally be willing to put my name and reputation on someone who didn't meet the intended of the course.

I know there is no single standard for success in such a training event. The course developer would have to determine what the course objectives are, and how mastery should be demonstrated.
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Old 02-03-2017, 09:41 AM
YVK YVK is offline
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Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post


One thing I don't agree with the "everyone passes" mindset that seems to be the industry norm. To call someone "trained" in a physical skill if they have not met some kind of quantifiable performance mesure is just seems absurd on the face of it... nor would I personally be willing to put my name and reputation on someone who didn't meet the intended of the course.

I know there is no single standard for success in such a training event. The course developer would have to determine what the course objectives are, and how mastery should be demonstrated.
In every class that I took where some sort of measures or tests were used to "grade" or "test" people, no instructor gave out any recognition based on participation only. Students usually get a certificate of attendance that only states that a student took the class. It doesn't confer any weight of a specific expertise. If there were some benchmarks to be attained and "officially" mentioned on paper, students had to demonstrate their proficiency.

I understand your point against "everyone passes" mentality but I don't think it has meaningful practical application here. First, it is very hard to design a grading system that's valid for a ccw skill assessment. For example, late Todd Green and now Ernest Langdon use FAST test for students skill assessment. You don't get a pin or a coin if you can't shoot it in time. It is a popular test but it is a six round test. Does it really reflect what students learned in two days of training? The opposite side, Rogers shooting test, 125 rounds, seems comprehensive, but it is a static 125 rounds shot on 125 targets, basically a fixed par steel challenge match. As a format, it is hard enough for many people are decent shooters but who haven't been exposed to this challenge, to not even earn a basic score.

Second issue is of tests' "cross-talk". How's passing Farnam's test relates to FAST score, or FAST score relates to Rogers test, or Rogers test relates to the Humbler score, or Humbler relates to Gabe White's standards? They really don't. The purpose of those tests is a feedback and perhaps marketing, not really pass or fail thing, unlike in LE or some military units. That's actually the reason why I like using USPSA and IDPA ratings. While they are not about CCW, they do rate technical skills and their ratings are validated on tens of thousands of people.
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Old 02-03-2017, 10:10 AM
wccountryboy wccountryboy is online now
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I think its actually quite easy to develop a quantifiable, scoreboard, performance evaluation geared towards the specific POI objectives. Another indicator of the quality of the instructor is his ability to develop training and instruction...

I understand that "passing" one instructors class may not translate directly to anothers... thats OK. You still know that the student was held to, and SUCCESSFULLY achieved, a standard of some sort, and you know what that standard is for that course. It beats a "participation" certificate....

Look at it another way: one of your formal students is involved in a shooting. During the investigation, you're contacted by the detective, because your student used your certificate to document that he had sought out additional training. He took your class several yeard ago. Can you attest to his level of skill at the time he took the class, can you stand behind your product? Or can you simply say 'yeah, he took my class, musta done ok, didn't shoot himself in the foot cause he got a cert'...?

I guess part of the problem that I see with the firearms "training" industry is that its completely unregulated, there aren't even rudimentary standards or requirements. Any monkey can get a polo that says "instructor" and hang up a shingle.

There's been a huge surge in interest in firearms for self defense in the last decade, with lots of beginners and novices getting and carrying guns. Many seek out training, and the industry seems awash with snake oil salesmen...
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Old 02-03-2017, 10:28 AM
USMM guy USMM guy is online now
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Title on post one, "What is quality training"?

Quality training is any training that the trainee gets a measurable improvement in their level of proficiency. Understanding of course that it should be reflective of the time and other resources utilized.
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Old 02-03-2017, 12:11 PM
wccountryboy wccountryboy is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Burke View Post
Quality training focuses on the ability to apply the fundamentals of shooting, to include safety rules, mindset, gun handling and marksmanship. For the first 3 groups of shooters above, that's probably most of what's needed.
For advanced shooters, focus on the fundamentals with distractions... i.e. increasingly complicated drills and tasks.
Legal considerations are more didactic, and can be covered in a separate class or through independent reading. Application of legal considerations can be drilled in shoot-house exercises or FoF drills by intermediate and advanced shooters.
It all comes down to fundamentals.
I agree that without the fundementals, one has nothing, and that they need to be reinforced at every level. However, if one is focusing primarily on fundamentals in an intermediate or advanced class, then the focus is not on learning or developing intermediate or advanced skills... I would propose that if one is taking an intermediate or advanced course without a solid mastery of the fundementals, then he's in the wrong class, he's a training distractor for the rest of the students, and the instructor should consider removing the student...
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Old 02-03-2017, 12:59 PM
YVK YVK is offline
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Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post

I guess part of the problem that I see with the firearms "training" industry is that its completely unregulated,
That is correct. It will remain unregulated because there is no and I doubt there will be an authority that will be recognized by all parties involved.

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Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post

Look at it another way: one of your formal students is involved in a shooting. During the investigation, you're contacted by the detective, because your student used your certificate to document that he had sought out additional training. He took your class several yeard ago. Can you attest to his level of skill at the time he took the class, can you stand behind your product? Or can you simply say 'yeah, he took my class, musta done ok, didn't shoot himself in the foot cause he got a cert'...?
I don't think it is relevant. The certificate itself, whether earned by performance or attendance, has no recognized legal weight. The instructor's name, by and large, carries no expert designation in the court. On the other hand, the student could've nailed all the tests but screwed up in shooting anyway.
In this scenario when student is involved in a shooting all that matters is exactly your last sentence, the student showed a willingness to improve his skills and prepare for a defensive situation the best he could, and proved to be safe while doing it. Absent official, legally recognized standards of performance, instructor's words will be weightless.

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Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post
I think its actually quite easy to develop a quantifiable, scoreboard, performance evaluation geared towards the specific POI objectives.
May be, but there will be no agreement on what constitutes appropriate level of expertise, or even a content of testing. Too much of individual philosophical differences between instructors, intertwined with threatened financial interests.

Last edited by YVK; 02-03-2017 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 02-03-2017, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post
However, if one is focusing primarily on fundamentals in an intermediate or advanced class, then the focus is not on learning or developing intermediate or advanced skills... I would propose that if one is taking an intermediate or advanced course without a solid mastery of the fundementals, then he's in the wrong class, he's a training distractor for the rest of the students, and the instructor should consider removing the student...
Very few people have a solid mastery of the fundamentals; everyone wants to take the advanced class. What is an advanced shooter? One that can execute the fundamentals when his leg is on fire. It's all fundamentals.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:49 AM
Cappi Cappi is offline
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Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post

I guess part of the problem that I see with the firearms "training" industry is that its completely unregulated,

...
I'm curious, CB, do think it should be regulated?
(already is to a minor extent for those issuing CCW comp certs)

if in favor of regs for all private biz , who does the regulating ?
Feds and/or state gov?
Nationally recognized private orgs?

I understand your concerns...BUT...
unfortunate fact is, regs won't make one a good or bad service provider.
(which is what private sector trainers/instructors are ...a service side biz)

I know lots of licensed contractors and tradesmen I wouldn't let build, plumb or wire a dog house .
bet you might too

regulation doesn't keep the hacks out

reputation (not regulation) and word of mouth referrals is the best way to separate the wheat from chaff ..imHo


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Old 02-04-2017, 09:22 AM
M Yaworski M Yaworski is online now
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Originally Posted by Cappi View Post
reputation (not regulation) and word of mouth referrals is the best way to separate the wheat from chaff
Meh. Many people will sign up for classes, take the classes and still have no idea if the instruction is any good. They see some guy with a Fu Manchu mustache, cargo pants and a tight t-shirt who yells at them and they think that he's a good instructor because he was a super secret operator.

If not regulation, there should be an effort in the training industry to standardize and certify.
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Old 02-04-2017, 09:41 AM
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Meh. Many people will sign up for classes, take the classes and still have no idea if the instruction is any good..
I don't disagree with that.
as owning two service side biz (carpet cleaning and general contractor)
many folks have nothing to compare good, better, best service .
I also know if they simply get to "like" you, they perceive you're greatest thing since sliced bread

Quote:
If not regulation, there should be an effort in the training industry to standardize and certify.
alright..who writes the standards and issues the certs?
and who pays for the compliance side?
(regs are worthless with no compliance teeth)

all regs will do it make it more expensive for the consumer and invite gov intrusion

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Old 02-04-2017, 10:04 AM
wccountryboy wccountryboy is online now
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Originally Posted by Cappi View Post
I'm curious, CB, do think it should be regulated?
(already is to a minor extent for those issuing CCW comp certs)

if in favor of regs for all private biz , who does the regulating ?
Feds and/or state gov?
Nationally recognized private orgs?

.L.T.A.
As always, insightful question....

No, I don't think the industry should be government-regulated in any manner.

Conversely, I agree that "reputation" isn't enough to weed out poor instructors- 99% of "instructors" are unknown, even in the shooting community; there's only a handful of big names...

Any local nobody can create or fluff a resume, and present whatever image he wants to prospective clients... and the beginer or novice, perhaps even the intermediate shooter, has no way of knowing how good or bad the instruction they're receiveing is.

There may be some value to the consumer and quality instructor (though the marginal instructors would be harmed by it) of some kind of industry "self regulation" or accepted standards. Once upon a time, NRA certs were the baseline standard. Over the last 15 years or so, they seem to carry less weight and credibility. Some kind of industry consensus and acceptance of qualifications and standards would bring some consistency and continuity to the industry, and allow consumers to determine which products best meets their needs.
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Old 02-04-2017, 10:07 AM
kwo51 kwo51 is online now
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My thought that in this discipline the good ones stand out and the bad ones go out of business.. Their are some good ones that are doing questionable things in their classes. Don't go down range when it is HOT. We did do live fire drills in the USMC but that was for combat training and we were all advanced grunts and well disciplined by then.
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Old 02-04-2017, 10:11 AM
lhawkins lhawkins is offline
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Quality training really boils down to did the customer gain the knowledge and instructor feedback to go forth and anchor those skills?

That applies to the most basic of classes to advanced tactics.

While the OP mentions training, training without practice is worthless. Thus the concepts presented must also be able to be practiced after the class is over.
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Old 02-04-2017, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by YVK View Post
I don't think it is relevant. The certificate itself, whether earned by performance or attendance, has no recognized legal weight. The instructor's name, by and large, carries no expert designation in the court. On the other hand, the student could've nailed all the tests but screwed up in shooting anyway.
In this scenario when student is involved in a shooting all that matters is exactly your last sentence, the student showed a willingness to improve his skills and prepare for a defensive situation the best he could, and proved to be safe while doing it. Absent official, legally recognized standards of performance, instructor's words will be weightless.

...intertwined with threatened financial interests.
I disagree that documented training is worthless, and will have no legal value or weight. The weight or value assigned to it will depend upon the instructor being able to document and quantify what he taught and how. The Court will determine, case by case, on its own, if an instructor constitutes an "expert" as its applicable to the individual case. There doesn't need to be a single, uniform standard for an investigator or court to evaluate and lend credence to an instructor or training program. Theres also professional pride. My name has value... If I sign off on someone's training, I can quantify it. There doesn't have to be, and normally isn't, one universal, over reaching "standard" for the task or event- but I can articulate what the standards were, and how they were applied and evaluated.

Your last statement seems to sum it up; its all about the bottom line, with zero accountability.
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Old 02-04-2017, 10:52 AM
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My thought that in this discipline the good ones stand out and the bad ones go out of business...
While I'd like to believe this true, I don't. There's mediocre, poor, unscrupulous, and fraudulent providers of goods and services in almost every field, and the bad get by along with the good. There's no reason to think this industry is any different.

This industry also runs a wide range of practitioners, from occasional weekend "instructors" to full time professional with quantifiable teaching and shooting credentials- and everything in between. The industry has found room for all of them....
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  #24  
Old 02-04-2017, 12:24 PM
Cappi Cappi is offline
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the cream still rises to the top

Quote:
Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post
While I'd like to believe this true, I don't. There's mediocre, poor, unscrupulous, and fraudulent providers of goods and services in almost every field, and the bad get by along with the good.
The fraudulent get weeded out sooner or later for the most part.
more so now that we're in the 'net info age

I agree with you on the poor and mediocre
they can survive (and even thrive) when/if they toss enough money in effective marketing

Quote:
This industry also runs a wide range of practitioners, from occasional weekend "instructors" to full time professional with quantifiable teaching and shooting credentials- and everything in between. The industry has found room for all of them....
as they should, because there's a market for all of them
like Burger King, Applebees, or Five Star dinning

Negligence is where/when the "self policing" flame throwers should come out

.L.T.A.
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  #25  
Old 02-04-2017, 12:57 PM
wccountryboy wccountryboy is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cappi View Post
The fraudulent get weeded out sooner or later for the most part.
more so now that we're in the 'net info age

Perhaps some context on my use of the word "fraudulent"- which was poorly chosen. The instructor may believe he's providing a legitimate service, and the student may believe he's received quality training- and BOTH of those beliefs could be false... just because both sides are satisfied with the deal doesn't mean something of value was actually conveyed. The student doesn't know any better.

I agree with you on the poor and mediocre
they can survive (and even thrive) when/if they toss enough money in effective marketing

They can survive, and thrive because there's a demand for their services, and the consumer has no idea what he's getting, whether its a good or bad product, or even if its a good value for the time and money spent... because theres no way for a consumer to evaluate or compare various offerings...

as they should, because there's a market for all of them
like Burger King, Applebees, or Five Star dinning

... and all are subject to the same health codes.

Negligence is where/when the "self policing" flame throwers should come out

.L.T.A.
Perhaps there's degrees of "negligence" to be explored... If one teachs an 8 hour basic pistol course to 16 people, and they leave thinking they're Doc Holiday, is the instructor negligent in managing perceptions and expectations? Could consider such a result "fraudulent"...?

Heres a thread about an "instructor" that we all generally agree is pretty poor...

https://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=733049

... yet he "thinks" he's providing a legitimate service, and his students "think" they're learning something of value...
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If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. ~Samuel Adams~

Last edited by wccountryboy; 02-04-2017 at 01:03 PM.
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