Wisdom from Shooting Instructors I Respect – Words I Will Follow

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In the firearms training community, every instructor wants to be seen as an expert.  There is an innate desire as a “teacher” to be seen as an authority on the subject matter which one is presenting to their students.  Unfortunately, like every community or industry, there are those whose self-image and opinion of themselves far outweighs their personal competence and skill levels.  When I ventured out into firearms instruction, I made a personal promise to myself.  The promise was to hold myself to a higher standard, to be the most competent instructor in my subject area and to avoid the trend of rushing to be the next “Ultra-cool Tactical Instructor”.

While I have had my own sense of values I have held fast to, I had never tried to put them into words.  It wasn’t until coming across a podcast by Daniel Shaw (GunFighter Cast) and his mention of this topic that I had even seen or heard another group of instructors contemplate or put into words the idea of an “Instructors Code of Conduct”.  Rob Pincus (link to original article at the end of this post) and many other nationally respected instructors contributed to writing this code and it espouses many of my own beliefs.  There are a few ideas I felt left out, so I have l appended a few rules of my own at the end.


The Professional Code of Defensive Shooting Instructors

  1. I am committed to the safety of my students, and hold that the expected benefit of any training activity must significantly outweigh any known or perceived risk of that activity.
  2. I believe that it is my responsibility to understand not just what I’m teaching, but WHY I’m teaching any technique or concept, or offering specific advice.
  3. I recognize that defensive shooting skills, along with the drills and gear used, are inherently specialized and usually distinct from those of target shooting, competition and hunting endeavors.
  4. I will encourage my students to ask questions about course material, and I will answer them with thorough and objective explanations.
  5. I understand that Integrity and Professionalism are subjective traits and I strive to maintain high levels of both. I am capable of, and willing to, articulate the reasons for the way I conduct my courses and how I interact with students & peers.
  6. I believe that it is valuable to engage my peers in constructive conversation about differences in technique and concept, with the goal of mutual education and evolution.
  7. I believe that the best instructor is an avid student, and I will strive to continually upgrade my own skills and knowledge. As part of this belief, I understand that my own teachings need to be subject to critique and open to evolution.

    These seven rules I believe are a fantastic start… here are my additions.
  8. I believe it is my responsibility to not teach skills and subject matter beyond my own capabilities and understanding.  I must be able to demonstrate the skills which I am advocating and explain the concepts I am espousing thoroughly.  This is a safety issue for my students.
  9. I believe it is my responsibility to be a good ambassador of the right to bear arms and the pro-gun community to anyone with whom I Interact.  I will act and converse in a respectful manner and do my best to be a positive and responsible example of the pro-gun community.

Reference –  A Code for Professional Defensive Shooting Instructors – Rob Pincus

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