It seems that there is a competition in the firearms training industry to see who can run the training class with the highest round count. It’s not uncommon to see classes advertising that students will shoot 500+ rounds per day of class. That’s a huge number of rounds and begs the question why so many?
Are students judging the value of courses by how many rounds are fired?
Are instructors trying to one up each other by having the largest round count?
Where it is especially curious is in instructor classes. As a baseline, the NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor classes run for five days, including one night shoot, and average about 250 rounds per day.
Each day of an NRA LE class is crammed full of learning and has a well thought out balance of range and classroom time. It is common to see 400+ per day round counts in 2 to 3 day civilian instructor schools. Is the 60%+ daily round count in these civilian classes really necessary?
Fatigue: the Enemy of Learning…
Ever been so fatigued that you pressed the trigger on what you knew was going to be a bad shot just so you could get the shooting over with?
Here are some observations for typical students about round count that are taken from our various classes running the gamut from introductory (6 hours classroom : 2 hours range) to our highly advanced Defensive Combat class (5 hours range). This is the number of rounds fired before muscle, mental, and/or general fatigue sets in:
- Brand new shooters: <50 rounds
- Shooters that don’t practice regularly: <100 rounds
- Experienced shooters that occasionally practice: 150-200 rounds
- Advanced shooters that practice regularly : <400 rounds
Being able to run the gun quickly and accurately is tremendously important. Unfortunately, FAR too much emphasis is given by many instructors on the hardware aspects of self-defense at the expense of the more important wetware aspects. This misplaced emphasis by instructors translates to students focusing on the gun while ignoring wetware training such as avoiding threats, detecting threats, strategically planning to dominate an encounter, and understanding use of force laws.
We watch our shooters very carefully on the line; when we see them taking shots just to get it over with, their range time is done for the day. They have stopped learning and are just trying to get through it. Worse yet, safety is one of the victims of fatigue.
As a firearms Instructor, it’s important that you be a good shot. With that said, don’t waste time with excessive round counts in instructor training; the person there should already be a good shot (or shouldn’t be there). Make them a better instructor—they can take student classes if they want to become better shooters.
When I go to a class, I want to learn about threat detection, avoidance, and elimination; the gun is only one part of that. When I go to an instructor class, I want to learn new information that makes me a better instructor and that makes me able to better equip my students for what they may face. What I don’t want to do in either situation is attend a class with an unnecessarily high round count, whether the instructor does so because they think self-defense is about a gun or whether they just don’t have enough worthy material to fill the class hours.
So far, the highest daily round count class I’ve run across is 750! Sadly, some other instructor will see this and raise their daily round count to 1000…