Learning to Shoot

The only way to learn skill with firearms is through good hands-on instruction with a competent instructor--you just can't learn it from a book or by yourself. While there are a lot of schools and instructors out there that will be glad to take your money, there are also lot that provide poor or inconsistent quality of instruction or are involved with the "theory of the month" teaching mindset.

I highly recommend the following schools and instructors as providing consistent, quality instruction, a solid foundation in the basics and all the advanced stuff that you can absorb. There may be other excellent places to learn and I know that there are some excellent individual instructors who teach by themselves and I mean no slight by not listing them. However, the ones listed below are the ones that are consistently and frequently praised and brought to my attention or with whom I have experience.

If you are evaluating possible instructors or schools make sure they teach proven techniques and not just their pet theories or the "stance of the week," and that they cover all aspects from basic ballistics to the fine points of marksmanship. Avoid places whose personnel brag about their prowess or have nothing good to say about other schools or instructors and who are unethical in their dealings with students and suppliers.

Note that the number of rounds fired in a course nor the presence or absence of wiz-bang facilities has any bearing on the quality of the course and what you get out of it.  Also, avoid like the plague training establishment that bad mouth their competitor or claim to impart "secret" knowledge

If you contact any of these schools please tell them you were referred from this page on Fr. Frog's web site. (I receive no compensation for referrals.)

Gunsite Academy
(Web site: http://www.gunsite.com)

This is where it all started. For information call 520.636.4565 or email gunsite (at) gunsite (dot) com. Gunsite accepts Thunder Ranch accreditation's for advanced courses.

The following institutions are listed in alphabetical order by the names of their owners.

Randy Cain--Cumberland Tactics
Web Site: http://www.guntactics.com

Cumberland Tactics is another mobile training school devoted to providing state-of-the-art instruction to serious students. Randy is another one of those rare instructors who has the uncanny ability to pick up the little things you are doing wrong and to help you correct them, and he is highly recommended by his former students. Randy can be reached at: PO Box 1400, Goodlettsville, TN. 37070. 1.615.822.7779 or by email at: Randy (at) guntactics (dot) com.

Clint Smith--Thunder Ranch
Web site: http://www.thunderranchinc.com/

Thunder Ranch offers state-of-the-art training facilities including classroom instruction, single- and multiple-story concrete shooting simulators, several precision and urban rifle ranges with simulators, as well as pistol and shotgun ranges. Thunder Ranch can be reached at 96747 Hwy 140 East Lakeview, Oregon 97630, (541)947-4104, or via email at troregon (at) centurytel (dot) netThunder Ranch accepts Gunsite accreditation's for advanced courses.

Northeast Shooters  
Web site:  http://www.Neshooters.com

Dedicated to providing quality firearms training in the  Nashua, NH area. Northeast Shooters presents classes by the best of the traveling trainers.  It provides an excellent alternative to having to travel to one of the top name schools with the attendant expenses.  Classes usually run 3 days with a class size of about 10 to 20 students which allows for individual attention.  For further information either visit their web site or contact Jim Conway at 603-673-6105 or jim (at) neshooters (dot) com; Andy Langlois at andy (at) neshooters (dot) com; or Mike Nastek at mike (at) neshooters (dot) com.

Recommended Reading.

While one cannot learn shooting from a book, reference materials can serve as a refresher, and as a means of selecting good instruction.  I highly recommend all of the following books.

Some of the Answer, Handgun;  Some of the Answer, Urban Carbine; Some of the Answer, Shotgun; and From behind the Line--Technical Notes and Commentary, all by Jim Crews. Available from Jim Conway at 603-673-6105 or jim (at) neshooters (dot) com .    You NEED these books if you are a serious practical shooter!

Principles of Personal Defense, by Jeff Cooper, Paladin Press, Boulder, CO, 1989, ISBN 0-87364-497-2

The Modern Technique Of The Pistol, by Gregory Boyce Morrison with Jeff Cooper Editorial Advisor, Gunsite Press, Paulden, AZ, 1991, ISBN 0-9621342-3-6 

The Art Of The Rifle; by Jeff Cooper, Paladin Press, Boulder, CO, 1997, ISBN 0-87364-931-1

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All of these schools and instructors have been highly recommended to me by numerous people who have taken courses with them. However, your experiences may differ and I am not responsible for what you learn or don't learn, nor your satisfaction with these folks.

Updated 2014-10-28