Guns are not toys. Guns are tools, and, like every tool, they should be used with discretion and with care.
One of the best things that you can do is to get quality training on how to handle your firearm both for safety and also so that, if you should have to use it, you can make sure that you get the job done.
This, then, begs the question of how to choose qualify gun training. Fortunately, there are a few things to look for when choosing gun control training. John Boch recommends that you look for three things to be included in your training: Mindset, Functional Ability/Training, and Tactical Training.
Boch described Mindset training as follows:
Mindset is the knowledge and attitudes needed to avoid and, if necessary, survive a confrontation. This includes the mental preparation for dealing with all aspects of a violent encounter at home or in public…and to never give up in a fight for your life.
This particular aspect of training emphasizes conflict avoidance, layering your defenses, and knowing the legal standard by which you will be judged for using lethal force against another. A well-taught class will help you avoid trouble through situational awareness and conflict de-escalation, and also keep you out of jail for inappropriately introducing a weapon – firearm or otherwise – into a situation.
Functional Ability/Training will cover gun safety and gun maintenance and would, ideally, also help to steer a student away from a poor choice in a firearm to purchase for that student’s purposes.
Boch describes the the third topic, Tactical Training as:
[…] the practical, hands-on study of the tactics needed to avoid conflict or, failing that, to fight with your personal defense tools.
This includes learning effective use of cover and concealment, proper presentation of the gun, situational awareness, proper force “application” strategies, malfunction clearing procedures, reloading techniques and so much more.
Of course, once you find a class that teaches all three of these factors, you’ll want to research the school and the instructor both, including looking for online reviews. You will also want to make sure that the instructor(s) take advantage of continuing education to sharpen their skills and get better at what they do. Also, ideally, you’ll look for instructors with experience teaching who also carry in their personal lives, not just for class.
Finding the right course for you will entail you doing some leg work, but getting quality instruction can make the difference for you if you find yourself in a situation in which you need to use your firearm, so it’s worth taking the time to find the right class for you.