Monday, November 11, 2013

Getting ready to train: What to bring.

You have finally decided to get some professional firearm training. You pay your deposit and are waiting for the day to come.  Here is what you should bring.

Check out the school's website. 

They will have a page listing the things you need to bring. Some of the things you may think you won't need, but it is on the list for a reason.


Make sure your gun is in good working order.  Clean and lube it before you go.

It is a good idea to bring a spare gun if you can.  If you don't have a spare gun, bring along some spare parts of the things that may normally break.  Training tends to put more stress on guns and gear than just plinking at the range.  A cleaning kit and lube would be a good idea as well.

If you are not able to bring a spare gun, the instructor may have back ups, although it will probably have a fee attached.


Usually the listed round count for the class is the minimum you will shoot. You should bring at least a couple hundred rounds more than what is listed.  Some people say to bring 500 more, others say to double the recommended amount.

One other thing I do is pour all of my ammo out into an ammo can. You don't have to mess with a bunch of boxes and trays and there isn't any trash to keep up with. 

Eye and ear protection

You should bring some dark glasses, and some clear or yellow shooting glasses as well. 

You should really invest in electronic ear protection if you can afford it. These are ear muffs with microphones that let you hear what the instructor and other students are saying, and then automatically shut off when you shoot. It is so much easier than trying to hear through regular muffs or constantly putting your ear pro on and off. I use the Peltor 6S and they have worked well for me. Be sure to bring extra batteries. 


Most classes will list you need at least 2 or 3 magazines. I like to bring as many as I can. Reloading mags all day is a necessary part of the deal but I like to minimize it as much as possible. The less you have to stuff ammo in mags the better you can be paying attention to what the instructor is saying. 

I will have all of my magazines except for 2 loaded before I get there. I leave the 2 unloaded for the dry fire work at the beginning of class. If you are training with somebody you haven't worked with before it is a good idea to contact them via phone or email and make sure having your mags loaded before hand is ok.  You will probably want your gun to be unloaded when you arrive unless you have information otherwise.

You may also want to invest in a magazine loader such as those made by Uplula if you are going to a high round count course, or just aren't used to repeatedly loading mags with your thumb.

Holster, mag pouches, belt, etc.

Training is a great way to test out gear!  You get to see what works well, what works ok, and what you should probably replace.  You want to bring quality gear.

Your holster should be of a design that stays open at the top to ease reholstering.  You will be drawing and holstering a lot during the class and you don't want to be fumbling with the holster the entire time.  I personally like kydex holsters, but a good quality leather holster with a reinforced mouth works as well.  Another consideration with IWB holsters is the holster should be big enough to cover the entire barrel of the pistol.  Minimalist holsters have become popular for concealed carry but tend to be bad for training because the barrel and slide of your gun will become hot from firing a lot.  You don't want to burn your leg(or worse if you carry appendix IWB like I do!) from sticking a hot gun inside your pants with nothing covering it. 

Your belt, mag pouches, and any other gear used during class should be of high enough quality to not hinder you.  You want to be learning, and practicing all day, not fiddling with your gear.  Bringing a spare holster or two isn't a bad idea as well.

I am a firm believer that you should train how you carry.  But, if your EDC is a little .380 you carry in your pocket, you may want to bring another rig more suited to training.  Learning the fundamentals is the same with a full size duty gun as with a small pocket pistol.  If you go down this road, bring your EDC gear too and run at least a few drills with that setup.  Your instructor may have some tips for your specific method of carry as well, don't be afraid to ask.

One thing that recurred throughout this article is the need for spares.  You should bring spares for pretty much everything feasible.  Training is hard on gear, which is good.  If it is going to fail I would sure rather it happen during a controlled class than in some violent encounter on the street!  But at the same time, you don't want to have to sit the rest of the class out because your gun or a piece of your gear broke.

Again, the school's website should have a list of everything you need to bring.  I wanted to expand of some of the more important things and throw a few tips in there as well.  I hope you found this post helpful.  Feel free to leave comments or suggestions.  You can also contact me by the link at the top of the page if you have any questions I would be glad to help. 

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