I taught online college courses more than a decade ago. While I enjoyed most of the courses, I was quite flabbergasted by the speech class I was assigned. The curriculum for one particular institution did not require any in-person (or videoed) presentations. It was all just viewing speeches, taking notes about speeches, discussing topics about speeches and answering questions (you guessed it) about speeches.
Of course, back then we didn’t have all the technology we have today or the convenience of Facetime, Skype or Zoom meetings. There wasn’t a lot of eLearning readily available either. Now that my oldest daughter — a freshman in college — is taking her speech requirement online, I see that things have changed. And, thankfully, this same kind of technology-based learning is now positively affecting the firearms world as well.
Online Learning and Firearms
As I have mentioned many times before, I believe that firearms training requires experiential learning if you are truly going to get the most benefits out of your efforts. We all know that safely putting a firearm in your hand and actually firing it is a much more powerful learning tool than watching a video of someone else doing it. But the global pandemic (combined with a shortage of both firearms and ammunition) has made traditional, in-person training at the shooting range a new challenge … and sometimes even an impossibility.
But that’s no excuse to miss out on a chance to work on fundamentals and skills at home. You can always use good, old-fashioned dry-fire practice without any newfangled contraptions. Or you can step things up with the use of tools like SIRT pistols, MantisX shooting performance systems or SureStrike laser training cartridges. You can also utilize technology like Zoom meetings, videos or eLearning. U.S. Concealed Carry Association is one organization that offers top-notch classes and sessions online, some of which can even prepare and qualify you for your state’s concealed carry permit requirements.
Here are some of the features and benefits of firearms training at home:
- Choosing an eLearning program: There are many online offerings available — from first aid to defensive pistol — so select an option that meets your needs, wherever you are in your firearms training journey.
- Creating a dedicated space: Training at home requires that you select a designated area that is free of any ammunition and any distractions, especially if you are doing dry-fire work. Don’t stand by your gun safe and work on trigger press. And don’t sit in your bed to watch a video about the use of force continuum. Research shows that you will be more productive if you have a dedicated space for this kind of work. And you will be safer if you consciously choose a specific location to train.
- Clearing firearms and check all gear for empty: Many training programs require the use of real firearms. Be sure you have checked and double-checked that any gun in your training area is clear of ammunition and that any magazines are empty as well.
Benefits of Online Learning
- Saving ammunition: Since ammo is scarce right now, this is a huge plus. You’ll still get to work on your training, but you won’t have to send any rounds downrange.
- Working on your own time and at your own pace: This is the benefit of any at-home training. In most cases, you don’t have to wait for classes to show up on the calendar, and you don’t have to finish everything on a certain day or within a certain timeframe. This allows you to slow down, speed up or even go back and repeat steps, as necessary.
- Wearing your jammies: For me, this is a wonderful benefit, as I could live in hoodies and pajama pants every day of the year. Of course, if the training works better with certain shoes or clothes, then you can grab those fairly easily. Or go ahead and work on reloads in those Chewbacca slippers!
Undoubtedly, online training will never be able to completely replace in-person firearms instruction, but it is a very good complement to time spent in the classroom and on the range.
Check out some of the classes U.S. Concealed Carry Association offers right now!
Online CCW Course — Tennessee
In this course, USCCA Instructor Steve Fischer takes you through a full 90-minute concealed carry class that has been approved by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. After the conclusion of the course, you’ll be awarded a certificate of completion, which may be used to apply for a Tennessee Concealed Handgun Carry Permit (CHCP).
Online CCW Course — Texas
Take the Texas License to Carry (LTC) class online when it’s convenient for you. Concealed Carry and Home Defense Fundamentals is a comprehensive course for anyone considering owning or carrying a firearm for self-defense. The course is a complete guide to understanding conflict-avoidance and situational awareness; home security and home defense; handgun, shotgun and AR-15 basics; shooting fundamentals; the physiology of violent encounters; the legal aspects of using deadly force (including knowing what to do in the aftermath); and a complete guide on gear, gadgets, and ongoing training.
*Texas does require an on-range portion before receiving your permit.