American’s are training to fail.  2020 broke every gun sales record America ever held.  2021 is quickly looking to break the 2020 records.  I’m very happy to see American’s making the first step at securing their unalienable rights with the tools the Founding Fathers spelled out for us in the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.  However, buying a firearm and ammunition is the easy part.  Spending a few hours at the local range or on a private property range is great for family and friends to bond over an American past time.   Load the magazines, fire up the pit with some steaks, and shoot as much as your heart desires (or what your wallet can handle).  As much as I support this type of family and friends event, there’s much more to being proficient enough with a firearm to protect not only yourself and your family, but the American way of life.  If you’re failing to properly train, you’re training to fail, miserably.  The fact of the matter is this: The family fun day at the range has little to no effect on your ability to think critically during a bad situation.  Properly executed training puts us under controlled stress, and lets us see where our shortcomings are, and where we should be focused to advance in our marksmanship, and situational awareness.     Even military veterans with 5+ years of marksmanship training, need to continue to train to keep those perishable skills sharpened.  Just because you qualified with a M16 10 years ago, and qualified as “expert”, doesn’t mean you should slack off.  You should be continuing your education even if it means dry firing your weapon in the comfort of your own home (safely) I might add.


It’s no secret that American’s have spent the last year rushing out to buy the best firearms that money can buy.  They’re also buying ammunition at a rate never before seen.  All great news!  Until you have to use that firearm to defend yourself.  I like to use the analogy of personal cars.  If you had never driven a car before, never driven any sort of all terrain vehicle, and suddenly someone put you in the drivers seat on the interstate doing 70mph, you run a very high risk of injuring or killing yourself or someone else.  The same principle applies to firearms.  You must practice and familiarize yourself with your weapon.  You must get behind the wheel or trigger to gain the muscle memory of how that weapon or car handles, what your reactionary times are, and how to maintenance and care for that car or weapon.  Just like with cars, firearms are far more dangerous with someone using them who has little to no training.  When you buy a firearm, and neglect training, you are the most dangerous individual to yourself and other citizens.  Basically, if you don’t train with your new weapon, you know just enough to get yourself killed or land in legal hot water.


     This question is likely to start a holy war between trainers and students alike.  We all have opinions on who the best instructor is, who has the best facility, who produces the best curriculum, or what the price should be.  Unfortunately there are some really bad instructors out there.  On the bright side, theres a plethora of great instructors available.  How do you know if the class/instructor is right for you?  The best route to make this decision unfortunately requires you to go through some classes and make the decision for yourself based on your own personal experience.  This method has some major shortfalls.  The first thought that comes to mind is we don’t want to waste money and time.  So what I’ve done is put together a list of things your should consider before signing up for that “tactical” class.  

  • Location (how far are you willing to travel)
  • Instructor credentials (Law Enforcement background, military, years as an instructor) Just because someone doesn’t have either of these, does not discredit them from being a great instructor.  Dig more. 
  • Course environment. (Are the instructors soft spoken, calm, and collected, or do they have a high energy mentality)
  • Does the instructor or company have a YouTube or Patreon channel that shows or demonstrates their classes?  (This will help you decide if you like the instructors personality. Too aggressive, too monotone, unsafe, ect.) 
  • Does the instructor put forth a lot of emotion.  Too much emotion can be counter productive to students if the instructor is emotional or high strung. 
  • Does the instructor carry a condescending ego?  If so, stay away.  These types are the most counterproductive to have as instructors.
  • Does the instructor project a high speed, advanced level shooter style course?  If they do, don’t discredit them immediately as they could possibly using the “glam” video for marketing, but definitely probe them out a bit more.  

Try to find a course and instructor that you like.  The last thing you want to do is spend your money and time with someone who is possibly a great instructor, but you have a personality conflict with.  


     If you have never taken any shooting classes, for either rifle or pistol, you should always start at the lowest possible level class.  This does one of two things: Allows you as the student to begin building on a fundamental platform or if you already have somewhat of a foundation (previous mil/Leo), this will give you a refresher.  Just like with any subject, training is a constant evolution.  With time, nothing stays the same.   If you have taken classes before, but it’s been 5 years or more, be prepared to see changes to some of the items you learned previously.  As instructors and trainers, we’re constantly evolving and creating a database of information.  This is based off personal experience or case history from others’ situations whether it be military, law enforcement, or private citizens being forced into protecting themselves.  Along with signing up for a class, a knowledgable instructor will have some questions that they can ask you to ensure you’re signing up for the class that best fits you and your experience level.  The last thing you want to do is get into a class that’s too far advanced for you.  All it will do is frustrate you and the instructors and create a poor learning environment.  Remember, it’s ok to take a couple steps back, and then come back forward.  Taking it slow and deliberate will pay dividends later.  Training slow will ensure you act properly and maturely should the time come that you have to exercise your ability.  Don’t be afraid to leave your ego at home.  Here’s a list of some prerequisites you can use to see what level you are based on 3 levels:  Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced:

  • Never taken any formal training:  Beginner
  • Former Military and/or Law Enforcement: Intermediate
  • Avid shooter with multiple completed courses, former mil/Leo: Advanced

To get to the intermediate level, you will need to know at minimum the following:

  • Knowledge of weapon safety (Treat. Never. Keep. Keep) Treat every weapon as if it were loaded, Never point a weapon at anything you do not want to shoot, Keep the weapon on safe until you are ready to fire, Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to fire.  
  • How to load/unload safely 
  • How to operate a mechanical safety
  • How to hold a weapon properly 
  • Basic knowledge of how to operate on a firing line with other students safely 
  • For rifle shooters, you’ll need to know how to effectively operate your weapon at 7 yards, out to 100 yards
  • For pistol shooters, you’ll need to know how to operate your weapon from 7 yards, out to 25 yards.
  • Ability to take constructive criticism and maintain a neutral emotion for a positive learning environment. 

To get to the Advanced Level, this is determined by the instructor and their knowledge of your ability as a shooter and your personal maturity as a shooter. Some things an instructor looks for in Advanced level students:

  • Extreme knowledge of weapon safety and handling 
  • Use of weapons from 7yds to maximum effective range of platform
  • Basic knowledge of CQB
  • Low Light/Night Shooting basics
  • Zero’ing procedures 
  • Basic field medical 
  • Team work procedures
  • Ability to adapt to changing environments 
  • Calm and collected demeanor 



     To be blunt, yes and no.  Taking one class only gives you the tools to practice and develop with after the class is over.  It doesn’t matter how great of an instructor you have, one 4 hour course, or a 2 day course only gives you the information you need to develop yourself into a mature protector of life.  There’s no way to develop that much muscle and mental memory to ensure you’re ready for any and all situations.  Now with that being said, taking one class puts you leaps and bounds ahead of the bad guy.  Remember this:  Bad guys don’t train, good guys do.  The best advice I can give as a student and instructor is keep learning, keep practicing, and keep training!!!  Just like learning to play guitar, it’s a never ending lesson.  There is no graduation day. As humans, we are a “monkey see, monkey do” type of species.  If you train, those around you will train.  Our children are going to do as we do.  If we train, they will train.  The problem I see in today’s society is firearms have been demonized through the media and Hollywood’s portrayal as a “bad guy” toy.  We as citizens have become complacent and rely on law enforcement to handle our protection.  Only you can protect yourself when seconds matter.  Guns solve problems between 1000fps and 3000fps.  Law Enforcement’s average response time to the scene is 11 minutes.  Almost all situations that require you to use a firearm, you don’t have 11 minutes, you have a split second to react.  Your willingness to train will determine if the police officer that arrives first is calling the coroner for you or the bad guy.    


     There’s more than plenty of firearms instructors out there.  Do your research and find one that suits your needs, and show up ready to learn, ready to shoot, and ready to defend your family or country should the opportunity present itself.  With technology taking jobs everywhere and in every industry, firearms instruction is no different.  Companies like American Resistance are now offering their training courses on sites like Patreon.  Patreon is “pay to view” type website/app that gives you the ability to take the course in the comfort of your own home or range.  Given that the instructor isn’t standing on the firing line with you, you still get all the valuable information.  With ARG’s Patreon page, you also get the ability to get a personal call or FaceTime style video to help with anything the Patreon videos were not able to help with.  So for those of you out there that want to take a class with ARG, but you live too far to travel down for a class, you can log on and begin your training class on your own time.  We also offer on Patreon the ability for you as the student to have us make a custom video to you.  This saves your time and money.  Here’s a link to our Patreon Page:  New videos are going up on there every couple of days, so be patient as we make them and if there’s a particular video you’d like to see, please send an email to: or call the office: 936-569-9400


 Thank you for your time, and most of all, thank for being an American Patriot.  We look forward to training the American Patriots,



Michael J. Souza USMC SSgt. Owner of American Resistance & Black Rifle Customs.