Years ago, when I first began to train with MDFI, I was drinking though the fire hose in a couple of basic classes, but what struck me most was not what were doing on the range, but what we were learning about learning.
As Trek walked us through the safety briefing, he touched on mindset, and trusting our instincts when talking to him about things we feel might be unsafe, whether that is a drill or another student. He then said the words that stuck with me from that day on. "If you feel something is unsafe, and we discuss it, and at the end of the conversation you still feel unsafe, then we need to get you your money back, and have you pack your things up and leave the range. Because if I can demonstrate something is safe, and you still feel uncomfortable, there is nothing I can do to change your mind, and you need to be out of that environment."
What this amounted to was an extremely self-aware person who understood her limitations and was a perfect example of following Trek's wisdom. She knew her lane, she came out of it a bit to grow, but knew where her core competency was and understood that going high-speed Ricky Bobby (thanks, Trek) was going to get her or others hurt.
Words to live by. Same thing with the phrase "How long do you have to re-holster your pistol? The rest of your life." Meaning that if you dick that up and pop yourself, that could be a very short time indeed. Good instructors are giving you little gems like that, and breaking down complex tasks and making them simple and digestible under stress.
Bad instructors? They're out there. And you'll notice that instead of assessing your comfort level with the task at hand and making sure you can do it safely, they are trying to convince you that what they are doing is not just safe, but the right thing.
If you have an instructor that is talking you from "Oh God, that's going to get someone hurt or killed" to "oh this is just what we do," there is likely a serious problem. Firearms are dangerous tools if misused. That said, there is a safe way to do nearly anything with them as long as the proper time and caution is exercised. Going over a fence with a pistol is easier when you stop, holster up, and do it properly. It is much harder, and more dangerous, if you barrel full speed over it with that gun out.
So, if we know that it is not hard to do things the right way, why are people doing things the wrong way?
The answer is honestly, I don't know. Maybe the money? Most instructors that are doing the right things, the right way, will tell you that they don't do it for the money (and have the lack of Cadillacs in the garage to prove it).
A few years ago I saw some videos from a clown representing a company called Voda Consulting. I won't link him and provide traffic, if you need to see an embarrassment to the firearms community that bad, use your own Google-Fu.
What do I mean by bad? Consider the 4 Life Safety Rules as you ponder the pics below.
As a student, are you OK with this?
Voda argues that he doesn't use blue guns because our brains will not allow us to react the same way to them as real guns. Number one... No. Number two... Also no. Three... Do you really need a real gun for THIS?
If you brave the derp to go to Voda's website, please turn your speakers down so you don't lose it when loud rap music comes blaring out of them. Yes. It's to that level. Now, I have nothing against rap, but what connection does Tupac have to being a good shooter? Even Makavelli would be puzzled by that one.
Moving to other sources, we have the VSO Gun Channel. I first took note of these guys a few years ago, and it seemed to be a bunch of airsofters who got AR's at one point, and started using GoPros to record their range sessions.
Is this OK? The guy next to the targets will tell you that if you can't do this, you are a pussy and need to have your CPL revoked, as you aren't man enough for the gunfight.
If you are so High-Speed Low-Drag that you are essentially a friction-less surface, then yes you might need this kind of training. If you are so Spetznaz that Larry Vickers comes to your range to watch you shoot your buddy, then you might need this training. If you are neither of these, you do not need this kind of training, and sooner or later, someone will get hurt.
That's right. If you're not man enough to stand here while someone pops this target, put your gun down, Sally.
Things like this have been discussed before, and by better people than me. The reason I'm writing this is not to simply dogpile on bad behavior, but to reinforce that everyone, every day, must turn on their noodle and think critically about what's going on around them and how they feel about that.
We have a whole generation of shooters who may never have been to a class, but have that badass rifle and watched a lot of YouTube and see people out there doing Jedi flips and Hondo rolls across the range and take that as gospel. When they seek training, are they looking for the nuts and bolts of a solid set of fundamentals or are they getting caught up in the flash and hype of people who put money first and foremost?