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Twin Cities Carry Forum Archive • View topic - Inexpensive, minimalist class?
 
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 Inexpensive, minimalist class? 
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:37 pm 
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phorvick wrote:
I would agree that you "pay for what you get" though. :)

Oh, by the way, my class now costs $1000.


:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

UFFDA :!: :lol:

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 Post subject: How To Become a Good, Cheap Instructor
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 7:51 am 
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Carbide Insert wrote:
I would be curious to know of those who instruct: how did you come to establish your course fee? What made it the price that you charge? The median price I'm familiar with is around $100-$150. Why not $30? $20? Is it simply your time? Other investments? .gov's cut into your profits? I would think for many (if not most) instructors, teaching PtoC classes would be mostly a labor of love. What sets your costs, and why are they all in the mid hundred range?
Well, mine's in the high hundred range -- $185 -- and it's going up, shortly. The <a href=http://twincitiescarry.com/tccarryexpress>Express classes</a> cost more.

I put a fair amount of work into doing the classes -- before, at, and after -- and that's time that I can't spend writing, kicking back, spending time with friends and family, or anything else. And I'm also of the opinion that I do a good enough job that, well, it's worth it; enough people seem to agree.

And I don't play the games like "4 needed for a class or we will reschedule". If I schedule a class, and one person registers, he or she will get a class. (I haven't had to do that for several years, now, but I've done it without complaint, and will do it without complaint if it happens again.)

That said, many (most?) of the cheap classes aren't as cheap as they look, issues of quality aside. I don't know of any cheap class that includes the book (including those taught by instructors, like Paul Horvick, who I believe do a good job) and many of the Coconut Charlie types add on extra fees: in one case, <a href=http://firearmsandliberty.com>a Utah-based MN class where there's an extra $50 to get the Utah paperwork</a> (I don't make this up, you know); "facilities fees" -- in at least one case, an apparently mandatory "donation" at Glencoe so you can sit in a room surrounded by mounted <s>mooses meese</s> more than one moose head -- and such; and at least some of the cheap instructors try to offload their post-class support on others. (This doesn't work well, I think.)

That said, I think there's definitely a decent hobby niche out there, and you might break even and start making a little money in a few years.

Figuring an instructor's cost at $16.66 for the book (bought wholesale from me, in quantity; it'll be more expensive elsewise, although there are possible substitutes), a couple of bucks for handouts and gas and such, somebody who could count on getting fifteen students per class every time (lots of luck) could make thirty bucks per hour (got to figure a minimum of ten hours per class, all in, what with prep, class, qual, cleaning, and after class support) if they could figure out how to do it without any advertising or marketing at all, at $50/student*.

Then there's the issues around getting insurance, buying and maintaining equipment (how much is your projector going to cost? I'll assume you already have a reliable laptop), and acquiring a free venue to do your training (if you have to pay, you'll have to raise your fees, or that will cut into that munificent $30/hour; the venue I use isn't cheap, but you can probably do better in terms of price).

Go for it, if you'd like.

Starting from scratch, you'll probably want to do something like get your NRA certs in at least two disciplines (I think you really should get four, plus RSO; can I point you toward a local NRA TC?), design a course (how good are your writing skills?), and then go through the whole BCA certification process, and then understudy (one way or another) with another instructor, as nobody is born knowing how to do this. (Sufficient experience in doing other kinds of writing, training, and presentation may speed up that process some.) If you can get up to that fifteen per class, regularly, and do two classes a month, you'll probably be able to pay off your investment of time and money in two, three years, and then that $30/hour will start rolling in, and that's not all that bad.

If you're going to do the multi-state thing, though, you'll find that you spend a fair amount of time keeping up with what permits are accepted where, and trying to figure out which combinations work best for given situations. Are you going to claim that you can do a class that will let Minnesota residents carry in Colorado, say? Cool -- I guess you'll have to figure out how to get the Colorado lege to change their laws. Either that, or you can just go Coconut Charlie, avoid the issue, slap a disclaimer on your website, and paint a puzzled and hurt puppy-like expression on your face when somebody asks you.

But you've got a long road to hoe before you start breaking even, much less making any kind of profit. Remember, you're counting on 15/class.

If you're in the metro area, though, if you're going for the low end, you'll be competing with the Coconut Charlie types, and whatever their other failings, the ones who hang around are pretty darned effective salesmen.

Let me know how it goes.

(Remember, above: I'm only talking about the skills that are necessary to do a large carry class well; if one also needs to learn how to lose engines in airplanes, sell nutritional supplements, move some real estate, fluff up the folks at Gander Mountain, become a bounty hunter, or buy a lifetime membership at the Charles Ponzi Gun Training Institute and Storm Door Company, there will be other time and costs involved.)

______
* When you get beyond fifteen, you start to run into a lot of time doing quals, unless you're going to go all shady practices and run your quals with ten rounds out of a pre-loaded .22 semiauto, and you pretty much need to hire somebody to help with the quals.

Doing fifteen reasonable quals takes a fair amount of time; when my classes get large, I tend to ask instructors I respect to help me out, and do the same for them -- I'm going off to help Andrew with some quals this afternoon, and he's certainly done the same for me. No complaints, at all, but that does chew into his time, and mine, even when we're not doing our own classes; I've gotten help from plblark and Greg, from time to time, and have run a few quals for Kimberman, who certainly has done more than enough favors for me personally and for the movement generally that I'm happy and honored to help.

That said, I kind of hope you go for it. I'd love to see you at BPR on a hot summer day after you've spent hours and hours on the range going through the quals for a large class yourself and walk out with your sneakers squishing from the pooled sweat.

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Last edited by joelr on Sun May 03, 2009 8:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 11:12 am 
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Joel,

I think you're engaging in what Ayn Rand used to call "package-dealing."

There is no statutory requirement that instructors use a laptop or projector, or give away books, or provide after-class support, or offer a Utah or Florida permit. You do all that, great, it works for you and clearly serves a market need.

I would characterize it as the state-required training, plus the out of state permit training, plus a "light" version of a general personal defense firearms course that goes beyond the state requirements. There are people who offer personal defense courses on a standalone basis that don't include the permit requirements, but which are broader in scope than what you teach. There is no one right scope of instruction. For some people the extra personal defense stuff you teach is valuable and sufficient, for others it is probably unnecessary and possibly a turnoff, and for others still it is probably insufficient.

As I've tried to allude to in earlier posts, if the topic were anything other than firearms then the courses would be much less expensive and would be incorporated into the community education system already in place. Hour for hour, aviation ground school and scuba training both cost less.

I think this is an interesting thread because we're seeing a combination of:
a) David Gross' perspective on why the training requirement is there and what end it continues to serve politically
b) Instructors' perspectives on why they charge what they charge
c) Strongly RKBA people's perspectives on the shortcomings of the present reality.

I believe that there is a missing piece out there and that there is a certain kind of class that is missing. My goals for such a class would be:
1) Professionalism in instruction
2) Curriculum limited to the statutory requirements
3) Minimal cost and time requirement for students
4) Management of the range requirement so as to minimize time, cost, and hassle


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 11:37 am 
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MostlyHarmless wrote:
Joel,

I think you're engaging in what Ayn Rand used to call "package-dealing."

There is no statutory requirement that instructors use a laptop or projector, or give away books, or provide after-class support, or offer a Utah or Florida permit. You do all that, great, it works for you and clearly serves a market need.
Sure. I think there are folks who are interested in doing the utter minimum required by state law, and I'm not talking about how to do that. I've been talking about how to do at least an arguably good, cheap carry class, not a legally-minimum cheap carry class.

(I think we already have the Coconut Charlie types in that niche, although they all charge 'way too much.)

But, sure, if you want to do the utter minimum, you can probably do it about twenty, maybe thirty minutes, and go below the shady practice of a ten-round qual with a borrowed, preloaded .22 to a one-round qual with a borrowed, preloaded .22; you could get twenty students through their range qual in two minutes. (Don't change targets until there are so many holes that you can't see if the round hits.)

Cover, but don't teach the stuff (I don't see anywhere in the statute where it's required that the stuff actually be taught, just that the course include instruction and be completed) don't provide information beyond the minimum required by law, and you're good to go, as soon as you arrange for certification. I think you kind of have to throw out your "professionalism in instruction" piece; that's not required by statute, and I think that's inconsistent with the minimalism you're advocating here.

Go to it, if you'd like. I don't think it would be much worse than some of what's out there. And, in some ways, I think it might be better -- you probably wouldn't leave your students thinking that they could carry in Colorado, say.

Go for it.

ETA: and the more I think about it, the better I like the idea. I think that it would be great for folks who really want a utterly legally minimal class to have that available for, say, $20 and an hour of their time, rather than spending three times that much time and money doing a Coconut Charlie class.

If you set this up, I'll even give you your own topic on the Forum to promote the minimal classes.

And, hell, I might even be persuaded to sell you a <a href=http://icanhazgunpermit.com>web site</a> to use to market them.

(Honest: I'm utterly serious about all of this. Go for it.)

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 2:03 pm 
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There are self teaching resources (this site and others, a couple books, the law itself, well informed friends). I would say Joel's book is pretty close to a legit course in itself. If an instructor offered a course that had pre-research as a prerequisite and administered some sort of knowledge test after the legal minimum instruction and a Q&A I don't think they would be offering a compromised curriculum.

As for qualifying, in my (perhaps not esteemed) opinion, it's obvious if someone is competent after watching them load a mag, fire said mag and lay the gun down. Not terribly in-depth, but you can make a call on safety/competency.

And now I'm going to read the law again instead of studying for finals.


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 5:16 pm 
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joelr wrote:
I think there are folks who are interested in doing the utter minimum required by state law, and I'm not talking about how to do that. I've been talking about how to do at least an arguably good, cheap carry class, not a legally-minimum cheap carry class.

(I think we already have the Coconut Charlie types in that niche, although they all charge 'way too much.)


The real problem with what you call the Coconut Charlie types is that they teach badly. I would like to see a class taught that is taught well but with a minimalist approach. There is a difference between a carefully constructed, well taught course that is short and sticks to the basics, and a course that's sloppy.

Quote:
But, sure, if you want to do the utter minimum, you can probably do it about twenty, maybe thirty minutes, and go below the shady practice of a ten-round qual with a borrowed, preloaded .22 to a one-round qual with a borrowed, preloaded .22; you could get twenty students through their range qual in two minutes. (Don't change targets until there are so many holes that you can't see if the round hits.)


I'd be interested to hear (from Joel or any other instructor) how many students you've either declined to sign off or required extra range time for based on the results of the qualification you conduct. A thorough qualification would require a weapon suitable for carry and a demonstration of safety and marksmanship while drawing either from concealment or from a retention holster. I'm not aware of any instructor that does this, and many ranges won't permit it; yet, it's the basis of every law enforcement qualification course in the country.

But my real point is not that the range portion of the course should be rubber-stamped or minimized. Instead, I think that knowledgeable students should be given the opportunity to complete it on their own time, bring a target to class signed by themselves and a witness, and be done with it.

Quote:
Cover, but don't teach the stuff (I don't see anywhere in the statute where it's required that the stuff actually be taught, just that the course include instruction and be completed) don't provide information beyond the minimum required by law, and you're good to go, as soon as you arrange for certification. I think you kind of have to throw out your "professionalism in instruction" piece; that's not required by statute, and I think that's inconsistent with the minimalism you're advocating here.


I believe there's a middle ground. Especially with some assigned reading prior to the class, I think that the necessary material could be covered in about an hour, plus range time. That doesn't allow for much repetition, requires careful management of Q&A, and limits the number of vignettes. But it does allow time to actually teach stuff, with professionalism. It's a legitimate approach to presume a time period (say, an hour), and figure out how to make the most of it.

I think there's a group of people best served by this sort of thing. My wife has a permit as a safeguard against prosecution despite the fact that she will probably never carry. Any in depth coverage of use of lethal force is, for her, relatively pointless since she only has the permit so I can leave the Glock in the glove compartment while she's in the car.

Another example is a family member who is in federal law enforcement and lives in another state. The logistics of air travel to Minnesota with a duty weapon are problematic (his agency does not allow him to check a weapon and the procedures for carrying on board are burdensome), and both prudence and agency policy dictate that he carry the badge only when in possession of a gun. A Minnesota permit would grant him the flexibility to arm himself upon arrival, and any classwork beyond a quick review of Minnesota-specific material would be pointless for him.

Quote:

Go to it, if you'd like. I don't think it would be much worse than some of what's out there. And, in some ways, I think it might be better -- you probably wouldn't leave your students thinking that they could carry in Colorado, say.

Go for it.

ETA: and the more I think about it, the better I like the idea. I think that it would be great for folks who really want a utterly legally minimal class to have that available for, say, $20 and an hour of their time, rather than spending three times that much time and money doing a Coconut Charlie class.

If you set this up, I'll even give you your own topic on the Forum to promote the minimal classes.

And, hell, I might even be persuaded to sell you a <a href=http://icanhazgunpermit.com>web site</a> to use to market them.

(Honest: I'm utterly serious about all of this. Go for it.)


As a thought experiment, if you were to cover the basic material and fulfill the statutory requirements in the first hour of your class, then allow people to remain for an additional 2-3 hours for an additional fee to cover supplementary material and go into greater depth, how many takers would have have? Some, I would think, maybe over half. I realize that's not your approach, which is fine, but it's still an interesting question.

But rather than icanhazgunpermit.com, I'd prefer to promote this sort of approach as a short, high-density course that doesn't insult the students' intelligence. Whether I care about this enough to follow through and actually teach, I can't say, though I certainly care enough about it to serve as a cheerleader for those who do.


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 5:45 pm 
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MostlyHarmless wrote:
joelr wrote:
I think there are folks who are interested in doing the utter minimum required by state law, and I'm not talking about how to do that. I've been talking about how to do at least an arguably good, cheap carry class, not a legally-minimum cheap carry class.

(I think we already have the Coconut Charlie types in that niche, although they all charge 'way too much.)


The real problem with what you call the Coconut Charlie types is that they teach badly.
I think that's one problem, sure.
Quote:
I would like to see a class taught that is taught well but with a minimalist approach. There is a difference between a carefully constructed, well taught course that is short and sticks to the basics, and a course that's sloppy.
Sure. But you're shifting the ground you're arguing from -- are we talking "minimal" or a good, basic class?
Quote:

Quote:
But, sure, if you want to do the utter minimum, you can probably do it about twenty, maybe thirty minutes, and go below the shady practice of a ten-round qual with a borrowed, preloaded .22 to a one-round qual with a borrowed, preloaded .22; you could get twenty students through their range qual in two minutes. (Don't change targets until there are so many holes that you can't see if the round hits.)


I'd be interested to hear (from Joel or any other instructor) how many students you've either declined to sign off or required extra range time for based on the results of the qualification you conduct.
Some; thankfully few. I've been lucky.
Quote:
A thorough qualification would require a weapon suitable for carry and a demonstration of safety and marksmanship while drawing either from concealment or from a retention holster.
There, I disagree. I think it's very, very hard to find documented real life civilian DGUs where either were required -- not impossible, but difficult.
Quote:
I'm not aware of any instructor that does this, and many ranges won't permit it; yet, it's the basis of every law enforcement qualification course in the country.
Yup. And it's a key requirement for people who want to go into law enforcement; it's not required, say, for HR218. Permit holder have different issues than cops, largely for the simple reason that we're not in law enforcement (with a few exceptions; there are folks who participate here who are in law enforcement, and are also permit holders) that we're not cops.
Quote:

But my real point is not that the range portion of the course should be rubber-stamped or minimized. Instead, I think that knowledgeable students should be given the opportunity to complete it on their own time, bring a target to class signed by themselves and a witness, and be done with it.
Sure. Interestingly enough, I ran the notion of the "Honor System InstaQual[tm]" past one Forum member earlier today; we both thought it was kinda funny.

I think there's at least one instructor who does "honor system" quals, at least occasionally, by the way. Not somebody I've got a lot of respect for, mind you, but it could be done.
Quote:

Quote:
Cover, but don't teach the stuff (I don't see anywhere in the statute where it's required that the stuff actually be taught, just that the course include instruction and be completed) don't provide information beyond the minimum required by law, and you're good to go, as soon as you arrange for certification. I think you kind of have to throw out your "professionalism in instruction" piece; that's not required by statute, and I think that's inconsistent with the minimalism you're advocating here.


I believe there's a middle ground.
Cool. Develop it; I think there's a legit niche for it (say, your wife, or the guy who really just wants a five-year purchase permit . . .)
Quote:
Especially with some assigned reading prior to the class, I think that the necessary material could be covered in about an hour, plus range time.
Sure. The only way I can do the Express classes in a way that I think is responsible is to require folks to read the book ahead of time.
Quote:
That doesn't allow for much repetition, requires careful management of Q&A, and limits the number of vignettes. But it does allow time to actually teach stuff, with professionalism. It's a legitimate approach to presume a time period (say, an hour), and figure out how to make the most of it.

I think there's a group of people best served by this sort of thing. My wife has a permit as a safeguard against prosecution despite the fact that she will probably never carry. Any in depth coverage of use of lethal force is, for her, relatively pointless since she only has the permit so I can leave the Glock in the glove compartment while she's in the car.

Another example is a family member who is in federal law enforcement and lives in another state. The logistics of air travel to Minnesota with a duty weapon are problematic (his agency does not allow him to check a weapon and the procedures for carrying on board are burdensome), and both prudence and agency policy dictate that he carry the badge only when in possession of a gun. A Minnesota permit would grant him the flexibility to arm himself upon arrival, and any classwork beyond a quick review of Minnesota-specific material would be pointless for him.
Well, that's one view. I disagree, but, then again, I would. I don't think it was, say, pointless for Cobb, Andrew, or me to take a renewal class from other MN instructors -- and we all did.
Quote:

Quote:

Go to it, if you'd like.
(This is a general invitation; anybody can pick this stuff up and run with it, with my blessing.)
Quote:
I don't think it would be much worse than some of what's out there. And, in some ways, I think it might be better -- you probably wouldn't leave your students thinking that they could carry in Colorado, say.

Go for it.

ETA: and the more I think about it, the better I like the idea. I think that it would be great for folks who really want a utterly legally minimal class to have that available for, say, $20 and an hour of their time, rather than spending three times that much time and money doing a Coconut Charlie class.

If you set this up, I'll even give you your own topic on the Forum to promote the minimal classes.

And, hell, I might even be persuaded to sell you a <a href=http://icanhazgunpermit.com>web site</a> to use to market them.

(Honest: I'm utterly serious about all of this. Go for it.)


As a thought experiment, if you were to cover the basic material and fulfill the statutory requirements in the first hour of your class, then allow people to remain for an additional 2-3 hours for an additional fee to cover supplementary material and go into greater depth, how many takers would have have? Some, I would think, maybe over half. I realize that's not your approach, which is fine, but it's still an interesting question.
I dunno. I think I'd be foolish, in a lot of ways, to try to cut corners, but I don't mind if others do.
Quote:

But rather than icanhazgunpermit.com, I'd prefer to promote this sort of approach as a short, high-density course that doesn't insult the students' intelligence.
Cool. I'll grab the Possibly Tolerable Self Defense (PTSD) domains for whoever ends up doing this
Quote:
Whether I care about this enough to follow through and actually teach, I can't say, though I certainly care enough about it to serve as a cheerleader for those who do.
Cool. Maybe somebody will put your team together, and then you can start cheerleading. Anybody?

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 5:56 pm 
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I think that there is a place in the market for a class that covers just the legally required material. And I think it could be done by a competent, conscientious qualified instructor without allot of expensive training aids.
There are allot of folks out there who have been hunting and shooting for many years and don't need extensive class time devoted to safe gun handling, loading. unloading and the like ( I'm NOT saying eliminate it from the class I'm with and experienced group it could be covered fairly quickly. Then spend the time explaining the law and legalities of carrying/
self defense(Minnesota only) which is really the part that people with firearms experience getting a permit need to learn and understand. They know how to shoot.

I have even considered getting the necessary certs and pursuing putting on that type of class.

I'm sure the experienced instructors on this board will have something to say about this approach and I'd like to hear it because as I said I have been thinking about doing this sort of thing.

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 6:01 pm 
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I say, "go for it."

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 7:44 pm 
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parap1445 wrote:
I think that there is a place in the market for a class that covers just the legally required material. And I think it could be done by a competent, conscientious qualified instructor without allot of expensive training aids.


So you think that it's pedagogically sound to compress class time and decrease the number of learning modalities? Skip the laptop and projector, forget the hands-on demos, skip the blue gun? Turn it in to a plain lecture class?

Go for it. I think you'll find that it takes ""allot" more time and effort than you think to prepare such a class, and that students will absorb and retain "allot" less of what little you do teach.

For funsies, why not start here by mapping out what you consider to be "just the legally required material"?

Quote:
There are allot of folks out there who have been hunting and shooting for many years and don't need extensive class time devoted to safe gun handling, loading. unloading and the like ( I'm NOT saying eliminate it from the class I'm with and experienced group it could be covered fairly quickly. Then spend the time explaining the law and legalities of carrying/
self defense(Minnesota only) which is really the part that people with firearms experience getting a permit need to learn and understand. They know how to shoot.


One problem with that is that these "experienced" shooters would be self-identifying. The reality, it turns out, is that students of mine who have been shooting for 40 years tend to be the biggest problems at the range, with horrible muzzle control and trigger discipline, with mediocre-or-worse marksmanship and a striking inability to follow simple range rules.

Nope, give me a newb with zero experience, and I'll turn her into a safe, competent shooter way faster than I can unteach a lifetime of bad habits.

Quote:
I have even considered getting the necessary certs and pursuing putting on that type of class.


So what are you waiting for? There must be a huge market of people tired of wasting a whole six hours once every five years on instruction that may keep them out of prison.

Quote:
I'm sure the experienced instructors on this board will have something to say about this approach and I'd like to hear it because as I said I have been thinking about doing this sort of thing.


Go for it. It's an intriguing idea, and it would be enlightening to see how you deal with the issues inherent in such a venture.

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 8:46 pm 
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Actually the class I took was basically a plain lecture class. No projector, no PowerPoint, some hands on, some handouts. I felt that the information was covered thoroughly and (I can only speak for myself) was explained and followed with Q&A so that the student left with a good understanding of the law. Also, like MostlyHarmless said, it was a Minnesota specific class - no Florida, no Utah. If someone desires multiple permits then buy all means they should take one of the classes out there that offer multi-state cert. There are I believe many people who are only interested in a Minnesota permit and don't want or need to spend the extra time and money learning, say Florida laws.

I also have access to a location where I have a suitable classroom setting and can set up a "range" right outside the door for quals and it would cost me around $75 bucks per class, thus cutting some of the costs of putting on a class. It is private property and I don't know what the insurance requirements are in such a situation.

This is an idea that I have. And I will grant you an idea still in it's infancy. I do realize that there is much work to do to make it a reality and it may not even be possible (in reality) to do. The first thing I would have to do is spend several hundred $ in getting instructor certs and one reality is that I'm not able to do that at this time.

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 9:25 pm 
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I suspect most readers here would agree that a 12 hour class is possible, but likely overkill for most people; likewise a 1 hour class would seem nearly impossible to meet all requirements.

So where does that leave us? If 1 is not sufficient and 12 is overkill, is the "correct answer" 5-6-7 hours? 3-4-5? 6-7-8?

Well the answer is obvious..."It depends!" Let me wear my ego filled hat. I believe in my heart of hearts that I am generally organized, generally clear, and have a good command of the topic and how to put it together without wasting lots of time. I think, for me, it would be possible to do the complete class...and range....in 5 hours, +/-. Does that make the normal 6 hour class that Instructor "A" gives a 20% better class? If their class is 8 hours. is that a 60% better class? Not in my book.

I do a PDGJ in my opinion, heck even a PFDGJ. Could I do more on some topics? Perhaps. Could I do less time on some...I suppose. The advantage I have is that I have been a teacher in some manner for nearly 40 years, and an attorney for some 30 years. I have no problems putting together a coherent, fluid class presentation that is both informative and interesting. At least that is what I am told (and, my ego lets me believe).

I have modest handouts....generally do not use Power Point. (It is not that I am against the concept of Power Point...it is just that I have seen way too many and taken far too many classes as a continuing ed person where PP was nothing but a crutch and total waste of time. I have also seen some good ones. I may decide to add more of that in the future, but for my class I don't see where it becomes a better class. I could be convinced otherwise I suppose.)

Could I do a class in one hour (plus range)....I don't think it is physically possible and do even a half-assed job. Maybe an 1/8 assed job. Now, I have done 2.5 hour classes. I have had a few renewals that took their original class from me. There are some potential time savers. In those classes we start with my "test"...and do it first. The results of the test then lead me to focus on additional issues. This can be done if (a) the class is very small and (b) they took the original class from me. (Heck, I am no different than most instructors here...I think my class is best! I want to be sure that the material that I feel is utmost is covered, and if they took a class elsewhere that may not be the case.)

It is also clear that I have been pilloried by a few folks on this board for my range requirement. I do not have a course of fire that is a mandated pass/fail. I use the standard "Can the applicant safely load, discharge and control their firearm with reasonable self-defense accuracy." In some respects this is like porn...I can tell it when I see it. I don't have to see 50-75 rounds from experienced shooters...it is not necessary.

Have I "passed" everyone? No. I have had some that need "remediation" ...and at times that occurs at the class, at other times it is done later. I have had five people that I have refunded their class fee and suggested they go elsewhere because I did not feel that our personalities and expectations meshed.

Could a person "make ammo money" charging $20-$30...possibly. If done in reasonable bulk. But...and this is my own doing...I was not forced to do this. .. My best guess is that my materials that I hand out cost me out-of-pocket about $5/person. I make the two main books available and tell people that (a) they are good and (b) how to order them. I can thus save maybe $15-$20. I bring targets to the class; that costs. I had several hundred dollars in legal out-of-pocket fees to get approved and insured; and, "my thing" at my home classes is to have a veritible plethora of handguns to examine and try...about 60. Does that make me better or worse? No, it just differentiates me from other instructors.

Also, I make it known up front that my permit class is NOT a tactical ninja class or a class in creating marksmen. I believe my primary obligation to my class participants is to (a) cover the required elements in an efficient and professional and coherent method; and to (b) use my legal background and experience to discuss use of force, police interaction, aftermath etc. in a meaningful manner.

I do many many classes ProBono. (As do many other instructors)...the point being that this is not a game where you can necessarily make ammo money by charging a low fee with high volume takers. BUt...here is an offer. On Monday, May 25th (Memorial Day Monday)...anyone willing to drive to NW MN I will do thier initial and/or renewal class for $-0-.

Instead, the fee that day is one 100 round value pack of 9mm :)

There is no good answer. Interesting comments though.

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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 7:08 am 
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MostlyHarmless wrote:
I believe there's a middle ground. Especially with some assigned reading prior to the class, I think that the necessary material could be covered in about an hour, plus range time.

Back when I taught carry classes, I had one class that ended up with just one student. That student was a 4-H firearms safety instructor.

After a bit of discussion, we skipped through most of the firearms safety aspects of the course, and focused on legal issues. We finished quite early, but I never felt as if I had short-changed him, or let my standards slip.


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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 7:25 am 
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MostlyHarmless wrote:
Especially with some assigned reading prior to the class,

That would pre cover a lot of basic information and bring questions to class on things that are not understood, that would be all good.

I do not live in a perfect world, so how this be contolled or determined if the assigned reading was done?

Maybe a written test based on the material in the book?


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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 7:51 am 
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cobb wrote:
MostlyHarmless wrote:
Especially with some assigned reading prior to the class,
I do not live in a perfect world, so how this be contolled or determined if the assigned reading was done?

After being through college, Im not sold on the fact that you can trust people to pre-read. There would have to be a test of some sort... but in the 40+ mins that would take (administering, grading, teaching the correct answers), you're maybe better off talking about it the first time.

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