Concealed Carry & Home Defense

10 Tactical gun training tips for beginners

Guns and Gear Contributor
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By Amelia Foxwell, Z7 Tactical

What does dynamic tactical combat scenario based training mean to you? How about CQB combat pistol training? If you have some vague idea involving a man wearing a black 511 polo shirt and khaki pants with his arms crossed who does lightning fast mag changes, you are not alone. If you are confused about what kind of training is right for you, or you are intimidated by the training industry as a whole, you are also not alone.

Training has come to have its own language where tacticool means you are not cool and acronyms are SOP. Sometime after hitting YouTube, tactical training got an ego and became less than warm and welcoming. For newbies to firearms training this can not only be confusing and intimidating, but it can derail their quest for personal empowerment.

So what does someone do after they purchase a firearm they have no idea how to use? Many have friends who teach them the “tactical ropes.” Still more take the box home and put it on a shelf to gather dust. Some take a lesson from a local guy. A few brave the ominous world of tactical training.

This article is for the few and encourages the rest to join the few.

The simple thing to remember is that training is just about learning concepts and developing muscle memory. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably trying to legitimize why their courses are so expensive. Good instructors make everything very simple, because it is very simple. The finest tactical training is developed to help you function under stress while our bodies are dumping adrenaline and our brains turn to sludge. Simplicity and focus on what works for you is what you need. What you do not need is someone who is militant about whether you shoot with an Isosceles or Weaver stance. 

Here are some suggestions to find the right training for you:

1) If you read the course description and you have no idea what any of it means, you probably will not after the course either.

2) If it’s just too much money, then it’s just too much money, please do not mortgage the farm to learn to defend it.

3) Ask questions. Great trainers will appreciate questions and they will help you know what to expect.

4) Look for testimonials. If you can relate to the students who benefited from the course then you have a better chance of doing the same.

5) Remember you are paying trainers to provide you with tools to empower yourself. You are your own best teacher. Listen to yourself. Ultimately you are the one who decides exactly what you will get out of each training session or course you attend. 

6) Look for holistic approaches to courses that give you a broad base from which to learn. If you go to highly specialized training events remember these are equipping you to react in specific ways to specific circumstances. The average defense student needs to develop a solid base set of skills before they specialize.

7) Scenario based training is how we connect the dots between putting holes in a piece of paper and tactics for dealing with real life crisis situations. It is invaluable.

8) You are doing this to preserve life, while you are at it you should be enjoying the life you are working on preserving. Good instructors negate the stress and strain of this type of training by having fun in their courses. Yes this is serious business but it doesn’t mean everyone has to wear sunglasses and a frown the whole time. You are not in the military, the goal is not to break you, the goal is to build a more confident and capable you.

9) If the instructor makes you nervous before the course even starts it will only be worse during the course. Nervous people make more mistakes and learn less. Your instructor should exude so much honest confidence that it makes you feel safe and relaxed.

10) Defense training is not ever something we master. It is something we continually practice. This is a life long journey and your only job is to relax, focus, learn and enjoy the ride! 


Amelia Foxwell is a women’s self defense instructor as well as the Course Coordinator and a founder of Z7 Tactical. Ms. Foxwell is a Masters student and a mother who travels extensively both within CONUS and OCONUS hosting training and developing relationships with instructors and students.