The Problem: You have saved your money to attend a mid-level, 3-day shooting class with a well-known instructor. He advertises that you will need to bring at least 3,000 rounds of ammunition for the class. At first, it is exciting to be able to shoot that much ammunition over a 3-day period. However, considering the most you have ever fired in a day previously was several hundred rounds, you have to wonder what you will learn and be able to take away from the class for future use. That, aside from a bucket full of spent brass, a dirty gun and sore hands.
Should you “bite the bullet,” make the investment and attend the class, or look for something oriented more toward learning new skills as opposed to shooting a lot of ammunition in a rapid series of drills where the theory is the more you shoot, the better you will get?
The Solution: The dilemma you mention is one that many students in the world of firearm training have to consider, added to all the options available to achieve a meaningful and satisfactory result.
A look at the course objectives, what you will know and will be able to do at the conclusion of the class as opposed to the round count, should be your primary focus—especially if you are interested in learning new skills—rather than just shooting copious amounts of ammunition.
While instructor’s name recognition and high-round count are enticing, the return on your investment should rank high in your decision to strive to receive meaningful training that adds valuable skills that are useful and also retainable.
If the basic fundamentals of marksmanship and firearm handling aren’t firmly ingrained prior to the class, it is unlikely that much will be gained by firing a lot of ammunition downrange. In fact, it is highly likely bad habits will be created and reinforced just in the effort to keep up with the flow of the class.
Take into consideration the time and effort it takes just to load the magazines required to support firing 1,000 rounds in a day. If you are using 10-round magazines, that equates to loading 100 magazines per day. Try loading that many magazines without a magazine-loading tool and see how your thumbs feel.
Another thing to think about is the condition of the gun you will be shooting. Will it shoot 1,000 rounds without stoppage or malfunction, especially if there is no time to perform maintenance, cleaning and lubrication? A backup gun of the same type and caliber would help to attenuate that concern if high-volume shooting is the order of the day.
Keeping in mind that the objective of shooting is hitting what you are shooting at, how long can you apply the fundamentals of marksmanship without losing mental focus while shooting such a large amount of ammunition?
Another important factor to keep in perspective is your physical conditioning. Can you maintain consistency in shot delivery from one shot to another in grip and trigger manipulation, much less body position and movement requirements in performing such a vast number of range exercises?
These considerations can be distilled to safety. Fatigue and complacency are good recipes for making mistakes in any of the actions being undertaken. If you are serious about your training for a specific purpose other than massive lead launching and you are intending to attend any training event, you should look past the “shiny objects” (high-round count) used to get your attention. Each person should be realistic in their capabilities and expectations before enrolling.
High-round count classes have their place, but only for a select few who can stay sharp and focused from start to finish and have the equipment that can support the shooter throughout—without fail.
Only with an honest evaluation of your needs and capabilities can you decide whether such training is for you.