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The goal of all SMFTS classes is to instill in the students the necessary knowledge, skill and attitude for them to handle handguns safely, responsibly and effectively but safety is the primary consideration in all firearms training.  It will be the first thing that we teach and it will be stressed at all stages of training both in the classroom and on the range. 

No live ammunition is permitted in the classroom or for that matter, for basic courses on the range until it is issued to the student by the instructor.

NRA self-defense courses students will receive a student packet before the start of instruction that includes an NRA manual covering the material to be taught, and  and other useful material related to the class.  A certificate of completion will be presented to those who meet the course standards.

SMFTS courses students will receive a printed version of the PowerPoint slides before the start of instruction.  We do this to eliminate the need for the students to take detailed notes.  A certificate of completion will be presented to those who pass the written test and meet the qualification standards.

We urge students to bring a pen or pencil and notebook.

The basic pistol student should bring a baseball cap, a shirt that fits so as not to invite the entry of hot brass, and hearing protection and eye protection if he has them (we have a limited number of safety glasses and electronic Ear Defenders which makes communication easier on the range).  For all courses beyond the basic ones, students must provide their own hearing and eye protection.

Our classes rely on Total Participant Involvement wherever possible because involved students are receptive students. 

As with most types of training, students are going to have to acquire basic knowledge about handguns.  We will accomplish that using a minimal amount of lecture, relying on guided group discussion where possible. 

Developing skills with the handgun will be accomplished via hands on practice.  Everything the student is required to do will be explained and demonstrated before hands on practice begins.  Skills start at a very basic level and build towards more challenging skills.  Each student will master each skill before proceeding to the next level.  We advance through the learning objectives at the speed of the slowest student.  As a result, it takes longer to complete some classes than it does others.

All skills required for live fire on the range will be practiced in the classroom
by dry firing (without live ammunition) before going to the range.

We offer the use of our pistols for students in the Basics of Pistol Shooting Course and the SMFTS Basic Pistol Course.  The reason for this is that the pistols that we provide for these courses are either .22 rimfire pistols or are centerfire pistols fitted with .22 rimfire conversion kits.  The recoil and report of .22 rimfire ammunition is considerably less than it is for centerfire ammunition.  Reduced recoil and noise eases the learning process for many beginning shooters.  If you use our .22 rimfire pistol we supply the ammunition at no charge.  If you opt to use one of our centerfire handguns or your own handgun you will be responsible for purchasing the ammunition.

In all cases when students opt to use their own handguns in the class they are asked to bring  the firearm manual with them and will be responsible for providing their own professionally manufactured ammunition.  No hand loaded ammunition is allowed.  If students do being their own handgun to class the first thing they must do on arrival is to have the instructor verify that the gun is unloaded and secure the ammunition away from the classroom.

NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Courses and the SMFTS Basic Pistol Course students who use our .22 rimfire pistols during training may transition to a centerfire handgun at the completion of the scheduled live fire lesson.  They may use their own personal firearm or one of ours and there will be no charge for the instructor's time or the use of our handgunAmmunition and range expenses for this transition shooting are the responsibility of the student.

Students who attend self-defense courses  must bring with them, eye and ear protection, baseball cap, their own pistol with at least three operable magazines or two speedloaders and magazine/speedloader pouch, ammunition, a good gun belt and a strong side hip holster that retains its shape when it is empty.  All classes except for the basic courses will involve a lot of repetitive gun handling drills both dry fire and live fire.  It might be a good idea to bring a light utility glove or shooting glove at least for the weak hand and a set of knee pads.

Pistols used in self-defense courses need to fit the shooter's hand(s).   With a firing grip your trigger finger needs to reach the trigger without contacting the pistol frame.  You should be able to reach and operate the magazine release with your strong side thumb without changing your strong hand gripMagazines that provide a means to get a good grip on the base of the magazine when it is locked in the pistol are better than those whose base fits flat against the bottom of the magazine well.

Students are responsible for range fees for all of the basic pistol and rifle courses.  Range fees are paid  for all self-defense courses GCO.  Typically range fees for basic classes are between $12 and $20.  Students who need additional live fire on days other than those scheduled, are responsible for the additional range fees.