Defensive Firearms Training

Defensive Firearms Training

In our opinion, there are three distinct levels of firearms training:

  • Marksmanship Validation and Weapons Manipulation (also the building block for all other training)
  • Dynamic Movements and Tactics
  • Stress Inoculation

A professional must teach you these skills. target icon

Level 1 - Marksmanship Validation and Weapons Manipulation

Level 1 is the building block for all other training. To be truly proficient at Level 1, you must be "unconsciously" competent in weapons manipulations before you even consider moving on to Level 2. Being unconsciously competent means you do not have to think in order to react and perform the tasks – you can do it in the dark, on the run or anywhere without a thought.

These classes have a variety of different names, but the skills you need to accomplish remain the same. To move on from Level 1, you need to take several basic classes and practice until the movements are automatic. It’s not uncommon for people who really want to do it correctly to take five Level 1 classes before moving on to Level 2.

Some skills that should be a part of Level 1 training:

  • Hit your target

    Shot placement is no longer a hope but a reality. This is marksmanship validation.
  • Assess and self-correct

    The ability to self-correct on the fly means you realized why you missed the shot and correct the issue immediately.
  • Loading and reloading

    Operate all controls on your weapon without a thought.
  • Malfunction clearance

    Operate all controls on your weapon without a thought.
  • One handed operation with both your dominant hand and your reaction hand

    Operate all controls on your weapon without a thought.
  • Understand gear, holsters, slings etc., benefits and drawbacks and adjust accordingly

    Operate all controls on your weapon without a thought.
  • Drawstroke from retention (if applicable)

    Operate all controls on your weapon without a thought. target icon

Level 2 - Dynamic Movements and Tactics

Once you have mastered the basic operation of the weapon and validated your ability to shoot accurately, it’s time to move to tactics. This is the level everyone wants to begin with, but it’s crucial that you complete Level 1.

The goal is to understand why your movements and tactics are important and, when ready, work toward concealed carry weapons permitting. This level teaches real-world applications. Think tactically, and you maximize your survivability.

Some skills that should be covered as part of Level 2 training:

  • Difference between cover and concealment

  • Understanding of ballistics and bullet placement

  • Understanding of the effects of distance and angles

  • Room clearing and the use of lights at night or in low-light conditions

  • Understanding of vehicle dynamics and how to fight in and around a vehicle

  • Movement with a weapon and team tactics (if applicable) target icon

Level 3 - Stress Inoculation

Stress inoculation is best described in a famous quote by Mike Tyson, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."

Level 3 is where everything you learned in Levels 1 and 2 are put to use. This can be achieved by classes that focus on force-on-force training. You are placed in situations against another living, breathing opponent. The stress inoculation comes from a pain penalty delivered by at UTM or simulation round, which is basically a high-speed paint ball.

The more force-on-force training you do, the better equipped you are to think normally in a situation that is not normal and increase your survivability.

This is the final step in truly being trained. Everyone can be trained to shoot a bullseye at 15 yards, but it’s different when the target shoots back. Learn to move, think and win.

Some skills that should be covered as part of Level 3 training:

  • Continued application of tactics and dynamic movements learned in Level 2

    Combined with UTM/SIMMs in the use of tactics against another living, breathing opponent, acquired from multiple force-on-force training classes. target icon


Whether you use a pistol, a rifle or a shotgun, these levels apply to you. There are classes specifically designed for each weapon’s system, but the training timeline remains the same. Use this timeline as a general view regarding what to seek in your classes. Remember, this is a very general guideline and not all-inclusive.