by John Boch
I’ve been an instructor for sixteen years now and I still remember the very first class I taught in Springfield, IL along with John Naese and a third brand-new instructor.  It was exciting, but not so much in a good way.

A lot has changed in that time and I’ve learned much and seen a lot over the years.

Back then, the NRA’s then-Personal Protection course materials were barely adequate, to be quite charitable.  Today’s NRA Personal Protection in the Home course materials are vastly better, as are the supporting instructional materials.

However, one newer group did it right the first time.

The United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) is more than an organization for those who pack heat every day.  They offer “insurance” packages, online training for members and a fabulous bi-monthly Concealed Carry Magazine.

The USCCA also has its own nationally-recognized USCCA Certified Instructor program.  The people who put the USCCA training program together did a nice job formulating their courses chock full of relevant information and tactics.  They also worked with some talented graphic design people to develop some visually appealing and top-notch written material.  The instructional aids and student materials are very well done and are filled with good information.

The Instructor Toolkit

The USCCA has an affiliate instructor program you can buy into with their Instructor Toolkit.  It’s $277 and contains ten copies of Concealed Carry and Home Defense Fundamentals by Michael Martin (outstanding and then some), ten copies of a recent issue of Concealed Carry Magazine (very good), a USCCA Instructor polo and cap, along with a poster, and a pretty decent power point presentation – and I’m not a fan of power points.

Frankly, I wish the NRA had equipped me so well when I was first starting out as an instructor.

Yes, the NRA has support materials today that are roughly equivalent to the USCCA materials.  However, if you’re genuinely looking to improve the product you provide to your students, and you’re teaching more than a handful of people each year, I’d give strong consideration to picking up one of these Instructor Toolkits and becoming a USCCA affiliated instructor.

You will learn some new techniques and new information to share with your charges.  You’ll be a better instructor.  Here’s one added bonus:  As an affiliate instructor, you can order the USCCA magazine as a supplemental or bonus item to stuff into your course packets for a little over a buck a copy.  If you really want to provide a premium to students (or perhaps as door prizes), affiliate instructors can also order the Concealed Carry and Home Defense Fundamentals book for about $15 a copy.  Or you can sell them and make a few extra bucks.

Speaking of making a few bucks, the USCCA has a referral program where you get some money back for folks who subscribe to the magazine or sign up for insurance packages based upon your referral.  Those insurance packages run from $147 to $347 per year, depending on coverage levels.

Fair disclosure:  The USCCA sent me a Toolkit to evaluate and signed me up as an affiliate instructor so I could order the magazines for students in our IL concealed carry classes.  I was ready to buy it anyway based upon the recommendation of a USCCA Instructor who was at our Instructor Development course earlier this year.  I have since bought a subscription of my own to Concealed Carry Magazine.

If you are an instructor – new or experienced – and you’re looking to improve the overall product you provide to your students, the USCCA affiliate instructor program will give you some great tools to accomplish that goal.

After all, equipping people with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to defend innocent life using guns is why you’re teaching, is it not?