Self Defense

Preparing for the Rangemaster Advanced Instructor Course

It’s time to switch into qualification preparation mode as the scheduled date for the Rangemaster Advanced Instructor course I will be attending approaches. It won’t be a walk in the park, but I expect it will be worth the effort.

As some of y’all know, I became a Rangemaster Certified Firearms Instructor this past August. This was a goal that I set to achieve in 2022 and it was a goal that would have been much more difficult to achieve without the help from folks like Karl Rehn, John Daub, and Levi Nathan. It would certainly not have happened without taking the time to prepare for the qualification courses. Given the value I saw in the initial certification, I decided I wanted to earn both the Advanced and Master level certifications in 2023. As a result, I did what any other overachieving knucklehead would do and signed up for both courses which will be happening before summer time. In fact, the Rangemaster Advanced Instructor Course is about four weeks away and that means it’s time to buckle down and make sure I’m ready for it.

The thing is I’ve been having some difficulty coming up with an approach for the preparation. The details on qualification are a bit nebulous. What I mean by that is I have only been able to find limited details on them and the details I have been able to find are mostly dated. From what I’ve gathered, I understand that the class will be more difficult and more demanding on shooting skills. I also understand there are at least two courses of fire that will be scored and will count towards earning the certification. Furthermore there is plenty of new material that will be added in the classroom, but there doesn’t seem to be a written test component this time around. 

An additional compounding factor that has made it even more difficult to come up with an approach has been the number of “you’ll be fine” comments from the folks I’ve polled regarding the class. While these types of comments boost my confidence, I have to wonder if that confidence is really over confidence and perhaps my approach may not be sufficient. 

Nevertheless, there is no such thing as being over prepared. So I’ve taken what I do know combined it with my prior experience of taking courses and achieving goals and layed out a plan that I will be executing from now until it’s time to put up or shut up. Here is what I have.

First things first. While I want to earn this certification, my primary focus is to become a better instructor and deepen my knowledge of defensive firearm usage. With that in mind, I will be re-reading the student manual I received from the initial Rangemaster instructor development course as many times as I can before the class. I might supplement this with one or two other books in the suggested reading list such as Straight Talk on Armed Defense which is already sitting in my bookshelf and queued up on my reading list.

I’m planning on using the same gear I used in the initial instructor course. That’s the VP9 with the RMR in the Incog Eclipse holster. This is my everyday carry gear. It’s also the gear I am most familiar with and it’s served me well when doing coursework. In fact, it’s the same gear I earned a light pin with from Gabe White’s class this past October. I will make sure the gun is clean and the optic is zeroed at 25 yards with the ammo I will be using in class. Furthermore, I will be running this gun and holster combination exclusively in matches, live fire practice sessions, and dry fire practice sessions to make sure I’m as dialed in as possible with this set up when class starts. 

In terms of back up gear, I’ll most likely bring the P365 XL along with an Incog Eclipse holster for it. It’s not ideal as it is a very different gun and one that I am much less familiar with. I had planned on acquiring a second VP9 prior to the class, but that hasn’t worked out yet. It could still change, but it’s unlikely. I don’t expect I will need to use a back up, but as they say, “hope for the best, but plan for the worst”. 

With software and hardware plans accounted for, all that’s left is sharpening the shooting skills. Based on the tips I received from the Rangemaster Instructors Facebook group, live fire practice sessions will be made up of mostly 25 yard work on B-8 targets intermingled with a smattering of the Rangemaster Bullseye course of fire. I’ll rely on the local IDPA and USPSA matches for practicing transitions and fast accurate hits on targets at closer distances. 

Dry fire sessions will consist of a balanced diet draw to fist shot drills, compressed surprise break drills with two hands, strong hand only, and support hand only, and slow smooth trigger work also with two hands, strong hand only, and support hand only. I’ll be making heavy use of the Mantis X to measure both time and shot quality during dry fire practice.

That’s the plan, but it’s not set in stone. I will make adjustments as the month progresses and take into account other suggestions and tips provided by other instructors who have earned their Rangemaster Advanced Instructor certification. 

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