Howdy everyone, this is my first post on here and I was looking for some insight. Are any of you firearms instructors or know of anyone who is one as a career? I did some serious thinking about where my life is heading last night and I was trying to think of something I could honestly do the rest of my life and love going to work everyday. My father instilled a great respect and love for firearms at a very young age and I'd like to continue that passion. So what careers involve firearms, and specifically what is the exact route to becoming a firearms instructor as a career?
Do you have any idea how much the annual salary is? I'm still in college but I'd like to know the steps to pursue this career. I have been looking at an NRA instructor course but I'll wait until this summer when I turn 21 and can apply for my handgun permit, living in NY it can be kind of a hassle. Really the only gun ranges around where I live are fish and game clubs which are usually run by volunteers.
In my experience, the last word of your comment describes every instructor i know. Most make their money buying and selling guns... not teaching.
I admire that you have an interest and feel you found something that you would like to pursue. A lot will have to do on where you are and your target demographic. I don't want to come off as a dick....but if you are under 21 and don't have a substantial amount of time behind a gun I would not pay you for your time. But I have a fair amount of gun time. If you are in an area that has less people with gun knowledge then you could probably charge more. It is a niche market with very stiff competition and I would look at it as a part time or volunteer job until you get well known, more experience, and a better location.
I've grown up around guns my entire life, muzzleloaders, shotguns, rifles, and just recently I've had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of handguns thanks to my older brother receiving his handgun permit. I plan on learning a bit more about them when I can get more hands on experience with them. Where I'm from shooting and hunting are more for necessity than sport, although I've shot my fair number of clays for fun. I'm not concerned about my knowledge of long guns, it will just be the handguns I'll need to know a bit more about. What would working for a range entail exactly?
Here in the Seattle/Tacoma area there are shooting ranges and you can get instruction. But a lot of people that are handgun instructors around here do it as a part-time gig. As Shane said you have to have a niche. Glock has their own instructors (but again they are usually part-time). I would love the opportunity to train with Kyle Lamb from Viking Tactics or go to Thunder Ranch and learn to shoot.
Outside of the military I have never seen anyone who makes a living as a firearms instructor.
There seem to be almost no salaried firearms instructor jobs so you would have to go into business for yourself not unlike a martial arts instructor. For the few salaried jobs you would be competing against retired marine drill sergeants, Army snipers with multiple combat tours, and other people whose resumes read like an action movie script. You would want to collect every firearms and gunsmithing credential that you could find.
Not many people are likely to pay for lessons. Once they buy a Glock and watch some movies you couldn't sell them a training DVD for dollar since they already feel they know everything.
I heard stories of a "gun-fu" school in Texas(?) The instructor was a state SASS champion and walked students through a "belt" system starting with muzzle loaders and single shot .22s through full autos and combat courses. When you break it down that way there is a LOT to teach about firearms like reloading, night shooting, customizing, etc..... Even though his students (including many Army officers) thought the world of him he could barely make ends meet.
Your words reflect much of what I would say. The key is that a fire arms instructor is like a driving instructor. Most people could benefit from one but don't think they need one. Most only get one because the law says you need to. I don't really see it as a career.
I do know of one who is career firearms instructor, but he is military. He also teaches civilians on weekends. Really that is just a side job.
From what I've seen, most firearms instructors fall into two categories.
1. NRA instructors who teach basic gun safety courses and courses required for concealed carry licenses.
2. Instructors who teach various tactical/combat courses or more advanced shooting skills.
You have no hope of breaking into the second market without some credentials that will give you credibility. As for the first, I think it would be very hard to make a living at it, especially in a state like New York. You might find it easier in another state. If you're determined, I suggest trying to get a job at a gun store or range (I've been to several that have lots of young guys on staff) to start. Increase your knowledge, learn some gunsmithing, get your NRA certification, maybe get your own FFL.
Alright, it seems to me that the whole idea as an independent career may not be feasible, especially in my area. I'll start small and maybe work in some big name retail store selling some guns while I wait for my handgun permit. Thank you to everyone who posted, this has helped immensely!
Well put and I don't have much of anything to add to this. Glock has a few different levels of armorers course and a Glock Instructor course. In my mind these would add to your professional credentials, but not enough to make it a full-time job. Gunsmithing would probably be your best bet, but again you have to look at where you are and judge the market.
I'm probably echoing everybody else, but in my experience, unless you're working someplace like Gunsight, or the FBI Academy, civilian firearms instruction is usually a "collateral duty". It's something that's part of the job, but definitely not the whole job, nor even most of the job.
What about owning and operating an indoor range? If there's a city near you, or you live in a city, there might not be a place for people to shoot. Once you get the building, insurance, etc there wouldn't be much overhead, and you could sell memberships. Half the members would never show up. You could collect spent shell casings either reload them or pay someone to do it for you.
Also, you could consider being a contract killer, or "Hit Man"