It's today in 2021, you're starting from ground zero...and go


Got a table top for you all:

You're starting from nothing, no guns, no training. Let's call it a 5 year plan, and here are the rules:
$2200 budget annually for all ammo, weapon systems, training. Funds can carry over but $11k for 5 years is the cap
Lets assume OE training costs $300 per day tuition, $150 per overnight.
Call pistol $600/1k, 5.56 $750/1k for ball, 308/6.5 $1250/1k for ball and $2000/1k for match
No cap on # of guns or training classes; disregard purchase of duty/defense ammo; disregard cost of belt/holster rig.
No OPA agency ammo or agency-funded training, you must account for all expenses
Current pricing structure, but I'll allow Glock Blue Label and coupon codes (like BTO where if you don't get at least 10 off, you ain't tryin')

Lay out your budget and training plan. Who are you using for training, when, and (most importantly) why are you using them as well.
This is interesting. I'm about 8 years into serious shooting, and I wish I had laid out a detailed plan when I began. The biggest mistake I'd correct if I could would be getting training sooner. I waited 3 years to take a basic pistol course and I definitely wasted a few thousand rounds of ammo with bad reps during that time. I could definitely compress my experiences into a 5 year plan, along with some good ole 20/20 hindsight as far as gear goes. I live 5 mins from a range that hosts training courses regularly, so travel & lodging are not concerns.

Year 1: $2,109
Buy a pistol that is big enough to learn fundamentals, well suited for concealed carry, and capable of being used in a home defense capacity. Also buy ammo and attend at least 1 training course. Plan to shoot all the ammo and supplement with lots of dry fire practice.

Glock 19.5 $559 at Brownells
Send the pistol to Agency Arms for an AOS + Holosun 507C bundle + Ameriglo Suppressor sights $550 (with 5% discount code)
1k 9mm: $600
Sage Dynamics 2 day defensive pistol/red dot course: $400

Year 2: $2,129
Purchase a solid, basic carbine, basic but solid light, and 1k ammo. Plan to shoot half the ammo (zero sights, learn bare bones basics) and save the rest. Will practice reloads and stoppage clearance at home, along with regular pistol dryfire practice.

SOLGW M4 Patrol Rifle 13.7" Midgas $1,269
--comes with FSB & rear MBUS
1k 5.56: $750
Surefire G2X Tactical $70
BCM 1" MLOK flashlight mount $40
500 rounds of 5.56 leftover

Year 3: $2,244
Upgrade some stuff, stock up on ammo. Plan to shoot half of the new ammo and save the rest.

1k 9mm $600
1k 5.56 $750
Trijicon MRO + Scalarworks LEAP mount $519
5x Magpul Gen M2 30 round PMAGS: ~$75
Surefire X300U $300
500 rounds of 9mm leftover
1k rounds of 5.56 leftover (500 year 3 + 500 from year 2)

Year 4: $1,901
Rifle Upgrades + Training Course. Also practice with remaining 9mm.

Blue Force Gear Vickers Sling + Magpul QD + Magpul QDM + Magpul QD sling attachment: $62 + 20 + 30 + 20 = $132
1k 5.56 $750
Basic Carbine Course: $600
Cloud Defensive REIN micro: $359 (they typically run a 15-20% off sale at least once per year but I'll list the full price)
3 Glock 19 magazines: ~$60

Year 5: $2,550
By the final year I'd have a solid EDC pistol and a solid HD carbine, plus a good grasp on fundamentals. I'd have a decent bit of extra money from the first 4 years, and I'd use it to buy ammo & a couple training courses. Preferably FoF, perhaps with a focus on vehicle and/or low light.

1k 9mm $600
1k 5.56 $750
2 day pistol course (vehicle defense): $600
2 day carbine course (low light/HD): $600

I'd end up with $67 to spare, plus somewhere around 1k 5.56 ball to practice with. Knowing prices fluctuate (and rarely for the benefit of the consumer) I probably wouldn't realistically have a budget surplus. I'm also the type to buy a G18 mag or D60 along the way... However, from the perspective of a thought exercise this would give me a well-rounded base of skills to build upon, I'd have a thorough understanding of my gear, and solid equipment that would hopefully last me a long time. I'd have 6 magazines apiece for the pistol and the carbine.

I chose Cowan for pistol training because I have personal experience taking his course, and 2 days with him improved my RDS pistol shooting tremendously. For the rest of the training I kept it vague because my local range hosts a variety of trainers, and there's no way to know who's going to be available in a given year. That said, I'd be looking for a "basics" course for carbine anyway (i.e. loading, reloading, moving, basic shooting positions, offsets/holds, etc.). There's a number of good instructors who pass through and could teach those skills.

Not factoring in holster/belt/defense ammo made this much easier than it would be in real life. Idk if it's "cheating" that I planned my training courses around the idea that I'd train locally, but it certainly helps cut down on costs. I actually discovered the range thanks to P&S! At any rate, the two times I traveled to Valor Ridge for training I camped in a national park that had hot showers. I'm young and I don't need a bed in order to get a good night's rest. I think it was like $26/night plus the cost of fuel. WELL below $150/night but not an insignificant cost either.
This is something I've been thinking about for a while, trying to put together an intro to shooting kit so to speak. A guide for a younger me that would have avoided some costly mistakes.

Year 1:
Starting from scratch I think getting a solid fundamentals in a structured environment, something like Appleseed fits the bill and you will walk away with a rifle you know how to use.

Fundamentals of Marksmanship:
- Ruger 10/22 $279
- Tech Sights for Ruger $59
- Ruger Sling Stud Swivels $16.95
- Magpul RLS sling $19.95
- 3k rounds CCI SV $300
- Appleseed $85
- 10/22 10 rd mag $25
Total: $784.90

Fundamentals of Pistol:

- GSSF Membership $60 for 2 years (Gets you a certificate for Blue Label Glocks)
- G19 Gen 5 $400 GT dist
- 1k rounds 9mm $600
- Glock Brilliance in Basics Course $250
- GSSF Match $30 x2 = $60
Total: $1370

Year 1 Total: $2154.90

Year 2:

The only way to reasonably train within the confines of the above budget is reloading, dry fire or .22 LR training. IMO Reloading nets the biggest long term benefit given incredibly high ammo prices.

- Dillon XL 750 Essentials kit $1059.90
- Misc reloading essentials $ 200
- Reloading supplies for 9mm based on current pricing $0.40 CPR ($0.20 cents per primer puts a dent on reloading)

Results in 2350 rounds of 9mm to train with for the year, should theoretically reduce future costs of ammo.

Year 3:
- 2k rounds of 9mm at .40 CPR $800 (Savings over above $400 in ammo costs)
- G44 $360 at GT dist
- 3k rounds CCI SV $300
- 2 day Glock Operator course $400 + $150 per diem

Total $2160

Year 4:

Switching over to rifle
- XL 750 Reloading Quick Change kit $320
- Aero Precision M4E1 16" Rifle $1059.99
- Magpul MBUS Pro $179.99
- Remainder reloading supplies for .223/5.56 at $0.60 CPR (~1000/ rounds)

Total $2158.99

Year 5:

- Appleseed Known Distance Event $75
- Eotech 512 $500
-1k 9mm reloaded $400
- 1k 5.56 reloaded $600
- 3k CCI SV $300
- GSSF Match x 2 $60
- Local rifle match x 3 $60
Total $2175

While coming in under budget slightly for every section it's very hard to come up with a reasonable training plan under what I initially considered a a more reasonable budget. I don't see current ammo prices as sustainable for training and if they do become normal I would expect training events to reduce round counts significantly to compensate. With the above ammo prices I think the cost of training to a minimum proficient level is a significant barrier to a majority of the population and unsustainable.

I'm still fairly junior in my experience and welcome any and all critiques of my above training/purchase regimen.