Tips for being a good student


This topic came up in tonights open mic. What tips do you have for being a good student who is prepared for class and doesnt hinder fellow students or instructors.

Maybe we could compile a handout list of ideas.

A few topics such as showing up on time/early, having multiple guns for if your gun goes down, zeroe’d guns, loaded mags, food and hydration.


Staff member
Beyond the basics of what the class requires, bring the following for yourself:
-Hydration (bring 2x-3x what you think you need)
-Snacks (bring 2x-3x what you think you need)
-Protective gear (a spare set of shooting glasses and at least some ear plugs on top of the active ear pro you should bring)
-Clothing to include rain/snow gear depending on the location and season
-Medical gear (at the very least being a blow out kit)
-Tape (guerilla or duct)
-A tool/cleaning kit
-Spare parts or guns depending on what you have
-A notebook or tablet for taking notes
-MARK your mags! Don't waste everyone's time not knowing what shit is yours.

Far an above all the other stuff, come with an open mind. You're paying a bunch of money in time, equipment, ammo, travel to have the opportunity to learn. If you have your mind shut off when you show up you're wasting everyone's time.
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travis B

I didn’t get to listen to the cast but for a couple minutes. Not sure I have anything new to offer but... Zero your gun and preload your mags goes a long way in saving time. I never understood why people don’t keep their mags loaded anyways. Maybe one or 2 but when people show up day one with unloaded mags and they have to keep loading them throughout the day it slows things down. Then they show up and do the same shit day two.

Extra firearms and common parts are nice. Like an AR field repair kit. Last class I gave another student a spare extractor for his bolt as his broke and he didn’t have a spare rifle. Also some small tool kit with locktite as parts fall off others rifles because they didn’t use threadlocker.

Show up early and help set up the range. Staple targets, set up steel plates or barricades. Try to help others and talk to them. There are always guys on the line that have been to a lot of classes that you can talk to and give their experiences with different situations or drills and how they dealt with it or messed up and what they could have done better. Or if you’re the vet offer advice to the newer guys. Don’t cut off the instructor or contradict him. But while on a break discuss drills with the others.


I took the above comments as well as most of what I heard in the open mic along with my thoughts and wrote it up, check out below and let me know if you have any additions, things you find out of place or errors.

Tips to be Prepared for a Firearms Class and Be a Good Student


  • Show up on time
    • Show up early and help set up, prepare for class
  • Show up rested and ready to train
  • Have an open mind ready to learn
  • Prepare by reading After Action Reports (AAR) prior to attending
  • Contact the instructor ahead of time if you have questions or uncertainties
  • Attend classes which match your skill level
    • Signing up for a class above your skill level may take away from other students
    • Follow and respect any prerequisites for skill or classes
  • Bring a notebook and writing utensils to take notes and/or a computer or other electronic note taking
  • Thumb drives or other device to accept training material
  • Don’t undermine the instructor
  • Don’t be a hindrance to your fellow students or the instructor(s)

Health and Comfort:

  • Bring plenty of food and snacks
  • Bring plenty of liquids to properly hydrate
  • Proper clothing for the season, have clothing for inclement weather
  • Bring medical gear

Personal Protective Equipment:

  • Bring hearing protection
    • Electronic hearing protection works well for hearing commands and instruction
    • Have ear plugs for backup or doubling up
  • Bring eye protection with a backup
  • Bring bug spray and sun block
  • Have appropriate gear for class which is of good quality, known to you, tested and reliable
  • Spare batteries and/or chargers for all gear that needs a battery
  • Tools to fix gear or firearms
  • Don’t bring gear that isn’t relevant to the class
  • Don’t bring gear which is prohibited or specifically banned by the instructor


  • Have serviceable and reliable firearms
  • Bring spare firearms if possible
  • Bring spare parts to fix common failures
  • Properly maintain and lubricate firearms before arriving to class
  • Replace recoil springs and other regular replacement schedule items prior to class
  • Don’t bring firearms that you know malfunction
  • Confirm your zero or zero firearms prior to attending the class
  • Spare batteries for all optics and other attachments on firearms
  • Properly adjusted slings
  • Proper and reliable holsters


  • Have serviceable and reliable magazines
  • Have plenty of magazines to train
  • Mark your magazines so that you can easily and quickly find yours after drills
  • Preload your magazines with ammo prior to showing up for class


  • Bring proper amount of ammunition (have extra ammunition)
  • Reliable ammunition
  • Know the ammunition that is loaded in magazines
    • Some ranges may not allow certain ammunition


Does not pass up an opportunity to criticize P&S.
On the tablet idea, I used my phone to take notes during Jedi’s class. JW Ramp got an awesome class of him preaching to the class and it looks like i’m checking Facebook or something. I recommend the old fashioned way (if nothing else you won’t look like an ass).


Staff member
One note from recent training I have attended:

The training class isn't supposed to be a social event. I understand that its good to see old friends and make new ones, but save that for the lunch break or hanging out after class. Don't slow the class down because you are bullshitting while reloading between relays. I always strive to be the first guy back on the line ready to go - we all paid to be there to get trained, don't limit the amount of iterations because you want to sit in the shade and BS.

Also, pre load magazines. If necessary, contact the instructor beforehand and get details of how they run their round counts. I typically leave 5 mags unloaded for specific round counts and then load the rest of my magazines to capacity. This allows for rapid turn around time and minimal delays, which in turn results in more training. I might be quiet and focused, but you will never be sitting on the line waiting on me. Don't be that guy.



Regular Member
They’ve both been said, but deserve reiterating:

1. Be honest with yourself about your level of experience when choosing a class. I was in a Pannone class where another student had no business being there. He made it a lot more difficult until day two, when he didn’t come back. The class was only an intermediate course, but it seemed like he just couldn’t keep up mentally. I’m not sure he’d ever been to a class before. Personally, I knew that I probably didn’t have enough training and experience to stick to the accuracy standards, but would be fine on weapons handling and general range stuff. There needs to be a balance where you find classes that challenge you but not so far over your head that you hold others back.

2. Loading mags and social hour. When on break, take care of all your stuff first, then go talk if everything else is done.

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Ideally, you're there to grow by way of learning from those with more experience, witnessing new perspectives and cultivating new tools for personal training between formal class settings. That's the altruistic view.

- Don't get sucked into making it a dick-measuring contest...either with other students or worse, the instructor. As stated in a previous P&S podcast, the dudes burning it down in most OE classes are a "B" class shooter...possibly crossing into "A". If that's your bag, go work on becoming Master or GM. Worry about working with what you brought...both skill and gear wise.

- Don't be a kiss-ass. No matter what class I'm in be it open or closed course, there are always dudes trying to become the instructor's new BFF...and it's gross. If you've got pertinent questions that all can benefit from...ask em; otherwise, kiss ass on their instagram on your own time and don't hold things up. Likewise, if you are the host/AI/frequent student of a particular instructor; keep the bro-fest for the afterhours and don't hold up the class I (or my work) paid good money for. (Disclaimer: I was the honors student that didn't go to a single office hours and was left with limited references to show for it; meanwhile, the straight-C suck-up that went to every office hour could claim could claim that reference that I couldn' I'm probably completely wrong here.)

- I can't stress proper clothing enough. Instructors (at least decent ones) down-shift when the students fall off mentally. Students fall off when they are tired and/or uncomfortable. I've watched guys in OE classes (armor isn't required) fall out and become safety hazards because they were more concerned about looking cool or taking "train as you fight" in the wrong context than shedding their Crye pc for a few rotations. And I'm all for networking, smoking n joking afterhours, but if you can't pull your act together for the next day, don't be dragging everyone down with you.

I guess what I'm saying is that while you paid your money for the experience, so did the rest of us. If you compromise my training experience with selfish BS, know that I hate you. (rant off)

Ryan St.Jean

Regular Member
-Good attitude
- Willingness to learn/ try new things
- On time (a bit early)
- The stuff they tell you to bring
- Food and snacks

- Don’t bring bullshit untested reloads be they commercial or someone’s/ you’re.
It's been covered broadly under the "open mind" concept, but I'd amplify that: Air your disagreements with the principles of the class, versus your prior training, somewhere besides the class, while it's in progress. If you disagree with certain aspects of what's taught, that's cool. There's no "perfect way". Try it out for the duration of your training and keep it if it fits, or discard it if it doesn't. As stated before, "Don't be 'That Guy'", the one trying to tell the instructor, "But, (insert super-instructor name here) says you should do it his way!"

Ryan St.Jean

Regular Member
If there were 10 Commandments of Training, this would be in the top 3.

I’ve never gotten it but it’s definitelty a thing. Why someone would pay $500 for a class, $250 for lodging, $300 for gas and food but want to save $50 by using BS reloads instead of decent commercial ammo I can’t say. You wouldn’t put shitty old gas in a race car for the big race so why use BS reloads for a class?


It's been covered broadly under the "open mind" concept, but I'd amplify that: Air your disagreements with the principles of the class, versus your prior training, somewhere besides the class, while it's in progress. If you disagree with certain aspects of what's taught, that's cool. There's no "perfect way". Try it out for the duration of your training and keep it if it fits, or discard it if it doesn't. As stated before, "Don't be 'That Guy'", the one trying to tell the instructor, "But, (insert super-instructor name here) says you should do it his way!"

If you do it in a respectful manner and not with the purpose of showing up an instructor there’s no reason to not discuss different methods. A good instructor should be able to articulate his “whys” in front of the class. If you’re the shooter vest wearing, 40 cal sig running know-it-all just trying to sound intelligent, then ya, save it for later.

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Absolutely. Civilized, rational give-and-take that drills deeper into the reasoning behind what's taught and why, can actually enhance the learning experience. As you say, there is a line between that and someone just trying to show up.

"Shooter vest wearing, 40 cal sig running know-it-all"? Sounds like you have some specific examples in mind. ;)


On more than one occasion Ive had someone chatting my ear off while we're on the line, while the instructor was dishing out the knowledge.

Nice to meet ya, I'm sure you're a nice guy/gal but can we save this until break?

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Brad Trittipo

Regular Member
Don't just bring water, bring electrolyte tablets to add to the water. This will replenish the stuff you loose sweating and give the water taste making it easier to drink enough. Bring both a Camelbak and a jug to drink from. CamelBak is for on the line and jug is for breaks.

Bring a chair so you can set on something comfortable during breaks. Picnic tables and metal chairs suck.

Bring a canopy if you have one and the location allows it. I have been to numerous trainings where shad or a dry place to set was lacking making breaks miserable.

Bring quality lube and use it not only before class but during.

Don't only bring the IFAK,, bring bandaids and liquid skin. The minor cuts and abrasions can ruin your day too.

Wear your electronic ear pro backwards so the mics are facing the instructor instead of the berm.

Bring your lunch or get it to go and return to the training as soon as possible. I learned valuable information setting and listing during lunch.

Put your notepads in ziplock bags to protect them, a rain storm can ruin a whole weekend of notes quickly. I also write notes each night before bed to reinforce information and to remind me of questions to ask the next day.

Take pictures to supplement your notes.

Wear comfortable shoes that work for the environment. I use to wear duty boots to training, once I started wearing hiking boot instead my feet thanked me. I could move better and could stand longer with fewer issues,