Paul Carlson- Safety Solutions Academy- Critical Defensive Handgun Class
I took a defensive handgun class from Paul Carlson. Paul’s home base is in northern Ohio, and it was definitely worth the trip up from Louisiana. Paul treats his students like adults. “If I want you to act like adults then I need to set those expectations and treat you like an adult.” That is critically important. Good training means that students need to make mistakes. Great training proactively manages the mistakes and the attendant risk. I liked the course a lot.
Paul IS a firearms instructor. He thoughtfully combines best practice for instruction, with best practice for handgun self-defense. Before we argue about what is best practice, I want to talk about the tension that combination creates for most firearms instructors.
There are easy courses of instruction. Unfortunately, those easy courses can’t teach best practice. Some of the skills are demanding even with the best teaching technique.
There are ways to keep students amused, but that isn’t the way students learn the most. Paul teaches self-defense with a lethal weapon so you’re going to be under stress when you use those skills as intended.
Many professions face a tension between keeping customers entertained versus educated. Defensive handgun is a self-defense martial art so these new skills have to be available when the student is a startled victim. The defensive skills have to be accessible under stressful conditions.
That does not mean the class is grim. It isn’t It simply means the optimum stress isn’t always obvious.. which is why I am not a professional firearms instructor.. and Paul is.
These students wanted to learn and we worked. Paul combined a professional mix of inspiration and frustration in order to maximize what we learned. We each learned a lot. Paul built the course so each student could learn a great deal despite their widely different experience and abilities. That impressed me.
I came away from the course with a list of weaknesses and the drills to strengthen them. I could take the course again next year and I would learn something different as I uncovered new weaknesses. More on that later.
It is time and money well spent.
Images from Safety Solutions Academy and I didn’t bother to ask.