Great responses to my request for advice on a new/first pistol in another thread. The decision is just about made, and pistol should be on order this weekend.
Next is training. As I said in the other thread, I've shot in the past (28 years ago), and fairly well. I'm looking for training options. I'd rather start now and NOT build bad habits that will be tough to break.
I kind of see 2 separate but probably mutually supportive options.
1) Find a good instructor, and get a lot of lessons with plenty of practice. I look at it this way, a $500 gun and $1,000 in training is much more effective than a $1,500 gun.
I've been talking to a few instructors and have been impressed by the talk so far. Proof is in the pudding though.
2) Join an IDPA or USPSA club and start shooting competitively.
My goal is just to be a good as I can be and to be ready to react in the event of me ever (pretty unlikely) needing to actually use the CCW for real. Being a great shot does not automatically transfer to how people will react when the time comes. I've been in stress situations before. (Stopped an armed robbery, and stopped an attempted hijacking of my airplane. First one was some knuckle head that tried to rob a clothing store in Dallas. Pin head wasn't expecting to run into someone who was a brown belt in Judo and high school wrestler hehehe, second one was a drugged out Army private just off the DMZ in Korea and claimed to have a live hand grenade. I ended up testifying FOR the idiot at his court martial. His lawyer figured cop to a drug charge was way way less of an offence than honestly trying to hijack a C-5) Anyway, I already know how I react in a stress situation, so that isn't a concern.
Any and all thoughts and advice greatly appreciated.
If anyone knows of good options in So Cal (San Diego/Riverside counties) that would be awesome.
Taking a class with an experienced instructor is a great idea, taking group classes is great as well. Some feel more comfortable in a group setting and learn better... others find 1 on 1 to be better. Just research instructors backgrounds or accolades and choose one you think is a good fit for you. Most company's offer CCW street survival classes (more physical) and fundamental type classes (easier pace). Most group classes run $150-180 for an 8 hour class, plus ammo/range fees (if any)... not too bad. Can't recommend any in your are since I'm in Michigan.
Joining a shooting club is another good idea, most are very welcoming to new shooters and you can learn a lot from knowledgeable people... but some may give poor advise or think they are more knowledgeable than they really are... this goes for professional instructors too.
Take some time and do your research on instructors and shooting clubs in your area... don't be afraid to drive a little further for an instructor with a stellar reputation and satisfied students... it'll be worth the drive in the long run.
I've talked to every gun shop in the area. Almost everyone of them have a favorite trainer. Not one of them have recommended the same one. Doing a bunch of research on Yelp. That hasn't been a lot of help, just not enough reviews there yet.
Most of the guys and gals that are instructing have a military background, though not all in fire arms. I know that unless you're in a combat arm, even the military has pretty slim fire arms training. Just has to do with lack of budget.
What I've decided, is to go with 2 different instructors. One is a retired 25 year Marine who was a fire arms instructor, and the second was an Army Ranger out of Ft. Lewis. Both carry a long time affiliation with the NRA. The Marine teaches the NRA basic pistol classes and follows the NRA program very tightly. I will get through the basics with him, and then supplement with some work with the Ranger. It turns out the Ranger and I were in Grenada at the same time and will have some war stories to trade.
Finally, CA requires CCW course permit. All of the gun shops agree, the best of the authorized companies that provide that happens to be in my home town. They are booked 3 months out and I don't want to wait for a class with them, so I'll do that once I'm closer to the CCW interview appointment (16 months from now, grrr).