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Practically Shooting

Round Counts in Training Classes


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For a long while now, it seems like a lot of people judge a class by the round count.  They will hear about a class coming up and the first thing they ask is “How many rounds do they call for?”  as if that is the most important factor.  


Let me be clear: This didn’t start with the ammo shortage.   I’ve been hearing it for a long time.  

I’ve also had this rant on my mind for a long time.  Current ammo cost and availability just gave me another reason to let loose.

The truth is, I’m actually talking about the other direction   Those who think the more rounds the better.


I don’t know where and how it got started, but they equate round count with the level of training.  Low round count?  Must be a beginner class.  A three day class that calls for 1500-2000 rounds?  That must be some real operator-level stuff there.   

The better classes I’ve had were very easy on the round count.  The best word might be “efficient “.  Every round fired had a purpose.  Every single round.  Some of the better ones might have used under 300 rounds total over three days.  A lot of people wouldn’t have even looked at such a class.  As a matter of fact, I’ve heard instructors say (in the past) they inflated their estimated round count just to keep from being overlooked.   

The most I’ve used in a single day was approximately 350 rounds, and both times I had to work at it.   The first was a class where I used an HK P7 pistol.  They have a reputation for hearting up quick so they are “unusable”, and I was determined to break that myth.   I shot the max number of rounds each drill, and stepped into the line whenever there was an opening.

The other one was this past weekend.  It was also a one day class where I used around 350 rounds.   Again, it took some effort on my part to shoot that many. This class was pretty open regarding how many rounds you used per drill.  It was also heavy on movement, with some drills being a bit lengthy.  For example, line up, go one shooter at a time, start at one end of the line and walk across, shooting as you moved.  If you got five rounds off in that time, OK.  If you shot 20, OK.   Another big factor was there were only five of us, so we weren’t sharing time by splitting into two relays.  We were always up.

I was using a Sig P320 that takes 17-rd mags and 21-rd mags.  I emptied a 21-rd mag in more than one drill.   I didn’t need to do that, but I was both trying to get used to a somewhat new-to-me gun and just plain fooling around.   I could’ve used  150 rounds in the class without being miserly about it.  

So if you’ve been holding off on training because you don’t want to burn through a mountain of ammo you don’t have, that may not be necessary.  It might not even be possible.  Most trainers and facilities have backed way down on the rounds used in classes.  However, they haven’t been the best at getting that word out.  Their websites and class postings may still show the original (and probably inflated) round count, so don’t let that scare you off.   Even if they don’t say it, it’s understood that ammo is tight.   Every class I’ve taken in the past couple of years began with such a statement to let you know it’s ok to be easy on the trigger.  

As to why some people think a class has to be judged by how many cases of ammo you burn up?  I have no answer.


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More is better, don't you know?

I would hope people would look at instructor reviews, qualifications, experience.  Course material reviews and facility reviews would also give a view into the "is this a good way to spend my hard earned money?" question.  I suspect round count has become a marketing method more than it is a determination of quality.  

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