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  • Rowan

What do I need for my first pistol class?

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

For any of our pistol classes you will need a few essential pieces of gear. Visit our pistol class essentials page for a complete selection of gear along with reviews and pricing.


The first is a quality semi-automatic handgun. Your gun should be safe, reliable and you should be familiar with how it operates. Guns with iron sights or red dot sights are fine, however if you are using a red dot, please make sure to practice with it before the class. Using a red dot has a learning curve and you don't want to be trying to learn all the fundamentals while also learning how to shoot with a red dot. We will be offering classes focused on red dot fundamentals in the future.

Most instructors mandate the use of centerfire pistols however with ammo prices the way they are I understand the desire to save money while training. If you have a QUALITY and RELIABLE .22 pistol you may use it during the class. .22 guns can be picky when it comes to ammo so please make sure you bring ammo which will cycle reliably.


You will need a minimum of three magazines, two on pouches on your belt and one in the gun. It is advised to bring additional magazines in case one fails and to save time in loading ammo.

Magazine pouches

You will need two belt mounted magazine pouches. The pouches should be securely fastened to your belt and have enough retention to hold your magazines in place. There are many pouches out there that will work, from Kydex to nylon to leather and with all sorts of different mounting options.


For our tactical series of courses you will need a quality outside the waistband holster. Your holster should be securely mounted to a belt and cover the trigger guard of your gun. Please make sure your holster is compatible with your firearm before the class.


You will need a quality belt to attach everything to. My preferred style of gun belts uses a Velcro inner belt that goes through your pant loops and an outer belt that attaches to the inner belt. This gives you a stable platform for your holster and pouches and doesn't ride up your body during movement. There are many different styles and options out there, at the end of the day just make sure the belt stays put, you can mount things to it securely and it is comfortable. Check out our pistol class essentials page for some of my favorites.

Eye Protection

Quality eye protection is required whether it be shooting glasses or impact rated sunglasses. Please do not wear glasses that are not designed to protect your eyes. Not only do you not want to risk breaking a fancy pair of glasses, you really don't want glass lenses shattering upon an impact.

Ear Protection

Guns are loud and once you lose a portion of your hearing you never get it back. I suggest using active hearing protection instead of basic ear plugs as it allows you to more easily hear instruction and ambient noises. Our gear page has a great option in the $30-$50 range. For those who have sensitive hearing you can double up your hearing protection with ear plugs underneath your headphones.


The required round count for each class will be listed in the class description. Bring quality ammo and please avoid bringing handloaded or remanufactured ammo. Standard FMJ or hollow point range ammo is fine. Do not bring any armor piercing, tracer or incendiary ammo as it is prohibited at the range.


I provide water and snacks however it is not a bad idea to bring your own. Wear comfortable shoes and weather appropriate clothing which will not restrict your movement or impede the use of your equipment. You can wear gloves if you prefer and for more advanced tactical courses you may want to bring knee pads.

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