How to Get Training on a Budget | Part 2 [2024]

training on a budget part 2

Earlier this year I went in-depth on ways to continue your training while maintaining a budget. It may be hard to believe, but I'm not perfect, and I forgot a few things. That's good news for you, as more options mean more savings. Here are a few more ways to get training on a budget.

Tuition Relief for Training on a Budget

Jeff Cooper Legacy Foundation Scholarship

The Jeff Cooper Legacy Foundation Scholarship is an incredible program. I first learned of it from our very own Captain America, David Cagle, back in 2022. We'll start with words directly from the Foundation's website.

The Jeff Cooper Legacy Foundation scholarship covers tuition costs for the 250 Defensive Pistol course at Gunsite Academy in Paulden, AZ. Applicants should note that they will be responsible for all costs other than tuition.

Jeff Cooper founded Gunsite in 1978 to be a school where the private citizen could learn the fundamentals of self-defense, and the safe and appropriate use of personal firearms. Since its inception in 2006, and in keeping with this spirit, the JCLF has awarded scholarships to a wide array of worthy applicants of all ages, from law enforcement to housewives, from pastors to high school students. Some of our recipients have been inspired to become firearms instructors themselves.

Both my wife and I applied with the Foundation in 2022, and both of us were awarded the scholarship. This allowed us to jump into the same 250 Pistol class and make our inaugural pilgrimage to Gunsite Academy in the late Spring of the same year. Gunsite is the Mecca of firearms training, and it was an experience to last a lifetime. 40 Hours on the range and in the classroom is hard to beat, especially when tuition is taken care of. Shooters still have to pay lodging, food, ammunition, and more, but the scholarship will seriously help.

training on a budget
My wife and I at the conclusion of our 250 class

Surprisingly, everyone I have told about the program has dragged their feet when it comes time to apply. If you want some good training and to pay your respects to one of the founders of modern training, check out the Jeff Cooper Legacy Foundation.

Donor Spots in Class

This one largely applies to those in law enforcement, but occasionally pops up for the average citizen as well. Many instructors periodically offer a free seat in class, usually to the host, or to local law enforcement. Shooters show up free of charge, while still providing for their own travel, food, ammunition, etc. Unfortunately there isn't a "one quick trick" to finding these spots. You'll likely need to keep an eye out in various Facebook groups, or get close with hosts to have an idea of when these are available. While infrequent, I have seen some students donate or discount their own spot when a scheduling conflict arises. This isn't something to rely upon, but can be helpful if you get lucky.

Getting Social to Train on a Budget

Splitting Costs

Hotels are getting more and more expensive. AirBNB used to be a good alternative, but nowadays they come with outrageous fees, shoddy quality, and other unexpected shortcomings. While we're normally opposed to being put into compromising situations with strangers, those of us attending training are more often than not made up of good people. One option to cut costs is to try and split a hotel room with another student when traveling for class.

This isn't something I've done, but several people I know use the technique regularly and with great success. In this interconnected world it's easy to find people you're familiar with, which helps to simplify the temporary roommate situation. You can even try to schedule classes with friends to remove any unknowns from the equation. Of course you'll need to take several things into consideration before shacking up with a stranger, but it's one of many options to pinch your pennies.

If you're splitting rooms, it may be a good idea to split rental cars as well for those flying. No need for both of you to drive if you stay in the same place, especially with today's prices. Of course your arrival/departure locations and times need to be considered here, along with your luggage footprint. For those of you driving to your training location, this unfortunately won't be much help.

Local Alumni Training Groups

Those of us with serious training are a minority in the firearms world. That said, there are more of us than you'd think, and we're spread all over the country. Many training businesses have alumni groups on social media, and most of us take part in groups like Primary & Secondary, and more. There's a pretty good chance that you'll find someone with a good background within driving distance of your home. Chatting online and posting targets is great, but in person interaction is better.

Use your resources to try and find someone nearby. Set up some range time, and maybe you'll eventually form regular training sessions. My workplace has weekly Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sessions over lunch, and back home there was a Shivworks alumni group that met quarterly. These folks can help keep your skills sharp, and provide a change of pace from your solo range sessions. Plus we could all use another friend or two. Sure, we all want to maintain personal security online, but it may not hurt to reach out. Someone else may be in your exact position, waiting for you to make the first move.

Media - Books, Videos, More

There is no substitute for in-person training with a quality instructor. However, there is a treasure trove of information waiting for you. From books, to DVDs, online and physical articles, and more, the sky is the limit. I've spoken before about some of my favorite gun blogs here, which have hundreds of free articles for you to read, not to mention what we have here on Primer Peak. Gunsite Academy, Magpul Dynamics, Thunder Ranch, and other businesses have a variety of DVDs which were a staple of distance learning in the period before Youtube and widespread training options. We've reviewed a handful of books here, and my shelves are lined with tomes old and new.

No Second Place Winner Bill Jordan

Of course there are things to watch out for. Anyone can post to the internet, so not all sources are created equal. Check with those you trust, look for quality reviews, and make sure what you're consuming is of value.

Final Thoughts on How to Get Training on a Budget | Part 2

Like I said previously, budgets are tight. It's important to keep our skills sharp, as things don't seem to be getting any better as the economy worsens. Hopefully this additional suggestions can help you improve while safeguarding your savings. Let us know if we missed anything in the comments!

Read part one of Training on a Budget

Support My Work

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! Writing isn't my full-time profession, and nearly everything I do comes out of my own pocket. Between ammunition, tuition, range fees and more, expenses add up fast. If you like what I have to offer, consider making a donation to my Patreon.

Every bit helps bring more work like this to you, and contributes to shortened timelines or more in-depth work on my part. You'll also have more direct access to me, offering suggestions for future projects, looking behind the scenes, and getting early access to some content. You can find my Patreon >>HERE<<

About Daniel Reedy 399 Articles
Daniel holds instructor certifications from Rangemaster, Agile Training & Consulting, and the NRA. He has received training from Craig Douglas, Tom Givens, and Steve Fisher among others. He also has experience competing in USPSA, CAS, 3 Gun, and Steel Challenge. In his free time Daniel enjoys petting puppies and reading the Constitution. His work is also published by AmmoLand, Recoil Concealment, and Air Force Times. Daniel has also written and edited for The Kommando Blog.

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