You Gotta Pay to Play: 2016 Edition

With the year coming to a close, I thought it might be a useful exercise to tabulate for our readers how much I spent this year on training.  The after-action reviews (AARs) that John and I write tend to be among our most read articles, and I have received many “atta boys” for the information and level of detail contained within them.  Having said that, taking all of these courses is not without cost, the most significant of which, for me, is time.  As I get older, time is more and more precious to me.  Each course comes not just with the cost of enrollment, travel, meals, ammunition, etc., but also the opportunity cost of the time spent.  Such opportunity costs can be difficult to quantify, however, so I thought we would look at raw numbers.

In 2016 I attended a total of 7 classes:

1.       AMOK! Core Skills Seminar—Tom Sotis (AAR)

2.       Basic Knife Skills for Concealed Carry—Greg Ellifritz (AAR)

3.       Concealed Carry:  Street Encounter Skills—John Murphy (AAR)

4.       Armed Movement in Structures—Craig Douglas (AAR)

5.       Two-Day Pistol—Kyle Defoor (AAR)

6.       Concealed Carry:  Vehicle Environment Skills—John Murphy (AAR)

7.       Extreme Close Quarters Gunfighting—Greg Ellifritz (AAR)

I spent a total of $1575.00 on enrollment costs for these seven courses.  This is actually a fairly low amount given the number of courses.  I was aided by the fact that the Tom Sotis class was cheap because it was listed at short notice ($50), John Murphy comped my fee at “Street Encounter Skills”, and then three other classes were single-day classes. 

Of course, none of these classes were held in my backyard.  Though I did not fly to any classes this year, there were travel expenses in the form of gasoline and tolls.  I also stayed a total of four nights in hotels and ate out on several occasions.  Honestly, I did not keep my receipts of these costs, so I could only really guess at the amounts. 

As readers of my AARs have probably noted, I do keep track of how many rounds I shoot in each class.  This year, the round count was lower than it might normally be for seven classes.  The reason for the lower round-count is that two of the classes were knife-centric and another, the “Extreme Close Quarters Gunfighting” course–being more of a combatives course–had a very low round count.  In addition, the “Armed Movement in Structures” class required no live ammunition whatsoever.  Thus, final tally this year in classes was a total of only 1,008 rounds (all 9mm). 


In addition to all of the above training, this year also marked my first foray into competitive shooting.  I shot in a total of four IDPA club matches (three matches and one Classifier), each of which cost $20, for a total of $80.  I shot exactly 400 rounds combined across those four matches.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that, despite all of the above, I am still nowhere near where I want to be in terms of shooting ability, unarmed and edged-weapons skills, and general self-defense knowledge.  This is not a cheap “hobby” by any stretch, but no more expensive than many others.  Looking ahead to 2017, I am currently anticipating similar numbers in terms of number of classes as well as the combined cost of those classes.  I plan to continue my journey to be well-rounded in terms of all the self-defense skills, from medical, to unarmed, to edged-weapons, to firearms of several types.

So, how much did you spend on training this year?  If you took some classes, how many rounds did you shoot overall?  I am curious to hear from our readers about this.  Please share below or on our Facebook page.  Thanks for reading. 

5 thoughts on “You Gotta Pay to Play: 2016 Edition

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