Frequently-Asked Questions

What gun should I bring for training?

Please click on "Course Descriptions" above and select your class of interest for equipment details.

Aside from my firearm, ammo, and magazines, what else should I bring to training?

Please see your course description for course-specific gear which may include items such as a holster and magazine pouches, gun belt, flashlight or weapon-mounted light, etc. Please note: for safety reasons Blackhawk SERPA holsters are NOT PERMITTED for use in our handgun courses! Also, please make sure you can identify all of your equipment--especially your firearms! There may be others who bring the same gear that you bring, so be sure to mark your equipment in such a way as to uniquely identify it. In addition to any course-specific gear, we require the following:

  • Eye protection. Shooting glasses or ANSI-rated impact-resistant safety glasses are acceptable. Harbor Freight usually has a couple of different styles for about $4. For a few dollars more, you can buy eye protection kits with several interchangeable lenses so that you're ready for all lighting conditions--day or night.
  • Electronic ear protection. In-ear or over-ear (muffs) are acceptable. Electronic hearing protection safeguards your hearing and also enables you to hear range commands and communication--both very important to safety on the firing line. If you don't have electronic ear pro, no problem: our Shop has several pairs available for RENT, and once you try them, you'll see the benefits of owing a pair.
In addition to any course-specific gear, we recommend the following:
  • A pen, a highlighter, and a notebook. You may wish to take notes, and if we provide printed material, you may wish to highlight it.
  • Sustenance: For classes that begin at our Meridian classroom location, you will typically have hourly breaks, plus a lunch break of approximately one hour. You may use your lunch break to visit any of at least a dozen nearby restaurant options, or to sit in our classroom and eat a lunch you bring from home. Coffee and water are in the classroom, and there are vending machines down the hall and a convenience store next door. Classes that are hosted entirely at an outdoor range are not near any services, so you will need to bring all essentials for the day, including lunch, snacks, water, medications, and other items listed in this FAQ answer.
  • First aid/personal care: aspirin or ibuprofen, band-aids, sun screen, moleskin, athletic- or first aid tape, hand lotion, moist towelettes, fingernail clippers. Nail clippers are a range-bag staple of mine after four straight days of drawing from a concealed holster--trust me! And especially for AR-15 courses, we recommend comfortable shooting gloves. The nitrile-and-fabric work gloves available in multi-packs of 3-10 pairs from home improvement stores provide nice control of your firearm and good protection for your hands. Make sure your gloves fit; a lot of extra, loose material can be a safety concern.
  • Clothing: layers appropriate for the season, ball cap. (Full-brim hats do not work with muffs.)
  • Enough gas in the tank to get to the range and back.
If we host courses away from Meridian, we will try to choose classroom venues that are comfortable, reasonably provisioned (water, coffee, vending machines, etc.) and where restrooms are readily available. Remote ranges can vary widely--some having a full array of amenities and some having none. Please plan appropriately.

Can I take the advanced classes (higher numbers) without taking the prerequisites??

Remember your grade-school days, when you learned to count, then learned to add single digits, then learned to add double-digits, and eventually the concepts of multiplication and exponents were accessible to your well-primed young mind? Ministry of Defense firearms training material is sequential in much the same way. It's pretty difficult to, say, clear a Type 3 malfunction, support-hand only, in the dark if you are unfamiliar with loading a magazine and racking the slide. MoD courses are numbered to guide you and to ensure that your training is thorough and methodical. Perhaps in the future we will devise some assessment for students with previous training, but for now, we require everybody to start at a class beginning with ".1" or ".PT".

I don't own a gun yet. Can I still train?

Yes! Assuming you are legally eligible to own or possess a firearm (see FAQ on "Ineligible Persons") your options include: (1) Borrow. Perhaps you have a friend or relative who has been nudging you to go shooting or buy a gun for yourself. A friend like that may be delighted to hear that you are training and just may be willing to loan you a safe, comfortable firearm to use for the day. Please note: if you do borrow, please also borrow or purchase a case for the firearm! Walking around with a firearm in your bare hands will make people very nervous and will elicit responses that you DO NOT WANT. So represent the 2A crowd proudly, as polite, prudent, courteous armed citizens. (2) Ministry of Defense offers rentals for in-class and range use. If you rent our firearms, you are required to buy ammunition from us and use only that ammo in the firearm you rent.

Do you have gift cards?  I would like to contribute to a friend or family member's training!

Yes! Click HERE for gift cards!

Does Ministry of Defense offer hunting classes?

The short answer is "No." In our home state of Idaho, Hunter Education for purposes of obtaining a hunting license is handled by the Department of Fish & Game. And while there is some methodological and equipment overlap between hunting, competition, and defensive use of firearms, our primary instructional objective is to help our students protect themselves and their loved ones with tools designed specifically for that purpose. That said, we are a firearms academy, and we are driven by our passion to help any lawful owner or user of firearms learn to use their guns safely and effectively. We have helped students take their first steps toward learning to hunt, and helped Hunter Education graduates improve their techniques. If you would like training but anticipate coming at it from a hunting perspective, we encourage you to select "MoD.Rifle.PT" and submit a request for a private lesson; also send us an email telling us what kind of help you would like.

I want to train but ammo is difficult to find.  What do you suggest?

If you're persistent and a little bit clever, you can still find ammo amidst the 2020-2021 craziness. Here are some tips. (1) Vigilance. Check your favorite stores and online retailers often. (2) Readiness. You need to pounce when you find what you are looking for. Have funds at-hand. (3) Networking. Ask your friends and relatives to check shelves for you while they are shopping. (4) Immediacy. Start looking now! It may take you a month or more to find what was always available on most store shelves two years ago. Try those options. If you still need help and are signed up for a Ministry of Defense course, reach out to us. We routinely scout for ammo and may be able to help supplement or accelerate your acquisition. In a pinch, we may have a small reserve available as an add-on to your course fees.

What are "Ineligible Persons"?  How do I know whether I am eligible?

"Ineligible Persons" are individuals who are barred, for legal reasons, from certain kinds of involvement with firearms. On this website, the term has two discrete meanings--one set forth by the State of Idaho, and one by Ministry of Defense. Please take a moment to read carefully and make sure you are eligible to train BEFORE signing up. ALL students seeking firearms instruction from Ministry of Defense must be able to truthfully answer "no" to each of the following questions: (If you cannot, you are an "Ineligible Person" and are not allowed to train.) -Are you under 10 years of age? (If over 10 and under 18, you must have a parent or authorized guardian attending your class and present with you at all times on the range.) -Are you currently charged with, or have you ever been convicted of a crime punishable by more than a year in prison? -Are you a fugitive from justice? -Are you addicted to, or a user of, any unlawful substance? -Have you ever been adjudicated mentally defective? -Have you ever been dishonorably discharged from the US Military? -Are you subject to any restraining order for domestic violence, or have you ever been found guilty of any crime of domestic violence? -Are you an illegal alien? -Have you ever renounced your United States citizenship? -Are you legally prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm under Idaho or federal law? In addition, the State of Idaho will regard you as an Ineligible Person if you are wishing to obtain an Idaho Enhanced Concealed Weapons License (IECWL) but are unable to provide certain truthful answers to each question on the application shown HERE.

What class should I take?

First, decide what kind of firearm you would like to learn about and navigate to the offerings on the Course Descriptions page. Then select the lowest-numbered class you have not yet taken and passed with Ministry of Defense, within the past two years. You may also sign up for Private Training (courses ending with ".PT") at any time. You may prefer the individualized pace and solitude of Private Training, either as a confidence-builder before joining group classes, or as your own custom route to proficiency. If you chose Private Training, we can most likely work with any common, safe, modern firearm/s you wish to learn. Or for a modest fee, you can try some from our collection to help inform your future buying decisions.