Round Counts in Classes

5-Jul-13 – 13:05 by ToddG


Somehow, my name recently got dragged into some crazy online drama-controversy about a review of another instructor’s class. One of the many things that got discussed involved round counts in classes. Before you go any further, answer this question: what is an appropriate round count for a 2-day pistol class?

OK, have your answer?

If your answer was anything other than “It depends” then you need to rethink it.

Round count by itself doesn’t tell you anything about the quality of a class. A good instructor with a well developed, proven course curriculum should be efficient in his students’ use of ammo. But that efficiency could still mean anything from one hundred rounds a day to a thousand. It all depends on what is being taught and to whom.

If you signed up for a long range pistol marksmanship class you wouldn’t expect to shoot hundreds and hundreds of rounds per day. If you signed up for a class that was all about stage strategy for a game you wouldn’t, either. Nor would you probably expect to burn through a year’s worth of ammo in a class full of lectures about combat mindset, awareness, and the like. Spend five days doing complicated room-clearing drills and you might not shoot 200rd the whole time. Firing a ton of rounds just for the sake of upping the round count in those classes is a waste.

On the other hand, if you went to a class that was focused on improving speed shooting with lots of multiple shot and multiple target drills, you could see round counts soar. Sometimes, the more you shoot, the better you get, right?

Most classes tend to be somewhere in the middle. They’ll have some lecture, some high round count drills,  some low round count drills, and some exercises where only one or two students at a time are shooting.

So the question isn’t whether the round count is high or low. People who decry one or the other are just being silly. If you think you can’t learn anything in a class that only involves 500 live fire rounds in a weekend, you might want to rethink your level of awesome. If you think launching 1,500 rounds downrange in two days is a waste of ammo, don’t be so sure about that, either.

The only thing a class’s round count tells you for certain is how many rounds you need to bring with you for the class. Don’t jump to conclusions or judge a class based solely on the advertised round count. What is being taught, and how, are far more important than the number of rounds used in the process.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG



  1. 10 Responses to “Round Counts in Classes”

  2. A very good point. Maybe instructors shouldn’t publish round count on the web. It might cause a lot of questions from prospective shooters, but the expected round count could just be given out after registration.

    By xpo172 on Jul 5, 2013

  3. Interesting how protective some people are. Times must be tough if an AAR brings a drone after you……..

    By cct125us on Jul 5, 2013

  4. Thank you very much! A few weeks ago I was in trouble cause my round count during some live fire exercises were to low (as our supply division stated!) . But the point is as you stated…round count depends on what is the training objective. When the training objective is working out the fundamentals, on a flat range, with 10 shooters on the line, you will need a lot of ammo. But if you do complicated exercises, with a realistic number of enemys, an infantry platoon maybe need only 5 shots to kill the sniper in a day long operation…

    Sorry for my bad english. 😉

    By Kontra on Jul 6, 2013

  5. Good points Todd.

    I’ll note that I attended Claude’s snub revolver class, which is something like 200 rounds total IIRC. Had a great time, learned a lot.
    I told several other shooters about the class, several looked at the info and asked “200 rounds? For a whole day class?” as though the very idea was distasteful.

    Yet I tell other folks about TDSA’s AP-1 class where I burn 1500-1700 rounds in a weekend and they think I am completely nuts.

    It’s all in the perspective of having gone to both types of training and knowing what the round counts are telling us.

    By Chuck Haggard on Jul 6, 2013

  6. I’ve heard the same types of negative comments from shooters with poor skills who complain they don’t get enough range time or ammo for practice. When I start a range training session with dry fire, I get the usual lack of enthusiasm and note some will begin the drills jerking the trigger like a kid with a cap pistol. Usually by the end of the day they’ve shot maybe 100-150 rounds and they’re shooting better, but don’t do the homework (i.e. dry fire or range drills) to maintain their skills in between. I haven’t attended that many private schools, but the one’s I have, I though the round count was in tune with the points the instructors were making. Blasting ammo for the sake of being able to brag about the round count is like talking just to hear yourself talk.

    By walkin' trails on Jul 6, 2013

  7. Good training is about expending the right amount of rounds to get the required learning goals accomplished. Whether high or low is irrelevant if the tasks are effectively ingrained into the students. Every AAR I have ever written has included a round count for each day, so prospective students know how much ammo to budget for–especially important in this time of scarce and expensive ammunition.

    By DocGKR on Jul 6, 2013

  8. How true, CCT125US! After watching some of the dialogue unfold, I know who I won’t be taking any future training from. Todd, to date, your classes have been the best classes I’ve taken. Keep up the good work and I wish you well!!!

    By gtmtnbiker98 on Jul 6, 2013

  9. Quit talking sense Todd, that doesn’t go over well on the internetz

    By Rob E on Jul 6, 2013

  10. I see posted round counts as an indicator of the number of topics and reps you should expect in a class. A lot of topics with few reps does no good. A few topics with a lot of reps hones those topics for sure but is it an effective use of the 2 or 3 days and course tuition?

    I’ve learned that course listings barely scratch the surface of what is actually taught.

    By Geoff on Jul 7, 2013

  11. It is a two by two table. Columns, “good class” and “bad class”. Rows, “low count” and ” not low count”.
    I’ve been in all four boxes.

    By YK on Jul 8, 2013

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