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American Sheepdog Online CCW Resource Magazine - Interview with Diane Nicholl and Vicki Farnam of Defense Training International
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  • Interview with Diane Nicholl and Vicki Farnam of Defense Training International

    This is part II of the interviews with John Farnam, Vicki Farnam, and Diane Nicholl
    Copyright 2009, “Sgt T” and

    Diane, thank you for taking time to visit with me. As the co-author of two books with Vicki Farnam, Teaching Women To Shoot, A Law Enforcement Instructor’s Guide and Women Learning To Shoot, A Guide for Law Enforcement Officers as well as being the author of numerous articles in national gun magazines, you are considered to be a expert in the field of firearms instruction for women. What are the qualifications a woman should look for in an instructor?

    You want to look for a quality individual, you want somebody that you are going to be able to trust, and that has some kind of credentials that you can check out. A good way to start with that is with the NRA. That’s a fairly good nationwide organization that trains instructors, and that wants to keep them to a very high standard and maintain uniformity in how the material is presented and what you are going to expect from that class. You might want to look at your local gun ranges and see what sort of opportunities they might provide for you. See if they have any references from students who have been through their classes, or any referrals. You want to look for someone who is going to give you good quality instruction and who is willing to work with a novice or beginner.

    ASD: In your books you talk about the differences in learning between women and men. Can you elaborate on how women learn differently from men?

    There are a couple of things we find that are different. The first one is our communication styles a quite different. Women are much more verbal. We use thousands of words more during the day than a man will. It helps us build up and idea in our brain a little better. We like to have lots of details. We like to have good feedback when we are working to understand if we are doing things properly. We like encouragement so we know if we are doing things well.

    The other part is the spatial relationship aspect. Our brains are just really differently wired than the guys are. So, the idea of having the target, the front sight, the rear sight, and your eye aligned and what that means and how you understand it is different. Women are better at looking at drawings and having a lot of verbalization to explain the concept. Guys will just say, “Hey, that’s common sense. Everybody knows it.”

    More women are getting into concealed carry and self-defense. Are you seeing that the firearms manufacturers and holster companies are making more products for women?

    Diane: I haven’t seen a great degree directly for women, but we’ve seen the concealed carry phenomenon across the United States. Many more states are allowing people to carry concealed and that has driven the market more than anything. We want to have smaller and more easily concealable firearms, so that has meant smaller, lighter firearms. That means smaller grips that more easily fit a woman’s hands.

    ASD: Diane, I appreciate you taking the time to visit with me. This has been a really enjoyable weekend for me. I always like spending time with shooters and my fellow instructors. I am glad I got to meet you.

    Diane: Thank you.

    Before you read my interview with Vicki, I have to admit that I screwed up the first interview with both Vicki and Diane. I pushed the wrong button on my recorder and didn’t get anything on tape. Diane agreed to a second interview, which you just finished. Vicki had 20 students on the firing line and had to get back to them. I finally got my second chance to interview Vicki at the end of a long day of training. She was physically and emotionally drained. I can’t thank her enough for putting up with me.

    Vicki, you have just completed 25 hours of very intensive training with 20 shooters from novice to reasonably experienced. How do you do this every week?

    We do it because it’s important and because we love doing it.

    There is a lot of stress, a lot of traveling. As an instructor, you teach both military and civilian shooters. You told a story at the end of the class about a sailor who was the driver of an inflatable boat for the Navy SEALS. This sailor, who had been a student, and who was later killed in combat, told you that you weren’t teaching just about shooting, but that you were teaching about overcoming “speed bumps” in life. This story touched the students who had just completed their training. The story emphasized just how important the skills you teach really are. As John says, “We are passing on our knowledge to the worthy among us.” Your students, are they the worthy among us?

    Absolutely! (And a look that said, “are you dumb?”)

    You have short answers don’t you? You’re tired. I am so sorry I screwed up the earlier interview!!!

    Vicki: That’s ok. That’s alright. (A little bit of a chuckle)

    I’m just reflecting on the last two days. Besides being important, what keeps you going?

    Vicki: Because we love doing it and somebody needs to be out here doing it. Sometimes you don’t get a choice. Sometimes you get the assignment.

    ASD: What is John’s saying, “When it’s least expected, you’re elected”?

    Vicki: Exactly! Exactly!

    ASD: In today’s class you had the ladies out shoot the men. Is that common?

    A DTI Associate Instructor, who had assisted with the class, overheard the question. Not realizing I was conducting an interview, he joined the conversation. His comments are included because they are relevant:

    DTI AI: That’s very common. It happens every single time. They slow down. They don’t care about the clock at all. They care about the exact perfection of the drill.

    ASD: What was it you said, Vicki, during the class?

    Vicki: They would rather be right than fast. So they slow down and do it as perfectly as they can. And every time they come back up they do it more perfectly. That’s important, doing it perfectly as opposed to doing it fast. As for men, often, doing it fast is important and doing it absolutely perfect is less important.

    ASD: Like (student), he wanted to be fast. But because he kept skipping fundamentals he kept failing the test. (His older sister had taken the course previously and had completed the required shooting drill. The drill is pass or fail.)

    Right. All he could think about was getting done as opposed to thinking about the steps along the way. She (female students) looks at steps along the way. The end result is not perfect for her if somewhere she skipped something or missed something or did something wrong.

    ASD: Well, it has been a very taxing two days. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this weekend. I have learned so much from you and John and your staff, which is what I wanted to do.

    Vicki: We were glad to have you.

    ASD: Again, I would like to think John Farnam, Vick Farnam and Diane Nicholl for allowing me to interview them during a very rigorous weekend of training. If you would like additional information about Defense Training International please visit
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Interview with Diane Nicholl and Vicki Farnam of Defense Training International started by Sgt T View original post

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