I have had the good fortune to have trained with some outstanding individual shooting instructors. I also believe that the well-established shooting school has a distinct advantage over the individual instructor besides the obvious advantage of facilities and longevity.
The advantage is doctrinal.
The shooting school has a doctrine, and that doctrine is established by a committee of senior instructors, periodically reviewed, and followed by everyone at the school. Considering the wealth of experience and breadth of knowledge of the faculty that some schools have to draw on, it’s no wonder they are extremely well regarded and popular.
The individual instructor is a singular doctrinal resource, and although their experience and knowledge may be formidable, they are constrained to one set of opinions. Their value lies in what makes them worthy of consideration, or more literally, what they’re particularly good at (and it can be more than one thing). But just because what they teach works for them doesn’t make it automatically work for you. And their experience may have nothing to do with your circumstances.
I know and have experienced various individual instructors whom I hold in high regard. And I can honestly report that I have taken valuable lessons from each experience. But I approach individual instructors as specialists and I incorporate the lessons learned into my personal repertoire not as a revision but as an addition or clarification.
If you’re new to this business of becoming a pistolfighter, then find yourself a quality shooting school, save up your money and get there. You won’t regret it. The biggest danger is that you’ll love it so much it becomes a borderline obsession (guilty as charged).
If you’re already on the journey, then you know the conversations that take place at various venues among others of our ilk, and you know who to seek out and who to avoid.