How and Why?
The concept of the APSI was first discussed in August 1997 during an initial meeting of eight well known UK shooting instructors. The meeting’s prime concern was that government was likely to implement legislation requiring all shooting instructors to hold some form of qualification. This had already been proposed by the Association of Chief Police Officers, and seemed certain to be introduced before year 2000. In fact this has yet to happen, but once the idea of the Association had formed it developed a momentum of its own.
At that time most of the leading instructors in the country, although highly qualified by experience and knowledge, held no formal qualifications of any kind. It was felt at the meeting that no existing organisation met requirements, and further that no experienced instructor would be prepared to submit himself to the CPSA or BASC courses. These are intended for club coaches and are inappropriate for full-time professionals who may have been coaching for many years. Indeed they would already be over qualified for those courses. Something different was required, and after several further meetings with a number of other instructors the APSI was formed in December 1997.
Within weeks membership had exceeded expectations. UK membership is still rising, and APSI has most of the major shooting schools on side and the majority of respected professional coaches. On the competition side it can boast coaches who are champions at European, World, and Olympic level. Internationally, APSI now has members in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and the USA.
Insurance, Health & Safety
A more recent development centres around insurance and Health & Safety. A number of professional grounds have been required to provide written evidence of their coaches’ ability to instruct in a safe and acceptable manner. The Safety Certificates provided by the APSI have proved invaluable in this regard, and the APSI Safety Syllabus has become something of a bible. For example, the Association of Chief Police Officers uses it as a reference when seeking to apply safety requirements under Section 11(6).