By Earl Roberts
Alright, so I have spent my entire adult life with some version of the AR15. From learning to field strip and clean them in Boot Camp to milling, drilling, and building several of my own in my workshop. Currently, the AR platform serves me in several capacities; not only does it hold a special place in my heart as I relied on it many times in hostile environments, but I also compete with them, and, as a professional instructor, I teach others how to employ them safely, properly, and effectively. So, I take every opportunity I find to learn more about them. Back in the late months of 2020 I stumbled upon the American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) and found they offer some courses on the AR. I did some research and decided to give them a try. I would like to note that AGI offers a lot of courses, from gunsmithing to armorer to appraising; and several of the courses are offered as a bundle but almost all topics can be taken as stand-alone courses. Today, I am discussing my experience taking the AGI Certified Law Enforcement Armorer’s Course for the AR15/M16/M4A1 Weapon Platform. Let me begin by saying that these are my opinions and that this is a positive review; my overall assessment and experience with the course was positive and I would highly recommend you take the course.
Purchasing the course can be made easier if you receive the mailers or subscribe to the emails as the courses are advertised very well in those forms and ordering instructions are very clear. Or, to make it very easy for you, the Certified Law Enforcement Armorer’s Courses are at this web address: https://www.americangunsmith.com/product-category/cert-armorers-courses.
Now a couple of questions may surface while you’re thumbing through the catalog; like what is the deference between the Certified Law Enforcement Armorer’s Courses and the basic armorer’s courses? Well, to answer that question, as I understand it, the difference is in receiving a certificate or not; and for those who need the certification or professional continuing education hours, the certificate may come in handy (you also get a patch for certified courses). I think it is also worth noting here that you do not need to be in law enforcement or even be an armorer to take this course, anyone who uses, maintains, or otherwise has access to an AR would benefit from this training. There are other courses within the Certified Law Enforcement Armorer category that concentrate on some of the more common firearms used by today’s peace officers. In addition to the AR Platform, you could also choose the Glock and/or Sig courses.
The course can be purchased in one of two formats, online or DVD. After paying, you’ll first receive the video in the format you selected along with instructions on how to access and take a test at the end. The 5 or 6-hour video, along with some provided course notes is the entirety of course. There is no personal interaction with the instructor, but you can watch the video as many times as you need in order to fully understand the topic being taught. After watching the video (as many times as you want), log onto a separate AGI testing site, create an account and take your test online.
You will see you score immediately and know if you passed. Upon completion of the course with a score of 80% or more, you will receive a certificate and patch in the mail.
It is important to understand that this particular course is not an AR gunsmithing course, you will not learn how to build an AR, you will not be smithing any gun parts. This is an armorer level course; you will learn design and function, you will learn about variations of the platform, how to disassemble to an armorer level, how to inspect and replace parts, how to check headspace, throat erosion, firing pin protrusion, how to manage and record a maintenance program, and much, much more!
I have to say, I thought this course was well worth the money. If you’re looking to learn a little more about AR’s or if you need a quick refresher, go on over to AGI and check out their course catalog.