Guns: Concealed Weapons Courses
Xavier's post about his CHP renewal class reminded me that I've never actually taken any formal "concealed carry" course. Instead, I took a free hunter safety course run by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, and that was sufficient for my concealed weapons permit (the hunter safety course was informative and well done, though).
There are many benefits to a formal CWP class. In any decent course, the instructor invariably goes through all the legal ramifications of carrying a gun, including how and when to use it in self-defense. If the student is not one to pore over gun forums, webpages, or defense-oriented books, it can be very useful for someone to digest all the info into something that is easily consumed. Nearly all courses nowadays incorporate range time, more to make sure people are safe and competent with their firearms than to make them dead-eye pistol shooters.
I learned about guns in a different way. My parents never owned one, and no one I knew ever had them, so I pieced together my knowledge, brick by brick, from places like THR and TFL, gun magazines (hey, I didn't know any better - gun mags are more a source of humor nowadays than anything else), and from talking with other shooters. The great part of learning in this fashion is that you can select from a huge cornucopia of information, trying out various things and seeing how they work for you.
One caveat - many people who come to these classes have never even fired a gun before. While this is acceptable to a point, I think most would be better served getting some basic training before moving on to stuff like "reasonable use of deadly force" and "center of mass." Until someone knows how to safely load, fire, unload, and clean a gun, it's not much use as a weapon.