A great quote found randomly in the wasteland
All I can say is that I was self taught for about the first 30 years I used a handgun. Couldn’t imagine what good ‘real’ training would do for me.
I learned (and unlearned!) more the first day from a professional trainer than I would have ever imagined. That first class was 3 days (and 1 night) long. It was worth every penny. Like someone else said, save, save and go to a school. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I was.
Read a brochure or web site from any well managed shooting school/instructor and you’ll likely find a testimonial that mirrors this. The implication is that the instruction is so wonderful that even a seasoned marksman with 30 years experience benefited after a few days. The sad reality is that even after 30 years of “experience” this poor sap was still such a novice that a couple days of decent instruction actually helped.
I’d recommend anyone attend good instruction just to avoid obvious mistakes early, but the most effective low-cost training venue is to participate regularly in organized, local shooting events.
Find a shooting club/range hosting some type of event or match in an appropriate discipline. Shoot your best, help the club out, talk with and ask questions of all the other participants and keep going until you are the club champion three years in a row. Then you’ll be a pretty good shooter. ;-)
Attending a school is a good idea, but tuition for a 3-5 day course will cover match/event fees for dozens of local events.