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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm posting a list of trainers and shcools because people are often surprised to learn how many good places there are, and how close they may be to one.
I know I was.

Like many, I thought I had to spend a lot of time and/or money to travel across the country to a school, but that isn't the case. There are excellent trainers all over. I found out there was a deputy Sheriff (now the Sheriff) in the next county who was an instructor at Gunsite, and held classes taught by him and others all year long. It was 30 miles away and I had no idea.
So with hopes of helping others avoid stumbling in the dark like I did, I'll post a list of places that I've heard good things about.
There is a good chance of finding something within reasonable driving distance.

I also know a lot of people have thought about training, but don't know if it's worth their trouble.
It is.
I thought I knew something about shooting until my first class. I learned things in the first 15 minutes on the range that made the whole class worthwhile. You can spend years burning up ammunition and money practicing on your own and not get what you can from a few days of professional instruction. I would think it's the really rare person who didn't get ther money's worth from any quality class.

You don't really have to spend 10 days of vacation and half a mortgage payment to get training.
The "traveling schools" are the most affordable. They set up on someone else's range, so they lack the facilities of the Gunsites and Thunder Ranches, but you still learn the most important things...you just don't get to practice them in a shoothouse. These classes are usually shorter, too- running around three days, and cost from $400 to $500.
You can probably find one within driving distance, and then you are only out the money for the class, some meals, and maybe a couple of nights in a motel.
Add it all up and you are getting some of the best training in exisitence by spending a total of maybe $600-700 and a long weekend, plus ammo.
That's pretty good.
It compares to a new gun.
Assuming you already have a decent gun, which will honestly benefit you most- being a much better shooter or another gun?

Here is a list of schools and trainers that I've heard only good things about (or been to myself).
If I left some out, it's not (necessarily) because they are no good, but because I either have not heard of them, haven't heard much, or have heard a lot of mixed reviews.
I'm listing them in order of the state they are based in. Keep in mind that the traveling schools go all over the place.
I will mark the traveling schools with a (T) and list the states they go to, or have been to in recent years.

Please feel free to add to the list.

AL- Shootrite- Tiger McKee (also teaches for Thunder Ranch)- www.shootrite.org Teaches his own courses, plus hosts some off-site Thunder Ranch classes.

AZ- Gunsite- Buzz Mills (started by Jeff Cooper)- www.gunsite.com

AZ- Morrigan Consulting (T)- Bill Jeans- www.morrigan-consulting.com (I can't find a schedule, but I know he has taught in most regions of the country at various times)

AZ- Trident Concepts (T) - Jeff Gonzales- www.tridentconcepts.com (has taught in AZ, CA, CO, MI, NH, TX, VA, WA, WI, etc)

AZ- Yavapai Firearms Academy (T)- Louis Awerbuck (taught at Gunsite) - www.yfainc.com (has taught in AK, AL, AZ, CA, FL, ID, IN, MI, NC, TN, WV, TX, VA, etc)

CA- ITTS/International Tactical Training Seminars, Inc- Scott Reitz- www.internationaltactical.com
They do their own classes, and host guest intructors like Louis Awerbuck.

CO- Valhalla- Rob Pincus- www.valhallashootingclub.com

CO- DTI/Defense Training International (T) - John Farnam- www.defense-training.com (has taught in GA, IL, IN, MI, MN, NV, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA, WV, WY, etc)

FL- OPS Inc- Andy Stanford- www.optionsforpersonalsecurity.com

FL- Roger Shooting School- Bill Rogers- www.rogers-shooting-school.com
Former FBI agent who designed a lot of Safariland's holsters. I hear this school is tough.

IL- Midwest Training Group- Bob Houzenga- www.midwesttraininggroup.net
Host several instructors/schools, including Ken Hackathorn, Jim Cirillo, Massad Ayoob/LFI, John Farnam/DTI, etc.

IL- Blackwater North (Formerly "The Site")- www.blackwaterusa.com/training/bwnorth.asp

IN- Boone County Sheriff's Dept (hosts several trainers)- Sheriff Ken Campbell- [email protected]

IN- Sand Burr Gun Ranch (hosts LFI and DTI, and does their own)- Denny Reichard- Ph.(574)223-3316

MA- Smith and Wesson Academy- Barbara Grissom (contact person)- www.smith-wesson.com

MO- Chapman Academy- Ray Chapman- www.chapmanacademy.com

MS- Mid South Institute of Self Defense Shooting (M.I.S.S.) - John Shaw- www.weaponstraining.com
The last I knew, they were jam-packed full with military training, but I haven't checked in a while.

NC- Blackwater USA www.blackwaterusa.com

NH- Lethal Force Institute/LFI (T) - Massad Ayoob- www.ayoob.com (has taught in AZ, CA, CT, ID, IL, IN, LA, MI, MN, NH, PA, WA, WI, etc)

NH- Sig Academy- George Harris- www.sigarms.com/EducationTraining/TheAcademy

NY- E.A.G. Tactical (T)- Pat Rogers- www.eagtactical.com He is "the poop" for AR/M4 training. Former Gunsite instructor. (has taught in AZ, CO, IN, MI, MO, TN, VA, WI, etc)

OH- Tactical Defense Institute/TDI- John Benner- www.tdiohio.com

OR- Thunder Ranch- Clint Smith- www.thunderranchinc.com

TN- Cumberland Tactics (T)- Randy Cain- www.guntactics.com (has taught in AZ, FL, GA, MI, NC, NH, PA, TN, etc).

TN- Rangemaster- Tom Givens- www.rangemaster.com
Rangemaster offers training at their range, and trains in other locations like GA, LA, MA, MI, OK, PA, TN, TX, etc.
 

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Awesome! There's two facilities withing two hours of me! I thought I had to drive to Nevada or New Hampshire. Anybody know anything about Chapman?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Awesome! There's two facilities withing two hours of me! I thought I had to drive to Nevada or New Hampshire. Anybody know anything about Chapman?
The man or the school?
Ray Chapman was in the SWPL (South West Pistol League), and shot what was then "combat shooting" with Jeff Cooper in the early days. He was SWPL champion three or four times on the late 60's/early 70's, and IPSC's first world champion in 1975.
He and John Bianchi started the Bianchi Cup.
He came up with some techniques such as a shooting stance (sort of a "reverse Weaver") and a flashlight hold.
I don't know, but I would guess that the Chapman Academy is the second oldest facility of it's kind after Gunsite...and not very far behind.

I haven't been there mysef, but would like to go.
It's located where it's just far enough from me so that if I were making a long trip, I'd rather just go on to Gunsite. But if I were a little closer, I wouldn't hesitate to go there.
 

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Excellent,thank you!

I know who Chapman is, but I didn't know that the school was in Columbia MO! Man,now I'm all fired up. Who wants to come with? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, I thought it was in VA, but when I read the above post I checked their website and it does indeed say Moyock NC.
I guess their headquarters is NC, but the training ctr is in VA?
 

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nothing based in michigan of course
 

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Blackwater USA is in Moyock, North Carolina!! I have a friend that is an instructor there!! Great place but has received some bad publicity lately!!!

It is only about 45 minutes from my house!!!
 

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My friend is now training there a former Recon Marine and close friend and trust me he is in Vi. training there they wait for the secret clearance papers to come Thu at home before being deployed. headquathers maybe somewhere else but not the training.
 

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Blackwater is comprised of about 7000 acres so some of it must extend into Virginia. A few years ago I was asked by my friend at Blackwater if I wanted to make a lot of money!!! I very quickly said No and that was the end of that!!! If I was a single person I would probably have jumped at the offer.
 

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Blackwater is comprised of about 7000 acres so some of it must extend into Virginia. A few years ago I was asked by my friend at Blackwater if I wanted to make a lot of money!!! I very quickly said No and that was the end of that!!! If I was a single person I would probably have jumped at the offer.

Automag then you could have retired with all that money LMAO.:rofl:
 

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LOL Bud , Blackwater is not the only outside outfit the goverment contracts they are 3 of them, Triple Canopy and the other slips my mind at the moment. if they wanted your property Bud could be right Automag.
 

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If i was in better shape i would go for it .. but well ya know .. Course my ROE and their ROE would differ anyone coming at me with a gun who
A doest stop
B isnt American
C Isnt a Friendly Nation
D they get shot ,,, thats my ROE
 

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They pay real good 600 a day when deployed, yet I see we both have the same rules of engagement Bud and i am not so sure it is PC. LMAO
 

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They pay real good 600 a day when deployed, yet I see we both have the same rules of engagement Bud and i am not so sure it is PC. LMAO
I Very Anti PC
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
nothing based in michigan of course
Randy Cain (Cumberland Tactics) is on the list, and he does at least a few classes in MI each year at a couple of locations (Mt Pleasant and Fenton). www.guntactics.com
He is very high on my list of trainers I have not been to, but want to.

Louis Awerbuck (Yavapai Firearms Academy) www.yfainc.com
has been (somewhere) in MI in years past, but I didn't see it on this past year's schedule.
I've had a couple of his classes. He's the king. I'd watch for next year's schedule, which should be out soon.

Jeff Gonzales (Trident Concepts) has been there in recent years also, but it appears that the bulk of his time is spent doing Military/LE training, things being how they are.

John Farnam (Defense Training Int'l) www.defense-training.com has been there. His schedule shows an Advanced Handgun class coming up Jan 26-27 in Midland, MI.

Massad Ayoob's Lethal Force Institute www.ayoob.com schedule shows a class in the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek area this past year.

Here's another that I didn't get on the first list- Steve Fisher www.michigantrainer.com
 
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