NRA Defensive Pistol and more (7 day course)


Duration: 50 hours: 20 classroom, 20 live fire, 6 scenarios, 4 force-on-force



Date Location Class Size Class Time Instructor Available Spaces
Register Now April 23 Saturday
36 Day Class
Greenbrier, TN
1 - 5 Students 08:00 - 18:00 Jonathan Low 5 Spaces Left target icon


Defensive Pistol course:
     This is a civilian concealed carry class for self defense.  This is
not a police class.  This is not a military class.  This is not a hunting 
class.  This is not a competition shooting class.  
Theory -- 
classroom lectures and pistol manipulation with dummy ammo
residence in Springfield, TN 37172.
23 April 2022; 08:00 to 18:00
30 April 2022; 08:00 to 18:00
Practicum -- 
live fire exercises at Long Meadow Farm
5075 Betts Road, Greenbrier, TN 37073. $30 per person per day
7 May 2022; 08:00 to 18:00
14 May 2022; 08:00 to 18:00
Tactical scenarios -- 
IPSC match at Strategic Edge Gun Range
2613 Highway 270 Chapel Hill, Tennessee 37034. $25 per person
21 May 2022; 07:00 to 13:00  (They start shooting at 08:00.
Be there before 07:00 for safety briefing.)
Force-on-force scenarios -- 
at Royal Range
7741 US 70 S, Nashville, TN 37221. $100 per person
28 May 2022; 09:00 to 13:00
The tuition is a donation to Stephens Valley Church.
The amount is between you and God.
For the equipment list, course outline, etc. send an email to
It may take months to get the correct equipment
(It may take a couple of months for a craftsman to make
a holster that actually fits your pistol) or to have a
gunsmith modify your pistol to actually fit your hand,
so get started immediately if you intend to attend.

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Topics Covered

Colonel Cooper’s safety rules
Manual of Arms
After Action
Stoppage Reduction
One Handed Techniques
Tactics: Maneuver, Positioning
Cleaning and Storage
Flashlight Techniques
Lower Positions
Moving and Shooting
Passing a gun to someone
Don’t Shoot Yet
Use of deadly force by Dr. Ignatius Piazza.
The criminal liability, the civil liability, and the aftermath associated
with the use of deadly force by Capt. Massad Ayoob.
Mental awareness and combat mind set by Tom Givens.
"The Truth About Violence" by Sam Harris.
Five Levels of Competence” and “Stopping Power.
Principles of Tactics.
“Principles of Personal Defense” by Col. Jeff Cooper
“Layers of Response” by John Farnam.
“Shooting in Self-Defense” by Sara Ahrens
“Law of Self Defense” by Andrew Branca.
“Ten Rules for Winning a Gunfight” by Jared Reston.
“Mental Preparation for Self Defense” by Tom Givens.
“In the Name of Self Defense” by Marc MacYoung.

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Expectations and Outcomes

You can earn the NRA Defensive Pistol certificate if you pass the 
written (very difficult) and shooting test (an IDPA match shot in a
tactically correct manner, no disqualification, no safety violations,
no muzzling no-shoot targets, etc.). 
But, this is not necessary.  

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Basic, Intermediate, NRA Courses, Scenario Based Training, Scenario Based Training (Simunitions, Man Marking Cartridge), Seminars / Lectures

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Documentation Requirements

Send an email to
requesting all of the documents for the course.  Please read all 
documents immediately.  You will have questions.  We need to 
answer all of your questions and ensure you have all of the required 
equipment before the start of  class.  The instructors will not loan 
you equipment.  Other students, who are strangers to you, will not
be allowed to loan you equipment.  

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Please bring equipment to the class that you intend to use to
carry your concealed pistol on a daily basis.  Specialized equipment 
for the class defeats the purpose of the class.  If it doesn't work in 
the class, it's not going to work on the street. If it doesn't work fast enough in the class, it's not going to work fast enough on the street. 
You need to find out what doesn't work and what needs to be fixed
in the class, because it's too late if you find out in combat.  
     A stiff sturdy belt, about 1.5 inches wide. It has to support your 
heavy pistol and ammo pouch. Your belt should have continuous 
adjustment (as opposed to discrete adjustment, holes every inch or 
so), because your body changes continuously.  Your gun belt should 
have a quick release buckle, because it makes going to the bathroom 
     You might also want suspenders to support your belt.
     A holster that attaches to your belt at the side of your firing side 
hip.  It must cover the trigger. It must hold the pistol pointing down. 
It must have a stiff mouth to allow one handed holstering.  Leather 
holsters will have a reinforced mouth. It must hold your pistol 
securely, so your pistol won't fall out.  
It should not have any retention devices.  It takes a lot of training
for you to defeat retention devices in a high stress situation.  No one 
will be trying to grab your pistol in the holster because you are 
carrying concealed.  An inside the waist band holster will afford you 
better concealment.  And your belt will hold your holster tight against
your body, so it doesn't flop around.
     An ammunition pouch that attaches to your belt at the side of 
your support side hip. No flaps. No retention devices. Because they 
take time to defeat. It would be nice if it also held your flashlight.
     At least 5 rounds of dummy ammunition. The Tipton Snap-Cap 
(brass base) or A-Zoom (machined aluminum) type are best. The 
extractor of your pistol will rip the rims off the cheap plastic type.  
If you have dummy ammo that can be confused with real ammo, 
don't use it, don't bring it.  It's dangerous, in that it may cause
your pistol to not fire in a lethal force confrontation.  
     At least 5 magazines that operate correctly in your pistol.  
     A modern semi-auto pistol in good working order.  
No ported barrels, because they will throw hot gas and burning 
powder into your face when firing from the close contact position.  
Revolvers are inappropriate because in combat, they take too long
to reload, are too difficult to reload, and require reloading too often.  
     We will perform a safety inspection of your pistol. Please bring
the manual.  You may acquire the manual from the manufacturer
free of charge. Most are online for downloading.  You may need it 
when you disassemble and clean the pistol in class.  
     A tactical flashlight.  The best long term decision on a flashlight 
would be a rechargeable flashlight, such as the Streamlight Strion, 
because the cost of batteries will bankrupt you.
The disposable battery type flashlights are cheaper,
Or, the Surefire, though they are much more expensive,
application_filterset=MTY%3D&category_filterset=MjU%3D&clear=1 is usually the cheapest place to buy them.  
I've found perfectly functional flashlights in the sporting goods
stores for as little as $40. The important thing is to have a thumb 
pressure switch on the rear of the flashlight. Press on, release off. 
No clicking, no strobes, no colors.  Simple is better. The flashlight 
should have an LED (light emitting diode) radiator, not a xenon bulb. 
The LED's are much more efficient.  They run cooler and the
batteries last longer.  
John Farnam says the flashlight should put out 500 lumens or more.
     Eye protection. Shooting glasses or safety glasses or wire screen 
goggles.  Your glasses should be clear, not tinted, because we will
be shooting at night. If you show up with dark glasses, you won't 
be able to see at night, even with your flashlight.  
Your normal prescription glasses are okay, but they should be
large enough to protect your eyes from ricocheting copper fragments 
from the bullet jackets and lead fragments from the bullets.  
The Marine Corps issued us Oakley's. They're pretty good.
     A hat with a wide brim to prevent the hot brass from getting 
caught between your glasses and your eye.
    A shirt with a high neck to prevent hot brass from going down the 
front of your shirt.  Low V neck shirts are dangerous.  The brass is 
hot enough to burn you and cause a startle response (causing an 
officer at a nuclear plant to shoot her foot, resulting in amputation
of the foot [incident report at the 2016 Tactical Conference]).  
     Ear protection. Electronic ear muffs are best as they allow you
to hear range commands and block harmful noise. Custom made
ear plugs are better.  Ear muffs over foam ear plugs are good. 
Foam ear plugs are okay if you get them deep enough into your ear 
canal to work.  If they are visible outside of your external auditory 
meatus, you probably don't have them in deep enough to be 
effective.  If they are inserted correctly, they will completely block 
your ear canal and you will feel congested. Remember, hearing loss
is cumulative and permanent.
     Water. If you displays signs of dehydration, we will ask you to 
leave.  At least 2 liters of water per person per day.  
     Food.  If you display signs of low blood sugar, we will ask you
to leave.  
     If you are taking any type of psychotropic drug, you must inform 
the instructor.  This is not disqualifying. We wish to be 
accommodating.  If you don't tell us, we may misinterpret your 
behavior to be under the influence of an illegal narcotic.  
     Ammunition.  800 rounds per person.  If this seems prohibitively 
expensive, don't worry about it.  You can always do the exercises 
dry.  You will also need at least 200 rounds for the IDPA match and 
$25 for the entry fee.
     Bring a reloading device such as the Maglula pistol magazine 
loader.  Otherwise, you may have sore and bleeding thumbs. 
Shooting 1000 rounds in two days is not the same as shooting 50 
rounds on a weekend.  
     Cleaning gear. A rod to hold your bore brush and your jag, a bronze bore brush that fits your bore (Brownells sells bore brushes 
that are much stiffer and stronger than common bore brushes,
Nylon is too soft.  It won't scrub out the fouling.  Steel is too hard. 
It will scratch your bore.  The brush must be bronze.), a jag that
can push your bore patch (e.g. lint free cloth rag, coffee filter 
[because they don't have lint], etc.) through your bore with
sufficient friction to get the dirt out, bore solvent (e.g. Hoppe’s #9), 
cleaner (e.g. WD-40), cleaning brush (like a toothbrush, but much 
stiffer [The old boar bristle tooth brushes would work. But, you're 
probably too young to have ever seen such.]), Q-tips (the kind on 
long wooden sticks are good), pipe cleaners (from a real pipe shop
not from Hobby Lobb), bore patches, lots of clean absorbent rags, 
and a lubricant.  
     Also useful: latex gloves, safety glasses, bore light, compressed 
dry air, 5 gallon plastic bucket to let parts soak in overnight in
     A concealment garment. Preferably a loose fitting button front 
shirt, so you can practice open front and closed front concealment 
garment presentations.  Stop by Goodwill and pick up a cheap 
disposable concealment garment, because you will shoot through 
your concealment garment when shooting one handed from the
close contact position.  
     Redundancy is good in case something breaks.  You might want
to bring two of everything.  If you don't have these things, ask
your instructor for help, at least two weeks before the class starts. 
Make sure you have all your equipment before the start of class. 
Don't force the instructors to run around to find equipment for you. 
Don't expect the instructors to loan you equipment.  
     You will need to wear an undershirt that is long enough to stay 
tucked in your pants.  Otherwise, your undershirt will foul your draw 
and that would be dangerous.  
     You must wear pants with belt loops. The belt loops hold your
belt down.  Your suspenders hold your belt up.  Your belt must stay
in place, because your holster is attached to your belt.  The pistol 
must remain tight against your body.  Otherwise, it's dangerous.  
     You must bring a concealment garment that does not have
draw strings.  Draw strings can get into your holster and fire your 
pistol.  Yes, as a matter of fact, it has happened many times.
You can find videos of this happening in gun stores
and on the range.  
     You must wear a wide brimmed hat to block the ejected brass 
from getting caught between your eye and your glasses. Which is 
extremely dangerous, because startled persons will point their
pistols in unsafe directions when a piece of hot brass is burning
their eyeball.  
     You must wear a high necked shirt.  Because hot brass going 
down the front of your shirt will burn you (especially if you have 
breasts) and may cause you to point your pistol in unsafe directions, 
and may cause you to commit an negligent discharge.  
     You must bring eye protection.  Wrap around shooting glasses
are best.  Wire screen glasses are okay.  Prescription glasses are 
     You must bring ear protection.  Electronic ear muffs are best. 
They allow you to her the range commands.  Regular ear muffs are 
okay.  Ear plugs that are molded to your ear canal are okay.  Foam 
squishy ear plugs are okay, if you compress them enough to get 
deep into your ear canal and actually plug your ear canal.  If they 
are sticking out of your ear, they are ineffective.  Hearing loss 
is permanent and cumulative.  It never heals.  It never gets better.  So, you have to conserve your hearing.  
     Avoid holsters that require the use of the trigger finger of the 
firing hand to actuate a button to release the pistol, such as the 
Blackhawk SERPA holster, for the following reasons:  
1. Because, the common factor in documented negligent
discharges is an unintended continuation of the movement of the 
trigger finger toward the trigger due to the “push button” motion 
required by the trigger finger to initiate firearm release.  
2. The manufacturer recommends that you not insert the pistol 
backwards into the holster, because the pistol can get stuck in the 
holster.  This is the primary technique taught for support side hand 
presentation in the federal law enforcement training schools
(FLETC, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center).  
3. The release mechanism may fail to release the pistol due to
debris (dirt, small pebbles, snow) lodging behind the release button.  
Citation – email from U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park 
Service, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20240; dated July 5, 
2012; from Acting Associate Director Louis Rowe; reference W34 
[see attached documents, or ask me for them]
Jonathan Low
(856) 952-9585