Last week we graduated another DFI class of more than thirty Deadly Force Instructors from all over the country, spanning Hawaii to the East Coast. We were hosted by the Trigger Pressers Union in Pittsburgh.

I always enjoy teaching a “train the trainers” program. Each candidate makes a presentation – you can’t deem people competent to instruct if you haven’t seen them instruct – and they all finished the forty-plus-hour program well.  Co-instructor Art Joslin, JD and I were pleased with the outcome.

The satisfying thing with a class like this is what some trainers call “the oil-stain effect.”  A drop of oil lands on a piece of linen.  It spreads and spreads.  Information is passed from the instructor-trainer to the new instructor, who passes it on to each trainee, and somewhere in that third generation of the transmission the knowledge prevents a tragedy and saves lives and careers.  Much like the old example of the ripples of a stone landing in the water.

Our survey of the graduates, most of whom were teaching already, indicated that in the next year the information we shared over that week will reach almost thirteen thousand of their students.

I find that particularly satisfying. 

We’ll be doing at least one more of those in 2023: our schedule for the coming year should be posted soon at


  1. Hey Mas.

    You need to change your thinking.

    These folks are not instructors. ALL of your students are instructors. All of your students have contact with thousands of people on a yearly basis, and have the ability to inform, demonstrate, share and train.

    I know your classes are already packed with information, but perhaps you should talk to them about their role in spreading the gospel. Not just to newbies, but to ignorant gun owners who have not had training, education or enlightenment.

    • I distinctly recall Mas saying that we as mag 40 students should go out and disseminate the good information wherever we find bad information or bad tactics. That’s not to say I’m a “qualified” instructor, just that I (we) have some knowledge worth passing along. Pass it along. ?

      • Yes, I remember him asking something like: how many of you are teachers? Most people thinking, does he mean if I teach at a school?

        No. We are all teachers to some degree, Mas said it is our obligation to spread the knowledge of safety, preparation, skills, etc. MAG40 put down a strong foundation for me, so glad I took it.

      • And even when you’re not “passing it along,” you are still teaching. New shooters, and non-shooters are watching whenever we handle firearms, so we are setting examples. It’s essential to set good examples, not bad ones.

    • Well, I think he basically said that in a way.

      Nevertheless, one might reconsider how one packages one’s ideas that one wishes another to dutifully consider. Declaratively flinging out assertions that imply “You are wrong! Change your thinking! Listen to me!” isn’t exactly using honey to catch a fly, especially when you’re hurling it at one with a resume that reads longer than the damned Canterbury Tales and has a reputation that’s more solid than reindeer stock on Christmas Eve.

      Just a suggestion.

      • I meant actually including some of the material from the instructor class in the 40 class. You misunderstood what I was trying to say, and what my intent was. No disrespect was ever intended.

  2. Bravo!

    And it’s not just the immediate effect. You’re passing the torch for future generations, [Are you sure some of those folks are old enough to teach? ;-)] as the great instructors of the past, like Cooper, et al, did for us.

  3. Looks like a great class.
    I always look back fondly on our “Train the Trainers” week at Chapman Academy with a great group of folks and having Ray Chapman there. That was the icing on the cake.

  4. Yes, there are certified instructors and we need them to make sure they teach to a standard. There are also many ‘uncertified’ instructors who take the knowledge we learn at various training events and relay them to new gun owners and those who are effective marksmen but want to know defensive tactics as well.

    I always promote professional training to others, but impromptu training from those simply knowledgeable in defensive arts is valuable too.

    • So true! I let my instructor credentials expire in 1992. When someone asks me to teach them now, I will, but I emphasize that after I give them a basic safety lesson with the opportunity to shoot a few rounds, they need to follow up with a professional instructor. The real instructor will probably be happy if their new student knows not to point the pistol in an unsafe direction and to keep their finger off the trigger until they are ready to shoot.

  5. Mas, Art, and The E.P. put on a fantastic program. I took DFI this past summer and enjoyed every single minute of it. Even as a seasoned teacher, professor and instructor, I walked away from this course a way better instructor on this material. And, it was just plain fun, Charles Bronson and all.

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