Last week we completed a five-day Deadly Force Instructor class in Florida, graduating 21 future trainers on the topic.

Teaching use of force is my primary occupation. I love the “train the trainers” classes because they get needed information out to so many more people.  The survey of the class indicated that in the next year, they’ll train well over 5,000 men and women who keep or carry firearms for defense of themselves and their families.

DFI class photo FL 2021

The teaching cadre consisted of Marty Hayes, former chief law enforcement officer and founder and president of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network; Dr. Art Joslin; retired police supervisor and SWAT cop Steve Denney; and me. Training hours tallied about 48.

The first two days focused on the details of the material. The third day revolved around teaching techniques and the importance of being able to back up the student who did what he or she was taught: testifying as an expert or material witness as to their documented training. Day four was entirely moot court in a disputed self-defense shooting scenario, complete with an actual currently-sitting criminal court judge.

On the final day, the instructor candidates instructed. A tough written exam completed the course.  We were pleased with the evaluations we got back from the 21 newly minted instructors, among whom were five attorneys.

In training we sometimes talk about the “oil stain effect.”  As a drop of oil spreads outward on a piece of linen, training the trainers spreads knowledge.  We learn something about tactics, skill set, or trial strategy.  We share it with another instructor. That instructor in turn shares it with their student, and in that third generation of the transmission the knowledge is applied, saving an innocent person’s life and/or career and future.

It’s one of the most satisfying things we do. This is our last one for this year, but we’ll be doing at least two more in 2022.  If you’re interested, keep an eye on my website,


  1. A ‘star-studded’ cast doing an important job! Way above my level, but hopefully next year one of your trainees will be training me.

  2. An amazing class no doubt.

    I was looking through some photo’s the other day from our Training the Trainers class we did at Chapman Academy when Ray blessed us with his presence.
    That was a fun week.

  3. It was a pleasure to meet you some years back at a Washington State IDPA match. Recently a student was shot and killed by a negligent discharge during a training exercise. Wondering what your thoughts might be on how much responsibility the instructor takes.

    • I once spent a year responsible for a shooting range. A wholly united set of firm hands is needed to keep everybody on the ball, from the chief of staff on down. Patience is necessary, but so is an inflexible attitude when range rules are ignored or simply violated. I never had a casualty when I supervised, but a few people had to be expelled and not invited back. People who try to escape paying fees, attempt to drive to the targets and back, don’t observe muzzle control, etc., need to be put on a short leash or excused. And no whining allowed. Trap shooting is just as dangerous as any other event. The negligent discharge that you mention would come primarily from poor trigger finger indexing, or from anxiety. The fatality would come from poor muzzle control. Each shooter should obviously be interviewed and observed individually for following posted rules before and during loading.

  4. Yes, establishing the knowledge base in the minds and hearts of people, then helping them learn HOW to transmit that knowledge to those who don’t have it but need it is a VERY needful thing.

    I have been vlessed and honoured to be able to work with other instructors in Project Appleseed. We are always honing our craft, helping each other learn how to be more effective, engage with the students who come, some never having touched a rifle until they get to the training event. The improvement in all aspects of marksmanship in just one twoday event is often astounding, and VERY rewarding. We have a “train the trainer” two day event coming up for the new handgun course that will become part of our training regimen. Talk aboiut “in over my head”….. Only one way to move from here, though.

    Some one of these fine days I certainly hope I can manage to attend one of YOUR classes, Mas. some day……

  5. Thank you for doing what you do. I was so impressed by one of your MAG20 trainers this year that I’m going back next year with him again. Doubt I’m $5 bill good. Hopefully I can beat my score. Focus on the task at hand, as you say….

  6. Mas – “Day four was entirely moot court in a disputed self-defense shooting scenario, complete with an actual currently-sitting criminal court judge.”

    Do you ever video any of these “moot court” training sessions? If so, are the videos available for public viewing via YouTube, etc.? (perhaps in an abridged and edited version?)

    If they are not recorded and made available, why not? Is it because the manifold issues of a court case can never be truly illustrated by such a training session? Therefore, you don’t want to give the public a simplistic impression?

    Or would it be due to a reluctance to appear to be giving “legal advice”, even in the form of a simple training recording, to the public?

    I think that these “moot court” training sessions would be very interesting. Although, I can understand why it may be wise to limit them to “paying customers”! 🙂

    If a limited release audience is more desirable than a release to the general public, what about recording such videos and then making them available to the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network?

    As usual Mas, your training is “Next Level”

  7. I seem to remember our DFI was six days – in beautiful Washington state. I was having a bad time there, but the challenge helped me put things in perspective; that and some peer counseling with Vince O’Neill. Thanks brother, it was a great show.

  8. i will always remember the late Colonel David Hackworth’s general plan of instruction: “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them.” Been reviewing my personal history of firearms instruction. (1) Rifle and shotgun in the old Boy Scouts under an Army veteran expert instructor (incomparable), (2) Air Force M-16 and 1911A1 (from a phenomenal Security Police pistol instructor), (3) eventually the late John Satterwhite (an unbelievably expert trick shotgun shooter and former Air Force marksmanship instructor, as well as an Olympic team captain) on mastering the shotgun, (4) later two NRA-trained security guard instructors (also excellent), and (5) last but not least, the now mysteriously absent YouTube Maineprepper, who reported that he had Reyes’ Syndrome and dropped out of sight. I learned from all of them, but I also realize that a Massad Ayoob class or two are virtual Holy Grails for me.

    • Strategic Steve,

      It would be wonderful to have one good teacher, but you have been blessed with many. What a great country we live in! This training is not available everywhere. In fact, I bet it is a rare thing to find world-wide.

      I remember watching Maineprepper videos when he was making them. Great guy. Thankfully there are other great prepper teachers we get to watch for free, once we have Internet access.

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