The Rise of the Private Citizen Gun Training (Cottage) Industry

Gun Culture 2.0

This summer I began collecting data for the chapter of my book that will cover the civilian or private citizen gun training industry. My first stop was a Rangemaster Firearms Training Services instructor development and certification course conducted by Tom Givens.

When Givens became a professional defensive firearms instructor in the mid-1970s, he could count his peers on one hand: Col. Jeff Cooper, John Farnham, Chuck Taylor, Masaad Ayoob.

A decade later, a curious little book by “James L. Winter” (a pseudonym) called Shooting Schools: A Second Look (Personal Defense Foundation, 1985) opened by declaring:

…today shooters cannot thumb through the pages of almost any hunting or gun publication without coming across an ad for one of the new public schools (academies or institutes) which offer weapons training [to the general public] – and which have become the fastest growing phenomenon in 1980s gun circles. (p. 1)

The author analyzed…

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