by John Boch

We’ve seen some outstanding instructors and courses in Illinois in recent years, for both beginners and more advanced shooters.  No, we’re not talking only about the nationally-known instructors like Massad Ayoob, who come to Illinois as part of teaching throughout the nation, but local schools and instructors.

Adamax near Decatur is one of those we’ve heard pretty rave reviews about, for example.

There are some very good NRA offerings as well, but the quality of those varies, sometimes wildly.

Being involved in training ourselves, we’ve also seen some that make us cringe.  Here are a couple of examples.

Not long ago, we got word of a couple of guys offering a 5-hour Florida CCW class between Champaign and Bloomington.  Nothing wrong with that, although it certainly falls in the “bare minimum” category.

The story we got from a couple of their students is that their course of fire consisted of firing five rounds.


Bang, bang.

Bang, bang.

And they spent the first half-hour eating donuts and still more time bashing President Obama.

Cutting corners from the bare minimum is not only unethical, but it’s selling your students short in a big way.  This is training people may well use to save their lives someday and I’m not sure how people could sleep at night if they knew their sub-standard product got an innocent person killed, be it a former student or another innocent.

Then there’s a guy from Wisconsin teaching Utah classes.  For $200 he’ll “train” you to get your Utah CCW license.  The problems began, for the guys we knew, when almost a third of the class was non-class-related jawboning and then they adjourned early, well under the four-hours required by Utah.  As the late Billy Mays would say, “But there’s more!”.   For another $75, he and/or his associate will take you to a range and watch you shoot a few shots (as in a cylinder full at most), and sign off on something to qualify you to get your Florida CCW.

Our friends were very disappointed with their experience, doubly so when they learned that they could have spent less money on tuition and gotten a high-quality two-day personal protection class, firing over 200 rounds instead.

Just when we thought those were bad, something landed in our mailboxes this morning that trumps both of those.

TACTICAL SECURITY INSTITUTE, LLC is offering pre-registration for the 16-hour Illinois Concealed Carry class.  We’ve not heard of them before, but there’s plenty of new folks out there, ink hardly dry on their instructor certifications, planning on teaching Illinois carry classes.  That’s okay.  After all, we all have to start somewhere.

TSI is offering a number of courses, but the email we got was primarily about an Illinois carry class.

We’re unsure of the entire layout of their course, but they require 35 rounds for enrollees.

35 rounds…  and the qualification shoot for Illinois is 30 rounds.

Yes, a 16-hour class where they fire 35 rounds.

Here’s their marketing email:

Hello again from the TSI team,

We are still gathering information about the concealed carry class from the Illinois State Police. We want to remind everyone that you will have to qualify with a firearm (handgun only) to pass the class. According to the new law, applicants will fire a total of 30 rounds at a silhouette target; 10 rounds from a distance of 5 yards; 10 rounds from a distance of 7 yards; and 10 rounds from a distance of 10 yards. Applicants must successfully score a minimum of 70%. That means that you have to have 21 hits on the paper to qualify for your permit.

With that being said, we highly suggest that you take some time over the next couple of months to practice at these distances. We have also seen a shortage of ammunition over the last 6 months. We suggest that you put aside at least 35 rounds (an extra 5 rounds in case of ammo malfunctions) so you have enough to use during the class.

We will keep you informed of any new information in upcoming emails.

If you have taken any of our past classes and you like us, we ask that you tell your friends and co-workers about our training. We get our business almost exclusively through word of mouth from our satisfied students. Attached to this email you will find a flyer advertising the opportunity to pre-register for our Illinois Concealed Carry Class. We would appreciate anyone willing to print out our flyer and post it in your workplace, club, or place of social gathering.

Thank you,

Tactical Security Institute


But the good news?

All of their instructors are experienced law enforcement or military, according to their pre-registration flyer..

As though that means anything.

Just because they are law enforcement or military doesn’t mean they can teach.

For those of you looking to get the best training out there, and to avoid some flim flam artists, read this article on how to find a better class and some things to avoid in training.

Finding the right (quality) firearm training program for you



3 thoughts on “Bottom-notch training: 16-hour training course, 35 rounds required”
  1. When I took my first CHL course the teacher was a retired police officer (his name was Officer Tidwell) and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the class. He was like a rednecked Socrates, asking rhetorical (and non-rhetorical) questions that got you thinking about ethics, morality, justice, violence, physics, mathematics…you name it. The guy really made the subject matter interesting to me. I feel like it taught me a lot and most importantly to THINK and to use your mind especially in a dangerous situation. I thank Officer Tidwell whenever I think about how the responsible use of my guns has kept me safe, by the will of The Lord. Thank you, Sir!

  2. I’m a huge fan of our military men and women, but I agree 100% that having served does NOT make one (a) a good shot, or (b) qualified to teach. Case in point? My mother retired as a Lt. Col, ‘nam vet w/ 35 yrs active + reserves. She passed every qualification in the service.

    When did she actually learn to shoot? When I gave her the NRA Basic Pistol class.

    Caveat Emptor, folks!

    (By the way, I *highly* recommend Mr. Boch and his GSL Defensive Training team!)

  3. Anytime there’s a market ripe for exploitation, there will be exploiters. Be wary of them.

    Everyone that plans on taking new training (and many of us in IL will shortly), should spend some time researching class content, the organization, and instructors’ history before signing up. There are plenty of well known, experienced instructors that have great reputations and verifiable history. Some of the best are right here in Illinois, including GSL Defense Training, and others that are members of GSL, ISRA, and other NRA affiliated organizations. Go with one of them instead of a newly minted instructor at a for-profit business. It’s not just the instructor’s skills with a weapon… they need to be able to teach in a way that the student learns. And they should insist on staying with it until the students actually learn the skills and material presented.

    Remember, it’s not just to get a card for your wallet. Your loved one’s life may depend upon this training.

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