NRA trainers run the gamut from outstanding and dedicated experienced instructors to newbies (fairly common now in Illinois) to not so outstanding trainers.

Then there are a small handful of unethical so-called “trainers” out solely for the almighty dollar, grinding large numbers of students through what are effectively “diploma mills” while not even meeting mandated minimums.

Some even go so far as to deceptively advertise their coursework with fast and loose descriptions that at best are unethical and at worst violate government regulations and laws.  Sometimes they then threaten legal action when called out on it.  The best defense is a good offense, the old saw goes.

Every once in a while one of these scoundrel types really gets nailed.

We’d like to introduce you to one of those scoundrels.

Meet Donald Crangle.

Meet “Sgt.” Don Crangle.
Image courtesy

He was a “prolific” trainer in St. Louis County.

He has been on the radar of police for some time, but one of his over-eager students busted him out when he showed up at a police station to get his Missouri carry license with a concealed carry certificate of completion early in the afternoon.

The only problem?

The eight-hour class wasn’t supposed to get out until hours later.


Some students might not have had a problem with an unethical trainer cutting corners well below course minimums.

Well, we shall see if they don’t change their tune if their permits get yanked because of faulty  training certificates.

Of course, Mr. Crangle’s take on it is appalling.

He says the offenses he pleaded guilty to are “nothing” charges.

He says he’s “innocent”.

Yeah right, pal.

You’re a scumbag of the highest order, tarnishing the reputation of all NRA-certified instructors with those already skeptical about NRA trainers because of distrust for the NRA in general.

We’re pleased the NRA yanked his training credentials.  Mr. Crangle and all those like him are a disgrace to legitimate firearm trainers nationwide.


Clayton, MO (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) • One of the area’s most prolific trainers of Missouri’s armed citizens is maintaining his innocence despite his guilty plea earlier this week to seven counts of falsifying documents his students used to obtain permits to carry guns in public.

Firearms instructor Donald Crangle, 53, was accused of cutting corners in gun classes required for residents interested in getting concealed carry permits.

Police turned their attention to Crangle’s operation in March after a clerk in the county police department’s records division noticed an applicant’s certificate showed he had received the required eight hours of firearms training that day even though it was only 1:30 p.m. County detectives then signed up for Crangle’s next class at his home in the 6400 block of Fort Bellefontaine Road.

After just three hours, Crangle told the 11 students in the class that day that they had completed the course even though they had not met any of the state-mandated criteria, police said.

Investigators estimate that Crangle has taught nearly 2,000 people in St. Louis County alone since 2008. He was also a registered instructor in St. Charles and Jefferson counties as well as St. Louis and Florida.

The NRA revoked Crangle’s certification after he was charged.

Judge Mary Bruntrager Schroeder sentenced Crangle on Monday to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service on four counts of issuing a false instrument or certificate. She also forbid him from teaching concealed carry permit classes. Should he violate his probation, he could spend six months in jail on the charges.

She also sentenced him to one year of probation and 100 hours of community service for the remaining three charges of providing false information regarding the performance of an applicant.

Both sentences are to run concurrently.

Reached by phone Friday, Crangle called them “nothing charges” and said he had pleaded guilty because “there is no fighting St. Louis County.”

Crangle claims he has video showing that the class the undercover officers attended lasted about six hours. He says it would have lasted longer, but a SWAT team interrupted the class. He said he didn’t provide the tapes to the court.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “The St. Louis County police is like a military force, and eventually you’ll all realize that. How can you fight them?


5 thoughts on “Corner-cutting “trainers”: Convicted trainer claims he’s innocent…”
  1. I don’t care. Training in Illinois is only there to keep the poor from getting an Illinois CCL. Most states don’t require any training. Statistically there is no difference in accidents or misuse by CCW holders between states that require training or none at all. Why would I care if a Trainer is qualified or not? It makes no difference in real life. It’s only there to keep the number of CCL license holders down and has nothing to do with public safety.

    1. Why would I care if a Trainer is qualified or not? It makes no difference in real life.


      Really, now.

    2. Obviously you would want your money’s worth if you are paying for anything, training included. My comment was more to the requirement of training to get an Illinois CCL. The training it’s self isn’t needed. It’s just there to keep the number of license holders down.

  2. That is what happens when TCs don’t follow the NRA methodology and mentor the instructors they create. So many TCs are just in it for the buck and do not even know that the NRA guidelines state you your job just starts when you help create an instructor. Your suppose to mentor and assist with the development.
    I have asked 8 new instructors trained by different TCs and none of them felt their instructor cared what they did or even helped them along after they become instructors.

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