Farmers and teachers don’t make good NRA instructors?

So says a man who claims to reporters that he’s a “skilled former service member of the U.S. Army Special Forces and has trained over 5,000 soldiers and counter terrorist team members in a variety of environments from the mundane to many less permissive arenas.”


As Jan. 5 nears, a few steps remain to conceal and carry

Posted Oct. 27, 2013 @ 6:00 am

MACOMB (Mcdonough Voice) –    Applications for concealed carry can be submitted to the Illinois State Police on Jan. 5, but local residents can start preparing themselves to apply today.

With the approved curricula for concealed carry firearms training having been released by the Illinois State Police on Sept. 30, many firearms instructors have began their training programs, including several in the west-central Illinois and Macomb area.

“We’ve ran just over 200 people through in the past three weeks,” said Nick Rabenau, director of Type-A Training Group, which has begun instruction in the region. “The type of people that are coming through are people that want concealed carry … they’ve experienced it before and they want it here.”

Rabenau stresses that the qualifications necessary to receive instructor approval aren’t strict enough and suggests people research their instructors.

    “Be careful on who you pick as a training provider,” Rabenau said. “They opened it up to NRA instructors, which could be you, a school teacher, or a farmer … at the end of a two day course you’re an instructor.”


Well, Mr. Rabenau:  For a guy who runs a firearms training company but who isn’t an Illinois-approved instructor, that’s pretty big talk.   Here’s Type-A Training’s description of their trainers:

 Type A Training Group instructors are experienced operators from the prestigious United States Army Special Forces, Navy SEALS, Marine Special Operations (Force Recon), and Local, State, and Federal Law Enforcement SWAT Team members.

Conspicuously absent from his website are the names and backgrounds of any of Type A’s trainers.

That aside, Mr. Rabenau giving the impression to that small-town newspaper reporter that a farmer or a teacher would somehow be inferior instructors in teaching entry-level handgun classes to everyday civilians seeking out that training is little more than rubbish.

I know of one farmer who is an instructor with GSL Defense Training that is top notch – he’s pictured at the top left of this page working with a little girl.   Ditto for a teacher (albeit she is retired) who has taught rifle and pistol classes for three organizations for about as many years.

Frankly, I’ll put either of them up against Type A Training’s best allegedly “experienced operator” instructors in terms of their ability to teach beginners and even experienced civilians how to shoot and how to fight with their handguns.

Speaking of Type A Training, here are a couple of photos from their website of their training.


Rabenau apparently likes to submit news stories to small town papers touting his training.  In March of this year, the Canton Daily Ledger published a piece about Rabenau’s Florida concealed carry classes.

CANTON –– –  Strategic Security Systems, Inc. (SSS) offered a concealed carry permit course Wednesday at the Canton VFW.

The course covered firearms safety, proper handling of weapons and the laws associated with the Florida Concealed Carry Permit.

Attendees of the class were given all the materials needed to legally obtain a Florida Concealed Carry Permit, including the finger print cards required by Florida’s Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.

SSS President Nick Rabenau assisted with any questions or concerns about the proper filing for the permit and was assisted by law enforcement from another precinct during the course.

Rabenau is a skilled former service member of the U.S. Army Special Forces and has trained over 5,000 soldiers and counter terrorist team members in a variety of environments from the mundane to many less permissive arenas.

He recently relocated to Canton because of the rural areas and the potentially interested gun owners of Fulton County.

…People interested in enrolling in classes with SSS, Inc. or looking for a schedule of future classes or tuition pricing should contact Rabenau at 309/373-7079 or at through his email at




Two of our readers have texted me to let me know that Nick Rabenow responded to critics of his comments about instructors over at Illinois Carry.

Oh boy.  You’re going to want to make yourself some popcorn, because this is good.


Here’s the text in case the moderators over at Illinois Carry strike it.

Type A

Posted Today, 04:59 PM

All-  I heard about my name and company name being thrown around on here so I wanted to reply to the individual who started this.  The whole reason that he started this is due to the fact that the Macomb, Illinois newspaper (McDonough Voice) contact me I reference to a concealed carry article that they were writing.  Within the interview, they wanted to know what I would look for in an instructor for concealed carry training.  To give you a quick rundown, I am a former US Army Special Forces Green Beret.  My MOS is an 18C (Engineer) and my specialties are explosives and counter-terrorism.  I got out of the military in 2003 and have worked for Department of Defense and Department of State Counter-terrorism programs in About 30 countries to include Iraq and Afghanistan.  I have trained over 5000 soldiers/operators in counter-terrorism and tactics.  I currently own Strategic Security Services, Inc. (International security consulting firm) and Type A Training Group (Firearms training company) and our company has already trained over 375 personnel in the Illinois Concealed Carry Training Course.  My answer to the McDonough Voice is my own personal opinion and it comes from experience, not theory.  They asked me if I was a student for concealed carry training, what would I look for in an instructor.  I explained to them that for the concealed carry training program, I would look for an instructor that has a wide variety of experience.  I would only use an NRA only instructor (means no other experience other than the NRA instructor course), for basic pistol classes.  When it comes to learning about concealed carry and staying alive in a gun fight, I would look for someone with military, law enforcement, or security experience.  I would also look for someone that has experienced gun fights and has lived thru them.  This is proof that the instructor has to have some credibility to himself and is providing experienced based training and not theory based training.  When I am a student in a class and I ask a technical question to an instructor, if he does not answer the question with experience or give sound tips or techniques, I will probably end up loosing respect or credibility for the instructor.  This is no different than any other student.  Lets be honest here, there are a few instructors (the exact individual who started this thread), who sells Frog Lube as a full time job, only hunting experience and he went to the two da NRA Pistol Instructor Course.  He was actually in my class and was not too good at providing a classroom presentation or utilizing demonstrators for fundamental demonstrations.  He is the exact person that I would shy away from when it comes to a concealed carry training class.  I am not a fan of being in a classroom as a student and the instructor having just as much experience as 90 percent of the students.  The students are paying a premium price to attend a concealed carry course and they need to be given a level of instruction that is higher than the students experience level in the classroom.  I do understand that you will end up getting a few students that have a good back ground or competition shooter however, there are a lot of topics within the concealed carry class that builds a sound concealed carry user with a well rounded decision making process.  The course that students attend simply give students a broad over view of subjects that they need to continue to develop for themselves.  You are welcome to go onto Cyber Drive Illinois and look up both of my companies to ensure they are legit.  I can also provide JPEG photos of instructor certificates, experience records, and corporate documentation for anyone wanting to question my corporation or myself.  If you google my name, Nick Rabenau, you will be able to read up on my Special Operations background, Homeland Security Contracts that my company has had, and Law Enforcement Regional SWAT training programs that we have conducted throughout the Mid-West.  I understand that some people think that it makes them look good if they get on these Forum sites and slander individuals or companies however, it does make them look very unprofessional.  You can hide behind a computer and run someone down however, when you conduct concealed carry classes, the truth will come out on your performance.  We are an experience based training provider and we are very professional.  If you would like to inquire about our company, you can call us at 309-373-7079 or visit our website at  Thank you.  Nick Rabenau


Type A

Posted Today, 05:04 PM

All- One other thing, I noticed that the individual stated that I offered him to sit in a chair as we conduct classes and have him sign off on certificates.  I have not talked to him at all about being an instructor for us, using his “certificates”, etc.  It’s fine that he is making this stuff up however, as he slanders my name and company and people inquire about it, they end up signing up for our ccw classes because they realize the experience difference between him and us.  He also posted a lot of slander on his Facebook page two weeks ago and we have a lawsuit against him for his actions.  I hope people think twice about slandering someone for no reason when there is clearly enough work to go around with concealed carry.  Competition is good.  It keeps companies honest.  Thank you.


32 thoughts on “Farmers and teachers don’t make good NRA instructors? Huh? UPDATE: Type A responds”
  1. Nice pic of really bad muzzle control. So they teach you to aim at the guy in front of you.

    Might I suggest training with GSL Defense Training? I just finished one of their courses. Student-trainer ratio was 3:1. We shot over 7 times the required minimum number of qualifying rounds. Any problems were identified and resolved one-on-one, and shooting scenarios were real life, not just range practice. Classroom portion was informative and well organized. Thanks to GSLDT for teaching the skills I need and giving me the drills needed to maintain those skills.

    1. As I read the posts on this site, I see that every time that someone has a comment in reference to a news paper article or photo, they immediately talk about GSL Defense Training. I am guessing that this is one way to promote GSL training programs. As for the SWAT training photo, it is a four man element moving to a breach point of a house from the last cover and concealed position. They are moving in a line and none of their muzzles are pointing at each other. If you have any type of SWAT or counter terrorism background, you will know that you have minimal muzzle area due to the close proximity of individuals, especially when clearing rooms in a house or building structure. You usually use two to four man teams for room clearing.

    2. The entry of comments praising GSLDT is/was completely unsolicited.

      If those boys are SWAT, then Sgt. Sugarcookie and his team need to leave their guns at home and practice breaching the gym and the local Weight Watchers office.

  2. Love the GSL website and am on it daily. That said, I took my training from Type A, the second 8hrs that is. I met Nick and have spoken to him in person a few times since the training. I wouldn’t be too hard on him for his comments to a local paper. Was it generalizing too much, probably so. But I think the intent was to tell people to be selective. When I’ve spoken to him he has had the patience to answer all of the stupid questions I could come up with. I’m former military and from our conversations there’s no doubt in my mind he’s the real deal. Very respectful in person and professional, no gung-ho attitude observed on my part. I would give him the benefit of the doubt until another red flag shows itself.

    1. Tom,
      I really appreciate your comments posted here. I do apologize to everyone for the way that comment was structured and it was not my intent at all. The interview was over the phone and the individual interviewing me was taking notes. We were talking about what to look for in an instructor. I was simply explaining that there are a lot of people jumping on the Illinois Concealed Carry Program to make a quick buck and to watch out for the ones that do not have any other experience other than taking an NRA Pistol Instructor course and nothing else.

      For those of you who have been through the NRA Pistol Instructor course, you know how easy it is to pass. I just do not want to see people pay a premium dollar for an Illinois Concealed Carry training course and they need to get what they pay for. An individual with ZERO experience can pay $125.00 and go to an NRA Basic Pistol course one weekend and then attend the NRA Pistol Instructor course the following month.

      Once he graduates the course, he can apply to bean instructor for Illinois Concealed Carry and start teaching classes of 5, 10, 15, or 20 students if he decides too. Now……Don’t you feel that this is unsafe and if you were a student, don’t you feel that you are just trading information with the instructor. What does the instructor bring to the table if he only has three days of formalized experience?

      These are the instructors that worry me. Not to mention, instructors have to not only know how to teach a class in a classroom setting, they also have to do range set up, orient students to the range, range safety brief, medical briefing, break down students into groups and rotations, run shooting drills, ensure safety, deal with problem students, and conduct the qualification.

      I hope that instructors that are in this boat are utilizing assistant instructors and ensure a safe student to instructor ratio on the firing line. We conduct instructor development courses and we understand what is expected of a credible instructor. Students need confidence in the instructors and instructors need to have experience to answer the scenario based questions that student ask in a classroom setting or tactical type questions that they ask on the range like malfunction drills, reloads, low light situations, etc.

      I am not bashing NRA instructors because I am one. I am just telling students to make sure there instructor is well rounded.

    2. Thank you for your articulate response, Nick.

      I too have some issues with some of the new Illinois-approved instructors. Particularly the NRA Rifle instructors who have applied for and received the Illinois Concealed Carry Instructor approval from the ISP.

      The NRA does do a fairly respectable job teaching their prospective instructors how to teach in the classroom. They provide excellent starter materials and class plans, easy and simple enough for instructors to teach new shooters good fundamentals for using their firearms safely and effectively. NRA instructor materials cover all of those points you allude to in detail. It’s not like NRA hasn’t been doing this for a long, long time.

      Furthermore, instructor applicants are supposed to have many years of shooting experience and are required to demonstrate some degree of competence at gun handling as part of their instructor course. I will say that training counselors vary in terms of following through on properly scoring those qualification-like shooting requirements. They run the gamut from Yackley to one extreme (strict) to the other.

      In the end, these newly-minted lay-person NRA instructors vary in skills, experience and communications abilities, of course, just as soldiers and cops do.

      As instructors, everyone has to start somewhere. I was there in the mid- to late-90s.

      After taking some nationally-known courses from the likes of Ayoob and others, I started bringing some of that information back to share with students.

      Some of our best students continued with training at the regional and national level, then got their training credentials, and have come back to teach with us as they liked how we taught and what we taught to beginners and experienced shooters alike. They shared our passion of teaching people the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be a ethical and responsible gun owner capable of defending themselves and their families with their guns.

      We’ve met other instructors in our endeavors who we thought were superlative and brought some of them onboard to teach with us. They too share our passion for teaching.

      Today, GSL Defense Training has over fifteen outstanding instructors and not a one of which is a US Navy SEAL. We’ve got your farmer and your teacher. We’ve got a bunch of lawyers, retired folks, computer nerds and even a guy who does some telemarketing. We’ve even got a father-figure in a retired FBI agent/attorney who specialized in SWAT and firearms training for federal LEOs.

      As an experienced team of NRA instructors, we have an open door policy for newly-minted (or even veteran) NRA instructors to come intern with us to see how a well-run class looks and to steal our techniques to make themselves better instructors. It’s free to these new instructors and we even buy them lunch as our way of saying “thanks” as we usually will exploit their labor a little on set-up and tear-down. This applies even if they are going to be “competitors” in the world of NRA training.

      I can’t speak for everyone else’s classes, but I can speak for GSL Defense Training’s coursework. Do I think our students as “NRA” instructors – are somehow under-served because we don’t have any SEALs?

      Not only no, but “Oh hell no!”.

      The people we teach aren’t kicking doors and hunting al qaeda. They are Joe and Jane Sixpack, learning how to avoid becoming the victim of criminal predators. If all else fails, they are learning how to use their handgun to thwart a criminal’s attack.

      While I commend you for much of the good advice you promote, we disagree on your sales pitch for touting your company’s claimed stable of high-speed, low-drag trainers. Most of what those men know and their experiences are utterly irrelevant for the civilian learning the very basics for civilian concealed carry as part of an 8-hour class – four hours of which are supposed to be spent on legal considerations. I suppose you market to your strong suit and for that I can’t fault you.

      I’ll be in touch with you via email. I think you’ve got some good information, and good experiences to draw from. It’s just that I disagree with your seeming blanket criticism of NRA instructors as being in some way inadequate in the role of teaching basic firearm safety and the safe and efficient use of firearms in introductory-level self-defense training.

      All the best, Nick.


  3. I concede that many of his recommendations in both of the newspaper articles were pretty good.

    Slighting farmers or teachers as NRA instructors really struck a nerve with me.


  4. The first image makes me cringe – totally unsafe. As for the second image, how high is the burm behind that target?

    I’ve been through many GSL classes. They will teach you safe, effective firearms handling – AND, you will have a lot of fun. If you are just starting, they will give you the basics without being intimidating or making you feel dumb. If you are an experienced shooter, they will make you better.

    1. My critique with the second photo was the girl leaving her entire head and upper chest exposed. If she moved to the left just a bit, she would protect a big part of her head and chest.


    2. Bingo on both counts. I don’t care what you put on your resume or how big your ego is – SAFETY is priority 1, 2, and 3.

      Walking a line, muzzle up or firing up into the air? I’ll take safe, friendly and professional ‘farmers’ all day long!

      As far as GSL and Mr. Boch, top notch trainers and I trusted them without hesitation with training my lovely wife.

      (BTW, I hear mechanical engineers working in the medical device industry make good instructors too, thank you very much)

    3. JC,
      Nobody here said that safety was not priority. I have a feeling that you get commission from GSL for your blogs.

    4. Sir,

      The first image is completely safe if you have any tactical back ground to you. Again, you made a comment an then jumped right on GSL’s training. Read my comment to John. The second picture is a photo of a girl learning position shooting. She was just using the barricade to shoot over. She was practicing kneeling shooting.

    5. It doesn’t *appear* safe, and unless the photo was taken with a *very* long lens, I wouldn’t consider it safe or allow it at any class I oversee or participate in.

      And frankly, those boys in the photo appear to have about as much tactical background as Rachel Jeantel.

      So, with all due respect, the “we aren’t tactical enough to understand” doesn’t fly.


  5. I have also taken multiple classes from GSL Defensive Training, as have my family members. They’ve all been outstanding. And long ago I had tactical or LEO training elsewhere back when those were appropriate for my situation.

    Civilian classes should be different from the “tactical, high-speed, low-drag” type of military and LEO operator training.

    These are two different audiences. We civilians need different training and a different training style.

    Generalizing a bit, in my experience, instructors that specialize in military and LEO training are often not the best when it comes to training first-time shooters and people with various handicaps. They are often not as personable or caring with the shy student or the student that needs extra help to learn something. The skills that they have and teach are wonderful for the “operator”. Those attitudes and skills work well in that environment but are not those that serve us best as concealed carry civilians. That’s not bad, it just is.

    I want instructors that have the skills, temperament and yes, the teaching ability of a local civilian “farmer or teacher”. You know, the same guys that we relate to on a daily basis.

    I can’t speak of Mr. Rabenau’s teaching skills because I’ve never even met him. I agree with him and Mr. Boch that you should choose your trainers carefully because these skills could very well be life-saving. I’ll stay with instructors and training companies I’ve know for many years over the companies formed to take advantage of the CCW gold rush in Illinois.

    1. “We civilians need different training and a different training style.”

      Yeah? How well would that serve you against an illegal entry by a testosterone-jacked, steroid-pumped police SpecOps team?


    2. We have conducted civilian training for years under my parent company, Strategic Security Services, Inc. We have also conducted a training contract through Homeland Security training 85 SWAT team members making a 17 county regional SWAT team. Our company is very diverse and we have NRA instructors, LE SWAT officers, military instructors, and security consultants. I completely agree with your last paragraph!!! Spot on.

  6. John, thank you for defending my honor and that of other qualified instructors who happen to be teachers and farmers. I understand Nick’s meaning. He just didn’t choose his words very carefully. People from all walks of life have various skills from life and job experiences that they bring to training. A diverse group of instructors makes it easier to relate to a diverse group of students. Looking forward to our next training experience.

  7. How about mechanics? Chiropractors? Financial advisors? Computer trouble shooters? Medical device reps? Firefighters? Sound engineers?

    …any of those might be hiding behind that false promise of a Fortress Defense Instructor’s shirt.

    John, you and I both know that “police” and “military” listed in someone’s creds has very little application to what CCW holders need to be taught.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Frank,
      All of us have our own opinions just as you listed in your post about military and LE. I respect your comment and I have a feeling that a lot of people on this blog site will support law enforcement and military being in someone’s back ground as opposed to frowning on it.

    2. We support it plenty, as I’m sure you’ve noticed if you’ve perused our blog entries.

      Recognizing, honoring and revering those who have served is who we are and what we do.

      However, RIF. As Frank says, ““police” and “military” listed in someone’s creds has very little application to what CCW holders need to be taught.”


  8. I wonder if this person thinks I’m unqualified too teach Classes because I have an NRA Instructors Certificate in Pistols, Personnel Protection, Rifle, Shotguns, oh did I mention that I was in the US Navy, Vietnam Veteran trained by some of the best Marine Corp rifle instructors! oh yes I taught Tech classes for 12 years at the Vo-Tech and have been a State Firearms Hunter Safety Instructor for over 10 years, am retired now but I was raised a country boy in a small town, I bought my first rifle at 12 and Handgun at 16, I am a amateur Gun smith and have built many .45s and 2 custom rifles, I reload, so I have lost a step because of age but I’m not an Egotistical Blow hard like this Limp dick as for the photo the angle of the photo creates the optical illusion , if you look really close, drag’s rifle is clear of Slack back

    1. Ken:

      Clearly you’re not nearly high speed, low-drag enough to teach CCW applicants.

      Or is it high drag, low-speed enough?

      I get them cornfused.

      I think Mr. Type A did offer some good advice in his articles, but that one line disparaging everyday people who often more or less volunteer their time to teach people firearm safety and the basic fundamentals of firearms use eclipsed all of that.

      It doesn’t matter if you’re a garbage man, telemarketer or unemployed: If you’re sharing safe and responsible NRA training with people, you’re doing good work and I salute you.

      Sure, some people are more charismatic and/or experienced than others, but we’re all working towards the same goal.

    2. Ken,

      You just made my point. You said you learned from a lot of Marine Corp instructors etc……Isn’t that what I was talking about? Picking your instructor and wanting to learn from the more experienced ones, etc? This is exactly what I said. Everything that you listed here as you talk up your back ground has to do with rifle training and experience, gun smith (which is not pistol training and experience), and other misc. jack jaw comments. The only experience you have is the two day NRA Pistol Instructor Course and I am guessing you shot about 20 rounds at this course correct? Take it easy on your comments, esp. if you are really a veteran.

  9. Does Type “A” stand for asshole?

    Just a personal OPINION based question on reading this guy’s rant. You know, as a non-special forces Rambo SEAL Delta operator ninja type of normal tax-paying American, with a normal sized unit who’s not compensating for anything.

    I’ll stick to the farmers, thank you very much.

  10. Methinks Rabenau could use a press person or spokes-rep.

    Me also hopes that he teaches better than he writes, cause his writin’ shows him’s as dumb as a box’o’twats!

    Guys, grow up!

    1. Ken,

      I agree with you!! I am an operator, not a public affairs person. Lol. I need an additional marketing person to assist me.

  11. As the Obamacare fiasco demonstrates doctors insurers and reinsurers imploding in on one another over those dollars, we witness the “trainers” eat their own and squabble for a pecking order and crop share. The common thread between the two examples is government mandate upon individuals.

    The “qualification” for exercise of the right to carry a firearm is CITIZENSHIP. (you can quote Thomas on that)

    Let the free market decide INDEED! drop the nefarious individual mandate as the unconstitutional garbage that it is. See those who WANT training seek out those offering that service for a fee. Leave the rest of us alone. “Trainers” taking big bucks from people compelled to but their “services” are SNAKES – akin to the insurance companies suits loving every bit of the Obamacare individual mandates. Sad it is to see this happening….

    1. It’s the sandwich given us by legislators in Springfield.

      If you feel so strongly it’s not needed, either work within the system to elect sympathetic legislators… or

      Just withdraw your consent to be governed and strap on and go about your business.

      Thanks for re-beating this dead horse.

      You are not helping with the former, so I invite you to the latter with your fringe rhetoric.


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