Basic CWT Course by Lance Biddle

Your instructor:

Lance Biddle. Oh, yeah? So who’s that? Ok. So, who am I? Don’t you deserve to know something about the experience, skills, and training of the person who are you paying to teach you about firearms?
I think you do.  Should you give your money, and perhaps stake your life on training from someone who you know nothing about?? Of course not!!


As a Life Member of the N.R.A. since 1980, and an N.R.A. Law Enforcement Instructor since 1985, I will tell you, right up front, that I personally have negative issues with N.R.A.’s training; especially where it concerns personal protection training.

Yeah, I’m a N.R.A. Personal Protection instructor myself. I’m also an N.R.A. Law Enforcement instructor, was an Ohio Peace Officer Training Council firearms instructor for 18 years, since 1978, and I’ve been a Florida Criminal Justice and Training Commission Instructor, with a High Liability Certification in Firearms, for 13 years now, since 1996. I have the Florida “K” license to instruct and qualify Private Security Guards and Investigators; and I am also a 30+ year practical shooting competitor, an I.D.P.A. Safety Officer Instructor and the I.D.P.A. Area Coordinator for the state of Florida. I was a street cop for 23 years, all in patrol, mostly on graveyard shift, and I know what a bad guy looks like with gun sights superimposed over his chest.

Ok, so I’ve been “around the block” a couple of times. With that in mind, it’s my advice that you should be very careful about relying on or paying for instruction from a person whose only certification is the “NRA Personal Protection Instructor”, or “NRA Pistol Instructor”!!

While some of these folks really are experienced instructors, with a significant background in self defense weapons training; many more have no more background and experience than a single two day NRA instructor’s class. Unfortunately, the Florida Concealed Weapons Licensing Law permits any “State of Florida or NRA Instructor” to conduct Concealed Weapons License training; and there are no minimum standards for training class content. This leaves the door open for anyone, regardless of their own level of training or experience, to attend a two-day NRA instructor class, and market themselves as instructors, usually behind a flashy website. Unfortunately, this is the minimum standard of training for civilian firearms instructors in the State of Florida. That’s just how it is.

I personally know of some “NRA instructors” who are beginning level shooters themselves; who have no practical, “real world” experience at all!

I maintain that they can’t teach what they don’t know themselves! Except, perhaps, from a book! You can read the book yourself!

Buyer beware!

It’s your responsibility to know who you’re being taught by! Ask about your instructor’s qualifications and, most importantly; their own practical training background!

The training that you will receive from me is not based on NRA training. My instructional techniques are based on a combination of Law Enforcement training; from the recruit level, up through SWAT; mixed with the teachings of Col. Jeff Cooper, years of practical shooting competition, and 30+ years of street work, either dealing with the real bad guys, or training others who go in harm’s way.

I joined the Grove City (Ohio) Police Department in 1973, at the ripe old age of 23. Grove City is an adjoining suburb of Columbus, Ohio, which I’ve always referred to as “the Armpit of the Midwest”. Retired since 1995, to this day I can’t sit in a restaurant with my back to the door. I’m always armed, because I’ve seen, too many times, what can happen to good people who run into one of our society’s predators. I scan before I walk into a bank or a convenience store. I try to always stay in “Yellow”! I know I can be a victim as a civilian, just as I could have been as a cop.

I was on the department for 6 weeks and I was so wet behind the ears that it was dripping on my collar, when I was involved in an incident where I came within less than a second of blasting a drunken, stupid, but armed, idiot with my Remington 870, 12 gauge shotgun.  The first of many such incidents.God smiled at me that night, and at him. He lived, and never knew how close to death he’d been.

After that little “epiphany”, I determined to learn as much about firearms and skill at arms as I could. In those years, my department, as permitted under Ohio law at the time, had no firearms training or requalification program. Fortunately, my Basic Law Enforcement Academy commander at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Academy was the late Bill Groce, one of the finest weapons and survival instructors that has ever lived. (No, you’ve never heard of him, but trust me!)

Bill introduced me to Ken Hackathorn, a former Green Beret; who at the time was conducting defensive pistol matches in Marietta, Ohio. Ken went on to be one of the founding members of I.P.S.C. and 20 years later, I.D.P.A; as well as a world known instructor.
I shot many of these early competition matches, practiced and trained with Ken; and I, and several of the officers on my department; those interested in their own survival, involved ourselves in our own personal training back then.

In 1976, I was privileged to attend a week long Defensive Pistol class conducted by: Col. Jeff Cooper and Ken Hackathorn, in Marietta, Ohio. (This was before Gunsite was completed.) This class opened my eyes to what I really needed to learn. One of my classmates was… my basic academy instructor: Bill Groce. (If you aren’t familiar with Cooper, Hackathorn, or Gunsite; do a Google search!)

In 1978, using a LEEPS funds grant, and personal vacation time, at my own arrangement; I attended the first Firearms Instructor class presented at the then new Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy. The head instructor at the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy firearms training section was, again: Bill Groce; recently retired from the Franklin County, Ohio Sheriff’s Department, as a Lieutenant and their SWAT team commander.

Early in 1979, officers of my department were involved in a shooting incident, after which the current Chief of Police finally learned the meaning of the term: “Vicarious Liability”.

Suddenly, overnight, I was in charge of a firearms training program that didn’t exist.

Subsequently, I created my department’s firearms training program, and; either personally conducted the training, or after my promotion to Sergeant in 1985, supervised it, until my retirement in 1995.

Upon my move to the Gunshine State, I immediately began working toward the goal of becoming C.J.S.T.C. certified to teach firearms to cops in Florida. I accomplished this in 1996 and became an instructor at the Lake County Public Safety Academy, being the Lead Weapons Instructor in 1998 & 1999.

Having moved to southern Florida, I’ve joined the training staff at the South Florida Community College, in Avon Park, Fl. My current certification expires in March, 2013, at which time I’ll be 64, and I’ll probably call it a career, but who knows? (“When I’m 64?” Wasn’t that a Beatles song?)

I can count the days on one hand, that I have not handled a firearm…. in the past 36 years!
While I consider myself always a student, still have a lot to learn, and strive to learn something new and useful every day; I am certainly not the two-day NRA instructor!

Ok, so now you know a little bit about who you’re paying to teach you about firearms safety and personal protection. Don’t you feel just a little bit better, now?

Understand that I don’t teach target shooting. If you want to learn target shooting; while I admire the skill required, it’s not my area. You’ll be better served by someone else.

My background, experience, and expertise is in personal protection at a lethal force level; using the pistol, shotgun, or rifle as a tool to fight with to survive. If that’s your goal; please, drop me an email and arrange to come and see me!


Copyright 2008-2010 Lance Biddle