Self Defense with a firearm is the most American of martial arts.   But unlike the movies, skill with a gun does not come naturally simply by picking one up.  It requires training and regular practice.  Below are some  nationally known gun training institutes, schools, and instructors.

Randy Cain’s Cumberland Tactics

From what I read, Randy Cain is one heck of an instructor and a nice guy.  He’s the only nationally known instructor that I’ve never read anything bad about.  Here’s a couple reviews
Concealed Carry Magazine


Gunsite’s claim to fame is that it was founded by Jeff Cooper, the godfather of “the modern technique” of using handguns.  Apparently, Gunsite had been hijacked by some less than sterling characters in the 90’s, but now is back to its former glory.  Many nationally known instructors trained at or instructed at Gunsite, including Randy Cain.

Front Sight

Front Sight is the new kid on the block but has made a big splash mainly due to the efforts of its larger than life founder, Ignatius Piazza.  Mr Piazza has a flair for getting national news coverage for “outrageous” claims and offers, such as offering free training to teachers and airline pilots.  Front Sight also caters to Hollywood stars and other celebrities.  Mark Wahlberg can be seen training at Front Sight in the special features of Shooter.

Front Sight is best known for its scandals.  Mr. Piazza runs Front Sight like a timeshare.  He is also a Scientologist.   As a result, Front Sight has a certain Heritage USA vibe.  While the training can be good, the consensus among the serious shooters is that there are better schools for less money.