Tactical Training Class for Civilians: Know What to Expect

Many of you are probably very similar to me. You may know how to operate a firearm, but need to learn to take it to the next level.

Many don’t realize that tactical training for civilians is an option available to nearly everyone.

Luckily most criminals don’t practice marksmanship, let alone take tactical training courses, but every degree of skill-margin you can put between you and them, the better your survival chances.

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Tactical Training for Civilians
Where can a Civilian get some training?
    Day 1: Carbine 1
    Day 2: Entry Level Room Clearing

Tactical Training for Civilians

I’ve been shooting for as long as I can remember. I know my way around a gun and never forget firearms safety, but this is no way, gives me any form of tactical edge.

We need that edge. That’s what I’m all about, giving you and me the Edge, in any way we can.

I know I could get tactical training in the military, but I am 44 years old, and in a well-established career. Even if I was in awesome shape, I can’t afford to quit my job and live off military pay alone. I tip my hats to those brave men and women, who serve, and put their lives on the line for very little money.


Thank you for all you do!

The military isn’t an option for me, so let’s look at the problem of finding some tactical training for civilians.

As I break this down, I see this large issue can be broken down into a few smaller issues, that are easier to digest:

  • Shooting from different positions – most ranges only allow you to stand or sit and shoot. You don’t get to shoot from a prone position, you don’t get to shoot from your back and you don’t get to shoot from behind objects (cover and concealment)
  • Transitioning between weapons – Most ranges don’t allow you to practice drawing from a holster and shooting, so forget about transitioning from your rifle or shotgun to your sidearm.
  • Tactical training – Where can we get some experience in Close Quarters Battle, room clearing and having a solid professional instructor, who has been there, put you through serious drills?

At this point, we have 2 options.

  • Video training – you can find many many Tactical Training DVDs on Amazon.com. I do have one tactical training dvd, called “Own the Night”, that I’ve posted on Tactical Training for Preppers.

You can also leverage Tactical Training Videos on Youtube. Let’s be honest here, video training may not be as good as in-person instruction, but it is better than nothing.

If this is all you can do I highly recommend that you start doing it now. Watch the videos, then practice what you can with training guns.

The non-descript training facility
The nondescript training facility
  • Find a school that offers tactical training for civilians – Is there such a thing? There sure are.

Where can a Civilian get some training?

The best place to start is to check out our nationwide database of instructors to find tactical training near you.

I’ve looked at all the big names like Thunder Ranch and Front Sight, but who can afford to take off work and fly across the country and then spend thousands of dollars for a training course? 

Sure people do it, and I was saving up to do it, until one of my buddies, pointed me to a more economical option in the DC, MD and VA area! Thanks, Lester!

In my area of Fredericksburg, VA, we have Commonwealth Criminal Justice Academy which offers a full line of courses for Civilians, and their prices are very manageable.

I’m one of those people who know that “talk is cheap”, I needed to validate this.

I signed up for their Carbine 1 and Carbine 2 course, each of which is a full day (each class was $200, that’s not bad for 1 full day of training).

Day 1: Carbine 1

The day finally arrived for Carbine 1.

As I expected we started out with a classroom lecture, and it was very good. I grew to see, that these people knew what they were talking about, and had real-world experience.

  • Firearms Safety Rules
  • Nomenclature
  • Fundamentals of Marksmanship Focusing on Front Sight & Trigger Control
William Bethards, from Top Shot

Then we moved on to Armorer Maintenance & Proper Lubrication (field-stripping and proper lubrication of our chosen carbines).

This was very fortunate for a few of the class participants, because it was apparent, that these were brand new rifles, and had never been any lubrication on them.

Those bolt carrier groups were bone dry. If you know anything about the AR-15 platform, then you know those students would have had a pretty crappy day, full of malfunctions and a potentially ruined rifle.

Day 1 Bonus: We got to meet William Bethards, from Top Shot, season 5, as well as a couple of ex-special forces guys, who stopped by the facility to show off some new toys to one of our instructors.


We broke for lunch and headed to the outdoor range. At the range, the instructors assisted those who needed to zero in their rifles.

Time to start the training drills, and because I was there, it started raining, hard. We got some very solid training for a Carbine 1 class, I didn’t expect this level of thoroughness.

  • Magazine Changes & Weapons Handling Skills
  • Malfunctions Drills Type I, Type II, Type III & Status Check
  • Shooting behind cover and from barricades
  • Transition from Carbine to Handgun

At the end of day 1, I was exhausted but thrilled at the sheer amount of training and drills that we did. It was a long day, and the instruction was top notch.

William Bethards, from Top Shot,

Day 2: Carbine 2

Day 2 was horrible weather, it was raining, sleeting and freezing cold. I was sure I’d die.

The instructor gave the class a choice. We could head to the range for Carbine 2, in the rain and cold, or switch classes to Entry Level Room Clearing (Day 1 of a 2 day course) and head over to the indoor “Shoot House”.

The students voted and it was unanimous, we all wanted the “Shoot House“!

Day 2: Entry Level Room Clearing

This was the kind of class I was really really interested in. They train with the Simunition FX marking cartridges, which means you get some experience with trying to identify and engage targets while potentially being shot at and potentially shot.

We were trained on the principals of Entry-Level room clearing, the methodology and theory around it, then put through countless dry runs and the “footwork” you’d expect from training.

Then we went hot.

We broke up into 2 person teams and did single room clearing, and on to 2 rooms, 3 rooms, etc.

You never knew what to expect. Sometimes the bad guys were complacent, sometimes some were belligerent but unarmed and would not cooperate.

There were scenarios where you’d come flying into a room read to go, and one of the bad guys would be holding a baby. Come on, a freaking baby?

“Drop the baby and get on the floor!”…. really? Geeze these guys were good!


Another time a bad guy came in the open front door behind us when we’d moved on from the first room and we’re deeper in the house, so you had to be aware of threats on all sides of you.

Let me tell you that Simunition FX marking cartridges sting and you really don’t want to get shot, so it makes the scenarios really intense!

It’s amazing how adrenalin can cloud your mind, there were times that things had happened so fast, that I couldn’t provide any details about what really occurred. That’s exactly the high calibre of training I was hoping to get

I came home bruised up, and a bit bloody from the gunfights, but it was well worth it!

Was this Tactical Training worth the money?

I’d say “Heck YES!”.

I learned so much, that it took me 2 days to get my head around how I was going to put this post together. Even better I learned that I don’t know what I don’t know. The instructors all have real-world training and service.


I’m not going to get into their credentials, but I was flattered, to be getting training from this calibre of instructor.

I am going back to Commonwealth Criminal Justice Academy, I plan to take every bit of the Tactical Training for Civilians, that they have to offer.

Even if you don’t live in the DC, MD and VA area, the cost of the classes totally justify the expense of travelling to take these courses.

There are hotels close enough for non-local students. If you think you might be interested in taking some courses to check out the Courses and Training (oh how I wish I could take more than the Civilian courses) then check their calendar to see when the course you want is being offered.

If you think to need more training than Tactical Training DVDs, “Own the Night”, and Tactical Training Videos on Youtubes have to offer, check out the local training options, and if there aren’t any close, then maybe Commonwealth Criminal Justice Academy might be able to help you out. 

And if you’re still hungry for more, check out SERE training courses available to civilians.

tactical training


  1. Precisely. There is a persistent myth that it is illegal (and unaffordable) for civilians to obtain tactical training at or even above military quality education – and it is simply false!

    FAIR WARNING: Any person, company or agency promising you competency in military art and science within a single weekend or even a week is deceiving you.

    Warrior competencies in individual tasks, collective tactical mission, plus leadership planning, execution, and assessment take years to develop.

    Yet this education is very much available to civilians, and it can be affordably within the options for the average income of the American family.

    No, it is not cheap. It is affordable. Anticipate anywhere between $100 and up to $500 per day of training. Furthermore, you should plan on between 5 to 15 days of training annually to obtain and maintain a level of competency.

    For example, research One Shepherd’s Warrior Leader Program. In existence for over 30 years, this program develops leadership competencies through a curriculum of experiential learning of dismounted patrolling tactics at the Infantry squad and platoon level. One Shepherd is the only civilian program that offers extensive force-on-force training with Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES 2000 & MILES IWS) that is attached to real firearms and used with blank ammunition to simulate combat engagements.

    The Warrior Leader Program requires roughly three years to complete. Two weeklong (7-day) semesters are offered each year, one in June and one in September. You will spend the first two semesters learning individual warrior tasks, and the next three to four semesters developing your warrior-leader competencies.

    The cost for each 7-day semester is roughly $700. There are scholarship discounts for participants who can prove (document) full-time enrollment in high school, college, trade school or graduate school.

    You’ll come to love the One Shepherd community of Warriors. Our staff officers and cadre instructors are incredibly talented, supportive, and certified. Through our work with Warriors and Warrior-Leaders we have published numerous book titles on the subject and offer an online reference – Olive Drab Journal.

    Our alumni serve in all four branches of the US Armed Forces, plus across the globe in a wide variety of civilian endeavors. Hope to see you soon!

    Christopher Larsen

  2. Guerrilla Mentor in Northeastern Arizona is a small veteran owned and operated business that caters mainly to the average joe citizen out there. I do train Law Enforcement personnel as well, but usually it’s moms and dads who come to me for training. I offer solid tactical training to people at very reasonable rates. Check us out on Facebook at Guerrilla Mentor.

  3. The STS GROUP is a Canadian based tactical training group. Our instructors and founder are tier 1 forces (JTF2) only and provide a long list of civilian training. Our website is worth a look if you are serious about training. We are Canadian based however we have an international reach. Our website is http://www.sts-operations.com

  4. Tactical training for civilians teaches you how to prepare for and protect yourself from dangerous or life-threatening situations. These teachings are derived from the specialized training regimens given to law enforcement officers and the military, which is why instructors of these courses will usually have some prior experience serving in either field.


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