List of San Francisco Bay Area shooting classes

This page is a list of San Francisco Bay Area firearms instructors that I am aware of. The list includes training classes for tactical / self-defense purposes, as well as marksmanship and basic target shooting and gun safety. Take these classes to learn how to shoot a gun (handgun, rifle, or shotgun) for self defense or sport safely and accurately.

Trainers I have experience with and recommend(in no particular order):

Louis Awerbuck teaches at Reed's Indoor Range in Santa Clara.  I have taken a number of courses from him which were all excellent.  He is the best I've seen at diagnosing shooters' shooting problems.  I would also say he gives the most thorough overview of marksmanship fundamentals in his pistol 1 class, and he would be my number one pick for beginners who already own a gun and basically know how to operate it but want to improve their marksmanship and tactical gun handling.

Bill Tidwell teaches NRA first steps classes also at Reed's in Santa Clara.  I highly recommend the classes for very new shooters (i.e. you don't already own a gun). See the Reed's site and also

LMS Defense holds classes at Metcalf range in San Jose, and sometimes at Chabot in Castro Valley. They have a very wide variety of classes and I have taken a number of them and gotten a lot out of them.  LMS alumni are eligible to attend their "Customer Appreciation Weekend" for free, which is two days of getting short samples of all their classes, and which takes place in the summer at their training center near Reno (about 4 hours drive from the Bay Area).

Todd Nielsen used to be LMS Defense's local instructor, and most of the classes I took from LMS Defense were taught by him.  The classes are usually held at Metcalf in San Jose.

Spartan Concepts and Consulting teaches courses in Morgan Hill, including some fairly unique ones, like "Down, but not Out", focusing on one handed manipulation.  I took that class when Spartan was briefly merged into LMS Defense, and can highly recommend it. They also offer the only low-light carbine course I am aware of in the area(as of January 2012) Currently it is a stand-alone company.

Stoic Ventures at Metcalf range in San Jose.
They mostly advertise their classes on Facebook. Classes are taught by Mike Lamb (formerly of Magpul Dynamics) and Don Lazzarini (gunsmith and former SWAT cop). They place a very high emphasis on accuracy and taking the time to train correct technique rather than just blasting a bunch of rounds down range.

Brian Normandy holds classes at Jackson Arms in South San Francisco.  Details aren't listed on the site, but you can contact them for the schedule. I've taken handgun and shotgun classes from him.  The classes tend to assume that you already have basics of marksmanship, and focused a little more on tactics. The second day of a 2 day class always involved low light.

Magpul Dynamics comes to Metcalf range in San Jose once or twice a year.  I've taken their handgun and carbine classes.  They focus a lot of weapons manipulations and have a high round count.

Costa and Haley both left Magpul to start their own training companies, and both have visited the Bay Area in San Jose or Morgan Hill.

West Coast Tactical Training Associates holds classes mostly out of a outdoor police range in Morgan Hill which is on the same property as Coyote Valley Sporting Clays.  They generally have a high instructor to student ratio.  They have low light training on a regular basis, which is unique in the Bay Area for being low light training outdoors. There are usually two to three instructors at a class with relatively small classes.

Grey Group Training brings big name instructors to Chabot range in Castro Valley periodically.  Their roster of instructors includes Larry Vickers, Ken Hackathorn, Pat McNamara, Kyle Defoor, Mike Pannone, Tiger Swan, SouthNarc, Jason Falla, and Rob Haught.  Not all of them have been to Chabot yet, but presumably they are coming. I took Defoor's Advanced Handgun class and found it very worthwhile. See
for an AAR of that class.
You can find info on their upcoming classes at the Calguns Training Class announcement forum:

2012 update:
The main class booker for Grey Group Training left to found Alias Training and took a lot of the instructors with him.

While Sacramento is not the Bay Area, I have to give a shout out to SouthNarc, who comes by Sacramento regularly and has really excellent classes. See for my AAR.

Project Appleseed has very good, inexpensive rifle marksmanship training. The training is solely marksmanship and doesn't include any defensive/tactical topics. There is a certain amount of history lessons that some might find boring or objectionable. The Bay Area classes are at Chabot in Castro Valley.

Coyote Valley Sporting Clays in Morgan Hill has various kinds of sporting clays classes.

Calguns forum member Thefeeder teaches introductory skeet clinics at Pacific Rod and Gun Club in San Francisco.

Other trainers that I can't give an opinion on:

Alpha Dog Tactical, working out of Metcalf range in San Jose.

Bay Area Firearms
I have no experience with them, but the reviews on Calguns aren't good."Bay+Area+Firearms"

Chabot has a number of other classes, listed under 'classes' on the left site of their site.

Bayprofs holds classes in Target Masters in Milpitas and the San Jose Municipal range.

S.E.R.T at Metcalf in San Jose

Bullseye in San Rafael

Competition-focused classes are sometimes held at Richmond Rod and Gun Club

Basic NRA classes are held at Sunnyvale Rod and Gun Club

US Training Group holds basic firearms classes

If you have any suggestions about trainers that are not listed here, you can leave a comment at