The Definitive Guide to the Greatest Firearms Trainers of All-Time: Unlock Your Potential!

I’ve been blessed to work in this industry for several years now. As’s Social Media Guru and all-around Marketing guy I’ve been able to be immersed in the firearms training industry. My position provided me with the privilege of rubbing shoulders with exceptional instructors. Many of which have shaped the landscape of self-defense education. 

Mitch's Top Five Firearm Trainers—

In this post, we'll explore who I believe to be the top five legendary firearms trainers, in no particular order, who have left an indelible mark on the industry. Get ready to be inspired!

  1. Jeff Cooper: The Father of Modern Pistol Craft

Jeff Cooper's teachings and principles have influenced generations of shooters. His concept of the Modern Technique of the Pistol revolutionized defensive shooting. His focus on mindset, skill set, and toolset has become a cornerstone of self-defense training. Cooper founded the American Pistol Institute (API) in Paulden, Arizona, which would later become Gunsite Academy. Many consider Gunsite to be the gold standard in firearms education.

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  1. Massad Ayoob: Master of Legal Defense and Tactics

Massad Ayoob is an expert in the legal aspects of self-defense. Combining this with his tactical knowledge has made him a prominent figure in the firearms' training world for many years. His focus on using force wisely and legally has empowered many.

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  1. Tom Givens: A Beacon of Practicality and Real-World Training

Tom Givens is renowned for his practical approach to self-defense training. His experience as a law enforcement officer and extensive research on real-world gunfights is clear in his curriculum. Givens emphasizes the importance of proper mindset, accurate shooting, and scenario-based training.

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  1. Julie Golob: Champion Shooter and Advocate for Women in the Firearms Community

Julie Golob's accomplishments as a professional shooter are awe-inspiring. She displays a dedication to promote firearms education and the empowerment of women in the industry. Her focus has earned her a well-deserved place among the greatest trainers. Golob's expertise and relatable teaching style make her an inspiration to aspiring shooters.

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  1. Spencer Keepers: The Master of AIWB Carry

Spencer Keepers is the authority figure on appendix inside-the-waistband (AIWB) carry. He has meticulous attention to detail. This, combined with innovative techniques, and emphasis on safety, has made him a very sought-after instructor. Keepers has shared his knowledge with a wide audience, consistently pushing the boundaries of AIWB carry. He even designed his own AIWB holsters which for a long time were my favorite for appendix carry, only recently being replaced by the Lexington from KSG Armory. Spencer is a past instructor at our Guardian Conference, as we only bring in those instructors that we believe are the best in the country.

Honorable Mention: Riley Bowman – VP and Head of Training

Riley Bowman deserves a special mention. His Guardian Essentials course has had a profound impact on my shooting journey. What I learned really jump started my entry into the world of defensive and competitive shooting. Bowman's newest curriculum, Pistol Intelligence, garnered rave reviews from students and fellow trainers alike. The curriculum shows his commitment to pushing the boundaries of excellence. As our company’s head of training, it is his job to find the best instructors in the world to come and teach at our annual Guardian Conference. And the past two years, he has does an absolutely incredible job. 


In the ever-evolving world of firearms and self-defense, learning from the best is essential. The five trainers listed above have dedicated themselves to educate and empower individuals to protect themselves and their loved ones. As you continue on your own journey, we invite you to attend the 2023 Guardian Conference. The conference gives you an opportunity to learn from a diverse lineup of experts. Past instructors include instructors like Chuck Haggard, Mickey Schuch, Wayne Dobbs, and more. Don't miss out on this unparalleled experience!

Take a step towards unlocking your potential in the realm of firearms and self-defense, and Visit to secure your spot. 

Remember, self-defense is a lifelong pursuit, and there's always room to grow. Together, let's equip ourselves with the knowledge, skills, and mindset needed to protect what matters most.

About Mitch Goerdt

Mitch Goerdt is the Director of Marketing and Events at Born and raised amongst the Northeastern woods and waters of Minnesota, Mitch's childhood was filled with adventure, sports, and a deep appreciation for the outdoor lifestyle. His early career saw him don the hat of a mechanic and welder in the taconite mines. However, the call of distant horizons was too strong to resist. Mitch embarked on a journey across the country, soaking in diverse cultures and landscapes. This quest for knowledge also led him back to school, where he secured a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing Communications. Today, at, Mitch spends his days crafting content and using his imagination and skills to leave an impression on his audience. Outside the professional realm, he is a lifelong learner who finds solace in outdoor adventures and satisfies his love of athletics and competition in the world of competitive slowpitch softball.

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