Personal Protection Training for Individuals & Groups
Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question to view the answer.
What makes Circle the Wagons Training different from other firearms trainers? +
Our emphasis is on personal protection, not just defensive shooting. Firearms can play a key role in staying safe, but knowledge and proper mindset are the keys. No two people think or learn alike. Lifestyles and abilities, needs and interests vary. As a result we make our training as personal as possible, offering concierge-level service to individuals and groups at times and places they prefer.
My local shooting range offers low-cost classes to the general public. Why should I pay extra for private instruction? +
While many public classes offer good value, high-volume training can take a cookie-cutter approach and schedules are not always convenient. Private classes make sense for individuals who want or need the undivided attention of the lead instructor. Group training works best for co-workers or colleagues with a common background who spend significant time together or want instruction on matters most relevant to them. Personalized training helps people learn more quickly, cover more ground, and apply new knowledge and skills more effectively in real-world situations.
What are my payment options? +
CTWT accepts deposits and payments by personal or company check, postal money order, or by credit card using your PayPal account. Payments through PayPal should be made to email@example.com. If you don’t have a PayPal account, log on to www.PayPal.com and follow the instructions. No matter which method you choose, complete payment information is provided in the Confirmation message we send in response to your application.
My “significant other” owns a gun and I get free lessons when we go shooting. Why do I need professional training? +
If your significant other is a qualified instructor, informal lessons may be fine. However, simply owning a firearm does not necessarily make one a safe gun handler or effective shooter, or a competent teacher. At CTWT, we believe that any adult allowed by law to possess a firearm should know how to safely store, handle—and if faced with a deadly threat, effectively use—a gun that’s kept in the house. You wouldn’t try to pilot a plane without lessons from a flight instructor—why suspend that common sense when it comes to self-defense?
My organization is concerned about workplace violence, but some of us object to guns. How can we make our group safer while respecting everyone’s views? +
First, irrational beliefs—whether pro- or anti-gun—make nobody safer. Our Team Safety training is designed to increase everyone’s chances of surviving a life-threatening crisis, even if no one on your team is armed. Knowledge is power. When that knowledge is applied through proper training, everyone is more confident and secure regardless of their resources.
I’m interested in custom coaching. How much detail about my desired training do you need? +
Initially, only enough for us to understand your goals and determine your need for any special facilities, equipment, or staff. If your Step 1 application raises questions, we’ll ask for more information in our Confirmation reply so that every aspect of your custom training will meet your expectations.
I’m a senior citizen who knows more about Medicare than gun care. When is it too late to learn about personal protection and firearms? +
It’s never too late to enjoy a more secure and confident life. We know plenty of ways to help older eyes and weaker hands use a gun safely and effectively. Even age-related health or mobility issues usually aren’t a barrier if we plan for them in advance. At CTWT, we think a lifetime of accumulated wisdom is worth protecting, don’t you?
My organization is interested in sponsoring a CTWT class for our staff and volunteers. Can we use our own facility? +
As long as your meeting room can comfortably accommodate the number of participants you have in mind, it’s probably a suitable classroom. If live-fire training is part of your course and you do not have a private range, we’ll find the nearest suitable facility and make all arrangements on your behalf.
What flexibility do I have for scheduling a two-part course? +
Except for NRA’s Personal Protection Outside the Home (which requires a minimum of two days), our 2-part courses can be scheduled with one part directly following the other, as half-day morning or afternoon programs, or on separate days. Courses that combine classroom and range training are best held on one day at a facility where the range and classroom are co-located; but even these can be split between two days or two facilities if that’s more convenient for you. Since continuity between parts or between classroom and range training is important, the maximum gap between sessions should not be longer than a month.
Why don’t you offer training in rifles and shotguns? +
Other types of firearms are useful and challenging and we hope you’ll explore them all during your shooting career. In our view, however, handguns play a unique role in America’s personal defense and mastering that platform alone takes diligent training and practice. Besides, some shooters just can’t handle a long gun; and in certain situations, rifles and shotguns may not be the best choice for self-defense—and we have yet to see one you can put in your pocket! Still, we can arrange custom coaching for you in these platforms through our network of qualified trainers.
Arizona is a “constitutional carry” state. Why should I bother getting an AZ-DPS CCW Permit when I can carry concealed on my own? +
Our CCW class description gives the usual reasons people still choose to get a permit (expanded carry zones, easier gun purchases, etc.) but frankly, there is a more compelling reason to seek good training. Carrying a gun is serious business and using one in self-defense will change your life forever. Don’t make those decisions lightly, or wait until danger forces you to confront the legal, emotional, and practical realities of “street-wise” self-defense.
I bought a shotgun for home defense. Why do I need to learn about handguns? +
Well, aside from the fact that even a stockless shotgun makes a big lump under your jacket, many experts now question the received wisdom that shotguns are always best for home defense. The fabled “sound of a racking pump” that sends prowlers fleeing is mostly an urban myth: criminals run from guns because they don’t want to get shot—by anything. While shotguns excel at many tasks, long guns and confined spaces don’t mix and, contrary to popular opinion, a shotgun must still be aimed to get good hits. At CTWT, we believe a reliable handgun in a serious defensive caliber fed with well-designed expanding ammo offers an optimum blend of effectiveness, flexibility, and portability for self-defense, indoors or out.
Isn’t your One-Shot Stop class only for experts? +
OSS is for experienced shooters, but the method we teach is as much mental as physical, and is based on a practical understanding of how the human body works—even one high on alcohol or drugs, including adrenalin. Most defensive shooters are trained to aim for an attacker’s “center mass” then follow up those initial shots with a “head shot” if the assailant doesn’t stop. The problem is, not all torso or head shots are equal, especially if the target is at an angle or partially obscured. Shot placement is primary, so you want your first round (and any follow-ups) to strike where they will do the most good as soon as possible: causing “instant incapacitation.” Our method of visualizing, then placing your defensive fire into one of three CNS-OSS zones is meant to supplement, not replace, the other techniques you’ve learned and is within the reach of any competent shooter.
If I buy the CNS-OSS Target Kit, do I still need to take the "One-Shot Stop" class? +
Our target kit orients you to the principles of CNS defensive shooting, identifies the CNS Zones and shows you how to hit them from a variety of angles using the drills we teach at the range. However, there is no way to truly master a new skill without one-on-one instruction. While the CNS-OSS Targeting Instruction Guide gives you insights into our methods, classroom instruction goes much further into wound ballistics, the relative stopping power of various cartridges, and tactics & techniques that can apply to different situations—not to mention the personal line-coaching most shooters need to improve their combat marksmanship and gun handling skills. We therefore encourage anyone who uses our CNS target system to seek further training from a qualified instructor.
I’m new to concealed carry. How do I break-in my holster? +
First, buy only a quality holster designed specifically for the make, model, and caliber of your handgun. Nylon holsters need no break-in, but they can stretch significantly over time. Similarly, “plastic” holsters made from rigid material like Kydex are usable right away, but their added bulk can make concealment difficult. The best choice is often a leather holster “wet-molded” to the exact contours of a gun like yours, with a reinforced mouth to allow fumble-free, single-handed re-holstering. Because such holsters use a snug fit to keep your gun in place, new leather must be slightly stretched (like breaking-in a baseball mitt) to ensure a safe, smooth draw stroke. The fastest way to do this (after double-checking that your gun is unloaded, magazine out, chamber empty) is to put a plastic supermarket bag over the muzzle until it covers the frame. Then insert the covered gun into the new holster several times, twisting and pushing it as necessary to ensure it seats completely. You may have to reposition the muzzle in the bag a few times if the plastic tears, but the thin, slick barrier helps preserve your gun’s finish while speeding the break-in process. Repeat this procedure a dozen times, then leave the covered gun in the holster overnight. Continue these steps for a day or two until the uncovered gun slips smoothly but securely into and from the holster. DO NOT attempt practice presentations without first ensuring that the gun is unloaded, with no round in the chamber, and confine your practice to a safe “dry fire” area of your home, always observing muzzle discipline. DO NOT attempt live fire from a holster until you have received instruction from a qualified trainer!