Second Amendment Foundation Launches Training Division

Alan Gottleib (courtesy

Alan Gottleib of the Second Amendment Foundation [above] made few friends with his attempts to compromise on the Manchin – Toomey background check bill. His unsuccessful efforts to fight his native Washington State’s I-594 Initiative did nothing to enhance his reputation amongst many members of the Armed Intelligentsia (the Sipsey Street Irregulars are still seething). Still, mega-props to Gottleib for the SAF’s courtroom triumphs, which have defended and extended Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. If only Alan would stick to that arena. No chance. The SAF’s now opened a training division. [Press release after the jump.] To quote Steve Jobs, “Focusing is about saying no.” . . .

SAF Launches Firearms Training Division

BELLEVUE, WA – Following a year of organization, the Second Amendment Foundation Training Division (SAFTD) has embarked on the development of a program specifically directed at training the new and inexperienced shooters in the defensive use of pistols, shotguns and carbines.

In early 2014, experienced trainers from throughout the country were recruited to act as the core of SAFTD and to begin the development of a number of foundational courses. Initial offerings include MOI – Methods of Instruction, Defensive Handgun 1, Defensive Handgun 2, Defensive Shotgun 1, Defensive Shotgun2, Defensive Carbine 1 and Defensive Carbine 2 in addition to instructor level course work to train a national cadre of firearms instructors to offer SAFTD courses throughout the nation.

All of the courses offered are presented with the defensive use of the individual firearm in mind. While familiar foundational material is presented, additional defensive topics and activities are included such as firearm selection, holsters, use of force, discussions about AOJP – Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy, Preclusion – Disparity of Force and much more. All Level 1 courses are introductory and foundational. All Level 2 courses take the student’s foundational skill set and builds it into a more comprehensive defensive shooting level.

These courses will be the introductory set rolled out through the Spring and early Summer of 2015. The national introduction of the SAFTD courses will be held at the Shot Show in Las Vegas in late January. Initial instructors will be trained beginning in February. Initial student level coursework will begin in mid-March. All coursework will be scheduled via SAFTD’s website with all available courses and regional trainers being listed along with full course descriptions and full bios of all certified SAFTD instructors.

Instructors will need to attend SAFTD’s MOI course – as well as completing periodic Continuing Education, the course they wish to be certified to teach and the instructor version of that course while achieving passing scores of 90% on all written exams. At the end of the instructor course, they will shoot a qualification course requiring a passing score of 90%. Instructors must also have a First Aid certification from a recognized organization as well as having certified instruction in CPR and the use of an AED.

In addition to the core offerings SAFTD will also be offering a Situational Alertness for Everyone (S.A.F.E.) course which is designed to teach the student to develop and adopt the situational awareness mindset while at home, at work, on the road, traveling, on the phone etc; and teaches how to make your home safe and less attractive to would be robbers and home invasion.

SAFTD will also be offering a Women’s Program. The SAFTD Women’s program was developed by women for women and addresses the specials needs of women, their firearms, security and special concerns with carrying a firearm both on and off-body. Initially our Women’s program will consist of Women’s Defensive Handgun 1 and 2 but will eventually lead to a full women’s program starting in early 2016 including State Chapters and State Leaders for each state.
We are excited about our program. We strongly believe it fills a significant gap in what is being offered to a new defensive firearms student. We look forward to meeting you all at Shot Show and in the weeks, months and years to come.

About SAF Training Division:

The mission of the SAF Training Division (SAFTD) is to fill a long standing void in the national training community, by producing a program that is based on enabling law abiding citizens to protect themselves and their loved ones through solid defensive training! Our primary responsibility is to the student and our primary allegiance is to our instructors! We know that we need to support our instructors and their respective businesses, their livelihoods depend on it! By supporting our instructors and providing them with different revenue streams and a responsive organization, we enable our instructors to give a first class experience to the public! For more information, visit

The Second Amendment Foundation ( ) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.


  1. avatar RaulYbarra says:

    No, no, no! Stay with one thing and get good at it!

    1. avatar Noishkel says:


      Not to second guess these heroic guys but I’m with you. Focus all your attention on doing what they’re good ad. Smacking down disarmament in the courts.

    2. avatar John L. says:

      Hear hear!

      Nothing wrong with being a specialist in a field you’re good at. In fact, a lot right with it.

    3. avatar David P. says:

      Not to mention nobody with a gun is going to take an instructor with a bow-tie seriously.

  2. avatar Roymond says:

    What “long standing void in the national training community”?

    Not that the NRA couldn’t benefit from a bit of competition in this area, but he ought to stick to what he knows.

    1. avatar Pascal says:

      Outside of purely basic safety, the NRA offers nothing of real value when it comes to training.

      1. avatar PavePusher says:

        Perhaps you haven’t looked very hard?

        1. avatar JohnF says:

          I have taken about 8 or 9 courses at the NRA Range in Fairfax. Only one of the courses was actually an “NRA course” and it was the worst of the bunch. All the rest were outside training vendors providing their own course designs and just using the facility. Even at their own range, the NRA’s course offerings for self-defense were lame and completely overshadowed by what private training vendors are offering.

          I’m not saying the SAF should take this on, but IMHO when it comes to defensive firearms training, the NRA is way behind the times. There is a void.

        2. avatar JohnF says:

          I have taken 8 or 9 courses at the NRA HQ Range in Fairfax. Only one was actually an “NRA course” (Defensive Pistol) and it was the lamest of the bunch, It was disorganized, the student to instructor ratio was inappropriate for the safety issues involved and the instructors were just not that good. The rest of the courses I took there were all done by outside training outfits who were just using the range to teach their own course designs. I wrote and complained about the NRA course and even though I’m and NRA member, I didn’t even get the courtesy of a reply.

          IMHO, if someone takes an NRA defensive weapons course and thinks they’re qualified to do whatever the course title might claim, they are kidding themselves. I am not saying the SAF should take this on, but I do believe there is a void for defensive firearms training. The NRA needs to either up their game or just get out of that area altogether.

        3. avatar Ethan762 says:

          Speaking as an NRA instructor – they offer safety classes for beginners, NOT defensive classes. Even their concealed carry class focuses on legalities and logistics, not defensive application. I’ve been continuously frustrated by how much they will contort their curriculum to avoid drawing attention to the face that the primary use for most handguns is self defense – not sporting purposes.

          They are extremely valuable, make no mistake. But they are a safety course, not tactical training.

          That said, I’ve never heard of the gentleman this article is about and have no opinion on his new endeavor.

        4. avatar Dano says:

          Funny. I would think and NRA instructor would know enough to check the catalog before saying the NRA doesn’t offer a class it clearly advertises.

          Defensive pistol, right there in the course offering.

          Also, not knowing Alan Gottleib…… Are you Canadian by chance?

  3. avatar Pascal says:

    I don’t see an issue with this. Why can’t they do two things? I am sure they will have someone separate managing these courses. If they do as stated, this truly fills a gap in training. If the training makes money it will be self sustaining or can even feed the litigation group.

    The only ones who will be butt hurt are other training outfits who see it as competition. But than many of the training outfits I have seen and courses I have taken has these guys saying crap about each other all the time.

    1. avatar Delmarva Chip says:

      Conventional wisdom is that the more activities a group tries to do, the worse it tends to do on all of them.

      If the SAF is great at fighting courtroom cases (and it often is), many would argue that it should stay focused on that and not expand to other barely-related areas (such as firearms training). The concern is that focusing on this other idea will hurt what they’ve done well in the past, since their attention will be split.

      There are certainly groups that can successfully focus on multiple objectives, but there are also those that have gotten worse at everything they do once they expanded their focus. It applies to activist groups, businesses, governments … pretty much everyone.

    2. avatar Yellow Devil says:

      “Jack of all trades, experts at none” is usually what happens. But they might pull a surprise, who knows.

  4. avatar Frank Masotti says:

    As much as I love the SAF, I do realize it is about money. If they can make money doing this,,,,

  5. avatar Bigred2989 says:

    How about train more lawyers? We need them to smack these unconstitutional laws off the books.

    1. avatar DrVino says:

      Good point. Perhaps a Second Amendment litigation fellowship? No academic credits, but useful nonetheless…

  6. avatar g says:

    Hmmm, interesting. But I hope a lesson was learned about the 591 vs 594 push and flood of Bloomberg’s money into WA state. As long as it isn’t a distraction against the current fight against 594 in the courts, I’m all for it.

  7. avatar pwrserge says:

    If only Gottleib didn’t look like a total whackjob. I mean seriously, the guy is as photogenic as a James Bond villain’s senior henchman.

    1. avatar Desert Ranger says:

      And you have appeared in the cover of how many magazines and articles? ….. Yah, thought so.

    2. avatar Oddux says:

      The glasses and huge bow-tie are a deliberate choice of his to look completely non-threatening.

    3. avatar danny says:

      He looks like a modern PBS Version of ( Agatha Christie’s ) Poirot

      1. avatar Desert Ranger says:

        Exactly! Score one for the little grey cells!

    4. avatar Jake Tallman says:

      Yes, because someone’s appearance matters so much to the courts….

      1. avatar danny says:

        Appearance shouldn’t matter in Court or on the street, But what makes you think it doesn’t,
        in either location. People are still people, good or bad, rightly or wrongly- making judgements based on their perceptions of sight and sound, likes or dislikes……………….

      2. avatar danny says:

        also, Why do you think people ( defendants) are frequently cleaned up ( makeovered) for trial.
        Think Hair cut, beards removed or drastically shaved, suit, tie, etc, etc.
        It’s attempting to alter a view or perception.

      3. avatar 16V says:

        If you think for a second that appearance doesn’t go to credibility, you’ve never been in a courtroom.

    5. avatar JohnF says:

      He doesn’t look or act, nearly as much like a total whack-job as LaPierre does.

      1. avatar danny says:

        I agree about LaPierre. Sometimes he should not open his mouth.
        After Sandy Hook I saw a national news interview with a female Gun toting celebrity ( can’t remember who).
        She was GREAT…. She should have been the (NRA) spokesperson instead of LaPierre !!!
        It was a concise and cleanly stated thought.

  8. avatar Dr. Michael S. Brown says:

    It’s not fair to blame Gottleib for the I-594 defeat. There was no way our side could have prevailed given the tidal wave of cash dumped into deceptive advertising by the Napoleonic Nanny and his fellow Billionaires. Between that and the utter bias of the media in Washington, we didn’t stand a chance.

    We should be working together now and getting ready for a counter-offensive in the legislature and courts, not casting aspersions on each other. There is a lot of childish behavior going on and it’s not all on one side. I’m sure the antis are loving it.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      Amen to that. Gun owners are often a surly lot. I support virtually anyone who is working to expand gun freedom. Training is a an important component of responsible gun ownership. Sturm Ruger can do multiple things well. They aren’t the only ones. If the SAF can branch out and still succeed in the courtroom I’m all for it.

    2. Totally agree on the i 594 issue and the amount of money dumped into state by the gun grabbing statists. I am south in Oregon and many, many here are extremely worried the same thing will be done here especially with the state going more to LEFT last November. Salem is much inclined to stomp on gun rights however they can and the people in Oregon are foolish enough to follow emotions and not logic or study the ACCURATE facts.
      Gottlieb is not at fault for I 594 and was trying to plug a hole when the damn had already burst. UBC will lead to confiscation and history pretty well backs this up.

    3. avatar IAB2 says:

      I agree 1000%. No need for circular firing squads among POTG, especially at TTAG.

      I am giving SAF the benefit of the doubt on the training. I hope they can come up with something that is sufficiently useful and differentiated from the NRA to be valuable, both to students and teachers, as it will have to be supported financially, on its own merits to grow and thrive.

      We gun owners seem to be a particularly frugal and detail oriented group, so its going to be impossible to please everyone all the time. Especially when its completely obvious that 40S&W is the One Caliber Above All Others, and the G23 the One Gun To Rule Them All.

      I looked closely twice, at NRA training, and even though I live in a major metro in So Cal, there were few offerings, and both times the courses/instructors couldn’t find time or enough students to get the class going, apparently.

      I communicated with NRA about it, and offered to learn how to be an instructor, but the cost was more than I wanted to pay, and the availability of other teachers to go thru the required course was limited, and I wasnt willing to drive a couple hundred miles away to find a missing class to fill in the syllabus.

      So, IMHO, although they had a good structured program on paper, the actual execution relied heavily on volunteers, and that can be a hit and miss in any organization without good leadership and constant supervision.

      That was a few years back, and only on surface impressions- to be fair I’d have to look at it again closely, and I will, and compare to what SAF rolls out.

      Also, as I recall at that time, there was a surge of interest in personal defensive training, and the NRA syllabus didnt explicitly speak to that then, either-

      so a lot of good experienced instructors were doing well teaching on their own- privately, and had less time to support the NRA courses as an instructor. My impression was that even though the NRA had good people managing the program back at the home office, there was a lot going on, and the attention to detail in the field was up to the people on the ground, and therefore marketing and scheduling was going to vary area by area.

      Really good training, done right, is going to cost money.
      Gunsite is probably the “mass” training standard, and the resumes of the instructors are very impressive.
      Look at their succession of skills building and you can see it takes lots of money and time to get a broad skill set that speaks to some of the scenarios discussed here on TTAG.

      Thunder Ranch is another example. I hear they pay their range instructors a relatively low wage, but the understanding is they gain experience, as teachers, and can shoot for free any time. That is also dated impressions, and second hand, info, too- looking from outside in, so YMMV.

      NRA has done really good things, and maybe with a pause now in some of the political battles at federal level- and we 2A believes need to now hold our GOP majority members to their promises, after giving them the votes to make law, after 6 years of Dirty Harry covering for Obumbles, Nancy Botox, and Dementia Feinstein.

      Maybe the NRA can go back to its roots (Read Rise of the AntiMedia) and tune things up, shake some dust off, re-evaluate whats working and whats not, and make it more efficient.
      Being the gold standard on safety is a good thing.

      NRA has done good work bringing on women shooters, and offering new classes for that. Revamping the Eddie Eagle training and making it easier to use in schools would be a great solution that could empower Real Moms and Dads to volunteer that way.

      Dont forget Appleseed- another organization doing hero work on marksmanship training.

      Competition is good for everyone. I look forward to what SAF comes up with.

    4. avatar MeRp says:

      I agree that Gottlieb isn’t to blame for the i594 loss, however I disagree with the assertion that it couldn’t be won. The NRA has resources mostly comprable to those that the pro-I594 camp threw into the mix. However, the NRA decided, for whatever reason, not to try to battle I594 like-for-like. So the tidal wave crushed the best ripples the rest of the POTG could muster.

  9. avatar Scrubula says:

    Whew thought it would be one of those propaganda training events that MDA and friends host.

    Practical defensive training I can stomach.

  10. avatar Model 31 says:

    Looking at the title, I expected the training to be aimed at newly minted lawyers and future politicians, in order to help them flush the Ivy league statist crap that has spoiled the last five generations of reasoning and intellect.

    1. avatar Mirgc says:

      That and grassroots activism. That I would sign up for.

  11. avatar Gearmoe says:

    Go for it Alan. Showing gun ownership responsibility can’t be a bad thing. No blame for I-594, we donated to you but there was no way to out spend the radical anti-liberty billionaires. Appreciate the filing against 594, I expect you to kick ass.

  12. avatar ThomasR says:

    I canceled my membership with SAF after Alan fought so hard to get a UBC bill passed.

    He doesn’t see the Second Amandment (how ironic); as a right, only as a privilege.

    This is why he had a competing UBC bill in Washington. Instead of just focusing on defeating the bill, he wanted a less restrictive bill.

    You can’t be a little bit pregnant. Shall not Be Infringed means what it says.

    As for his taking his classes? Why would I support an organization fighting to make my Second Amendment rights into a privilege.?

    1. avatar Bdk NH says:

      For these same reasons I just let my SAF membership lapse. Gottlieb is the frog in the pot negotiating with the cook on how long until the water will boil. Down to NRA, GOA, and a couple of state based groups.

  13. avatar Custodian says:

    Looks like they are going after the NRA and basically their monopoly on training which is their cash cow.

    I think it’s bad form, because we should be united in 2A, but money gets in the way of everything. And the NRA stands alone right now in issuing training and its marksmanship awards and citations etc.

    In a more perfect world, SAF would stick to the courts, but wasn’t the NRA supposed to do that?

    1. avatar MamaLiberty says:

      The NRA started out as a training organization, and only got into legislation and lobbying more recently. I’ve been an NRA certified instructor for about nine years now, and I don’t see how the NRA could possibly use the training part of their operation as a “cash cow.” The fees are paid by the students to the trainers, and not sent to the NRA. The printed and other program materials are sold to trainers at near cost, far as I can determine.

      I would LOVE to see a competing training organization form, as many as possible. If they all made lots of money, it would be wonderful too. Every level of training would then be available to people in every place… a glorious prospect indeed.

      The fact that it hasn’t happened demonstrates that not enough people want that just yet, though I think the incentive and possibilities are increasing in lots of places.

      Whether or not the training offered by SAF is good or bad, wise or foolish, necessary or a waste of time, remains to be seen. I say, the more the merrier. I don’t like Gottlieb, and don’t trust him, but sincerely hope that SAF will put forth the best person possible to lead this effort. I also don’t like LaPierre, or any of the current “leadership” of the NRA. Both organizations could do with some fresh, non politician leadership. This is going to be very interesting to watch…

      1. avatar IAB2 says:

        + 100. There you go, gents – real ground truth.

        Thank you Mama for your long service. You are a treasure.
        I also dont trust La Pierre or Gottleib as far as I can throw them, and I hope someone on the Board at both NRA and SAF is reading these comments at TTAG, as its a good cross section of the customer base you serve.

  14. avatar Custodian says:

    Also, the NRA could use some competition, IIRC, GRNC (Grass Roots North Carolina), has had issues with the local NRA organization for the state of NC. Perhaps if the NRA becomes less relevant in areas where they have had no competition, they’ll come off their high horse and actually be accountable again and listen to members and 2A activists of all types and from all organizations.

  15. avatar Publius says:

    Sorry, but after Alan’s repeated calls for a ban on private sales and universal registration of firearms, the Second Amendment Foundation is dead to me.

  16. avatar GreenTriumph says:

    I am an educator and I was appalled at the quality of the NRA courses that I took. The training material (books and slides) was poor as were the class examples, tests and demonstration. NRA should make a serious commitment to reform or get out of the business. Be 1 or 2 or get out.

  17. avatar ckirk says:

    SAF should remain focused. We need the SAF to focus on NJ, NY, DC, CA, etc.

  18. avatar Custodian says:

    Maybe Gun Owners of America, GOA, needs to be the ones offering training, instead of SAF or the NRA considering how much they compromise on actual gun rights?

  19. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    SAF has done some solid work in court, mo argument there. However, they waste too much money soliciting donations. I get it, it takes money to raise money, and fighting fir freedom is an expensive endeavor. Still, I get the impression it’s almost a moneymaking operation with fundraising becoming a goal in itself.

    Now they’re extending their brand to offer a wider product line? It’s strikes me as tacky and greedy. Be a good steward of our money and just focus on the lawsuits.

  20. avatar Patrick says:

    I guess most of you haven’t looked at the web site. “I have” The instructors are not lawyers and Alan isn’t an instructor. To much jumping to conclusions without any research once again.

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