About No Soft Targets!

Dear Guests,

If you are here, you are likely looking for information on my qualifications as a defensive firearms instructor.  I want to thank you for finding my page and checking me out before you sign up for a class.  Let me start out by telling you a little about my background.  By trade, I am an Information Technology Security subject matter expert specializing in the Banking, Power Infrastructure, and Healthcare industries.  I currently work as a Technology Manager for a rural electric cooperative in East Central Indiana.  Around 2007 I decided I would get out of Information Technology and move into the physical security industry (specifically private security contracting).  After 3 1/2 years of training, tens of thousands of dollars spent, and over 170 hours of logged specialized training in protective security, I began working in the industry for private security contractors.  After some time in that industry including over seas work, the work took a toll on my body and I decided to return to Information Technology work.  I joke that after being shot at, I decided that the Information Technology field wasn’t all that bad.  After returning to the Information Technology field I began assisting part time with the Dignitary Protection Group’s (DPG) Protective Security Agent training program.  After unexpectedly losing my good friend and owner of DPG, Doug Runyon, I began taking classes in an effort to teach firearms classes to law enforcement and private security contractors.  In addition to my law enforcement and private security classes, I also offer defensive firearms training for civilians.

I encourage others to seek out good defensive firearms instructors.  What makes a person qualified to be a firearms instructor?  I do not hold the philosophy that you have to be a top notch operator in a super secret squirrel agency to be a great firearms instructor.  Although some of us have been in dynamic critical incidents and had to use a firearm to protect ourselves and others with us, I also do not believe that qualifies one to be a firearms instructor.  What I do believe makes a good instructor is their heart and their intent.  My only goal for being an instructor is to educate those who desire to learn so they can successfully survive the worst moment in their lives if it should occur.  I have lost too many close to me to not take this seriously.  I am not in it for the money, I am in it to genuinely help others.  Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about my qualifications:


  1. Do you have your own gun range?  At present, I do not have my own gun range to teach.  I have access to several private ranges and will teach at other ranges when invited.  I have no intention on running a gun range and would not want the temptation to provide poor quality training if I did.
  2. Do you have insurance?  Yes, I keep an insurance policy specifically for firearms instruction.  It is not cheap and typically keeps me from making any money teaching as I do not do this full time.  However, it is critical that instructors have it and I will always keep the policy up to date.  Feel free to ask me if you would like to see proof of the current policy.  I am happy to provide proof!
  3. What training method do you teach?  I have put together my own curriculum based on a counter ambush approach.  It is strongly influenced by Rob Pincus’ Combat Focus Shooting and Counter Ambush methodology as well as Tom Givens RangeMaster Courses and the late Paul Gomez.
  4. Have you been to any instructor courses in the past three years?  Yes, I have attended three adult education courses at Indiana University East and Ball State University.  In 2013 I also attended the RangeMaster Instructor Development course in Memphis, TN.
  5. What training classes have you attended in the past two years?  So far this year I have attended a LEO only pistol course with a friend who is a law enforcement officer.  In 2012 I attended the Combat Focus Shooting course near Columbus, Ohio.  I also train twice a month with several local LEO’s.  We have this year (2014) begun trying to mesh ideology of law enforcement training with civilian training.  This forced us to change the targets we are using for training.
  6. What training classes do you plan to attend in the next year?  This fall I plan to attend a revolver course with Grant Cunningham and will likely attend the Warrior summit in Ohio.  Next Spring (2015) I plan to go through the Defensive Firearms Coach or Combat Focus Shooting Instructor Development course.
  7. Are you a member of any associations or trainer groups?  Yes, I am a member of the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors, NRA Lifetime Member, FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association, FBI InfraGard, and Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center.
  8. What have you taught and changed your mind on?  This is a tough one for me.  I personally have a whole list of these.  From .45 acp is the best handgun round ever to reloading in a workspace three inches from your face.  I really struggled with switching from .45 to 9mm.  Thankfully I had some great top tier instructors that presented facts I had not considered and let me come to the conclusions on my own.  That same process helped me to change the way I teach reloads.
  9. If I am unable to make one of your classes, can you give me a reference to another instructor?  YES!  Absolutely!!  There are a number of great instructors out there.  I consider myself a gateway instructor, in other words, my course provides sound fundamental techniques that are consistent with the top tier trainers around the country.  I go to great lengths to ensure that I do not cause training scars with what I teach.  You can find a great list of instructors at the following links:


Thank you for your time and your questions!


Joshua A. Gideon


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