Meet the Crew

CSA Instructors

Our instructors have extensive and diverse backgrounds in teaching people how to protect and defend themselves. Drawing from years of training experience in civilian personal defense, law enforcement, military, competition shooting, and the private security industry, our instructors’ qualifications far exceed state requirements. We offer practical, accessible instruction based on proven techniques, tactics, and procedures. We are all passionate about helping students become more competent and confident with the defensive skills necessary to remain safe in today’s society.

Aqil Qadir

Aqil is the founder and lead instructor of CSA. His background as a firearms instructor started at age 12, teaching urban youth in his father’s gun club. He followed in his dad’s footsteps, becoming an NRA Certified Instructor at the age of 22. He has been training civilians for over 25 years and training law enforcement for over 20. His passion is teaching civilians how keep themselves and their families safe.

  • Rangemaster Pistol and Shotgun Instructor Certification
  • Yavapai Firearms Academy Instructor Certification
  • Defense Training International Pistol Instructor Certification
  • NRA Training Counselor and Certified Instructor in the following disciplines:
    • NRA Basic Pistol (including Women on Target)
    • NRA Home Firearm Safety
    • NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home
    • NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home (including Defensive Pistol)
    • NRA Basic Rifle
    • NRA Basic Shotgun
    • NRA CCW (Carrying a Concealed Weapon)
  • NRA Law Enforcement Pistol/Shotgun/Patrol Rifle Instructor
  • NRA Chief Range Safety Officer
  • NRA Refuse to Be a Victim Instructor and Regional Counselor
  • SAFTD Regional Master Instructor
  • Federal Protective Service/DHS Approved Instructor
  • New York State Police/Armed Guard Instructor
  • Tennessee State Handgun/Armed Guard Instructor
  • North Carolina Concealed Handgun Instructor
  • IALEFI Master Instructor
  • Sabre Red Civilian and LE instructor

Tiffany Johnson

Tiffany is a “late bloomer” who underwent a 180-degree-conversion in the world of firearms. She grew up subscribing to common fears and misconceptions about guns and gun owners. After college, she reluctantly enrolled in a Rangemaster handgun safety course, and she was hooked. Her interests and training have expanded from handguns to shotguns and carbines. In addition to being mentored by Tom and Lynn Givens and other Rangemaster instructors, Tiffany has also trained under Jim Higginbotham, John Farnam, Craig Douglas, Massad Ayoob, Jeff Gonzales, Marshall Luton, and several respected veterans of the self-defense community. She is member of the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation, and she has earned instructor credentials from the State of Tennessee, the State of Mississippi, the National Rifle Association, Massad Ayoob Group, and Rangemaster (Advanced Instructor Certification).

  • NRA Training Counselor and Certified Instructor in the following disciplines:
    • NRA Basic Pistol (including Women on Target)
    • NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home
    • NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home (including Defensive Pistol)
    • NRA CCW (Carrying a Concealed Weapon)
    • NRA Basic Shotgun
  • NRA Refuse to Be a Victim Instructor and Regional Counselor
  • NRA Chief Range Safety Officer
  • Tennessee Certified Handgun Instructor
  • Mississippi Certified Handgun Instructor
  • Rangemaster Instructor Certification
  • Rangemaster Advanced Instructor Certification
  • Massad Ayoob Group Certified Deadly Force Instructor

Ryan McCann

Ryan first started shooting at eleven years old for his Hunter Safety certification. As best he can recall, this was the first activity for which any adult told him he had a natural talent. He’s been chasing that feeling and honing that talent ever since. Ryan has extensive experience in combat sports that involve rolling around with other sweaty dudes on the ground and punching and kicking things until his whole body hurts. He was an armed courier in the Middle Tennessee area for most of his twenties until he got tired of people telling him he couldn’t grow his hair out or have a beard. He’s a serial trainer, a shooting sports competitor, and a pistol coach who is trying his best to avoid having a regular grown-up job. Most of Ryan’s deepest and most meaningful relationships have come from the combat sports and defense training world, so sharing that world with new students is intensely fulfilling for him. He specializes in using the bumpy things on top of the gun to reliably make holes appear where you want them to on B8 targets.

  • NRA Certified Pistol Instructor
  • Certified Tennessee Carry Permit Instructor
  • Incredibly Average Amateur Boxer
  • Steel Challenge Competitor
  • Tied for first place in the preliminary round of the 2019 Rangemaster Polite Society Pistol Match (one of only four shooters out of 135 to achieve a perfect score)

Assistant Instructors

The CSA family would not be complete — and our classes would not be as effective — without the help of a wonderful team of assistant instructors (“AIs”). All our AIs are vetted and trained by CSA’s founder, Aqil Qadir. They contribute their valuable time and expertise to help us maintain high safety standards, keep student-instructor ratios low, and give students the individualized attention they need.

When CSA first started several years ago, the only two instructors were CSA founder’s (Aqil Qadir) and his son, Rafiq. Following in the footsteps of Aqil’s father, Rafiq Qadir is a third-generation firearms instructor. He has earned instructor certifications from the State of Tennessee, the National Rifle Association, and Rangemaster. Rafiq also serves his community as an officer of the Murfreesboro Police Department.

Marvin Smartt is a combat Iraq War veteran who served in Airborne Special Operations and was awarded the Bronze Star. He retired from an extensive career as a corrections officer working with emergency response teams. Marvin has been involved in the weapons and self-defense community for over 25 years. He is trained as an armed guard and holds concealed carry permits in several states. A longtime IDPA Pistol and F-Class long range shooting competitor, Marvin founded the Spokane Personal Defense Alliance, an IDPA-affiliated shooting club in Washington State.

Jam Martin is an assistant firearms instructor with Citizens Safety Academy who specializes in pistol marksmanship skills. With over two decades as a government security contractor and a degree in Criminal Justice, Jam brings a plethora of knowledge that not only includes firearms and law but also personal security and situational awareness.

David was raised shooting .22 rifles and shotguns. But when his father, an avid competitive pistol shooter, introduced him to handguns, that became his primary area of firearms interest. Over a wandering career unfocused on any specific objective but nevertheless entertaining, David has enjoyed training in various martial arts (including kung fu and krav maga) and competing in smallbore and high power rifle, bullseye pistol, metallic silhouette, CAS, IDPA, and other firearms sports. For some reason, none of these disciplines seem eager to claim him. 🙂 As an instructor, David especially enjoys working with new shooters. He is a member of the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, and the Firearms Policy Coalition.