Gateway Instruction

What is “gateway instruction”?

When we say “gateway instruction,” we mean true entry-level content, designed for students who’ve overcome boundaries, obstacles, social disincentives, or other adverse odds to learn to shoot for the first time. We have found that many “beginner” classes on the market are often weighed down by assumptions and misperceptions about what new shooters typically bring with them. These classes often take for granted that every student has the same opinion about guns, everyone has the same understanding of gun safety, and everyone generally understands how guns work and what they’re used for. But that’s often not the case.

At CSA, we take a different approach. Gateway instruction levels the playing field by allowing all students to enter the firearms training world without any pressure to know more than they know, or to be someone they aren’t. One of the many benefits of this teaching technique (and the reason we call it “gateway instruction”) is that it greatly increases the chances of students investing in more training and becoming members of the training community, rather than just visitors or sightseers. We hope to be an “on-ramp” for those who might otherwise see themselves as outsiders to the gun world.

Gateway Instruction with “That Weems Guy”

In the videos below, Aq and Tiff discuss gateway instruction with Lee Weems from the popular “That Weems Guy” podcast. Thanks for having us on your podcast, Lee!

Aq and Tiff were honored to be featured in Greg Ellifritz’s “Trainers You Should Know” series on The interview ventures into gateway instruction and lots of other topics. Click below to read Greg’s write-up. Thanks for the spotlight, Greg!

There are many instructor certification courses available, but most suffer from at least one of three common shortcomings. First, they often spend too much time on shooting and not enough time on teaching how to teach. Second, they often focus on teaching intermediate-level shooters without enough attention paid to the nuances of managing a class full of brand-new, first-time shooters.

Third, many instructor courses tend to ignore the cultural and demographic dynamics of today’s market of firearms trainees. With the recent explosion of gun purchases by urbanites, millennials, trauma victims, and others who don’t fit the traditional stereotypes of gun ownership, firearms trainers must adapt to the rapidly-evolving 21st Century market. CSA developed what we call the “gateway” instructional model in an effort to fill those gaps in the training community. 

To our knowledge, there was no other instructor development program available that focused specifically on gateway instruction. So, we developed our own. In CSA’s exclusive Gateway Instructor Certification Course, candidates will learn and demonstrate organizational and teaching skills via participation in practical exercises during the course, they’ll complete an instructor certification examination, and they’ll have to pass a shooting qualification course of fire. The course also includes an Instructor’s Guide that participants can take home with them for future reference.

To see our current offerings of the Gateway Instructor Certification Course, click the button below. If you would like to host our GICC at your local range, please contact us.

In late 2022, CSA developed the Gateway Instructor Patch. We award this patch very rarely. It is reserved for instructors who actively display a particular adeptness for accommodating gateway students. Instructors who earn this patch have proven that they possess the talent, teaching skills, patience, positive energy, inspiring personality, and social fluency required to be effective members of the training community’s proverbial welcoming committee. If CSA takes note of a trainer who works hard to give newcomers the most productive and most beneficial entry-point into the training world, we will offer that trainer a Gateway Instructor Patch. Simply put, if the CSA team had a beloved family member who wanted to overcome a debilitating phobia of firearms, we would feel confident in sending that family member to train with any instructor who has a Gateway Instructor Patch.


And the first Gateway Instructor Patch goes to…

The inaugural Gateway Instructor patch was proudly awarded to the incomparable Tim Reedy of TDR Training near San Antonio, Texas. This was probably the easiest patch we’ll ever award, as no one epitomizes top-quality gateway instruction like Tim does. CSA highly recommends TDR Training for anyone interested in gateway training or master instructorship in general. Tim is truly an inspiration, and we are honored to call him a colleague and a friend. Thank you, Tim, for all you do to liberate everyday people with the gift of personal empowerment, autonomy, and self-governance.

Tim Reedy
TDR Training