Anthony James

Anthony James


About this pro

I spent 16 years in the Army and have trained hundreds of soldiers across a varying range of firearms. My father was a police officer and firearms and concealed carry permit instructor for the State of Texas where I grew up. I was literally born into a world of firearms. Firearm safety was ingrained in me from a very young age and further refined during my time in the Army. 

I can provide familiarization and training for someone who has never touched a firearm before, advanced training for someone who wants to improve their skills, and more. 

I have a very wide variety of firearms ranging from very common to not common at all, and ranging from calibers as low as .22 all the way up to .50 BMG. (everything subject to ammunition availability and cost, of course). 

I greatly enjoy teaching others- especially those new to the firearm world. I'm very passionate about safe and practical use of firearms, whether its for sport/target shooting, hunting, personal/home defense, or just to try out a new thing to see if you like it. I really enjoy seeing others get a chance to try a firearm that is new to them and see the joy they get out of shooting it. Plus I get to go to the range, which is one of my favorite things to do- even on an instructional basis rather than a "this is for fun" basis. 

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Tucson, AZ 85736
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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

The first thing about firearms is safety. That cannot be stressed enough. Whether you're new to firearms, or you have 500 firearms in your collection, safety is the most important thing that everyone can stand to have a refresher on from time to time. Because of this, the first thing I will go over with a new student is how to safely handle their firearm, how to safely load/unload it safely, how to clear it in the event of a malfunction, and how to disassemble/reassemble it for cleaning purposes. 

From there, I will also cover proper techniques for holding and aiming your firearm, various positions of firing (standing, kneeling, sitting, prone, etc). It is important that you're comfortable operating your firearm(s), but it's also comfortable that you're using them in a safe and practical manner. For example, it does you no good to shoot skeet (clay pigeons) laying down in the prone position, and I cannot imagine that would be a very comfortable way to shoot a shotgun. 

During the actual firing process, there will be constant reiteration about safe handling procedures. A student will be shown, again, the proper position and holding/shouldering/aiming techniques for their firearm, and will demonstrate a "dry fire" (meaning no ammunition loaded) to show they understand. From there, the firearm will be loaded, and they will engage their target. In the event of any unsafe act, there will be an immediate cease-fire and depending on severity, either an additional block of instruction on safety or an end to the day at the range. This will be case-by-case. In the event of a malfunction, the firearm will be kept pointed downrange at all times, rendered safe, and inspected. If the firearm is cleared to continue use, the training session will continue. If the firearm is not cleared to continue using, the range day will end. 

Once familiarization has been achieved and the student has demonstrated proficiency in safety, emphasis will be placed on improving their shooting skills. This can be explained further during instruction. 

If the student is 100% new to firearms, and especially if they do not yet own a firearm, I prefer to start them off as small as possible and allow them to work their way up in caliber and type until they find something they are both comfortable and proficient with to suit their needs. There is no room for error, or pride/ego. I will not push anyone beyond their own comfort or ability, nor will I attempt to hold anyone back if they are able, confident, and safe with their operations of a firearm. For example, I'm not going to place a .50AE Desert Eagle in the hands of a 98lbs woman who has never touched a firearm before. Nor will I try to tell a 190lbs man that he "cannot handle" a .338 Lapua rifle if there is not a legitimate safety-related issue with it. That being said- unless you have your own firearm to train with, I prefer to start a student off with .22 caliber pistols and rifles to ensure that there are no negative range days. This can also be discussed further for any interested students. 

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

16 years Army- multiple combat tours, several overseas and stateside locations, hundreds of both US and Foreign National soldiers trained using many various weapons systems from many various nations. 

37+ years experience with firearms ranging from very old to the latest and greatest. 

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

Prices are case-by-case. It really depends on what the individual student needs or desires to learn, what materials I provide (firearms, ammunition, targets, safety equipment, etc), and how much of my time gets dedicated. I typically prefer a 2-hr minimum to give an hour of instructional time and an hour of actual range time. This can also be on a case-by-case basis. 

How did you get started teaching?

I was better at it than my peers in the Army and was told to train others. With each promotion came more responsibility to train more people across more things. 

What types of students have you worked with?

I have previously worked with all types of students of all backgrounds, nationalities, and experience levels.

I frequently work with new shooters of ages varying from very young to senior citizens. I have taught groups of children whose parents wanted them to learn to shoot and did not have access to multiple firearms to teach them. I have taught senior citizens who just wanted to try something new to them. I have taught Iraqi Nationals who did not speak english. I have taught more US soldiers than I can count how to not only shoot as if they've never shot before, but how to improve their shooting abilities to increase their marksmanship. 

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

I'm fond of my "Family Range Days" where my brother & I load up the trucks with virtually every weapon we have, tables, chairs, canopies, coolers with food water & sodas, we take our 65 year old mother out, and invite our other shooting buddies and their families out, we go pick a "wildcat" range out in the desert, get out there early, set up targets at varying distances from 15 ft out to 1000 yards, and spend the day sending bullets into targets. With ammunition being what it currently is, we don't do this as often as we used to (it used to be an every weekend thing), but we do still do it pretty regularly. We love teaching new people. We love sharing the range with other shooters, and we love sharing experiences with other shooters. 

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

Find someone who not only knows what they are doing, but has the right attitude with you. Whether you're brand new to firearms or you've been shooting for 40 years and own 1000 guns- if you're hiring an instructor, it's for a reason. Make sure that the person you're hiring is capable of what you're hiring them for, and that they're personable enough that you can stomach being around them for whatever length of time you're purchasing of their time. Hard to take instruction for someone who is a jerk, and dangerous to take instruction for someone who doesn't know what it is they're doing. A good instructor will not try to instruct anything that they are not absolutely an expert in. I would much rather tell someone "I do not know" than to risk a potential safety and/or legal hazard. 

If you're new to firearms, or just not that experienced with them- a big thing to consider is don't get frustrated. Be patient. For most of us, practice is the only way to get good at something. Even those of us who have been doing something long enough to be considered an expert at it still have those "off" days where we're just not managing to do something well. Don't get frustrated, don't get discouraged. Be patient, and take your time practicing. You will improve as long as you continuously practice the proper steps. 

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

What qualifications do you have? 

Do you have an established range to shoot at? 

Do you provide firearms? 

Do you provide Ammunition? 

Do you provide safety equipment (ear protection, eye protection, etc)? 

Do you provide targets? 

What are the price points of your services and/or things you provide? 

Lessons offered