Josh Felker honed his gun-handling skills during almost a decade in the US Army, both in Special Operations and as an Infantry Officer. In 2004, he left the Army to take care of his sons while his wife, a fellow soldier, was about to deploy. On his home turf, he founded LoneStar Handgun, to share his expertise on safely wielding firearms through an array of classes.
He and his fellow instructor, Russell King, focus primarily on handgun training. They can teach novices handgun shooting basics—along with safety and range etiquette—or teach more complex defensive maneuvers to experienced marksmen. Their academy also teaches techniques for safely using other weapons, such as rifles and shotguns. Security officers can garner re-certification on the premises, and bodyguards can jumpstart their careers with a 15-hour certification course, which is more impressive than successfully guarding a cardboard cutout of Christina Aguilera.
After more than 25 years into the gun business, Jerry McCall dreamed of a place where all firearm needs could be satisfied. He opened Texas Guns and Texas Thunder Range, which now boasts more than one million dollars worth of inventory, in mind. Jerry now equips customers with quality firearms, accessories, and repairs in his shop seven days a week. Meanwhile, the 12 shooting lanes in the indoor, climate-controlled Texas Thunder Range—a subsequently built extension of the shop—accommodates experienced marksmen with a space to practice their skills under the eyes of NRA-certified Range Safety Officers. For first-time shooters, the range hosts classroom and range time through its free half-day First-Shots program as well as customized one-on-one training with its ace male and female instructors.
As the name suggests, Premier Gun Show produces some of the most popular gun shows across the state of Texas. At the shows, which include The Original Fort Worth Gun Show, DFW Premier Gun Shows at Big Town, and others in Houston, Waco, and San Antonio, dealers showcase firearms, including collectables, used firearms, and new guns right from their manufacturers. But the ample space of the convention halls also fill with other collectables. Depending on the show, visitors might find Western-style clothing, militaria, camouflage, knives, and firearms accessories.
At their outpost in Austin, Central Texas Gun Works' state-certified instructors train marksmen in classes that range from the Beginner Pistol Course to more advanced training for clients pursuing careers in private security. The facility also extends into a pro shop where staff members advise guests on brands from Beretta to Walther. This store also houses a gunsmith who maintains and customizes firearms with services such as cleaning and parkerizing.
Led by veteran United States Marine Eric Hulin, Texas Self Defense's team of instructors draws upon firsthand firearm knowledge to ensure students understand the responsibility of gun ownership. Divided into 50-minute segments and 10-minute breaks, Eric's one-day, 10-hour concealed handgun course entertainingly covers Texas's gun laws and gun safety. He also imbues first-time shooters with the basics of safely loading, aiming, and discharging a firearm. After the instructional classroom portion and a written test, the course breaks for lunch and then resumes at a local gun range, where students complete the shooting portion of the class.
Along with his main course, Eric teaches a four- and 10-hour renewal class and on-location sessions for groups of three or more. Once they complete Eric's course, eligible students can follow the remaining steps for obtaining their concealed handgun license.
At Texan Defender, clients can become expert bowmen and marksmen. Archers aim at three-dimensional zombie targets, bringing either their own equipment or first come first serve renting on-site. For students looking to increase their comfort and proficiency with firearms, experienced shooting instructor Dan Hullum leads classes in the basics of handling and operating a handgun. Dan holds his classes at a private outdoor range and typically begins training with classroom instruction to help students brush up on safety tips and firearm basics. An FAQ page anticipates common questions so students feel comfortable entering the various classes.