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.
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.
Hands-on instruction takes place at a covered, outdoor shooting range equipped with targets and various shooting stations. The range also has a seating area.
Customers often bring their own firearms and ammunition to Texan Defender's classes. If necessary, the range can supply ammunition and loaner guns.
Texan Defender's experienced shooting instructor, Dan Hullum, leads small-group 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.
Action Angler & Outdoor Center, a stream-side fly-fishing shop, offers access to a unique segment of the Guadalupe River, replete with trout, bass, and panfish, and reserved exclusively for fly-fishing. The shop's owner and TXPW-licensed lead guide, Chris Jackson, draws on his 30 years of fly-fishing experience, which began at age 12, when he caught his first trout on the fly in the Rio Grande's headwaters. Patrons can buy or rent equipment ranging from kayaks by makers such as Outcast and Diablo to rods, reels, and wading boots, ideal for jogging into the depths during races with your reflection. Once outfitted, visitors can strike out independently, or opt for guided floats and fly-fishing lessons on the Guadalupe. Guides can also chaperone full-day floats on the San Marcos River, Colorado River, and Lady Bird Lake.