2A: Local Resources Network
2A Resources: North Georgia Firearms Training and more
Anyone with the intention of handling or shooting a firearm has a duty to educate him or herself before picking it up. For those curious souls who have never used a firearm, local classes with knowledgeable, certified instructors are a great place to start.
We sat down with Dennis Forlie, owner of North Georgia Firearms Training (NGFT) to learn more about his courses.
Forlie, now a NRA-certified firearms instructor, served in Vietnam from 1971-1977. Though he had prior experience with firearms from the military, Forlie hardly interacted with firearms from the time of his discharge in 1977 until 2008.
In 2008 Forlie purchased an M9 Beretta handgun, which is the U.S. army’s standard issue pistol.
“I hadn’t fired since back in the days of the military, but I went out and started shooting and thought you know what, this is a lot of fun. And it wouldn’t be a bad thing to build a partial career around,” Forlie said.
Forlie spent time at the range shooting the Beretta to be reacquainted with firearms. Shortly after, he earned his NRA certification and began teaching at NGFT.
“I realized how much I enjoyed teaching. I don’t make a whole lot of money from it but, but what I get out of teaching is having an individual come into my classroom—in some cases terrified – they want to have a gun, they want to have the protection and the confidence to be able to defend themselves if that’s ever required. But they’re just scared,” Forlie said.
Helping someone escape their fearful state of mind and bringing them to a place of confidence is what Forlie finds most rewarding. In some cases, Forlie’s students purchase a firearm shortly after his classes, and continue practicing and educating themselves.
NGFT Pistol Safety and Marksmanship Class
“My primary course, which is a live-fire course is called NGFT for ‘North Georgia Firearms Training’ and that’s safety and marksmanship. It involves about four to five hours in the classroom, and that doesn’t include ammunition. Then, we’ll spend another hour and a half at the range taking everything we just learned and putting it in that context,” Forlie said.
NGFT’s namesake, this course is not only a good place to start for those that have very little knowledge about firearms, it is valuable for anyone who is not an expert on the subject. It covers all of the basics and would allow someone to go to the range during class with a degree of confidence.
The classroom portion starts with safety, then begins teaching about types of guns, parts of a gun, cleaning, maintenance and ammunition types. However, it does not include any live ammunition (for safety reasons).
For more experienced students, this would be a good refresher course on functionality, gun parts, cleaning and maintenance. The location of parts on every gun is different, so picking up a new gun can at times can feel like driving a car with the steering wheel on the right side.
The live-fire portions of this class are limited to revolvers and semi-automatic pistols.
Concealed Carry Class
Forlie teaches more students in his concealed concealed carry class than any other. It teaches participants more about gun safety, Georgia’s carry laws and how to properly draw a firearm from its holster. In addition, the course includes more intuitive topics such as situational awareness while carrying a firearm.
“We go through how you need to be walking around town while carrying that gun on you because bad guys are going to know you have it, and if they take it away from you they’re going to use it on you,” Forlie said.
Forlie stresses that this course is a good spot for students to decide if carrying a gun is actually right for them. Anyone carrying a gun is presented with a completely different set of responsibilities to abide by.
These responsibilities include making sure the firearm is secured in the holster and not easily accessible by anyone other than the carrier, and knowing which situations are acceptable to pull out the gun.
It is something that someone must prepare for psychologically. It is a mental state where one must toe a fine line.
Pulling out a firearm is an absolute last resort. It is not simply a deterrent; it is reserved only for situations when that person feels they have no choice. No other situation is acceptable.
But, if that person decides to pull the gun, they MUST have complete confidence in him or herself to use it.
“One person actually came up to me at the end of the class, looked me dead in the eye and said that they’re not going to carry a gun. It’s the way I wrote the course, I wanted people to understand what they’re doing. When you carry a gun, odds are you’ll never use it. But if you need to use it and you second guess yourself, you’re going to get hurt,” Forlie said.
NGFT Pistol Marksmanship Simulator Training
This is what Forlie refers to as his “high-fliers” class. This is an advanced pistol marksmanship course that is not live-fire; it takes place entirely in the classroom.
This is for people with an advanced knowledge of firearms looking to take their accuracy to the next level. Forlie limits the Marksmanship Simulator Training to six people so that he can provide attention to all of his students.
“People require individual attention in order to take what they learned on a blackboard — and dry-fire — and actually turn it into something, so I limit myself to six. Because that’s where the rubber meets the road,” Forlie said.
By examining stance, grip and trigger pull during a dry-fire, Forlie helps his students become more consistent. Whether it’s anticipating recoil, breaking the wrist or “slapping” the trigger, Forlie can determine these problems in a safe, classroom environment.
NFGT is located in downtown Alpharetta, and can be contacted at (678) 517-6561.
For further information on firearms education or Forlie’s courses, check out NGFT’s website.
The Ukoala bag is a multipurpose bag that has many uses, but perhaps the most important being that it contains a holster for a concealed carry weapon. Ukoala touts the bag as offering great weight distribution and comfortability, while providing additional room for belongings.
The bag can also be zipped up for an even more secure and discreet concealed carry experience.
Damsel in Defense is a company specializing in many different self-defense devices marketed to women. However, their signature pepper spray with bluetooth technology is a great fit for anyone who does not want to carry a gun.
Upon use, these pepper spray devices send a bluetooth signal to a contact of your choice providing location and time of the discharge to alert of a possible attack. Damsel in Defense’s mission is to equip, empower, and educate others to protect themselves and those they love.
For more information on these products, check out the Damsel in Defense website.
Other Local Resources
Stoddard’s Range and Guns – Located in midtown, Stoddard’s is an ITP favorite. The have a nice selection of guns to rent, and offer classes for those learn more about firearms. 485 Bishop Street Sw, Atlanta, Ga. (404) 355 4867.
QuickShot shooting range, Atlanta – With multiple locations in metro Atlanta, QuickShot offers a membership to get the best BANG for your buck at the shooting range. 1199 Zonolite Road, Atlanta, Ga. (404) 963 1962.