I first met retired Lee County, FL, Sheriff’s Department Field Training Officer, Paul Foreman, at a book signing held at Athens State University’s Center for Lifelong Learning. He had written Bloodstains In Paradise, a compilation of “true crime stories that won’t make your pastor go over in a dead faint,” and we “talked shop” as fellow authors. (I love his book, by the way, and it has now been read in such faraway places as South Africa!)
He and his wife JoAnn truly felt called to Athens, and moved here when Paul retired from a 21 year law enforcement career in Florida. “I was so amazed by how friendly everyone here in Athens,” he told me, and this was something he wasn’t used to, either in his profession, or as a Floridian. He still wanted to work part time, and pursue his writing career. He sold guns at Gander Mountain, worked for some national security firms, and then knew it was time to strike out on his own as a private firearms and personal safety trainer.
Paul is no stranger to the perils of law enforcement. He has been the first to arrive at a homicide scene and has put the cuffs on a murderer. However, his very favorite job was to train rookies. He was known as a Field Training Officer, meaning he would train the rookies who rode with him as his partner for seven weeks. Paul also worked in the Juvenile Unit where he would teach classes to kids who had gotten in trouble.
Once he decided to provide private firearms classes, he went through the extensive 16 hour training course required by the National Rifle Association, held up in Nashville. He is also certified to teach AED, CPR and first Aid with the American Heart Association, (in case your heart needs to be shocked back into service).
I agreed to be his guinea pig as a would-be firearms training student. I have been blessed to have had some great training in days gone by, but when the “ammo crunch” hit about three years ago, I quit shooting for awhile. In a word, I was rusty and knew it, and wanted to get back on my game. So, we decided to treat me as a first time shooter. We met out at the Limestone Hunting Preserve on a sweltering Friday morning, and Preserve owner Wayne Mitchell is one of Paul’s greatest encouragers. Wayne is thrilled to be able to have his facility used for such important training.
Every shooting instructor has different “tricks,” and by that I mean, things to look for, ways to assess situations, increasing situational awareness, and how to apply common sense in all types of scenarios. Paul took me through my paces, I am glad to say that he has my heartiest recommendation as a trainer!
Nevertheless, I had to ask him my standard question: “I have choices, why should I come to you?” He told me that his goal with every student was to get them so familiar with their weapon that it would be “like a tool.” He went on to say that “folks know how to use their umbrella, and take it when there is going to be rain. You don’t want to have to use it, but it will protect you if you need it.” The basic course is going to be designed for people who are new to shooting, and the class size will be small. He prefers 4-5 in each class, and will go up to six. Being able to give individual attention is the key to successful (and safe) training.
He also talked about “imparting the right mind set.” Being a responsible gun owner and operator is about far more than just being able to “cluster your shots in center mass” on a target. For example, his classes include the use of plastic “dummy shells,” which cause the gun to jam and not be able to fire. He teaches you what to do immediately in that situation.
He taught me a new way of “racking” my Glock; that is, pulling back the slide quickly in order to prepare to fire. He was also very patient and approachable, something that is crucial in a firearms training situation. “I care that the student is fully trained,” he said, and he also is willing to go to a gun store with a student in order to assist them in selecting a handgun for purchase.
In addition to firearm safety, he is going to be teaching a NRA class entitled, “Refuse To Be A Victim.” This class encourages participants to create a safety plan and gives instruction on how to make themselves more difficult targets in order to avoid criminal confrontation. His training will not be the least expensive, but it will be worth the price. So, if you are interested in getting started, or upgrading your personal safety skills, Paul Foreman is your guy.
Paul Foreman, Certified NRA Pistol Instructor
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner