THE COMBATIVE FIREARMS INSTRUCTOR (CFI) PROGRAM is second to none. DSIs CFI program offers instructors full access to a turn-key state of the art world-class curriculum. The curriculum is designed by professional military and LEO instructors for experienced military, law enforcement, and NRA instructors who want to add advanced combative firearms training and Reality Based Training (RBT) options for individuals, businesses, schools, churches, and communities to their course offerings.

  • Synergistic Advanced Combative Firearms Training

    Synergistic Advanced Combative Firearms Training

    Advanced combative firearms and reality-based training for individuals, businesses, schools, churches and communities. Non-competitive with NRA offerings.
  • Significant Incremental Revenue Opportunities

    Significant Incremental Revenue Opportunities

    Significant additional revenue opportunities including course revenues, manuals, on-line membership subscriptions and commissions on referrals.
  • Integrated On-line On-range And On-site Curriculum

    Integrated On-line On-range And On-site Curriculum

    Comprehensive curriculum including training scripts, plans, course and program formats, administrative documents, integrated training manuals and videos.
  • Click To View Course Schedule And Register

    Click To View Course Schedule And Register

    Extensive on-line, on-range and recurrent training and certification process. Click to view schedule for upcoming certification courses and to register.
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The CFI program works much like any other professional development program you attend; If pre-qualified you will pay DSI for your training and upon graduation you are accredited to instruct and certify your own students, keeping the money you earn for yourself or your team.

Post-graduation, you will fully onramp with a growing cadre of professional instructors who meet regularly, you will have direct access to DSI HQ, you will be afforded weekly Ops Calls with DSI, regular training opportunities to sharpen your/teams skillset, help shape the direction of the curricula on a regular basis, and find out what other CFIs are finding is working.



You can either scroll down and read the program details or click on the link to be taken to that section.

  1. Description of the CFI program.
  2. Sales and marketing resources.
  3. Administrative resources.
  4. The certification process.

Candidates for DSI's CFI program must have significant firearms training experience and above-average gun handling skills. Tier 4 candidates must have military or LEO background with solid weapons skills, be an instructor for a known school, or current NRA instructor with a solid firearms background, who are (ideally) already established in their community.

The CFI Program is NOT a firearms training program for instructors - weapons proficiency is a must and proper gun-handling skills are expected. CFI candidates will spend all their time learning and teaching the DSI curricula to DSI standards, setting up and tearing down ranges, running the firing line, demonstrating their shooting skills when not lecturing, and learning the processes needed to recruit, engage, and track student progress in order to run a successful firearms training business.

There are four tiers of certification DSI offers:

Tier 4: Combatives - Basics of Handgun, Shotgun, Rifle

  • Cost: $3,695 Handgun (Rifle + Shotgun add-ons after Tier 4 benchmarks have been reached)
  • Duration: 3 Range days, 90+ hours of online study and testing, and a 12 week preheat.
  • Experience: Must possess a military or LEO background or a current instructor (NRA or equivalent) with significant training experience.

Tier 3: Individual Tactics - Reality Based Training (RBT) (Tier 3 and above candidates must have significant military or tactical law enforcement backgrounds.)

  • Cost: $3,000 add to Tier 4 cost.
  • Duration: 3 Range/RBT days, 20+ hours online.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have Tier 4 certification plus significant applicable military or law enforcement background.

Tier 2: Team Tactics Defense of Business, School, Church

  • Cost $2,000 add to Tier 3 cost.
  • Duration: 3 Range/RBT/Venue days. 40+ hours online
  • Pre-requisites: Tier 3 certification

Tier 1:  Command School Defense of Enterprise and Community

  • Cost $2,000 add to Tier 2 cost.
  • Duration: 5 Range/RBT/Venue/Community training days. 60+ hours online
  • Pre-requisites: Tier 2 certification

Certification programs are run year-round at locations throughout the United States. See details below.

The CFI program offers you/your team:

  • Advanced courses and programs to sell to and expand your existing student base.
  • World-class training and certification process teaching combative firearms and tactics instruction.
  • Comprehensive curriculum including training scripts, plans, course and program formats, administrative best practices guide, administrative documents, integrated training manuals, online learning management system (LMS) and training videos.
  • Additional revenue opportunities via DSI manuals, sales of DSI SWAG, Defense Academy memberships (split with CFIs 50/50), and continued training partnership opportunities.
  • Direct access to DSI HQ, you will be afforded weekly Ops Calls with DSI and all CFIs/teams, regular business development (Biz Dev) conference calls, regular training opportunities to sharpen your/teams' skillset, help shape the direction of the curricula on a regular basis and find out what other CFIs are finding is working.

Once you are certified as a DSI CFI you are authorized to train and certify students up to your current certification level of certification using DSI's curriculum and resources.

You set your own price (we HIGHLY advise you to use our MSRP or higher) and keep all of the revenue from your Tier 4 training.

DSI does NOT run YOUR business.

You are allowed to teach any additional program/courses/curricula aside from DSI's, however; DSI curriculum must be used when training ANY DSI course.

The highlights of the CFI program include:

  • A turnkey combative firearms training program that integrates firearms fundamentals, reality based training (RBT), individual, and small unit tactics in defense of self, family, businesses, churches, and schools.
  • DSIs Training Ladder provides an opportunity to grow powerful and lasting relationships with individuals, businesses, churches, schools, and communities. 
  • CFI courses and programs do not compete with existing NRA, CCW, and other entry-level courses, instead DSI courses enhance and expand the CFI's offerings above and beyond the basics.
  • CFI's can operate independently or partner up with other CFIs, gun shops, business entrepreneurs, or existing DSI Authorized Training Partners (ATPs).

The DSI "Training Ladder" 

The DSI "Training Ladder" is at the core of our training resources and describes a step-by-step approach for students to progress as far and as fast as they want in order to meet their training objectives by using our SmartSheet Training Program when they are not under your direct supervision. The training ladder moves a firearms novice through four stages of skill development:

1. Developing individual basic firearms fundamentals on handgun, shotgun, and rifle.
2. Applying these skills to individual maneuver for self-defense through a quality RBT program.
3. Applying the above skills, teamwork, and tactics necessary to defend a business, church, or school.
4. Learning how to use the above for defense of neighborhoods and communities.

The training ladder begins with individuals mastering basic handgun manipulations and tactics needed for personal defense scenarios. Then it adds shotgun and rifle to the personal defense skills inventory, followed by introducing individual tactics for defense in the home and on the street. Next, your students will learn the teamwork and team tactics necessary to defend a single location like a school, church, or business. The training ladder culminates with community coordination and training in the small unit tactics needed for the defense of a community; like a neighborhood, village, or small towns.

All of our training resources are organized around the training ladder - the manuals, courses, programs, and curricula are proprietary "training fittings" are all designed to engage and move a student/client up the ladder thereby creating new revenue opportunities for instructors, ranges, and training groups. 



As a CFI you have access to sales, advertising, and marketing collaterals to help sell your services to gun shops and potential prospects and to help gun shops and ranges to sell your products and services for your current level of certification. You also have access to other resources that allow you to communicate with your students. Below is a representative sample of these resources. Some of these resources come with your certification fee, others can be purchased from us.

APD Firearms Group PromoYour Own Private Training Group - Private Training Groups (PTGs) are the CFI's private section inside of the DSI Defense Academy where you go to interact with your student cadre. (your PTG comes with your certification fee.)

You can personalize your training group with your own branding and messaging.

Your students must have a paid monthly membership to the DSI Defense Academy to be in your training group.

Inside your training group you can:

  • Make posts of upcoming events, training dates, etc.
  • Upload videos of your training.
  • Store files like your own local legal and mental health professionals, graded threat matrix, METL’s, site assessment, etc.,
  • Post photos of your facility, training exercises, etc.

Digital Identity - Digital images you can use to put together your own web pages and other online presentations and email campaigns. (Comes with certification fee.)

  • DSI Logo
  • DSI Defense Academy Logo
  • Training Ladder
  • Fits

Affiliate Information - Account set-up and web images. (Comes with certification fee.)

  • Account
  • Affiliate Tiles/Banners

Equipment and training aids - Tactical medicine supplies needed to train your students. (Available for purchase from inside the DSI Defense Academy.)

  • IFAK (Individual First Aid Kits)
  • TFAK (Team First Aid Kits)
  • Training tourniquets, compression dressings, etc.

CFI Merchandising Elements 315Marketing And Advertising Collaterals - In-store marketing and advertising collaterals for the CFI. (Available for purchase from inside the DSI Defense Academy.)

  • DSI Flyer/Postcards
  • Certification Sticker
  • Small 8.5” x 11” Counter Top Poster
  • Larger 24” x 36” Hanging Poster
  • Floor Banner with Stand

- Clothing, caps, and accessories for you and your clients. (Available for purchase from inside the DSI Defense Academy.)

  • Certification Patch
  • TAG Cap
  • Polo Shirt
  • T-shirt
  • 3-way Jackets
  • etc.

CFI Kit 511 2Certification Packs (Available for purchase from inside the DSI Defense Academy.)

One of the more important aspects of training for students is a measurement or acknowledgment of their training achievements. We offer signed official DSI certifications and challenge coins that can be bought by our CFI's and then awarded to students who successfully complete their course.



All CFIs work out of our CFI Portal which is inside the DSI Defense Academy. Inside the CFI Portal, you will find certification process details; training scripts, schedules and notes; sales collaterals AND marketing resources, etc. 

Additionally, as a certified CFI you have access to our library of administrative forms and other content you can use to help launch and run your training business. 

  • The DSI Training Notebook: A step by step goal setting, training prioritization, scheduling, and documentation system that assures your students continued progress.
  • Monthly ATP Schedule: A Word document template that CFIs can use to post training schedules at your ATP's online calendar.
  • Combative Sighted Fire Report: A PDF to be sent to a student prior to attending specific modular courses.
  • Student Course Curricula: A PDF documents to be sent to the student prior to attending a course. Also used in pre-sales.
  • CFI Student Alpha File: A spreadsheet that CFIs can use to track students training progress.
  • Numerous Email Templates: Sent to students for sales conversions, pre, and post-course training, follow up, training opportunity/update formats that help your students take their training to the next level.
  • Stands and Barricades Blueprints: These are PowerPoint file and .pdf showing the design of the standard barricades and stands CFIs can use for training outdoors.
  • General Liability Release: This is a Word doc template release of liability that the CFI can customize for his jurisdiction.
  • Dry Practice Rules and Guide: This is release indicated that the student understands and will abide by the suggested dry practice rules while providing students a step-by-step guide to safe and effective long-term dry-practice routine.
  • Basic Course Range Equipment Inventory: This is a checklist you can modify for all the equipment you'll need to stage your training courses.
  • Range and Classroom Set-up: A checklist of tasks to make sure you set-up and take down all equipment and property.
  • Range Pack List: A master checklist of all training items CFIs commonly use for training (Tier appropriate).
  • Trauma Bag Load-Out: Checklist of all medical items.



Certification - Instructors must first pass their certification process which allows them to instruct the curriculum at their level of certification and then certify students and sell our offerings.

Recurrent Training - DSI doesn't believe in "one and your done" training for either students or instructors. Each year CFIs must continue to train on current skills and learn any new skills being incorporated into the program via "Recurring Training" or train a minimum number of students for the prior 12 months:

Tier 4: Handgun, Shotgun, Rifle. $3,695 Qualifying Certification /$495 Recurring Certification.
Tier 3: Individual Tactics. $6,695 Qualifying Certification /$995 Recurring Certification.
Tier 2: Team Tactics. $8,695 Qualifying Certification /$1,495 Recurring Certification.
Tier 1: Unit Tactics. $10,695 Qualifying Certification/$1,495 Recurring Certification.

Each instructor upon passing their certification receive a signed paper certification suitable for framing, a patch for their cap and a t-shirt with their cert level logo.

Tier Appropriate Benchmarks - In order to maintain certification CFIs must meet minimum benchmarks for training.

Tier 4: 24 certified Graduate students over 12 months
Tier 3: 4 programs over 12 months
Tier 2: 3 programs over 12 months
Tier 1: 2 programs over 12 months


This program is for candidates interested in becoming a certified DSI Combative Firearms Instructors (CFIs).

Required Experience

The DSI Tier 4 CFI Certification Program is designed for military, LEOs, current private (Gunsight, Frontsight, etc.,) instructors, and NRA instructors who want to add advanced combative and reality-based training options for individuals, businesses, schools, churches, and communities. Tier 3 and above must have significant tactical law enforcement or military experience. There are no exceptions to this requirement.

Course Preparation

Your CFI course is divided into two phases - on-line and on-range activities. The first phase is 12-week preheat overviewing on-line courses, reading assignments and other preparatory activities including 2 weekly video conference calls delivered over 12 weeks leading up to a 3-day testing and certification event.

You will have have to do your homework as well as attend two weekly (Monday and Thursday evening 1-hour [7-8pm Central]) online meetings in order to pass the course. Candidates must demonstrate declarative knowledge (lectures), procedural skills and techniques (gun handling), and most importantly - the ability to deliver them effectively using our methodology (prime, train, dry practice, practice, test).

If the CFI does not pass the certification course the first time, they can return and retake the course at a reduced rate.

These are the steps to becoming a DSI certified Combative Firearms Instructor:

  1. Select your course date and register.
  2. Send us an email to outlining your firearms training experience and contact information.
  3. We will then schedule a private briefing which is conducted via teleconference, during which we present the opportunity to you in detail.
  4. If we are satisfied that you have a strong chance of achieving your certification then we will clear you for your course and invoice you for the course fee.

Your Certification Cost Includes

  1. The training course fee.
  2. Website listing on the DSI website including "baseball card" and full-page profile.
  3. Co-branded Defense Group inside the DSI Defense Academy.
  4. Access to all administrative, marketing and sales, files inside the CFI Portal.

Your certification cost does not include:

  1. Travel and lodging
  2. Ammunition
  3. Weapons and equipment - you a professional, so you should already have your own.
  4. Merchandising elements
  5. Sales and marketing support resources such as your website, fliers, banners, etc. (see above)


Plan on arriving no later than the evening prior to your course date. Sign-in begins at 0700 the day of your course. The course will start promptly at 0800. Late-comers will not be allowed to take the course. Please bring a sack lunch and snacks.

Day One Itinerary

: 0700-0800
Course Instruction: 0800 - 2000

Day Two Itinerary

: 0730
Course Instruction: 0800 - 1800

Day Three Itinerary

: 0730
Course Instruction: 0800 - 1800
Graduation: 1900
Depart: 2000


You are responsible for securing your own lodging.

Cancellations And Refunds

Once your payment is processed then you are committed to the program. There are no refunds. If you are unable to attend your scheduled date then you will be able to cancel and attend a future program. We train rain or shine so there are no weather cancellations. Should we cancel a program after payment has been made then we will either refund your payment in full or apply it toward the next course.

Additional Costs And Considerations

Once you have paid for and gained your certification, you have no other obligation to pay us anything or to purchase anything from us.

For those CFI's who would like marketing support and or merchandising support, we offer a number of items and services you can purchase directly from us which we will cover during your private briefing.


Become A CFI


We Start Where the NRA Stops

We offer combative firearms and tactical training for individuals, businesses, schools, churches, and communities. Our training ladder delivers new revenue stream opportunities that you won’t get anywhere else. Our integrated online, on-range, and on-site curricula provide new ways for communicating and engaging with your students.

DSI is Vested in Your Success

Our business model requires your success, so we’ll work with you toward that goal. Your DSI instructors have the knowledge and skills along with the ability to teach those skills to you in a meaningful way. Your instructor's backgrounds include over 100 combined years of tactical, military, federal, and private contractor experience across the globe.

Our Curriculum is Designed with You in Mind

DSI takes the headaches out of preparing, designing, and publishing your own curricula. We’ve done that so you don’t have to, leaving you to do what you want to do - engage your students and train. Take our processes and integrate them into your classes to certify your own students. Our training scripts, plans, course, program formats, administrative best practices guide, documents, integrated training manuals, and videos are at your disposal. Help shape the curricula by becoming a part of the DSI Curricula Development Team and help keep the curricula fresh and relevant for your students.

Multiple Revenue Opportunities

Build your clientele by offering more classes that have growth and advancement opportunities for your students. You also get revenue opportunities via sales of manuals, DSI Defense Academy memberships, SWAG, and other partnership opportunities. There are no limits or fees associated with what you can earn.

Training Ladder: It differentiates Us from The Rest

You benefit from our integrated training ladder approach. Help move your students forward to additional classes and courses that you control. We can help you offer training in Tactical Medicine (Bleeding Control, Tactical Emergency Casualty Care), Communications, Combative Handgun/shotgun/rifle, Individual Tactics via RBT (Reality Based Training), Team Tactics, (businesses/churches/schools) and Unit Tactics (communities).

DSI’s Training Fills More Seats

By integrating our blended learning approach (online, on-range, and on-site classes) into your offerings, you’ll benefit from a well-rounded portfolio that few instructors possess. These integrated services will put you ahead of the game by offering your students resources, materials, and advanced training opportunities others are not.

Maintain Your NRA/CCW Classes…We Help You Build on That

Our courses pick up where the NRA leaves off and DSI doesn’t offer CCW training. So, it’s not a competition against existing NRA-type courses, but an upgrade. But by adding DSI training to your profile, you open new opportunities for continued training and revenue streams by giving your students a full spectrum of personal defense courses they can take well beyond the basics.

The DSI Training Notebook Speeds Your Students Training Along

The DSI Training Notebook is a resource that helps your students identify and set their training goals, teaches them how to prioritize and schedule their training, gives them a clear path to follow to success, and is an invaluable documentation resource. As an instructor, the DSI Training Notebook helps you pinpoint any gap in your student's knowledge, skills, or abilities and allows you to quickly fill those gaps and give them the advice they need to achieve their training goals.

Online Defense Academy Keeps You in Touch with Your Students

Offer your students an opportunity to work on the cognitive declarative knowledge at their home or office by handling the classroom portions of their training in our vast online portal (The DSI Defense Academy) while generating a monthly revenue stream for your company. You won’t have to attend to any of the “behind-the-curtain” headaches with the online portal. The tech stuff is all handled for you by DSI.

Private Training Groups for Your Students Inside the Defense Academy

You’ll be able to put your students in your own “Private Training Group” engaging with them on a regular basis. No more waiting for your next live class to keep them involved and training.

Continuing Education Keeps You Sharp

DSI is the leader in continuing the training and education of our certified instructors. Trainers always train and leaders always learn. It’s never “one-and-done”. You’ll continue your certification process throughout the year with both bi-monthly CFI Continued Education events - to maintain the highest level of training for yourself and, in turn, for your students, and weekly CFI Ops calls - giving you the ability to share timely information needed to operate more wisely in the marketplace with other CFs and Headquarters.