THE COMBATIVE FIREARMS INSTRUCTOR (CFI) PROGRAM is the first step in DSI's instructor certification process and offers professional instructors full access to DSIs combative handgun curriculum and training methodologies.

DSI's CURRICULUM is designed by professional military and LEO instructors for experienced military, law enforcement, professional instructors (Gunsight, Front Sight, etc.), and qualified ADVANCED NRA instructors who want to work with DSI as Independent Contractors (IC) by taking part in DSI's multiple advanced combative firearms training options for individuals, businesses, schools, churches, and communities.

  • 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 Training Opportunities

    Significant Training Opportunities

    Significant additional training opportunities with DSI Certified DSAs and DSI (HQ) sponsored training events such as Tier 3 and 2 where Tier-4 fundamentals are trained and tested.
  • 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. Read More
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The CFI program works much like any other professional development program you attend; If you are pre-qualified you will pay DSI ($895.00) for your training and upon successful completion, you are accredited to instruct with certified DSI DSAs as a DSI IC (Independent Contractor) Adjunct Instructor and you will be paid the PARTIAL IC daily rate until you complete your vetting process under your DSAs supervision.

Once you have proven your ability to competently instruct DSI courses in accordance with DSI's established policies and procedures to your DSA, you will graduate thereby earning your IC CFI Certificate, and you can teach as a Certified DSI IC CFI at any DSI hosted training event at the FULL IC daily rate.

Upon graduating as a Certified DSI IC CFI numerous additional training certification options become available to you: You can continue to work with your DSA, DSI's Authorized Training Partners, or DSI at the FULL daily rate daily for IC CFIs, or upon your DSA's recommendation, you can start your own school as a DSI Certified DSA, where your run your own DSI courses and keep ALL your Tier 4 earnings - while opening up multiple new revenue streams with DSIs multiple training offerings beyond Tier 4.

It's your choice, work as much or as little as you want, with only your instructing and business ambitions as your limit.

Post-graduation you will fully onramp with a growing cadre of professional instructors like yourself who meet regularly. You will have direct access to DSI HQ through our DSI CFI Signal group, and your DSA will keep you up-to-date on all DSI instructing opportunities.



1.) Description of the CFI Program:

Candidates for DSI's CFI program must have significant firearms training experience and above-average gun handling skills. The DSI CFI Program is NOT a firearms training program for instructors - weapons proficiency is expected and proper gun-handling skills are a must.

The CFI program offers you:

  • DSIs advanced Tier 4 Combative Handgun program.
  • World-class training and certification process teaching combative firearms and tactics instruction to DSIs exacting standards.
  • Comprehensive curriculum including training scripts, DSI's Individual Training Plan, DSI's Training Notebook, course and program formats, integrated training manuals, and access to our online learning management system (LMS), and training videos for your training.
  • Additional continued training opportunities to achieve your DSI Tier 4 CFI IC Certification.
  • Direct access to DSI HQ, you will be afforded weekly Ops Calls with DSI DSA and other CFIs/teams to find out what is working for them currently, as well as updates on training opportunities.

Once you are certified as a DSI IC CFI you are authorized to train students up to your current certification level of certification using DSI's curriculum and resources under the direct supervision of any DSI Certified DSA at the FULL IC CFI daily rate anywhere DSI offers its training.

The highlights of the CFI program include:

  • Learning about DSIs 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.
  • Learn about DSIs Training Ladder that provides an opportunity to grow powerful and lasting relationships with individuals, businesses, churches, schools, and communities. 
  • CFI's can partner up with other DSAs, Authorized Training Partners, and DSI in order to provide Tier 4-Training anywhere our training is offered.

The DSI Training Ladder at a glance:

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 Individual Training Plan 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 handguns, rifles, and shotguns (Tier 4).
2. Applying these skills to individual maneuver for self-defense through a quality RBT program (Tier 3).
3. Applying the above skills, teamwork, and tactics necessary to defend a business, church, or school (Tier 2).
4. Learning how to use the above for the defense of neighborhoods and communities (Enterprise).

The training ladder begins with individuals mastering basic handgun manipulations and tactics needed for personal defense scenarios on the range, with guided online dry practice, following their Individual Training Plans, and using their Training Notebook under the guidance and supervision of their CFIs and DSAs, with additional options for rifle and shotgun training that they can add to their personal defense skills inventory in order to be competent Individual Operators or "IOs"(Tier 4). This is followed by introducing individual tactics for defense in the home and on the street through DSIs unparalleled RBT (Reality Based Training) Program (Tier 3). Next, your students will learn to work with other IOs (Independent Operators) to defend a single location like a business, school, or church (Tier 2). The training ladder culminates with community coordination of these businesses, churches, and schools, where they learn how to liaise, linkup, and cooperate with local law enforcement agencies, paramedics, and other businesses, churches, and schools by training in the small unit tactics and coordination needed for the defense of a community; like a neighborhood, village, or small town (Enterprise).

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 increasing their skills and survivability, thereby creating both secure and resilient communities while opening new revenue opportunities for instructors, ranges, and training groups.

2) The CFI Certification Process:

Your CFI course is divided into three phases - 1) online training, lectures, and homework followed by 2) on-range activities, concluding with the final phase 3) DSIs vetting process hosted by a DSI DSA where you will be teaching DSI students under the direct supervision of a DSI Certified DSA and prove their ability to function as a CFI in a DSI training team.

Phase 1: In this first phase, you will attend a 12-week preheat overviewing online courses, reading assignments, and other preparatory activities including 2 weekly online (Signal app) conference calls, and three "dry practice" sessions available during the week for any missed or remedial lectures that need to be given.

You will have to do your homework as well as attend two weekly (Monday and Thursday evening 1-hour [7-8 pm Central]) online meetings and 30-minute thrice-weekly (Mon, Wed, and Fri [0700-0730 Central]) online dry practice training events where you will lecture and make up any missed lectures, have an opportunity to remediate any failed lectures, and demonstrate your ability present DSI curricula to DSI standards for your DSA in order to pass the online portion of the course. During the online portion, candidates must demonstrate procedural skills and techniques (gun handling), their ability to deliver DSI lectures effectively using DSIs methodology (prime, train, dry practice, test), and their ability to both monitor and record student progress according to DSI's established policies and procedures.

Phase 2: The second phase is the on-range portion, where candidates will demonstrate their ability to set up, and tear-down ranges, provide lectures, shoot demonstrations when not lecturing, monitor student's progress, correct student's skills, conduct qualifications, record training, etc.

Phase 3: After passing Phase 2 candidates will become Certified as IC Adjunct Instructors or "AI" and will be paid the PARTIAL daily rate for their training efforts as an Augment Instructo or "AI" as part of a DSI team. AIs will need to demonstrate to their DSA  that they can not only train students to DSI standards and in accordance with established policies and procedures, as well as prove that they can function effectively as a DSI teammate. This is an objective-based requirement and is not bound by time constraints. A capable IC AI  demonstrating proficiency and flow within the team can complete their requirements in short order (a few weeks) or, take their time (months) demonstrating their proficiencies as their schedule permits (one year max).

Upon passing their certification process each IC CFI receives a signed paper certification suitable for framing, a patch for their cap, and a logoed t-shirt for their current cert-level.

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

Your Certification Cost Includes

  1. The training course fee.
  2. Access to all administrative files inside the CFI Portal for the duration of your training.

Your certification cost does not include:

  1. Travel and lodging
  2. Ammunition
  3. Weapons and equipment - you are a professional, so you should already have your own.


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

Recurrent Training - DSI doesn't believe in "one and your done" training for either students or instructors and all DSI instructors live by the motto "Sometimes and instructor, always a student." Each year CFIs must continue to train on current skills and learn any new skills being incorporated into the program via "Recurring Training" opportunities hosted by your DSA and pass all range qualifications appropriate to their level of certification:

Tier 4: Handgun, Rifle, Shotgun. Qualifying Certification $895/Recurring Certification $Cost+On the job eval.
Tier 3: Individual Tactics. Qualifying Certification $3,000/Recurring Certification $Cost+OJE.
Tier 2: Team Tactics. Qualifying Certification$2,000/Recurring Certification$Cost&OJE.

3.) Additional Opportunities for Certified IC CFIs:

There are two levels of certification beyond Tier 4 CFI that DSI offers IC CFIs, as well as the opportunity to become a DSA:

Tier 3: Individual Tactics - Reality Based Training or "RBT"

  • Cost: $3,000
  • Duration: 3 Range/RBT days, 20+ hours online.
  • Prerequisites: Must have Tier 4 CFI certification plus significant applicable military or law enforcement background.

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

  • Cost $2,000
  • Duration: 3 Range/RBT/Venue days. 40+ hours online
  • Prerequisites: Tier 3 certification

Should IC CFIs desire additional leadership roles and start their own training business, DSI offers qualified IC CFIs the ability to become DSAs who run their own business, keeping ALL Tier 4 money earned and partnering with DSI in all advanced training offered by DSI (Tier -3 through enterprise).

DSA Certification - Distributed Security Advisor

  • Cost: $4,995.00
  • Duration: 6 weeks of online instruction and process building spread over approximately 40-hours of online instruction, guidance, and homework where your DSAs will help you customize your business practices, policies, and procedures for your team.
  • Prerequisite: DSI CFI Certification AND a letter of recommendation from your DSA. 

Certification programs are run year-round at locations throughout the United States starting on the first Monday of each month. See details below and click on "Register for Your Course" for dates.

CFI At A Glance:
These are the steps to becoming a DSI certified Independent Contractor 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 interview you and present the opportunity to you in detail, and answer any questions you may have.
  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.
  5. You will attend the 12-week online training and complete your online tests and requirements.
  6. You will attend the 3-days of on-range testing and performance requirements.
  7. You will work as an adjunct IC (reduced IC daily rate) instructor until you have demonstrated your ability to i) competently train and track students to DSI standards within DSIs established policies and procedures, ii) your ability to function as an IC CFI in an established training team. Again, this is an objective-based requirement and is not bound by time constraints (see above).
  8. Once you graduate as an IC CFI you can work as a CFI for any DSI training event where Tier 4 is being trained or tested at the normal daily IC rate, and it's at this point both Tier 3 and the DSA program become available to you.


Become A CFI


We Start Where the NRA Stops

DSI offers combative firearms and tactical training for individuals, businesses, schools, churches, and communities. Our training ladder delivers multiple new and advanced training 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 directly between on-range training events so you can build strong relationships.

DSI is Vested in Your Success

Our business model requires your success, so we’ll work with you toward that goal. Your DSI DSA (Distributed Security Advisor) have the knowledge and skills along with the ability to teach those skills to you in a meaningful way so you can pass them on to your students effectively. Your instructor's backgrounds include over 100 combined years of tactical, military, federal, and private contractor experience across the globe with military, LEAs, and civilian students.

Our Curriculum is Designed with You in Mind

Being a DSI CFI allows you to do what you want to do - engage your students and train them. Our training scripts, plans, course, program formats, training documents, integrated training manuals, and videos are at your disposal to help you help your students. Enjoy training and leading? Then this is the program for you. If you like leadership and program management becoming a DSI CFI is your first step in becoming a DSI Certified DSA, where you can not only provide advanced training, you can 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

Because DSI begins where others end, you have many more advanced training courses available to you that have real growth and advancement opportunities for your students. This means more training opportunities for both you and your students.

Training Ladder: It differentiates Us from The Rest

You benefit from our integrated training ladder approach as you help move your students forward to additional classes and courses that DSI offers. You will offer training in Tactical Medicine (Bleeding Control, Tactical Emergency Casualty Care), Communications, Combative Handgun/shotgun/rifle as a CFI at Tier 4 alone, and through DSI you will be able to teach gun handling skills for our Individual Tactics via RBT (Reality Based Training), Team Tactics programs for businesses, churches, and schools, should you choose to do so.

DSI’s Training Fills More Seats

By integrating our blended learning approach (online, on-range, and on-site classes) 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 can't which allows you to be paid a premium price for your services.

DSI Training Resources Speeds Your Students Training Along

DSI proprietary resources like DSIs fully customizable Training Notebook and Individual Training Plans are resources that help 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 a CFI, the DSI Training Notebook and Individual Training Plans help 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

Your students have an opportunity to work on the cognitive/declarative (educational) knowledge at their home or office by handling the classroom portions of their training in our vast online portal (The DSI Defense Academy) which frees you up to train and not deliver declarative knowledge during your precious and limited range training time. And don't worry, 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 HQ.

Private Training Groups for Your Students Inside the Defense Academy

As a CFI you’ll be able to meet your students in your DSIs own “Private Training Group” in the DA should you choose to do so. This also allows you to engage with them on a regular basis aside from the range training and online dry-practice opportunities. No more waiting for your next range day 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 as an Independent Contractor Augment Instructor as long as it takes for you to get it down, throughout the year with both bi-monthly CFI Continued Education events are scheduled by your DSA 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 CFIs and Headquarters.

If you're ready to tackle the challenge and increase your marketability...