High Desert Training Group LLC was created as a result of over 30 years of firearms training and instruction in both the public and private sectors, in the U.S. and overseas. We provide firearms instruction that maintains emphasis on the pistol and rifle as a martial art.
We provide certified training that complies with the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s training mandate for the Concealed Cary Weapon Permit, ref: ARS 13-3112-n(3), as well as privately contracted shooter training that focuses on marksmanship and safe gun handling. Our intermediate level handgun courses bring the “average Joe” out of an average mindset and into the possibilities of excellence. The advanced seminars bring the firearm owner into the realm 0f the martial art of the gun. Whether in open class or in executive training sessions, we provide an appropriate student to instructor ratio, an environment where processes are explained, questions answered and clear learning objectives given.
High Desert Training Group’s Genesis
High Desert Training Group’s roots go back to the renaissance of the gun craft, when in the desert south west, the art of the gun was being pushed to a level that would forever change the American gun scene.
While attending college in Southern California, Ken Williams was an accomplished pistol marksman with hopes of competing for a position on the U.S. Olympic Pistol team. One night, a law enforcement contact convinced him to take a semester off and attend the Law Enforcement Academy; from there he could cultivate contacts within the training community. It was in the academy, that his weapon handling skills were noted by training staff and tactical weapon specialists. After graduation he was introduced to some of the best law enforcement shooters in the area; eventually finding himself along side some of the top tier weapon operators of the day. It was there that Ken was introduced to tactical element of firearms disciplines.
“In the early 80’s tactical firearms training hadn’t changed in decades, most of the bureau trainers were out of shape, far removed from actual police work and had cemented themselves into training appointments. The training didn’t go much beyond shooting at paper targets, keeping score with the low scoring shooter buying a round of drinks afterwards. Nevertheless, it was in the academy that I got the first nibble of tactical shooting. The law enforcement community had this training locked up pretty tight at the time. If you wanted to learn tactical firearms, that’s where you had to be; still, even as an academy recruit, I could see that the training was stagnant.”
“We all knew it would happen…eventually the genie got out of the bottle and tactical firearms development began appearing outside of law enforcement circles; back then they called it “Practical Pistol”, a euphemism for gun fighting. I found a small community of street cops, military and civilian shooters that were coming together outside official channels to share concepts, ideas and to test their skill-sets informally. The establishment firearms trainers considered these guys kind of rogue. The truth is, the establishment guys felt threatened. I look back now and see that this was a great period in time and I consider it to be my Genesis in tactical weapons discipline.”
With two years of college behind him, Ken followed what he considered the next logical step in life and joined the United States Marine Corps as an Infantry Rifleman in the Fleet Marine Force. In training, he excelled in weapon disciplines and after completing his training, he served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, eventually specializing in the Electronic Reconnaissance within the Marine Corps’ Special Operations Community. The Marine Corps is where he began teaching and had the opportunity to train with some of the finest U.S. and foreign military elements.
“The training community in the Marine Corps lives, eats, breathes excellence. Trainers were expected to know their stuff, maintain excellent physical abilities and be competent in all aspects of Marine life. Having studied the martial arts in my youth, I began to see firearms discipline as a its own martial art and patterned my firearms skill development as a martial art. One should be reasonably physically fit, study the classic martial arts literature and in a constant state of perpetual improvement.”
Eight years in the Marine Corps complete, Ken finds himself back in college; however, a lot has happened in eight years. Public shooting facilities were closing down, the political environment became oppressive to gun owners and authorities began establishing incremental restrictions on guns. The writing on the wall was clear and with another two years of college complete, Ken moves his family to Arizona.
“When I moved to Arizona I thought I’d be in the Mecca of private firearms training but, I found that many of the established private training schools were drifting away from their roots, migrating to the law the enforcement sector, courting the training bureau money. o get that government money, you have to dial it down. Our company focus remained with the private individual’s development of the firearm as a martial tool. In time I again made connections outside official channels with the same like minded, ex-cop, ex-military and a few civilian defense contractors; I was able to travel around the South West training with professionals and exchanging ideas .”
Ken has instructed at the college level and teaches in firearms regularly as a privately contracted consultant to foreign business leaders and has certified or re-certified thousands of students and instructors inside and outside the criminal justice system.
High Desert Training Group was formed as an independently contracted training organization; our focus is defensive firearms training as it relates to the individual gun owner, privately contracted overseas military/security contractor or law enforcement officer who want’s to shake off the “training to the lowest common denominator” approach and want’s to develop the firearm into an individual martial art. Our courses were developed from the cross-pollination of training and studies in the realm of the firearm.
“We began teaching firearms independently after realizing that most of the advanced firearms training out there is really just high level target shooting. We’ve put together the Close Quarters and Advanced Close Quarters courses with the individual weapon operator in mind, using the traditional martial arts as the learning model.”
“Our company teaches modern firearm disciplines, with most of our focus on the pistol and rifle. Knowing the basics of marksmanship and weapons handling are essential and considered the foundation of the art of the gun; we’re here to teach those skills. Our advanced courses integrate proven tactics and mental conditioning to create a new dimension to the art. Our company is reaching out to those who seek excellence in everything they do.”
Providing gun training classes in Flagstaff, Holbrook, Winslow,
Snowflake/Taylor, Showlow, and many other locations across Northern Arizona.