MDFI – Defensive Handgun II

Fourteen students attended two days of defensive shooting classes taught by Steve Fisher of Michigan Defensive Firearms Institute. MDFI was invited by Tucson Guns and Western Artifacts, a gun store on Tucsons East Side. The classes were held north of Tucson at the Pima Pistol Club Shooting Range. The two days were divided into four parts, day one was Defensive Pistol Level Two, followed by a Low Light Pistol Class in the evening. Day Two was Defensive Carbine Level Two followed by an full evening of Low Light Carbine instruction. All the students learned a lot and skills improved. Here are four reviews of the two days of training along with some links and info on the instructors and hosts. If these reviews make you curious about firearms training, do some research and plan to attend a class. Firearms training is great fun, and it could possibly save your life one day !!

Defensive Handgun – Level Two

General Information:

  • 8 Hour training.
  • Limited to 12 participants


  • CPL or other pistol marksmanship certification.

Topics Covered:

  • Strong/support hand fighting drills
  • Increased speed drills
  • Moving off the x and getting to cover at speed
  • Ground fighting skills
  • Movement in all directions
  • Moving and shooting on multiple targets
  • and much more ….


  • Firearm (no .22 caliber except for medical reasons.)
  • 600 rounds of ammunition.
  • 3 magazines or speed-loaders.
  • Holster (no shoulder or cross-draw.)
  • Eye and ear protection.
  • Snacks and drink for 8 hours of training.

The classes were held north of Tucson at the Pima Pistol Club Shooting Range. The range is one of the best places to shoot around Tucson, especially because of the shooting events, classes and matches that happen there on a regular basis.

Steve Fisher of Michigan Defensive Firearms Institute. met the guys from Tucson Guns and Western Artifacts when he was in Tucson in January to teach some classes. The students of the January class were so impressed they asked Steve to come back for the level two classes, so the guys at Tucson Guns set it up for a Thursday and Friday in May 2008

Casey joined Steve again for these classes and provided an extra set of eyes and ears on the range for safety and coaching

The weather was predicted to be in the 80s with direct sunlight and the forecast was correct. This made shooting comfortable but the direct sunlight did manage to turn any exposed skin bright red in no time. We started on Thursday at 9am with a safety briefing, introductions, signing the waver and paying the range fees. Once the paperwork and initial briefings the students got their gear ready, and started shooting

Loading is easier for most people from a loose pile or bag. Boxes are easy to carry and count, and work great on the table while bench shooting. But on a training range like this it’s usually faster to load with a hand full of rounds instead of picking each one up from the box. The guys at Tucson Guns and Western Artifacts prefer to use the LuLa loader which makes loading any pistol mag much easier and saves sore thumbs. Tip: use a paint marker to ID your gear

This was a level two pistol class so we didn’t take a lot of class time to go over how to draw, change magazines and other basics which are covered in level one classes. Instead Steve and Casey would point out issues or suggest changes to shooters individually when problems were seen repeatedly. Steve is an instructor who is not afraid to use examples to illustrate techniques. Occasionally he would show the whole line of shooters, or he would show an individual for a specific issue

The Pima Pistol Club Shooting Range worked out well for these classes. Parking is convenient, and the shaded area provided a refreshing break from the sun

We used cardboard targets with perforated scoring areas which can be seen from close distance, but are simply silhouettes at mid or long range

Some of the instruction was on the line, some was under the shade during breaks to reload and drink water. Steve ran the group of 14 shooters in two strings of 7 so that students had plenty if time to load magazines, drink and rest between sessions.. The instructors weren’t so lucky but both Steve and Casey held up very well for ‘Northerners’ and they kept the class pace moving along for both days and nights

Steve offered plenty of ‘one on one’ coaching on details of trigger pull, draw, after action, etc

We used the cardboard silhouettes for a majority of the class, but also used the row of plates for some long distance practice

Using a Glock 35 with light.

Using a Glock 35 with Surefire light. This one ended up with an odd malfunction. A spent case got up into the chamber backwards and of course jammed.

Steve prefers to break for lunch and eat as a group which lets the class keep asking questions and discuss things as a group.

We ‘invaded’ the Subway near the range both days for lunch. Thanks to the girls who made great sandwiches and didn’t break a sweat when we showed up.

The afternoon drills built on the mornings instruction. We continued to shoot in two strings for a few hours followed by a break in the shade, then back to shooting again. Students used between 700-1000 rounds depending on how they were shooting. Some shot both strings, some would sit out a drill

One of the drills designed to test accuracy is the dot drill. One of the students did very well on this drill and would later score a 100% at the same drill shot at night

The dot drill is done at close range at slow speed.

Running this drill well into the day really slows you down and forces you to apply the basics again and it seemed many students shot better afterwards

Steve taught some more involved drills, but his philosophy is that advanced gunfighting is just simple gunfighting, but faster. so students mostly concentrated on proper technique on the various drills throughout the day

14 target stands for 14 targets works out well, and when shooting in two strings of 7 shooters allows the drills to involve two targets

Using only every other target on the line allowed room for movement too

The shaded areas of the range at the Pima Pistol Club offers a great place to rest between drills

Steve would ask if students had any questions or requests often throughout the day. A few of the students wondered what kind of results our techniques would have at longer distance. So we set up some rows of steel plates and tested our skills. Another good reason to train at the Pima Pistol Club Shooting Range

As could be predicted we were less accurate as a group at distance, but we could all knock down plates at 50 yards… eventually

The guys at Tucson Guns and Western Artifacts brought along plenty of gear and supplies for the students; magazines, slings, loaders, sling mounts and lots more

Next: Low Light Pistol Class

This was Day One of a Two Day visit from MDFI in Tucson AZ

Day One – Pistol 2
Day Two – Carbine 2
Day One – Low Light Pistol
Day Two – Low Light Carbine

Michigan Defensive Firearms Institute is a Michigan-based training company that has been providing real-world firearms training to military, law enforcement, and qualified civilians since 2001.

Classes available for groups or individuals, beginners or advanced training.

MDFI was brought down to Tucson by Tucson Guns and Western Artifacts.

Thanks to Bob, Scott and Shane. Also big thanks to the guys who also helped out by driving the Michiganers to and from the airport and to the range, to dinner, to the gun shop, etc.

We all look forward to seeing MDFI in Tucson again soon

American Confederation of Tactical Shooters
ACTS Purpose

To provide a sport in which Civilian rifle owners along with Military and Law Enforcement professionals can practice ‘real world’ shooting skills in a sporting venue that has not been offered by any other shooting discipline or association.

To promote the safe practical, proficient use of rifles. To foster sportsmanship and camaraderie among rifle owners, and to support and defend the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Are you interested in shooting an ACTS match?
Come down and check us out. Visitors are welcome, just check in at the office and let the range officers know who you are and they will get you a tour of the ranges, and you can talk to the shooters and see how the stages are shot. We are all proud of our safety record (zero incidents) and are happy to answer questions. If you live in Phoenix, Casa Grande, Benson, Serria Vista or anyplace else within driving distance. Come on down and shoot with us. You will literally have a blast. It’s not like shooting at any range you’ve shot before and the skills you’ll learn could one day save your life.