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American Small Arms Academy

Chuck Taylor – Director

For over three decades ASAA has been an acknowledged leader in the field of small arms weaponcraft. Its superior techniques and instructional methods have been credited with saving the lives of hundreds of law enforcement officers, military personnel and civilians alike. ASAA's success is primarily due to the expertise, innovations and uncompromising nature of its founder and director Chuck Taylor.

Picture of Chuck Taylor

Chuck is the author of four books and several thousand magazine articles, was the first Four Weapon Combat Master and creator of the Speed Rock, Tactical Reload and Ready Position. A decorated Vietnam Veteran, he's been involved in multiple wars, over a dozen pistol fights, the training of numerous police departments, military and police special operations units, tactical response teams for the Olympics, and thousands of civilians. In addition, his techniques have been adopted by the military of a number of European countries. His unique background, analytical ability and unflinching commitment to results have permitted him to develop an instructional program second to none.

Students attending an ASAA class will not find the latest "trendy and must do" techniques currently in vogue with a large number trainers and magazine writers. Many of these techniques are based on theory or competitive concepts, or even worse were devised to keep students entertained with slick looking, but irrelevant, drills or by the expending of large quantities of ammunition. What they will find is a training regiment that has been refined over the last 30 years with only one goal in mind - keeping our students alive and uninjured. Our techniques have been developed from Taylor's personal combat experience and his study of thousands of military and civilian shootings. They have been proven successful by the several hundred of his students, both civilian and military, who have been victorious in gunfights around the world. In today's society, to truly be the winner of a potentially deadly encounter, more than shooting and weapon handling skills are needed so ASAA courses also include appropriate reviews of the legal requirements to use deadly force, tactics, de-escalation, mental conditioning and much more.

ASAA's "system" approach to weaponcraft eliminates the need for students to remember different concepts for different weapons and greatly enhances their efficiency under stress. Its unique training methods consistently produce exceptional levels of performance from their students, both on the range and in actual gunfights. ASAA courses are taught in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, no boot camp attitudes, no overblown egos. Whether you're a novice shooter or have 30 years experience, male or female, armed civilian or police officer you'll find an ASAA class to fulfill your training needs. For more about ASAA's approach to fighting with firearms vs. some current trends see our "Myths and More" page.

ASAA offers programs focused on either improving the students shooting & weapon handling abilities (skill development courses) or on how to most effectively apply these skills in situations where the use of deadly force is both justified and necessary (tactical classes). For 2017 we will be focusing on skill development offering handgun programs up to and including the "Combat Master" level.


Classes are not listed in the order they occur during the year.


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Three-Day Defensive Handgun Course - ASAA offers four levels of standard handgun training with Combat Master (CM) being the highest, a course so demanding it is not unusual for a class to have no graduates (see below). Our 3 Day course is a prerequisite for higher level ASAA handgun classes and the foundation on which all advanced training is built, right up to the CM level. Originally taught in four days, this highly condensed course provides the student with a complete overview of the subject of combat handgunning and an introduction to the ASAA integrated approach to small arms usage. The class is suitable for shooters of all experience levels and employs techniques and tactics that were developed to be the most effective way to fight, not to excel in competition. Includes: when you can and cannot use deadly force for self defense, the myth of firepower, weapon and equipment selection and modification, ammunition selection, tactics, sight picture and alignment, evaluation of the currently popular grips and stances, the "Ready" position and why only one, presentation from the ready and holster, close range high speed shooting, pivots and turns, malfunction clearances, failure to stop drills, tactical and speed loading and why both are usually taught/used incorrectly. Live fire is from 3 to 15 meters. Includes approximately 6 hours of classroom and 18 hours range. All the classes listed below run Friday thru Sunday. A special class for those attending MAG40, past MAG/LFI graduates or those unable to attend a weekend class is described at the end of the "Ayoob" page. 

Instruction by ASAA Staff   Tuition $495    April 21st    May 26th    July 7th    Aug 14th    Oct 20th 


Intermediate Defensive Handgun Seminar - This two day class not only takes graduates of the "Three Day" course to a higher skill level but also prepares them for ASAA's Advanced Defensive Handgun Course. Because of the short time frame, there is neither classroom lecture nor a formal test. The student's presentation and weapon handling techniques from the 3 Day are honed so they can be performed in shorter time frames. Longer range shooting is introduced with targets shot out to 50 meters and new techniques are introduced including the step back, speed rock, 180-degree pivot and dealing with multiple targets. While the class is too short for those attending to improve their skills to the same level they would in a full four day course, and to be tested against that level, a self-scored exam is conducted at the end of the class to help the student determine what areas need the most work.

Instruction by ASAA Staff   Tuition $350   July 15th 

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Four-Day Handgun Combat Master Course - This is ASAA's most demanding handgun training course. The test originated in 1981 by Chuck Taylor as a means for those seeking to explore the outer limits of defensive handgunning to prove to themselves (and others) that they had truly mastered the shooting/weapon handling skills needed in pistol combat. (Use of tactics, etc. was acknowledged as separate issues.) The course of fire had to be relevant to real world conditions - i.e. no "race guns" or non-practical holsters, powder-puff loads, etc. It also needed to be both extremely difficult yet passable by a dedicated shooter with normal physical abilities. The Combat Master Course was designed to help attendees obtain the skill level needed to pass the test.

Since it's inception, of the 100's who have attended the course just over 60 have achieved the rating of Combat Master, many on their second or third attempt. Seven have done so here in Connecticut. You don't need the reflexes and abilities of a Leatham or a Miculek to pass but relying on raw speed to compensate for poor technique is a guarantee of failure. Incidentally, while the pass rate is obviously small that should not discourage anyone capable of passing the Advanced class from attending. The goal of training is to improve your abilities and regardless of passing or not anyone who participates in this class will, by it's end, shoot at a level they have never experienced before. It's really not about pass or fail its about reaching your full potential! 

A full description of the course of fire/evaluation drill can be found on our "Frequently Asked Question" page. If being able to perform at that level appeals to you and you believe you can, using ASAA methodology, perform the listed drills within 3 or 4 tenths of a second of the times shown by the beginning of the class contact us to start/continue your ASAA training. This is probably the last Combat Master course to be offered in Connecticut and possibly the last on the East Coast.
Instruction by Chuck Taylor & Staff   Tuition $800    Sept 9

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Handgun Clinics - Designed for and limited to graduates of ASAA's defensive handgun courses, this class provides a full day of review and instruction at a minimal cost. Staff instructors tune the student's techniques while conducting ASAA drills at entry level through Master's time frames. Multiple targets, long range shooting, advanced techniques and weapon-handling drills are all addressed.

Instruction by ASAA Staff   Tuition $95    April 1st    May 6th    June 3rd    July 1st    Aug 5th    Sept 2nd    Oct 7th    Nov 4th    

Private & Group Instruction - We believe attending our scheduled classes is by far the least expensive and most productive method of mastering the techniques developed and/or advocated by ASAA. We also realize that there are various reasons why an individual or group are unable to do so but still wish to partake of our training. For those falling into this category we can provide instruction either at Blue Trail Range (usually weekdays only) or your facility in using the Pistol, Rifle or Shotgun for self-defense. Cost varies depending on the length of training time (2 hour minimum), group size and location. Contact us for details.


ASAA classes being held at other locations around the country can be found by going to their website.


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