October 19, 2021

Strength of the Pride

My experience with Lionspride Training Group. Excellence in Instruction. Rochester Personal Defense.

Range Report…Training Day

It was a cold and rainy November morning when I made my way to the Greene Rod and Gun Club in upstate New York. Unlike most of my range visits, I was not there to practice, but to revisit a memory of sorts. I was at the range that day to sit-in on a Concealed Carry Certification class that was being administered by Rochester Personal Defense, LLC and the newly formed  Lionspride Training Group.

Established by Dave Jenkins in 2006, RPD is one of the most well-respected Training Organizations in New York.  Employing over a dozen Certified Instructors, Rochester Personal Defense, LLC, and Lionspride Training Group offers classes for every skill and fitness level.  From Krav Maga, to First Aid,  they can custom tailor a regimen that will help you prepare for the unexpected.

My arrival.

On the day I visited the range to sit-in with a class, they were conducting the Full/Unrestricted Carry Permit Training class.  When I entered, Instructors Michael Chalson and Donald Cantwell were well into their lesson plan.  Both Michael and Donald have numerous decades of Law Enforcement and Firearm experience.


The instructors not only taught valuable lessons, but created an environment that enabled optimal retention of those lessons. With a wealth of real life experiences every point was clear.  What many dismiss as a far-fetched scenarios, these men have lived through.  Due to their Instructors experiences, students are able to understand the lesson being taught, and consequences if they are ignored.

There is a seriousness that comes with carrying a firearm that surpasses just about ever other of our daily rituals. At Rochester Personal Defense, LLC and Lionspride Training Group, the instructors make it abundantly clear what can and WILL happen if that responsibility is taken lightly. The time spent in the class is not just a formality, it is an investment.  It is an investment in the safety of the students, their families, and the community at large. Whether it was techniques, tactic, or the law itself, every minute was spent teaching.

Time To Shoot.

After several hours in the classroom, the students headed down to the range.  The state requires students “qualify”  in both accuracy and safety. The trainers, for the sake of the students and themselves alike, are EXTREMELY strict and unwavering on these two points.  If there is even the slightest sign of unsafe practices, corrective measures and/or immediate action will be taken.  To remedy these situations, the student may be counseled, receive one-on-one attention, or in extreme cases removed, not only from the firing line but from the range itself.

This is NOT negotiable. Safety is NOT negotiable.

Variety of students.

Attending the class that day I was able to meet with and speak to several students.  One woman was there because she inherited her fathers firearms. There was a young lady was awaiting her appointment to the Police Academy. One married couple that just enjoy shooting together.  There was even one man there qualifying for his permit…70 years after his military service ended.  The reasons the students gave me were as varied in the firearms they chose.  Striker Fired guns lead the pack, accompanied by several DA/SA Semi-Auto’s and at least one Wheel Gun(Revolver)

Without divulging the exact methods, sequences, or techniques that Rochester Personal Defense, LLC and Lionspride Training Group employs in their live-fire training, I can tell you that it is varied and well orchestrated.  It is not just a matter of loading up a couple of magazines and putting holes in paper.  While the class I sat in on is a baseline to qualify, it did not mean that there was a minimal of training. Taught are practices and methods often overlooked by other organizations. There is a focus on situational awareness, tunnel vision, and judicious uses of self-defense.  The students may now be out of the classroom, but that does not mean that the lessons have ended.

The Certificate.

Graduation is not a forgone conclusion. Simply sitting through the class is just not good enough. Demonstrating that you possess the minimum skills, is no guarantee that you will receive that coveted “Certificate of Completion”.  This is more than just meeting the bare standards. Students must also demonstrate something equally as important…The Correct Attitude. Students do not “get” the stamp of approval. They have to EARN it.

The instructors are not there to certify the students. They are there to guide, help and encourage them to follow a new path.  They expect that the students will continue to train, practice, and act responsibly.  The Instructors approach the Second Amendment with the seriousness it deserves.

In Conclusion.

When it was time for me to head home, I couldn’t help but feel an even deeper appreciation for the Second Amendment.  Maybe it was because I knew that there were 20+ more members of the community. It could be because I knew that they were being taught by people who live it every day. These are Instructors dedicate themselves to a cause greater than just a paycheck, and I feel better knowing that. These people are just as passionate about the community as I am, and dedicate much of their time and experience to help others become responsible gun owners.

Being able to attend one of their classes as an observer instead of a student, I was able to better appreciate the lessons from the other side of the desk. Seeing how the Michael and Donald interacted with each student on an individual level, left me better positioned as an Instructor myself.  The Instructors of Lionspride demonstrate consummate professionalism in the class, on the range, and in who they are.


If you would like to know more about Rochester Personal Defense, LLC and Lionspride Training Group, click HERE.

For another great article on Training, click HERE.

What happens to some of us when our permits expire…“The Guns They Don’t Care About”

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