Imagine this: You’re new to the world of firearms or perhaps familiar with them but you simply want to expand your base of knowledge. So, you decide to sign up for a training course at Triangle Shooting Academy.
Prior to the course, you might be a little nervous or anxious about handling and shooting firearms. And that’s okay! New things can sometimes be intimidating but now, you’ve arrived at TSA determined to meet the occasion head-on. As you enter the building our Guest Services Team Member says your instructor will be out in a minute. The mention of a firearms instructor starts to conjure in your mind – a large stoic individual standing at the front of a class and clinically going through the information. Perhaps you are worried that you will make a mistake and be called out. Maybe you don’t see yourself as the type of person that would take a course like this and you feel like you’re going to stand out.
All these things are going through your mind and then Jon steps out with his warm inviting energy and his overflowing enthusiasm. He welcomes you to TSA and then cracks a few jokes with you. You immediately feel the weight of your worry lifted and replaced with energy and optimism – this is going to be great! You are the type of person to take a class like this and Jon is going to guide you and be there for you the whole way.
To understand why Jon will help you on your journey to becoming more skilled and proficient with firearms, it’s important to see where Jon himself is coming from. Jon’s life is so storied and colorful that to get the full history you would need an entire memoir or novel to cover it all. But here in this article we’ll go over the highlights and perhaps once you meet Jon and become fast friends, you can get the rest of the details straight from the man himself.
Jon grew up alongside his younger brother and sister in Central New Jersey in a rural part of the state where his father, a retired Colonel, helped to instill respect and discipline into his life early on. Jon recalls that even at the age of 6 or 7, his father was going over the 4 safety rules and taking him to the range to learn to shoot and be responsible around firearms. There were even times where Jon was enlisted to help his father with reloading using the equipment his father had at home.
As Jon got older and into High School, he said that he knew his life was going to take him towards a career in the military like his father. He knew this early on in his life, but it was around the age of 17 when he knew for sure that he was ready to get out of school and into the military. He claims he was a bit of a rambunctious teen who was always finding new ways to get himself into trouble, and he was ready to get past that portion of his teenage years. Immediately after graduating from high school, Jon enlisted part-time into the National Guard of New Jersey.
After spending some time in the National Guard he decided he wanted to go full-time, become an officer, and start flying aircraft. Since he had not completed an ROTC program prior to joining he went into Officer Candidate School (OCS) where he learned leadership skills, military culture, and received further extensive training. After graduating out of OCS he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and he set his sights on completing a four-year degree at Rutgers University where he enrolled in the Economics department. Jon finished his degree in 1997 and immediately went full-time with the National Guard and entered Flight School. Later in 1999, he was stationed at Fort Rucker in Alabama where he was flying and training with helicopters of varying types.
In the early 2000s, Jon was put on Active Duty with the National Guard. He was originally training on the Apache helicopter in 2000 but the machines weren’t sent to his unit and he was placed in the Blackhawk aviation group instead in 2003. Sometime after this, he was deployed to the middle-east and spent time flying missions that covered a wide spectrum of duties. Some days it would be flying troops in and out of active zones or helping to move land troops over great distances since land convoys were becoming increasingly more dangerous as time went on. Jon was also a part of what is called “hero missions” where he flew with his crew out into remote and hard to access areas of the country where fallen soldiers needed to be recovered in order to have their remains brought back to the states for proper burial.
At the conclusion of his deployment to Iraq, he returned to the States and took up a job teaching ROTC programs and leadership classes as an instructor at Rutgers University, his alma mater. Jon recalls that it was a great feeling to be back at the place where he had originally received his education and was now in a position to give back by helping to teach leadership skills to those looking to go into the military as well as normal students that just wanted to learn more about discipline and leading others. Between this time and 2016, Jon bounced between various jobs in the military before landing on duty as a pilot flying Agents around on their hunt for drug runners and other criminals who were trying to sell, move, or distribute dangerous drugs in the States. To round out an extremely decorated and distinctive military career, Jon felt he needed to push himself further and he did so by enrolling in Graduate School to obtain his Master’s Degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. In October of 2019 after receiving his Master’s, Jon retired from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel.
However, if you’ve caught onto anything about Jon over the course of this article, it’s that he is always striving to improve himself. While the retired life was good, it didn’t sit too well with Jon after a time. He and his wife, Chrissie, were looking to make a move away from New Jersey to find greener pastures and a new place to call home. After some time, they made the decision to move to North Carolina.
Triangle Shooting Academy
Jon jokes with his signature sense of humor that he grew tired of “sitting around the house and eating bonbons,”. He needed something to do that kept him active and allowed him to interact with those he saw as his community and peers. In February of 2020, merely a month after arriving in North Carolina, he took up a job at Triangle Shooting Academy as a Range Safety Officer (RSO). Jon chose TSA for many reasons; he was already a ‘regular’ here from spending all his free time on the range, he had developed great relationships with team members and guests and he felt that TSA would be a place where he would look forward to going to every day.
Once hired, Jon quickly connected with guests as he interacted with them within the facility. Over time these people came to Jon with requests for private lessons and soon after Jon became an instructor for TSA.
Jon has said that working at TSA has been an amazing experience not just for the community associated with it all, but also for the wealth of knowledge that he has access to at any given time. Across the spectrum of team members at TSA he has access to people that specialize in a multitude of different firearms and training types ranging from Spec Ops, SWAT,
Everyone at TSA is eager to exchange this information with one another to ensure that the courses they are conducting have the most updated and useful information available. So you know when you walk into a classroom you’re getting instruction from some of the best and brightest individuals the area has to offer. Jon just happens to be one of those people and you’ll leave TSA feeling better for having interacted with him.
Recently Jon has been joined at TSA by his wife Chrissie who has taken up a part-time position working the range counter. So, in the case of Jon, the team at TSA are both friends and family at this point.
Personality & Training Styles
Jon is one of those people who you meet and immediately feel as though you have known them your whole life. He’s an incredibly personable guy and easy to get along with. By it feeling as if you’re learning with a friend, this helps to solidify the learning and keep you wanting to come back to further your education.
Through his immense pride in helping others, Jon sees it as his way of giving back to the community. He regards his work as a teacher would in that he is striving to impart a positive influence on people when it comes to firearms and life in general. If someone can leave his classroom feeling more comfortable and confident, he views that as a win. Jon looks forward to seeing these transformations every day.
Regarding his training curriculum, Jon takes a simple and direct approach when it comes to learning and training with firearms. He has seen that it’s much more difficult to retain the knowledge and practice perfectly when you are being inundated with information. Using his method, Jon takes it slow and steady throughout the course to ensure that everyone can repeat the training on their own so that they can continue practicing even after they leave the classroom. If he can boil the info down into easy to digest pieces, the students are more likely to remember it going forward.
The core of this curriculum for new shooters is to develop a good grip, good sight picture, and a good and even trigger squeeze. Once Jon has that down with students, then the sky’s the limit for what else he can teach. Jon’s trained others on high-stress shooting, clearing malfunctions, getting on moving targets, and everything in between.
So what sort of person is Jon outside of his 30-year long career in the military and his enjoyable and welcoming instruction courses? He’s mostly like any other individual living out their best life here in North Carolina. At home, he has an extensive gym set up where he can train on boxing and his physical fitness in order to stay healthy. One of his current goals since reaching retirement is to maintain his wife’s and his health and well-being. And exercise is a key part of that for him. In fact, Jon recalls that during his time in the military, some of his most memorable events he can recall is when he put together a team of guys to take part in amateur MMA competitions. Thinking back on his time with the team he says that it felt good to prove to himself that he could get into the ring and compete. With a smile on his face and reminiscing, Jon still remembers that he won both fights that he was a party to during his time on the team. Wins of which he is immensely proud of and considers to be some of his better achievements. When questioned about his favorite martial arts styles Jon tells us that he is trained in Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, and boxing as well.
When not training, exercising or enjoying the mix of retirement and teaching, Jon can be found out on his Harley enjoying the freedom of the open-air whipping by him as he cruises the winding country roads and energetic city streets.
Personal Preferences in Firearms
We asked Jon what his favorite personal firearm is and why. It didn’t take him long to land on an answer that is very characteristic of an instructor by saying “it depends on the job that needs doing.” When carrying concealed, Jon prefers to have his Glock 43 on hand because his brother got it for him as a retirement gift. If you see him walking around TSA you’ll see that he has a larger handgun, a Glock 19, on his hip in his Outer-Waistband (OWB) holster. For home defense though, Jon swears by his AR-15 that he has built to his own personal specifications.
When asked what his dream firearm is if budget was not an issue, we got another genuine Jon answer by being told that there really isn’t one on his list that stands above all the others. Each firearm is built for a specific job and that he makes sure he has the one that is right for that job when the need arises. That’s just the type of person that Jon is and what you can expect to meet when you take up a personal lesson or course with him here at TSA. There’s a reason that he has a long list of guests that come to him for private training and continue to come back constantly to further their knowledge. There’s a reason that Jon has so many repeat clients, you will discover some of that reason from this article but meeting the man himself will drive the rest of it home for you.