Bill’s Gun Shop & Range instructors are some of the best in the industry. We go above and beyond to make sure you receive the training to be successful and safe when handling all types of firearms. Meet all our instructors by selecting their name from the list below.

Aaron Appelwick was in the Air Force for 13 years. While serving he worked in Law Enforcement, Contingency Response Operations as an Air Base Defense expert, and as an instructor at the United States Air Forces Europe’s (USAFE) Regional Training Center. As an instructor he specialized in teaching deploying Airmen how to conduct Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC), Convoy operations, Weapons and Tactics, and building assaults.
In law enforcement, he was trained as a Special Reaction Team leader, leading airman in Close Quarter Battle situations. He attended the USAF Tactical Response Assault Course at Camp Guernsey, WY.  Aaron trained extensively in Close Quarters Battle (CQB) operations and in small unit tactics, training to Recapture facilities and recover equipment, including nuclear weapons, from hostile forces.
Aaron ended his Air Force career working within the Combat Arms Training and Maintenance (CATM) section, where he spent his time as a Range Safety Officer and Firearms Trainer. Training Airman on weapons qualifications.
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Robbinsdale Full-Time Instructor

Chris grew up in Montrose, MN. After high school he joined the Marine Corps and served on active duty for 10 years.  He trained as an infantry rifleman, and went on to Nuclear Weapons security where he was the Reactionary Force Team leader. After that he went back to the Infantry and was the designated marksman for his platoon. During this time, he deployed to Iraq. He was then assigned to Officer Candidates School in Quantico, VA. where, he became the Master Instructor, and taught all incoming instructors.  He deployed again, this time on the USS New York. He was tasked with training foreign militaries, and building positive relations with other nations. He deployed a 3rd time to Afghanistan and ran a transport team out of Kabul.

Classes:

Teaches all Bill’s Gun Shop & Range classes

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Fargo Full-Time Instructor

Michael was raised in Fargo, ND. While he has been shooting for a number of years, he became actively involved in shooting instruction in 2013. He is a NRA Instructor in Certified Pistol and Personal Protection in the Home, a certified NRA Range Safety Officer and a ND Concealed Weapons License Test Administrator.
Michael has been an Ordained Minister since 1995 and currently runs a non-profit ministry reaching out to ministers and church leaders in the tri-state area with a focus on Spiritual Formation. He also works with churches to understand and develop the role of security teams, especially in smaller churches where qualified LEO’s or retired military are not available as resources.

Classes:

Teaches all Bill’s Gun Shop & Range classes

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Baxter Full-Time Instructor

Dan Smith grew up in Bemidji, MN.  He was exposed to hunting and the great outdoors at an early age.  After high school Dan earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Bemidji State.  After college he joined the US Army on active duty.  His military service also includes time in the Army Reserves, and the Minnesota National Guard.  Dan retired in 2012 with over 29 years of service.  While in the military he trained, qualified and instructed soldiers on numerous weapons systems.  He deployed to Afghanistan with the Minnesota National Guard and the Croatian Army as part of an Operational Mentoring Liaison Team.  While there his team assisted in the transitioning and training of the Afghan Army from the AK-47 to the M16A1/A2 weapon system.  Dan’s training includes the Rob Sheppard Combat Pistol Training Course and LouKa Tactical Understanding and Training the Female Shooter.  He is a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Firearms Instructor, NRA Certified Range Officer and over four years as a firearm instructor.  In 2015 Dan earned a AA degree in Gunsmithing from the Sonoran Desert Institute.

Classes:

Teaches all Bill’s Gun Shop & Range classes

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Clay Brisbin grew up in Littlefork, MN, near the Canadian border. Clay started shooting at the age of six and has enjoyed hunting and the outdoors since the age of 9. After high school Clay attended the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and received a Bachelor Degree in General Resource Management with a minor in Environmental Law Enforcement. In 2003, Clay graduated from the Wisconsin Police Academy, and again in 2008 from the Minnesota Police Academy. In 2004, after graduating college, Clay worked for the WI DNR as a Law Enforcement Park Ranger in Willow River State Park just north of Hudson, WI. After working for the WI DNR, Clay worked at the P.I.N.G.P. nuclear power plant in Redwing, MN as a Nuclear Security Officer. In 2005, Clay started working at Bill’s Gun Shop and Range. Clay spent 2 years working as a range officer in Robbinsdale, 2 years working as a Sales Associate, 3 years as the Store Manager at the Circle Pines location, and worked as General Manager for 4 years. In 2016 Clay joined the Bill’s Corporate team as the Director of Compliance & Project Management. Clay is also a Firearms Instructor and Training Coordinator for Bills Gun Shop and Range and is certified by the MN BCA, the NRA, and the MN DNR as a firearms instructor, as well as is a certified armorer for Glock and Smith & Wesson.

Classes:

  • Basic Handgun Familiarization
  • Multi–State Carry
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In June of 2003, John Monson purchased Bill’s Gun Shop & Range in Robbinsdale. At that time, John’s focus was to take a new approach to the good-old-boy’s smoky gun shop, and make it a destination location that welcomes the whole family; starting the venture of Bill’s Gun Shop & Range. He added the Circle Pines MN location in May of 2005 and the Hudson WI location in December 2012.  By this point, this new approach to Gun Shops had caught on and John opened the Fargo, ND location in 2015. Due to the need of a quality Gun Shop across the border in MN, John opened a shop in Moorhead, MN at the beginning of 2016.

Outside of professional interests, you will find John hunting and fishing as often as time will allow. He also enjoys spending as much time as possible on the lake with the family.

A lifetime member of the NRA, John’s also a 15 year Certified DNR Firearms Instructor, NRA Certified Instructor, and a Certified Instructor at Bill’s Gun Shop & Range. John is also an active member of the NSSF Range Development Committee where he voluntarily assists other range owners and want-to-be owners, in the best practices of indoor range management.

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Years of Experience

  • 10 years Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve including Desert Storm Active duty as a Machine Gunner
  • 16+ years certified Federal Agent / Training Officer
  • 1+ year NRA certified Firearms Instructor

Qualifications

As a Marine Corps Veteran, and a Federal Training Officer, Scott takes pride in his work and enjoys teaching others how to both safely and proficiently handle firearms. Scott joined the Bill’s Gun Shop team having worked as a Federal Agent and Trainer for the last 16 years, the last of which has been spent as one of their Lead Firearms Instructors. Scott enjoys recreational shooting as well as being able to instruct a wide variety of shooters from beginners, to advanced, and tactical.  Scott is available for private, 1-on-1 instruction as well as group instruction.

Classes:

  • Basic Handgun Familiarization
  • Multi–State Conceal & Carry Renewal
  • Multi–State Carry
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Years of Experience

  • 25 years as a Minnesota peace officer

Qualifications

  • DNR and NRA certified.
  • Life long hunter
  • Assorted Martial Arts

Classes:

  • Multi–State Carry
  • Multi–State Conceal & Carry Renewal
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Dennis has been a Bill’s instructor since 2007. He is a NRA certified instructor, DNR certified instructor and has 15 years of experience training with handguns, rifles and shotguns. He is also an NRA member and a lifelong hunter

Classes:

  • Multi–State Carry
  • Basic Handgun Familiarization
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Rick Karnitz is retired with over 30 years of law enforcement experience. That experience included training law enforcement firearms instructors from around the state. In addition, he was a law enforcement use of force, chemical agent and baton instructor.

While working in law enforcement, Rick worked in a parallel career as a paramedic. This included work in a ground rig, fixed wing aircraft and helicopter as a flight medic. During his paramedic career he became a leader and pioneering member of a tactical paramedic group attached to local, state and federal SWAT teams. He was also an instructor for new tactical medics.

Rick is also an NRA trained firearms instructor, and a Minnesota DNR hunter safety instructor. Rick has combined his vast experience, knowledge and passion to provide an in-depth and comprehensive classroom experience for his students.

Classes:

  • Multi–State Carry
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Dick brings a special expertise to Bill’s initial and renewal carry permit classes. He is a licensed attorney, one of a handful in the country who teach such courses. Students get the law as it is practiced, and a detailed exploration of the legal, financial, and moral responsibilities when using a gun for self-defense.

Dick also teaches a variety of other classes at Bill’s, including basic and intermediate handgun, AR-15 maintenance, individual trainings, and HR 218 certification for retired law-enforcement officers. Dick also conducts machine gun shoots, and is frequently the host at Bill’s Gun Shop and Range’s booth at gun shows and other events in the area.

Dick is a retired Army Master Sergeant, and a life member of the National Rifle Association, VFW, Association of the U.S. Army and the University of Wyoming Alumni Association. He and his wife live in New Hope.

Classes:

  • Multi–State Conceal & Carry Renewal
  • Multi–State Carry
  • Basic Handgun Familiarization
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Doug started shooting air rifles at the age of 7 with his dad, and grew up hunting with pistol, rifle, and archery. He obtained his first concealed carry permit in the mid-1990s and became a Licensed Concealed Carry Instructor in the early 2000s. Doug attended several rifle, pistol, and concealed carry instructor classes and has taught for the State of ND, MN, and UT.

Doug have seven children (6 boys and 1 girl), one of which is married with a son of his own. Doug and his family all enjoy shooting and hunting together. Most recently, Doug and two of his sons went down the rabbit hole of long-range precision rifle and competed in a couple of the Precision Rifle Series matches engaging targets from 200 to 1300 yards.

Good times! Doug always looks forward to meeting new people at one of our training classes!

Classes:

  • North Dakota Concealed Weapon Course Class 1
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Dan is a NRA certified instructor and DNR certified hunter safety instructor. He has a BA Degree in Business Administration from Buena Vista University, Storm Lake Iowa.

  • Six years in US Army Special Forces in 7th and 12th Groups as a High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) Parachutist and Weapons Specialist.
  • 20 years as a Camp Director teaching adventure programs and shooting to youth and adults.

Dan has been a lifetime sportsman and enjoys the shooting sports, hunting and fishing. Though Dan and his family have lived in the west, northeast and the south they have found a home in Minnesota and have lived in the Brainerd/Baxter area for the last 26 years.

Classes:

  • Multi–State Carry
  • Basic Handgun Familiarization
  • Multi–State Conceal & Carry Renewal
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Kelsi has lived in Minnesota for the majority of her life. She is originally from Lino Lakes, MN. She grew up around bow hunting and fishing. After graduating from the University of North Dakota with her communications degree and entrepreneurship certificate she decided to pick up a bow and dedicate herself to the sport. Kelsi became more interested in firearms after graduating from college as well. She has been working as a ladies night instructor at the Circle Pines location for over a year. She loves sharing her knowledge and teaching the basics of firearms to other women. She believes that shooting is no longer just a man’s sport, but a woman’s as well. Every women should feel empowered, inspired, encouraged and welcomed to their interest in firearms and the outdoors.

Kelsi works full time for Bills Gun Shop and Range as the Director of Marketing and Promotions.  In her free time she loves to hunt, fish, kayak, bake, travel, go up to the cabin and enjoy time with friends and family.

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Jolene has lived in Wisconsin since she was 8 years old.  She grew up with 4 brothers which turned her into the tomboy she is today. She grew up loving to play sports, get dirty and keep up with her brothers.  After marrying her husband who loved many of the same things, they decided to become NRA instructor certified together.   She shot so well in her hunter safety class that they asked her to teach.

Jolene loves to empower women, help them gain confidence and to help them to overcome the fear of firearms.  She loves to share her knowledge and teach the basics of firearms to other women.  That’s why she was very excited to join Bill’s and instruct on Ladies Night!  Shooting is just as much for women as it is for men.

Jolene is married to Corey and has two children, Conner (18) and Brianna (16).  Besides shooting Jolene enjoys weight lifting, running, camping, hiking and hanging out with her family.

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  • NRA instructor certified
  • Certified range safety officer
  • Hunters safety certified

Connie was born and raised in the Brainerd Lakes Area. She is a mother of three (one fur baby) and works part time at the range. She has nearly 5 years of experience under the previous owner and is excited to be on board with Bills.

Connie enjoys instructing ladies night for many reasons, it is fun seeing the ladies improve and their confidence grow. She loves to have groups come in and see their excitement when they’re trying something new and learn about what they can do to improve. She loves interacting with all types of women- ranging from women that have never held a gun to women that shoot in our league. Helping women have fun and feel confident is her main goal.

In her time away from work, she enjoys being outdoors with her family doing anything from four wheeling to long walks in the woods, shooting and archery.

Classes:

  • Ladies Night
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Jami was born and raised in Minnesota and currently lives in Chisago City, Minnesota. Her family has hunting land in Pillager, Minnesota where she likes to spend her time hunting, four wheeling, and enjoying mother nature. If you can’t find her there, she is probably enjoying one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes.

Jami currently works as a Brand Ambassador/Ladies Night Instructor. She loves to be out on the range with new and experienced shooters. She loves to help women feel comfortable around firearms and helping them find a firearm that fits just right for them. Whether it be for sport or protection, learning how to shoot and feel comfortable with a firearm is a great skill to have.

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Sarah grew up in Euclid MN, a small farm town north of Crookston. It was easy for her to start shooting at a young age, especially when her dad owned a private gun shop. She would ride along during hunting trips and shoot targets her dad would set up in the back yard.
As a Ladies Night instructor, Sarah loves helping women get comfortable around firearms and teaching proper skills for beginners. Her favorite part is when ladies come in intimidated or nervous then leave the range with a new found confidence in themselves. She loves creating a fun and engaging environment for women who have never stepped foot on the range. Like a lot of women who come in to learn how to shoot, Sarah would also like to obtain her conceal carry permit in the near future.
Outside of Bills, Sarah loves to do her own nail art, work out, and sell wedding dresses on the weekends. She and her fiancé also have a fur baby together, a French bulldog named Braxton .
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Courtney grew up in Lino Lakes, MN, and has been educating herself about firearms for the last 5 years. She joined Bill’s to further her education and is excited to be a part of a team that focuses on educating women on the importance of firearm handling and safety. Her favorite part of working ladies night is seeing women who have never shot a gun before and helping them become confident and empowered. Courtney sees her position as a ladies night instructor as nothing short of humbling. In her free time, she enjoys kick boxing, fishing, cooking, and hanging out with her German Shepherd!

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