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Training Potential Unleashed: Firearms Academy of Seattle

The Firearms Academy of Seattle (FAS) is a premier training operation located in the heart of the great Pacific northwest. FAS offers high-quality instruction on firearms safety, competency, survival, and self-defense skills with live-fire classes year-round.

I recently discovered FAS looking for advanced training. I have visited many training venues but attending classes at FAS was a different experience. It is a warm and welcoming environment particularly for new shooters. From registration to graduation, the cadre know your name and pay attention to your progress. The ranges and management are world class and I recommend their facilities and training without reservation.

Staff Instructor Chris Harold shooting a near/far drill on one of the FAS rifle ranges

In the classes I have taken at FAS, there are always familiar faces. This is bespoke training that meets shooters wherever they are in their journey and provides the next steps.

It is not the rat race of other training operations. Quality training is available at all levels and for all students.



Located in rural Lewis County Washington, FAS is halfway between major airports in Seattle and Portland, attracting students from across the country. The FAS Tactical Training Range Complex, features numerous square ranges, a 625-yard rifle range with steel targets every 50 yards and a variety of 360-degree training environments including a dark-house for low light training during daylight hours, building mock-ups, moving targets and more.



The FAS philosophy is simple: “If you choose to own a firearm for self-defense, you have to be able to think and make decisions with a gun in your hand. We build thinking shooters.”

FAS Owner Belle McCormack

FAS prides itself on being the longest-established professional firearms training facility in the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 1987, FAS is owned and operated by chief instructor Belle McCormack making it the only woman owned firearms facility in the United States.


John Farnam on the FAS rifle range. It has targets and berms at 50 and 100 yards.


Unlike many other edutainment based firearms operations who focus on high round count line drills and high tuition, FAS offers a progression of classes. Classes are open to any US citizens who can legally possess firearms.



All the ranges at FAS have covered firing lines for all weather training.



Much more than just an academy, FAS is a training community with a shared commitment to self-defense.

The owner and staff go to great pains to match each student with training appropriate to their skills and needs. The FAS staff constantly trains and reviews to make sure their classes reflect the best practices and the current legal environment.

Karissa Holybee of Ashigaru Defense solves a hostage problem in the enclosed low light range.



Civilians, military, and law enforcement all train at FAS. From first shots to realistic self-defense scenarios, FAS offers Handgun, Rifle, and Shotgun programs as well as advanced classes on night vision and Red Dot Sights.


Advanced training includes Night Vision classes from Kinetic Consulting. Rentals are available.





If you are looking for specialized advanced classes, many highly regarded guest instructors frequent FAS. Craig Douglas, Jared Reston, Steve Fisher, Jon Dufresne, Tim Herron and John Murphy are all on the schedule. A full list of all classes can be found on their All Class Offerings page.



With prior coordination, limited dry camping is available on site. I used this option and enjoyed the extra hours of sleep it bought me after night ranges. There are no amenities, but the quiet country nights are worth the effort.

Graduates of F.A.S. Levels 1 through 3 Handgun courses may attend Level 4 Advanced Defensive Handgun an intensive three-day class which combines advanced gun handling skill with advanced tactical decision making.



For the beginning student the best choice is to start at Level 1: Intro to Handguns followed by the Handgun Fundamentals and Familiarization or Concealed Carry 101, depending on the student’s training goals. (Intro to Handguns class is a non-negotiable prerequisite for other level one handgun courses.)











The long range has steel targets a various distances out to 625 yards.

The starting point classes for rifle and shotgun training are Level 1 Rifle and Defensive Shotgun.

Intermediate to advanced students may start at Level 2: Defensive Handgun, Weeklong Handgun, or Tactical Rifle if they have previous experience and/or training relevant to the class. A Concealed Pistol License is required for any Level 2 and higher class.




Check the website to see what is right for you. Registering online with Visa/Mastercard is preferred.  You can book your next class right now at

All photos courtesy of Belle McCormack at Firearms Academy of Seattle



About the Author /

Mark Miller is a former Customs Agent and a Green Beret who served in Afghanistan and a number of other live fire locations. A student of firearms and shooting, he is an FFL and a SOT. The guiding philosophy of his life is that terrain and situation dictate tactics and the enemy always gets a vote on any plan.

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