Beginner's Handgun

Are you wanting to learn how to shoot a pistol but want more than just being shown how to load, aim, and fire a pistol? At Mountain Lake Firearms Academy we provide a classroom program where you will learn the fundamentals of pistols and ammunition, how to select a pistol that fits you, and the basics of how it operates and what to expect when shooting it. Additionally, you will learn the most important part of firearms: SAFETY.

Following the classroom, we will go out to shoot to provide practical application of what was taught in the classroom as well as getting you comfortable with handling and shooting the firearm.


Basic Pistol Introduction & Introduction to Ammunition
Selecting a Defensive Firearm
Operating a Firearm
Firearm Safety
Live Fire Exercise


Must have a valid state-issued ID card
Must be at least 18 years old (15 with parent or legal guardian)


Cost: $50
Class Size Limit: 5
Course Length: 3-4 hours

MN Permit to Carry Class

Course Length: 4½ to 6 Hours
Cost: $75.00 (Permit Renewal: $40.00*)
Course of Fire: 20 Rounds
Maximum Class Size: 10

This class covers the information you need to receive your permit allowing you to lawfully carry for self defense in Minnesota and several other states. It meets the requirements of the Minnesota Citizens Personal Protection Act.

  • Minnesota Personal Protection Act
  • Laws and Self-Defense
  • Introduction to Pistols and Ammunition
  • Firearm Safety
  • Fundamentals of Shooting
  • Live Fire Exercise

The world is full of people who are intent on doing evil. Hardly a day goes by without news of yet another “senseless attack”.

The attack on you or your family won’t make sense. You don’t deserve it, but here it comes. What will you do to survive? Pretending it can’t happen won’t save you when it does. You could call 911 and hope the police arrive in time. They usually do not. Criminals don’t listen to reason. Begging for your life gives them the power they thrive on.

Denial is not a strategy. ‘It hasn’t happened yet’ is not a strategy. We put $20 locks on $200,000 homes to “feel” safe. Feeling safe is not a strategy. That stuff only happens in big cities is not a strategy. None of these will not protect you or your loved ones…only you can do that.

Ordinary citizens in the U.S. defend themselves with a firearm well over a MILLION times every year. Most stories don’t make the news because no shots were fired.

What are the Requirements?

  • Must be at least 20 years of age to take the class and 21 years of age to submit the application
  • Must complete an application form
  • Must not be prohibited from possessing a firearm under Minnesota Statute 624.714
  • Must not be listed in the criminal gang investigation system

Minnesota residents must request their permit from the sheriff of the county in which they live. Non-residents may apply to any Minnesota county sheriff. You must provide your firearms training certificate signed by a certified instructor and your driver's license at the time you submit your application. You have one year from the date your certificate is signed to turn in the application. An application for renewal must be submitted within 90 days of your permit expiring. If your application is submitted after your permit expires, it will be considered applying for a new permit.

The payment for the class does not include the range fee (where applicable) or the application fee to the sheriff's department.

Prices subject to change without notice
* To receive the Permit Renewal price, you must have a valid MN Permit to Carry card.

Advanced Exercise: Basic Survival 1

Course Length: 3 Hours
Cost: $50.00
Course of Fire: 100 Rounds
Maximum Class Size: 6
Prerequisite: Valid Permit to Carry

This course is designed to bring your self defense thinking to a better prepared level.

Most of the time when we shoot our guns at the range for "training", we are standing square to our target and the target isn't moving. This static training is all good when it comes to working on the fundamentals. However, all self defense encounters are 100% other words, neither you nor the threat will be standing still.

In this class, we will cover the following topics:

  • Emergency and Tactical Reloading
  • Cover and Concealment
  • Non-Standard Positions
  • Engaging Multiple Targets

Even though most self defense encounters are over by the time you need to reload your firearm, it is important to know how to reload your firearm quickly in any situation. Depending on the firearm you are using for self defense, reloading may be needed much sooner than you think. A 7+1 semi-automatic pistol (seven rounds in the magazine plus one in the chamber) or a revolver will need to be reloaded much sooner than a 15+1 semi-automatic pistol (15 rounds in the magazine plus one in the chamber). This is where reloading becomes very important. Emergency reloading is when you need to reload because you have fired all of the ammunition currently in your pistol and tactical reloading is when you reload your firearm before you run out of ammunition.

Cover and concealment are two completely different forms of protection. Too often people look at an object such as a wall, car, or door and think they are safe from gunfire. Well, depending on how they are made and where you are standing that may be true. Cover is what will actually protect you from gunfire because it will stop a typical bullet. Concealment, on the other hand, is what will hide you from the person threatening you. Sometimes cover offers concealment and vice versa, but not always. Knowing how to see an object when it comes to cover and concealment can be a lifesaver.

Since self defense situations are dynamic, you may find yourself defending yourself from different positions. Your assailant may knock you to the ground and you will have to defend yourself from that vantage point, you may have to kneel down behind cover to defend yourself, or you may find yourself having to shoot from a chair. In any event, beginning the training process of "how do I shoot if I'm in this position" will increase your survival chances.

More and more self defense encounters are occurring with multiple assailants. Knowing how to identify each threat, determine if you can effectively defend yourself against all of them, and, if you can, how to engage each threat becomes a good skill to learn.

Advanced Exercise: Basic Survival 2

Course Length: 3 Hours
Cost: $50.00
Course of Fire: 100 Rounds
Maximum Class Size: 6
Prerequisite: Valid Permit to Carry

This course is designed to bring your self defense thinking to a better prepared level. In this class, we will cover the following topics:

  • Defending from Inside a Vehicle
  • Defending on the Move
  • Defending with Low Light/No Light

Carjackings and stop light robberies are on the increase and defending yourself from within your car has many different obstacles and considerations. We will show you how to work around these obstacles and be able to protect yourself from within the confines of your vehicle should you need to.

With self defense encounters being 100% dynamic, the need for you to move when a threat presents itself becomes vitally important. Learning to defend yourself when needing to move to cover or concealment may become necessary if that cover or concealment is any distance away.

It becomes increasingly important to learn how to use a flashlight or existing light conditions with most self defense encounters occurring at night. A flashlight is a tool which you can carry just about anywhere you go and can become effective in self defense situations as a stand-alone item.