Firearms safety training opens in Cottonwood

Arizona F.A.S.T. offers concealed carry courses

VVN/Philip Wright 
Concealed Carry Weapons classes, as well as self-defense and home protection courses, will be taught at Arizona F.A.S.T. at 849 Cove Parkway in Cottonwood. Rick Weir, left, Chiquie Baker and John Baker will offer several courses on firearm handling, concealed carry and self-defense.

VVN/Philip Wright Concealed Carry Weapons classes, as well as self-defense and home protection courses, will be taught at Arizona F.A.S.T. at 849 Cove Parkway in Cottonwood. Rick Weir, left, Chiquie Baker and John Baker will offer several courses on firearm handling, concealed carry and self-defense.

COTTONWOOD -- Firearms safety training, including eight-hour courses for concealed carry permits, are now available in the Verde Valley. John Baker and his wife, Chiquie Baker, have opened Arizona F.A.S.T. Fire Arms Safety Training at 849 Cove Parkway in Cottonwood.

John is the lead instructor and range safety officer. He has 16 years of law enforcement experience, and is certified by the Arizona Department of Public Service and the National Rifle Association.

Chiquie has 35 years experience in public relations and marketing. She will be responsible for customer service.

A close family friend of the Bakers, Rick Weir, will work as range safety officer and instructor.

The business has recently opened and the first 8-hour Concealed Carry Weapons permit classes will be held Aug. 29 and 30. "We'll be opening other classes in the future," John said. "But right now, we're offering CCW classes."

Those future classes will include instruction on personal protection in the home and basic handgun handling.

The Bakers have also enlisted the instruction of an ex U.S. Army Ranger. "He'll be helping us with self defense for men and women," said Chiquie.

She said another course specifically for women is planned. She said they want to give women the opportunity to learn to defend themselves.

The self-defense courses will include basic knowledge of firearms and non-lethal weapons, such as pepper spray, stun guns and extendable batons.

The course on in-home protection will include such topics as how to set up a safe room at home and how to equip that room. An escape plan is also part of the training as well as security concerns.

The 8-hour CCW permit class includes instruction on firearm safety, state law as it pertains to firearms and their use in self-defense, and how to avoid dangerous situations. Range training will be part of the course, and that includes a "shoot-don't-shoot scenario. Each student must pass a shooting course to pass the CCW permit class. That includes being able to place five shots inside a 16-inch circle at 5 yards and again at 10 yards.

The Bakers also offer retail products including non-lethal weapons, holsters, concealed carry purses, eye and ear protection and shooting supplies.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Classes will be held on Saturday and Sunday, and self-defense courses will be held on weeknights.

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