Armed and Ready: Shooting instructor focuses on self-defense
ELKO – Assaults happen daily, but — according to firearms instructor Jairus Duncan — defending oneself is only a class away.
“Most people are looking into this for some form of self-protection,” he said.
“I started shooting when I was about 11,” said Duncan, owner of Briarpatch Defense Systems, a business recently licensed in Elko. “I still have my first rifle. A neighbor owned it and was out shooting and jammed it up and brought it over for my dad to work on it. He said, ‘I don’t know what to do. Give it to the kid and let him fix it.’”
Duncan has had that gun for more than 30 years.
At 18 years old, Duncan started his professional career in security, and at 20 he went into law enforcement.
“I got most of my training in weapons from doing that type of work and then decided to become an instructor a little bit later on and pass it on,” Duncan said. “It turns out, I have a knack for teaching brand-new shooters.”
Duncan has run his small business for 25 years but recently relocated to Nevada.
“When we were in Utah, we were allied fairly closely with the martial arts school,” Duncan said. “It was part of the entire system. You don’t have to carry a gun to defend yourself.”
His two oldest children have black and brown belts.
Duncan teaches two types of courses. One method involves the National Rifle Association’s traditional course that includes certification. This class includes basic pistol, home defense and personal defense outside of the home. Students are required to read through a number of booklets and watch tutorials.
The Briarpatch system is less expensive, and it is a little more flexible, Duncan said. The class involves classroom instruction and practice at the Elko County Range.
“The range is very nice, and it’s free,” Duncan said.
Both courses cover the Nevada concealed carry permit that is eight hours long and mandated by the state.
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Duncan can teach the course to one person or a group of people. He also teaches general safety classes for young people with parental permission.
Duncan works for El Aero the second half of each month, but the other two weeks, he is generally available for instruction. He teaches days, nights and weekends.
“Usually I will teach the conceal carry class and then add on whatever else we need to from there,” Duncan said. “It gets more hands-on as the class goes on.”
Duncan goes over how firearms function and how to keep them working well.
He recommends the .22 pistol for most first-time shooters.
“You can never go wrong with a .22,” Duncan said. “It’s lightweight and small and has very little recoil.”
Students can use one of Duncan’s guns so that they can get the feel for different handguns before purchasing one.
New gun owners also need to consider the type of holster they want to use.
“I’m a big fan of the ankle holster,” Duncan said.
When it comes to the argument of banning assault weapons and other arms, Duncan sides with the Second Amendment.
He said he thinks the country is having more problems with mass homicides due to mental health issues.
“As far as the crime being committed, regardless of what the tool is, in my opinion it is a mental health issue,” Duncan said. “The fact is that everyone has gotten to the point that they ignore people and the signs. They are unwilling to call someone out. Everyone is so politically correct. People today are afraid to label. It is a compound issue that I hope we can come back from.
“I would much rather live in a world where the bad guys use guns. If you go to other parts of the world, you get blown up. I can defend against a bad guy with a gun. I can’t defend against a bomb. I can’t defend against a vehicle mowing down people.”