Firearms Instruction in the Chicagoland Area   847-94-EXCEL
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Our Classes

Please scroll down to see the full range.
Information about private lessons is at the end of the listing.


Gift Certificates for classes and special events available.

We have a cancellation policy:
If you must cancel or reschedule seven days or more prior to the class, we charge $25. 
If you must cancel or reschedule within 24 hours of the class, we charge $50.
The classes at GAT have the same policy, but cancellations and reschedulings must be handled by phoning GAT at 847-428-4867. 

Women's Introduction to Handguns
At GAT Guns, Range at 355, 5 Star Range, and others.

A basic course directed at women with little or no experience to provide them with a fun and safe way to be introduced to handguns and shooting.

Led by winning female action pistol competitor TD Roe, attendees enjoy a comfortable, low-pressure, fun environment.

This class begins with a classroom session of approximately one and a half hours. Safety and a look at the legal aspects of handguns are first.  Then the mechanical aspects of how ammunition and guns work are shown.

We go into the fundamentals of good handgun shooting, grip, stance, sight picture, and trigger control in the "dry-handling" portion of the class. Range time runs about one and a half hours with the students firing .22 rimfire handguns to build skill and competence in an easy-to master way. Centerfire 9mm and .38 Special handguns are made available for those wishing to try bigger guns at the end of the range portion. Students fire about 80-100 rounds of rimfire followed by a handful of centerfire. We wrap up with a closing session in the classroom to review the lessons and answer questions.

Guns, ammunition, and supplies will be provided by us and will include rimfire and centerfire. From this they will be able to form some basic conclusions about not only handguns and shooting, but their own interest(s) in related recreational and personal protection areas.

If you already have your own gun, feel free to bring it.  Please keep it unloaded and cased and let us know you've brought it. We'll start you on the trainer guns and then work with you with your own gun as you progress.

Fee: $125 and includes everything you will need: Guns, ammunition, supplies, and safety glasses and muffs. (Bring your own if you prefer.) FOID not required.
At all our locations. Note: If you see "blocked seats" at signup, it just means that the range's own booking system also has bookings.

If you wish, you may bring your own gun for us to work with you on as time permits.
Please be sure that you transport it legally (with FOID, cased, unloaded) and that you have ammunition specific to it with you.

GAT Guns, 970 Dundee Ave. (Rt. 25), East Dundee, IL
Range at 355, 9003 Murphy Road, Bolingbrook IL
5 Star Firearms Range, 41666 N. Sheridan Road, Zion, IL
Article II Gun World, 250 W. Cortland Ave., Lombard, IL
Other locations coming...

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Co-ed Introduction to Handguns
At GAT Guns, Range at 355, 5 Star Firearms, and others.

Following the same format as our Women's Intro, a basic course to provide men and women with a fun and safe way to be introduced to handguns and shooting.  See above for a more complete description.

In response to the couples and families asking for a class they can take together to learn about owning and shooting handguns, we're holding co-ed classes. Following the same format as our Women's Intro, we'll show you how handguns work, how to grip, sight, and fire them, and how to get the best results with the one you have.

Fee: $125 and includes everything you will need: Guns, ammunition, supplies, safety glasses, and muffs. (Bring your own if you prefer.) FOID card not required.
Note: If you see "blocked seats" at signup, it just means that the range's own booking system also has bookings.

If you wish, you may bring your own gun for us to work with you on as time permits.
Please be sure that you transport it legally (with FOID, cased, unloaded) and that you have ammunition specific to it with you.

GAT Guns, 970 Dundee Ave., East Dundee, IL
Range at 355, 9003 Murphy Road, Bolingbrook IL
5 Star Firearms Range, 41666 N. Sheridan Road, Zion, IL

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Handgun: Phase II
At GAT Guns and Range at 355

Our second level for those who've been through our Intro class or another quality introductory class. Get back to the fundamentals and then move on to improving your shooting, how to shop for and find the "right" gun for you, and have a look at maintaining your handgun.

TD's famous Gun Buffet includes a large number of rental 9mm handguns to try out on the range and learn about the various design styles and action types.
She'll show you how to shop for handguns at the gunshop counters and then we wrap up with a brief session on maintenance and cleaning.

Fee is $125 and includes range fees, gun rentals, .22 ammunition during refresher range time.
Does not include 9mm or other centerfire ammunition, which may be purchased at store.

Note: If you see "blocked seats" at signup, it just means that the range's own booking system also has bookings.

The Phase II class is for people who've gone through out Intro to Handguns Class or another, high-quality intro. We regret that few CCL classes provide the necessary instruction to benefit from the Phase II class and we usually don't think they serve as a suitable prerequisite.

GAT Guns, 970 Dundee Ave., East Dundee, IL
Range at 355, 9003 Murphy Road, Bolingbrook IL
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Handgun Skill Builder Class (Formerly: Phase III)
At GAT Guns and Range at 355

For those who've gone through our earlier classes or are already familiar with their handgun and want more:
More gunhandling, more speed, more fundamentals-tuning, more precision and more skills, TD's designed our Skill Builder Class to get you even more comfortable with your own gun. 

No holster work involved in this class.

Reloads, failure/clearance drills, dismantling and maintenance, more hands-on knowledge. Modifications such as sights, ammunition issues, and storage solutions will be discussed. Dryfiring at home and drills you can do to keep your proficiency. Quality range time live fire stressing accuracy and multiple targets and more rapid fire. Bring your gun, ammunition, and gear and get to your next level. Approximately 110-150 rounds.

Handgun Skill Builder classes are held at GAT Guns, East Dundee, and Range at 355, Bolingbrook. Please see our schedule.
Class fee is $125.

Includes range fees. Does not include ammunition, which may be purchased at store. If you haven't purchased your preferred handgun yet, you may still rent it from the store.
Note: If you see "blocked seats" at signup, it just means that the range's own booking system also has bookings.

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Holster & Handgun Skills Intermediate Class
At Article II and others.

For shooters who are proficient with their handgun looking to advance to the next level, whether for personal protection/carry or competition.

The classroom portion will have a review of basic gunhandling protocols including the Four Rules of Gun Safety and the cold range regime wherein guns are kept unloaded at all times except on the firing line at the specific direction of a range officer/instructor.

The mechanics of the draw are taught by winning action pistol competitor TD Roe, with close instruction on the best stance, grip, sight picture and trigger operation techniques.

The skills of drawing, acquiring the master grip, speed and accuracy to the first and following shots are important to carry and sport.  Repetitions build these muscle memory skills into safe, efficient habits.

What to bring: A safe, operational handgun, preferably of a minimum caliber of .38 Special/9mm Parabellum. A minimum of three magazines will be necessary for semi-autos and four speedloaders for revolvers. However, we strongly suggest bringing more.

The holster must cover the trigger guard and trigger.
Nylon pouch-type holsters usually do not do well in heavy range use. Inside-the-waistband holsters are often slow or even difficult to reholster the gun and we recommend range-type holsters for the class.  Proficiency with range holsters easily translates to real-world holsters and makes the initial learning process simpler.
Synthetic (Kydex) ones are the most durable and serviceable. Even the lower-priced ones like Uncle Mike's and Fobus do well.  BladeTech is a favorite.

Magazine/speedloader carrier(s) able to hold at least two are needed; carrying four on the belt at a time will be helpful.
We don't allow holsters that cause sweeping or other safety-related issues on the range, such as small-of-back, crossdraw, and shoulder. These types have their uses but in a crowded range we will specify a belt-mounted strong-side hip holster.

A stiff belt is essential, the stiffer the better. Gun belts are usually 1 1/2" or 1 3/4" wide and resist twisting, which allows the gear to move around uncomfortably.
The inner/outer competition-style belts such as CR Speed are the best in terms of equipment stability and comfort. We have a supply of appropriate gear and can rent guns for this class. Please inquire.

Most students will expend approximately 100 rounds. Bringing more is wise. Please, no armor-piercing or tracer ammunition.

To get the most from this class, you should have good familiarity with your handgun and its operation. Usually, at least 4-500 rounds of shooting with it is good.
For newer shooters, we recommend one of our Intro-Phase II-Phase III classes first.
If you have any questions about the course or its requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Now- four hours for IL CCL credit. Class fee: $150
At Article II Gun World Range 250 W. Cortland, Lombard, IL, 6:00-10:00pm


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Women's Shooting Club at Range at 355
(Not a class)

This is a monthly gathering for women, focused on improving gun handling and shooting skills through dry fire techniques and live fire drills. Every month we will meet for an hors d'oeuvres and to review the night's drills. On the range we will run the drills with a timer to start the shooters and measure improvements. We will be learning and practicing movements to increase our proficiency- speed and accuracy are our goals. This is the environment for you to grow and improve as a shooter. We will work up to fast-paced drills on the range using multiple targets. Every month we'll shoot two-hand, strong- and weak-handed to develop an all-around skill set. You will get a copy of the night's drills to take home.

Prerequisites for attending:
-Our Handgun Skill Builder Class or equivalent; 
-You are a safe gun handler. You have experience and understand and practice proper gun safety.
-You own a semi-auto or revolver and know how to operate it, how to clear jams and have shot at least 300 rounds through it.

Please contact TD at TD@exceltraininggroup.com or 847-943-9235 to let me know your equipment and experience.
This event is via accepted-bookings only and bookings are accepted after this review.

What to bring?
-Semi-auto with 3 or more magazines or revolver with 5 speed loaders or moon clips (more is better)
-Eye and ear protection
-Small hand towel
-100 rounds of ammunition (available for purchase at 355)
-Range-appropriate clothing
-Willingness to learn. Attitude for fun!

I will coach you. You will do the work. Purposeful practice gets results.
Let's do this!

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Skills & Drills Practice Session at Article II
(Not a class)

For shooters who have either completed one of our previous courses or who demonstrate a suitable skill level to improve fundamentals.

Skills & Drills is your chance to work on your action pistol competition or carry gun skills, coming from the holster.  Drills are designed to improve consistency and efficiency.
The fast-paced two hour session will require about 100 rounds.

This is not a class. See above for our Holster & Handgun Skills class to get yourself ready for Skills & Drills.

Article II Lombard:
Second Tuesday of each month. We have 6pm and 8pm sessions each with a capacity of 16 shooters arranged into four, four-person squads. 
Fee: $28
Shooter must supply gun, ammo, and equipment.  Equipment specs are the same as the Intermediate Handgun & Holster Skills class listed above.
This is not a class.
Skills & Drills is on hiatus.

Skills & Drills Level II Practice Session
At Article II
(Not a class)

For shooters who have either completed one of our previous courses or who demonstrate a suitable skill level to improve fundamentals.

Skills & Drills Level II has more complex drills, including movement and operating targets. Fewer shooters per session, higher round count.

This is not a class. See above for our Holster & Handgun Skills class to get yourself ready for Skills & Drills.

Article II Lombard:
Fourth Monday of each month. We have 6pm and 8pm sessions each with a capacity of 9 shooters.
Fee: $38

Shooter must supply gun, ammunition, and equipment.  Equipment specs are the same as the Intermediate Handgun & Holster Skills class listed above.

This is not a class.

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Introduction to Action Pistol Competition
At various location on certain dates

For shooters interested in competing in the popular action pistol sports, especially USPSA and IDPA, with modest or greater shooting/gunhandling skills and either prepare them for their first match or take them a step further in development of their competition participation.

We draw on our extensive experience competing in and producing matches in the "cardboard" sports by beginning with classroom time outlining the basics of these disciplines, the range protocols, courses of fire and how they are executed, scoring, and a moderate amount of rule book time.

We look into Steel Challenge, USPSA/IPSC, and IDPA disciplines and examine the formats, rules, and strategies of each.

The live fire portion includes micro-stages of Steel, NRA AP, USPSA, and IDPA styles so attendees can get experience in the full range of these disciplines.

What to bring: A safe, operational handgun, preferably of a minimum caliber of .38 Special/9mm Parabellum. A minimum of three magazines will be necessary for semi-autos and four speedloaders for revolvers. However, we strongly suggest bringing more.

The holster must cover the trigger guard and trigger.
Nylon pouch-type holsters usually do not do well in heavy range use. Inside-the-waistband holsters are often slow or even difficult to reholster the gun and we recommend range-type holsters for the class.  Proficiency with range holsters easily translates to real-world holsters and makes the initial learning process simpler.
Synthetic (Kydex) ones are the most durable and serviceable. Even the lower-priced ones like Uncle Mike's and Fobus do well.  BladeTech is a favorite.
Magazine/speedloader carrier(s) able to hold at least two are needed; carrying four on the belt at a time will be helpful.
Like the sanctioning disciplines we cover, we prohibit holsters that cause sweeping or other safety-related issues on the range, such as small-of-back, crossdraw, and shoulder. These types have their uses but in a crowded range we will insist on a belt-mounted strong-side hip holster.

A stiff belt is essential, the stiffer the better. Gun belts are usually 1 1/2" or 1 3/4" wide and resist twisting, which allows the gear to move around uncomfortably.
The inner/outer competition-style belts such as CR Speed are the best in terms of equipment stability and comfort.

Most students will expend approximately 200 rounds. Bringing more is wise. Please, no armor-piercing or tracer ammunition. 

Prices and dates for this class vary by location. 9am-5:30pm.
Next clinic dates:
Saturday, March 25th, 2017
Saturday, April 15th, 2017

North Porter County Conservation Club, 933 N. Calumet Ave., Chesterton, IN. Just south of the I80/90 Indiana Toll Road exit for SR49, Valpo/Dunes.
$120 ($60 for NPCCC members).

Pine Tree Pistol Club, Rockford, IL- TBA

If your club would like to have this class to prepare their new competitors for your matches, e-mail TD@exceltraininggroup.com for more information.


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Women's Holster Skills & USPSA Clinic at Pine Tree Pistol Club

This class is for women who have a basic understanding of the semi-automatic pistol and some moderate level of experience with it.
We find that the idea of competition is overwhelming to new shooters. So much is happening at a match and novice shooters never feel “ready” to join in as they don't know the rules and don't feel comfortable in a competition setting.

The goal of this class is to introduce the  necessary gun handling fundamentals  step by step. We will start with a 3.5 hour holster skills session. First, discussion and then examining equipment options. We will talk about some female friendly choices as well.
Being comfortable with equipment brands and placement helps with consistency when drawing from the holster and mag pouches. When we have our gear on we will discuss the “cold range” rules. We will go to the Pine Tree Safe Area and show how to unbag, check the pistol's condition (clear) and dryfire pointed at the safe area wall.
Next is the Holster Skills session on the range featuring in-depth work on fundamentals and  gun handling. When dry handling is complete we start live fire. There will be four positions with 3 targets per position. Nearly 100 rounds of drills is our goal. Freestyle, strong and weak handed shooting.
The afternoon will start with USPSA rules. Starting it in the classroom, then on the range to learn in the proper environment.
We will have mini stages set up. Each lady will learn how to “walk thru” the course of fire, put it to memory and then get a turn shooting it.
They will be able to cheer each other on and work as a team.
Throughout the day, safe gun handling and range rules will be discussed.

Our goal is to help females become confident to participate at Pine Tree events as well as any other USPSA event.

When- Saturday, February 18th, 2017, 9am to 5pm. Please arrive at 8:30am

Where- Pine Tree Pistol Club, 5454 11th Street, Rockford IL 61109
www.pinetreepistolclub.com

 Fee -        - $150, $100 for female Pine Tree members.

What to bring?

A few complete kits available for rent- gun,mags, belt, holster, pouches. $15

What to wear?
Shirt with high collar. May need layers. Range temperature is colder in winter.
Comfortable pants with belt loops.
Comfortable shoes. Gym shoes or cross shoes.
Hat. Baseball type to deflect brass or lead fragments.

Please let us know what gun and gear you will be bringing.
We will bring our supply of belts, holsters and mag pouches to supplement what is needed to get started, but may not have enough for everyone.

Any questions on the class or gear, please email or give us a call.
TD@exceltraininggroup.com
847-943-9235

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Women's CCW Shooting Clinic (Dates to be announced)

The goal of this class is to help women who have their CCL and have a conceal carry type of pistol or revolver get more comfortable and proficient in handling, drawing from a holster and shooting.

We will start in the classroom discussing experience levels and firearm and gear choices.

Excel will bring a variety of holsters and belly type bands to show options.

The ladies should also bring the current gear they have. We'd like to know what gear and guns the ladies have prior to the class. This can be through email or a phone call.

All firearms will stay cased until the range portion.

On the range we will have tables set up in front of the backstop to place the cleared guns on. We'll work from the tables first to review proper handling and dry fire. Then introduce the holster they have and proper safe draws and dry fire.

Then dry fire to targets.

There will only be 1 to 3 targets in the live fire portion.

For props we would like to use PTPC's target stands, barricades and barrels.

Gear needed: 

Class fee $100.
Time: 9:00am- 1:00pm CST, Sunday, January 29th, 2017.
Pine Tree Pistol Club
5454 S. 11th St. (Illinois Rt. 251, just south of Freeway US 20)
Rockford, IL
We hope to schedule more like this in the future at other ranges.

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Specialty Events

With our professional experience in party planning, catering, and production, we will be able to work with potential customers' party themes and activity ideas to convert them into special events.

We can provide even inexperienced guests with a safe, basic "first shot" opportunity combined with engaging thematic specialties for shooters at varied skill levels.
TD Roe is not only a firearms instructor, she's also a caterer/chef.  Your group's range experience can be more fun with refreshments, hors d'oeurves, or meals provided.

Contact us for more information

Illinois Concealed Carry License Classes

The Illinois Firearms Concealed Carry Act went into effect on July 9th, 2013. The law calls for certain specified training to qualify for the license. We have developed a set of classes to suit the requirements.
Up to eight hours of prior training may be grandfathered. Such training includes certain NRA classes such a Basic Pistol, military experience with an honorable discharge, or most Excel classes.

Our basic classes are divided into two parts, "A" and "B".
More information and the application process is available on the Illnois State Police Concealed Carry page. The ISP handles the rules, approvals, and application/issuance process.

More about our classes and structure on our IL CCL page.

The "A" portion is primarily law and the legal aspects of concealed carry. No firearms are required for this class. This class is not necessary for those with grandfatherable hours.

The "B" portion is mandatory in order to receive the certificate necessary to apply to the Illinois State Police for the license. It includes more on the law and use of force, handgun storage issues, carry and concealment methods and approaches, handgun shooting fundamentals, use of the concealment holster, and the live-fire qualification.

The qualification is 30 rounds fired at a B-27 silhouette at various distances. No specifications are made on what kind of gun and ammunition is used, any "handgun" "firearm" is permitted.

The fee is $75 for the "A" portion and $150 for the "B" portion.
The classroom time will be held at different locations.
The live-fire range portion will be held at different commercial ranges depending upon the class location and will include Article II Lombard and others.
Next: To Be Announced
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One-on-one and Group Private Training

We offer specialized training with a special emphasis on special needs and competition shooters on a per-hour basis.

Private lessons have a two-hour minimum.

The first two hours are $175.
Subsequent hours are $75 per hour.
An additional student is $30 per hour.

Student is responsible for range fees (if applicable) and ammunition.
We normally can supply the guns if needed.

Group sessions are a way to spread costs and enjoy your own private group's range time together.  A flat fee based on the final count and location is charged.

We have access to several indoor and outdoor venues with nearly all kinds of range and target props available so that we can tailor your instruction to specific needs.

We can put together a wide variety of lessons and sessions concentrating on whatever segment of handgun shooting fits your needs.
Please contact us at TD@exceltraininggroup.com or 847-943-9235 to discuss what will work best for your group.

Scheduling is variable. We frequently schedule private lessons just prior to regular classes at the same range.
Weekends, especially Sundays, can be more difficult to get range time for. Weekday daytime is often the easiest.

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G.A.T Guns Superstore
14N915 State Route 25
Dundee, IL 60118

Range at 355
9003 Murphy Road
Bolingbrook, IL 60440

5 Star Firearms Range
41666 N. Sheridan Road
Zion, IL 60099

Article II Gun World Range
250 W. Cortland St.
Lombard, IL 60148

And other locations
To be announced ...