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NRA Carry Guard Interview—Eric Frohardt

NRA Carry Guard Interview—Eric Frohardt

Photo credit: Darren Parker

There’s a case to be made that the new NRA Carry Guard program is stacking the deck. A tiered program of legal defense support is the front end, offering up to $1,000,000 in civil liability protection ($150,000 for criminal defense), free spousal coverage, a 24/7/365 hotline and immediately available supplementary funds for bail, bonds and the like.

The back end is similarly imposing, with training in all aspects of carrynot just the firearms partthat is second to none. Designed by a team of experts and headed up by National Director George Severence (U.S. Navy SEAL, retired), early attendees are nearly universal in their praise.

The accolades may be no surprise, considering Eric Frohardt is NRA Carry Guard’s Training Director. American Warrior caught up with him to get an insider’s look at what went into that considerable step forward in “carry” training quality.

American Warrior: Eric, we know you have extensive military shooting in your background. Mind fleshing that out?

Eric Frohardt: I’d be glad to. The part that may be of greatest interest is my time as a member of the SEAL Teams. We had an opportunity to train with the best firearms instructors all over the world. We’d take what we liked from each of them and test it in battle. Our methods constantly evolved.

This really helped me understand how to take knowledge that I had, put it into curriculum and show others how to teach it.Due to an injury, I also had an opportunity to serve at a training (teaching) command. At the time, I was upset and didn’t want to do it. But it ended up being an important part of my career path. At the training command, I taught CQB (close quarters battle), which involved a lot of shooting with both pistols and rifles at close range while moving dynamically. It allowed me to further refine my own skill sets and forced me to learn how to teach it to others.

AW: It sounds like you turned an unfortunate circumstance into an opportunity?

EF: For sure, it was a great opportunity! After a very short period, I left the training command and went to another Team. But during the “down time,” if you want to call it that, I really honed my ability to shoot and instruct. I also got certified as a Basic Navy Instructor and as a Master Training Specialist. This really helped me understand how to take knowledge that I had, put it into curriculum and show others how to teach it. Again, at the time, I had no idea how useful it would be in the future. Now, it’s helping a lot in my NRA Carry Guard role!

AW: And upon leaving the Navy, you stayed in the training domain, correct?

EF: Yes. Ultimately, I ended up getting medically retired. After leaving the Navy, I had an opportunity to do some contract instructing for Mid South Institute of Combat Shooting (formerly SHAWS). I even had a chance to teach a SEAL platoon as a civilian. Then came some security consulting work in and around Denver with my business partner. After awhile, we were able to raise enough money to open our own gun range.

We bought an old gun range in 2010, and opened by spring of 2011. Fast-forward, and we have a place called BluCore Shooting Center, and it’s a very unique, indoor experience. We have a gun range, gun store and combat-proven firearms trainingall indoors and all under the same roof! Plus, we had an opportunity to employ people in the process, including a lot of other veterans.

During that time, I had a chance to take some of the hardcore SEAL techniques and not “dumb them down” exactly, but make them more appropriate for civilian needs. The fundamentals are the same, we just don’t go as deep. I built that curriculum out, and I taught most of the classes for a while. During the process, I determined which techniques were applicable in a civilian setting and which were not. Obviously, not everything applies. Then I hired and trained other instructors in those “high-speed” techniques. I also made it a priority to constantly update the curriculum—the lesson plans, the techniques—and then keep our instructors on the cutting edge so that I no longer had to teach every class.

AW: It’s certainly easy to see how that maps onto your NRA Carry Guard role.

EF: I guess I think so too. The last component for my NRA Carry Guard work comes from my job as CEO of a relatively large fitness organization called “StrongFirst.” We are mostly known for our kettlebell training and education, but we also do barbell and bodyweight strength education. We do it on six different continents and have instructors in nearly 40 countries.

Develop the best system and build the best team possible to teach it!There is the obvious similarity between my experiences in the Teams and my role at NRA Carry Guard. But there has also been a surprisingly large amount of carry-over between what we do with NRA Carry Guard and what I’ve been doing at StrongFirst. At its core, StrongFirst is a global training organization. We have a proven system, our curriculum, taught by world-class instructors, our people. For NRA Carry Guard, our goal is the same. Develop the best system and build the best team possible to teach it! I have no doubt we will succeed!

AW: Thank you, Eric. Any way we can get in an NRA Carry Guard course you’ll actually teach?

EF: <<Laughing>> I’ll see what I can do …

Frank Winn has been studying arms and their relationship to tyranny, meaningful liberty and personal security all his adult life. He has been a firearms safety/shooting instructor for more than 20 years, and earned state, regional and national titles in several competitive disciplines.

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