The way Jeff McIntire and Matt Smith see it, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave their business idea a nice boost when he pushed through the SAFE Act.
Cuomo, with the stroke of a pen, created more reasons for people interested in self defense to buy guns.
And many of those people have never been properly trained on how to handle a weapon, how their particular weapon works and exactly what to do if confronted with a dangerous situation.
"The SAFT Act put a rush on gun stores," McIntire said. "A lot of people go to buy a weapon and you're in the store and you hear them say, 'I want to buy a shotgun.' 'Well, you ask, why do you want to buy a shotgun?' 'I don't know. I just want to buy a shot gun.' They ask all sorts of questions. That SAFE Act completely allowed us a reason to be in business because people need to know this."
McIntire, Smith and Dave Eick are combat veterans and experienced Marine Corps instructors. Together, they've opened MandS Tactical Solutions with an office in the Harvester Center.
They teach a variety subjects around personal protection and civilian weapons use, shotgun personal defense, home defense, pistol defense, rape prevention and improvised weapons defense.
Opening a civilian defense course business just seemed like a logical step for the former Marines, McIntire said.
"You sit back and think, what am I going to do with an infantry background in the civilian world? What am I going to do? Why wouldn't we do this? We get to go to the range every day and do something we love. We know this more intimately than anything else."
McIntire and Smith met their first year in the Marines and served much of their career together. They were both wounded by an IED in Iraq in 2007 and both received Purple Hearts.
They've also trained other Marines in combat techniques.
McIntire grew up in Batavia, as did Eick. Smith is from St. Louis.
What they teach civilians consists of proper weapon handling, safety and care, but they also teach combat mindset.
If you're going to own a gun for self-defense, you better be prepared to use it. Just holding it in the hopes an intruder might retreat could be more dangerous than not having a gun at all.
"If I can show it to a person who is breaking in, maybe I can show it to them and maybe they'll run away," said McIntire taking on the role of a new, first-time gun owner. "Well, what happens if they don't? 'Well, I don't know what to do.' That's where we come in."
The combat mindset is necessarily about how to pull the trigger. It's also about not pulling the trigger.
"If we teach you everything we need to teach you, you won't ever need to pull the trigger because hopefully you will deter the intruder," Smith said. "The intruder will be like 'maybe I need to leave. This person is serious.' "
If you don't learn that mindset and you do need to pull the trigger and you freeze up, Smith said, "you might not be around much longer."
"We train people so that hopefully they never have to pull trigger," Smith added. "With the training, if comes down to that, they will know exactly what to do."
The training, in fact, may help a person later with the law. Your best defense if you shot a person who is a threat to you is if you can explain what you did, how you did it, why you did it and your confidence that you had no other option.
"The law may say you're justified, but you might not want to take that shot," McIntire said. "We're not teaching anybody to shoot anybody. We're teaching you to be prepared. We're teaching you how to go through the steps until you reach the point where you feel your life is in danger. Hopefully it helps a person, if they ever get in that situation, where they can intelligently say, 'I pulled the trigger. I shot him because I had no other choice.' "
McIntire and Smith are not offering, per se, a set course list. They have a list of topics they cover, subjects they can teach, but they like to meet individually with their clients and make sure they understand their needs.
Instruction can be in a group environment or one-on-one, especially if a client needs or desires privacy.
"We ask, you want to do this? OK, what do you want to do with it?" Smith said. "They might want to take something out. They might want to put something in. We try to customize it rather than just what an overall person might want.
"We pride ourselves the fact that we're not a cookie-cutter organization," he added.
For more information, visit the MandS Tactical Web site.