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Riding Shotgun With Charlie

Jul 27, 2021

Riding Shotgun With Charlie
Ben DeWalt
OnSight Firearms Training


One of my friends, Mark, asked if I was going to be taking a course called Defense Pistol - Accuracy and Accountability with Ben DeWalt of OnSight Firearms Training. I decided that I was going to do some training for myself this year and said only if Mark was taking the class, too.  He also told me that Ben would be a great person to have in the passenger’s seat.  So I signed up for the class and messaged Ben about being on the show!


Having grown up around firearms and shooting .22 rifles as a kid, he was carrying Guns & Ammo magazine in 3rd grade. About the time he was in 8th grade, he got into martial arts and karate. After high school, he found himself DJ’ing, doing security, and managing night clubs in NYC. That led to being a booking agent and calling clubs to set up tours for bands. Which came in handy years later as a firearm instructor. 


Growing tired of the musicians and rockstar attitudes, he decided to make a career shift and decided to become a firearm instructor.  In the meantime, he was working at ranges as an instructor and range safety officer. After working with another instructor, he learned he didn’t know everything and took more classes. He took a position as a customer service/ product service test firing repair guns.  He was gunsmithing 1911s at Kimber and testing the repair firearms. 


Meanwhile, Ben was also teaching courses and taking more courses.  After consulting with his wife, they decided it would be better to focus on teaching courses and making a go of it as a full time, self employed instructor. Ben and his wife, who is also an instructor, took as many classes from as many teachers as possible, notably the Tom Givens’ Rangemaster and SIG Academy.  They’ve done over 75 classes at SIG Academy. And he scored 100’s on all the Rangemaster qualifications. 


Knowing that with firearms courses, there’s a possibility of injuries, they both became certified to teach some medical and trauma courses, which they also offer. Since many of us carry firearms and knives to protect ourselves, we should also have some medical trauma and first aid training. And maybe even carry some of that gear around with us and in our cars. 


One of the things I really enjoyed with talking to Ben is that he’s got an ongoing desire to educate himself and improve himself.  It’s not just his shooting skills, but it’s his teaching skills as well. He likes to retake classes to see what he can pick up from new instructors.  And he encourages his clients to take classes from other instructors as well. 


Personally, I enjoyed listening to his story about getting out from working for someone else and going it on his own.  And hearing how he took his skills and knowledge from his DJ’ing days and applied them to his gun instructor days. I’m sure you’ll enjoy that as well.


We did take a few minutes off to get a selfie at the Old North Bridge in Concord, MA, in front of the Massachusetts Minuteman statue.  The statue is a farmer taking up his rifle and leaving his plough behind to help start a new nation. 



Favorite quotes


“Sounds like a cool job on the outside. But every Monday morning, you’re someone else’s bitch.”

“What could I possibly do if I had more time to focus on my own company?”  

“The gun stuff is cool. The certifications are cool. But the knowledge and the ability is probably much cooler.”

“I constantly want to train. I constantly either want to teach or I want to train. There’s no point in this thing where I say “I’m done, I’ve learned it all.”

“The reason I love doing is this is you have a lot of freedom.”

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