Giving Back

So, you just bought a pistol . . .

. . . Now what?

Free Safety Training for First-Time Gun Owners

In these uncertain times, many who were not previously “gun people” have chosen to avail themselves of their American right to bear arms (about 8 million 2020). If you are a recent convert, we commend you for taking that step. However, Jeff Cooper cautioned that you are no more armed because you are wearing a pistol than you are a musician because you own a guitar. If you never owned a gun before, PLEASE REACH OUT TO US TO RECEIVE FREE FIREARMS SAFETY TRAINING. You can get that safety training in the privacy of your home, or we can meet you at a variety of venues throughout Southern Arizona.


Other Outreaches

Our family is happy to be living in the freest country on Earth, and blessed by God in so many ways. Three of the other ways we give back to our community are free Adolescent Safety classes, free youth group training, and free or at-cost training for deploying military members and their spouses.

Small arms training for military deployers

Military small arms training has improved a great deal since George enlisted in the 1980s. However, it is still constrained by limited budgets and available training time. Chances are, unless you are a Spec Ops warrior, your small arms training is geared more toward achieving a minimum marksmanship standard than martial excellence.

George trained deployers for years. He always strove to stay cutting edge, to train more than the government required, and to influence military small arms doctrine in a realistic direction. He has even helped shape some of that doctrine. Portions of the USAF’s Shoot, Move, Communicate course, for example, appear to have been cut and pasted directly from George’s after action reports.

If you are about to deploy downrange, and wish to be more proficient with your tools and techniques than your military small arms training will make you, George will donate his time and expertise to you AT COST.

All you will need to pay for is range time (if a military or free to the public range is unavailable), ammo, and training aids (such as Airsoft pellets). It may be possible for you to use issued small arms; before his last deployment, George got a letter from his commander authorizing the use of his assigned M4 and M9 in a night tactical match. If not, we can use privately owned weapons, such an M18 (which is virtually identical to those issued by the military), or an AR15 (which is substantially similar to the M4 / M16 series).

We can also train you on “battlefield pickup” systems such as the Kalashnikov.

It’s the least we can do for the sacrifices you make, to help ensure you come home to your families.


Defensive Training for Military Spouses

The most crucial component of our nation’s military preparedness is the willingness of spouses and other loved ones to loan us their soldier, sailor, airman or marine. The less a deployer worries about her or his family’s safety when they are downrange, the more mental bandwidth s/he can devote to the task at hand.

George’s mother sent his father off to war three times, and on countless other deployments. George’s wonderful spouse of 32 years (and counting) wrote to him every single day he was deployed to Ops Desert Shield and Storm, and has dealt with the separation and / or financial hardship of two Army and Air Force call ups since.

Veda, the “face” of Heloderm’s website, was herself the proud, supportive spouse of a Marine. We know the sacrifices you make for us.

If you are the spouse of a deployed, deploying, or deployable service member, we will also train you for FREE. We will teach classes as small as two students (refer to our Policies section on the About Heloderm page for details).

Significant discounts are also available for law enforcement, other public safety personnel, and their families.

“Once again I would like to thank you for letting me borrow one of your AKs and all the knowledge you gave me throughout the course. The basics may be the same but it never hurts to practice them. It was a great course and I learned a lot from the scenarios as opposed to just shooting at the target from a static position like a normal range. Great instructors and a great crowd made for a good environment for learning.”

–Kyle U, contractor (former 1st Division Marine)

Adolescent Firearms Safety

Some estimates are that half the houses in the United States contain at least one firearm. You may be a responsible parent who keeps her or his firearms locked up, but you have little control over what goes on in your kids’ friends’ homes.

Early childhood Firearms Safety courses, such as the NRA’s excellent Eddie Eagle program, focus on firearms avoidance: “Stop!  Don’t touch!  Run away!  Tell a grownup!” This is an outstanding mantra for young children to learn, and one our lead instructor reminded his daughter to recite on her way to the Prom.

Human brains are hardwired to go where they have not gone before. That’s what put humans on the moon, but it also practically guarantees that by the time your kids are teenagers, one of their friends will have figured out how to get unsupervised access to a gun. When (not if) that happens, their only salvation will be in safe handling habits. If they don’t know any, perhaps one of their better educated peers can teach them before it’s too late. As one of the Heloderm company mottoes states, “There is no safety in ignorance.”

Our lead instructor, George H, knows from personal and sometimes tragic experience how dangerous unsupervised adolescent firearms encounters can be. As a teenager, he had a gun stuck in his face at a party. As an internal affairs investigator, he and his fellow investigators responded when negligent discharges (some by children) occurred.

In our FREE Firearms Safety for Adolescents classes, Heloderm uses trained teen actors to do role playing skits about real adolescent firearms encounters. That way, your kids can think through how they would handle such a situation before they find themselves in one. We discuss sensitive but important issues such as teenage depression and suicide. The youths interact with instructors and role players during the class.

This training is appropriate for age groups from upper elementary (5th / 6th grade) to young adult. We can present this class at your Civil Air Patrol, Boy / Girl Scouts, Explorer, or other youth group meeting. If your kids are not part of a youth group, we can teach them in any home or classroom setting. All we ask is that at least one parent or guardian be present during class, so when questions come up afterward, you will have a good idea what your child is asking about.

The firearms safety class takes about an hour. If you’d like, we can also add blocks of instruction on crime prevention and active violence avoidance / survival.

“I can not thank you enough for coming to our meeting and teaching my cadets. I know from the smiles and interaction from them, they had a blast with the class. I loved that you could keep it light and fun but still get SO much information taught!”

–Wendy I, cadet squadron commander


Shooting experiences for youth groups

Heloderm is proud to partner with Manning Firearms Training and Tactics, Warlizard Tactical, and the NRA to bring free or at cost firearms safety and handling training to Civil Air Patrol cadets, Army and Law Enforcement Explorers, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other youth organizations.

In the ye olde days, kids learned to respect the destructive potential of firearms at their father’s knee. They killed animals for food and pelts, but (with limited exceptions) youngsters who killed non-food animals needlessly, or even (through lack of skill) caused a game animal to suffer unnecessarily, were severely chastised.

Now food comes from Safeway, and weapons are believed to have magical powers. A chainsaw is still considered a convenient power tool, which should be handled circumspectly, but guns are thought to have a will of their own, for good or evil (often evil).

How do kids learn about firearms now? By watching TV and playing video games, of course. Instead of learning to respect the sanctity of all life–even that they are going to consume–they see movies that glorify violence, in which criminals are heroes, and mythical assassins are superheroes. There’s an entire genre of plot lines that revolve around a slighted main character who goes on a revenge killing spree. And the A-list actors holding pistols in the advertisements often have their fingers on the triggers.

To slow this tide of mischaracterization at least a little bit, we take adolescents to the firing range to show them what guns actually will and won’t do. We empower young people to handle firearms safely, to make better decisions, to be responsible for the very lives of the people around them. And perhaps, along the way, even motivate a few them a little toward careers as the sheepdogs of our society: in the military and law enforcement.

Plus, it’s fun!

“…why is it fun? …This, I believe, is because the rifle is a tool of power.  A good rifleman can bring kinetic power to bear upon his environment.  He can reach out and cause things to happen decisively and selectively at a distance.  With a good rifle in his hand, and the skill to use it well, he becomes, in a sense, a godlike figure.  He may not need to use this power, but he commands it, and this is inexpressibly gratifying.  This will to power is viewed askance by many who may be described as overcivilized.  They hold that a man should not wish to command power, but whether he should or not is irrelevant, since he does.  It is futile to tell a man he should choose to be helpless when he should be taught how to use the power that he can command wisely and well.”

–Jeff Cooper, The Art of the Rifle

Code 4 Defensive Tactics Seminars

We’re happy to help with the personal protection seminars put on by out training partner Ken S of Code 4 Defensive Tactics. Ken’s clinics offer free unarmed defense training for firefighters, EMS personnel, teachers, nurses, and other professionals who serve the public but are disarmed by policy. When we’re not helping him logistically, we’re participating as students! You can’t practice empty hands stuff enough.


Heloderm instructors, partners (Trigoon Dynamics, Warlizard Tactical, Crosswalk Readiness, et al) and RSOs are happy to assist with and participate in the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation‘s annual Duel in the Desert shooting match at the Tucson Rifle Club near Robles Junction, AZ. Visit the GSSF website for more details.

Supporting the Arts

From Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC, to the Century 16 in Aurora, Colorado, to the Nord-Ost musical in Moscow, to the Grand 16 in Lafayette, Louisiana, theatrical audiences are particularly vulnerable to violence and other forms of crime (mainly, breaking into their cars while they watch the show).

Heloderm is proud to provide security consulting, blank safety / firearms handling training, and direct financial support to Tucson’s local thespians, including Actors of the Round Table, Players of Penzance, and Live Theatre Workshop.

Uyghur Oppression Awareness

Our society is becoming more polarized every day. Heloderm welcomes students of every non-violent political leaning, and don’t waste precious class time discussing politics. Nor have I ever considered myself an activist for any cause. My son is studying Chinese history, culture, and language, and in so doing, has become aware of the plight of the Uyghurs.

Uyghurs (“WEE-ggers”) are a predominantly Muslim, ethnically Turkic people living in western China. The “People’s Republic” of China (PRC) oppresses all of its people, including Christians, as only a Communist government can, but the Uyghurs are particularly hard-pressed. Their culture is being eliminated on a scale comparable to the Nazi Holocaust.

SOME separatists and Muslim extremists in Western China have been Uyghurs. But under the guise of internal state security, the PRC crackdown on ALL Uyghurs has created an Orwellian surveillance state, mass incarceration on mere pretense (1 – 3 million in detention), forced labor, and eugenics policies that would make the most rabid Ku Klux Klansman of the 1930s envious. The PRC are literally attempting to breed the Uyghurs and their culture out of existence, or at the very least, down to more controllable numbers.

The most heinous aspect of China’s mass incarceration of any political opposition is that organ transplants are “elective surgery” in China. Political prisoners, including Uyghurs and Falun Gong (a form of Buddhist qigong spirituality) practitioners are kept alive merely as life support systems for organs till they are executed on operating tables.

I wish I was making that up.

But, as Luke said to Obi-Wan about the Empire, “It’s all such a long way from here.”

Apart from raising awareness, Heloderm is doing its part by attempting to be conscientious consumers, avoiding supply chains for our training aids, ammunition, holsters, targets, and other essentials that might have been made by coerced Uyghur labor.

If you want to learn more, you can view this Google Doc that my son put together about it.