Meet The Down Range Staff

The world is a dangerous place. The rules that govern how we can go about protecting ourselves are incredibly complicated and overwhelming.

Our instructors have spent careers studying the art of firearms usage, lawful conceal carry, use of force, and self defense. Let us, the instructors of Down Range, lay things out simply, in an easy to understand way for you to learn.

When we’re done working together, you’ll be able to win any threat that confronts you. You’ll understand your rights, how and when you can defend yourselves, and you will have developed the skills you need to avoid the fight before it ever happens.

The road to self defense is a long one. Join us at Down Range and we’ll help you to be able turn this dangerous world, into a much safer place for you and the people you care about.

Matt Gerard

Owner & Lead Firearms Instructor

Matt is a 13 year police veteran. Matt is a police firearms instructor, and is a certified master firearms instructor with with advanced training in handgun, carbine, police SWAT and sniper instruction, as well as various tactics.

Additionally he has been assigned to the Ogle County Emergency Response Team as an operator and as the sniper team leader, and as a former member of the ILEAS Region 2 Weapon of Mass Destruction SRT.

Matt has also shot competitively in various leagues with various shooting platforms.

John "Sammy" Samaniego

Lead Firearms Instructor

Sheriff’s Deputy since 2002 (Corrections Officer), One of two Master Firearms Instructors responsible for training both Corrections Officers and Road Deputies.

Other responsibilities include weapons maintenance (both handguns, patrol rifles, and shotguns).

Sammy is a police firearms instructor and has been a competitive shooter since 2002 participating in IDPA, USPSA, Bullseye Target, And all around shooting enthusiast.

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