Emanuel Kapelsohn’s extensive and impressive career in firearms instruction spans over 45 years, rooted in his early introduction to shooting by his father at the age of five. His journey through junior smallbore shooting and hunting in his teenage years led to a serendipitous moment in law school, where he began instructing a fellow student, marking his first foray into teaching firearms.
Kapelsohn’s career boasts significant milestones, including serving as a Staff Instructor at the American Pistol Institute (“Gunsite”) and leading NRA’s Semiautomatic Pistol Instructor Seminars at US Marine Base Quantico, among other locations. His expertise has taken him nationwide and internationally, teaching armorer and firearms classes for Glock. Additionally, his role as the Director of Security for an executive protection team and his 39 years as an expert witness in firearms and use-of-force cases in state and federal courts underline his profound impact in the field.
His academic background is equally impressive, with degrees from Yale University and Harvard Law School. Kapelsohn holds multiple certifications in various aspects of law enforcement and firearms training, including as a Taser Master Instructor and Executive Protection Specialist.
Kapelsohn’s teaching philosophy emphasizes simplicity and court-defensibility in firearms techniques, ensuring they are easily learned and retained, especially under high stress. His training methodology focuses on step-by-step learning, where repetition is key, a philosophy that has proven effective in real-world scenarios, as exemplified by his training of a South American Presidential Bodyguard Detail.
His dedication to firearms instruction is recognized with awards like the IALEFI Charlie Smith Award and Life Membership. Beyond his professional pursuits, Kapelsohn is an avid outdoorsman, with interests ranging from hunting and fishing to music and woodworking.
Kapelsohn credits his continued growth and success in the field to his involvement with IALEFI since 1983. His work with the association has been pivotal in his professional development, and he is a firm believer in the power of networking and collaboration within the industry.
For aspiring firearms instructors, Kapelsohn advises a commitment to honesty, patience, observation, analysis, and communication skills, emphasizing that the quality of instruction can directly impact lives. His career, marked by challenges, learning, and mentoring, is a testament to his dedication to the evolution of firearms training and his contribution to setting high standards in the industry.