Mike Dunlap’s illustrious 44-year career in firearms instruction and training began from a simple love for shooting and a desire to improve police officers’ skills in this domain. His journey started with competition shooting, where he realized the gap in training quality for law enforcement officers. This realization propelled him to push for enhanced training, leading him to become a range master and an influential instructor.
Dunlap’s career is marked by significant accomplishments. He was one of three firearms instructors nationwide to contribute to the second wound ballistic workshop, which established the FBI Bullet Testing protocol still in use today. His international influence extended to teaching Brazilian police officers, where his contribution of ballistic vests significantly improved officer safety. In Texas, he played a pivotal role in developing the state’s Firearms Instructor Course and the IALEFI Firearms Instructor Course, both central to the training of Texas officers.
His certifications and expertise are extensive, including being an FBI Firearms Instructor and holding various instructor certifications. Dunlap’s teaching philosophy centers on reinforcing basic training, a method validated by the success stories of officers who credited their survival in critical situations to the training they received from him.
At 70, Dunlap now focuses on teaching armorer schools, leaving tactical training to younger instructors. His approach to training emphasizes clear communication, demonstration, and repeated practice. A notable success was his teaching of extreme close quarters shooting, later adopted by state troopers in New Hampshire, potentially saving lives.
Dunlap is most proud of receiving the Charlie Smith Award, named after the “father” of IALEFI. Outside of his professional life, his passions include hunting, shooting, and attending gun shows. A significant influence on his professional journey was the advice from Jordan: “Don’t take a knife to a gun fight.”
While he acknowledges that his time in the field has passed, Dunlap’s legacy continues through his teachings and the impact of IALEFI. He credits the organization for shaping his career and emphasizes the importance of networking in his professional growth. His advice to aspiring firearms instructors is simple yet profound: “Practice, Practice, Practice.” Mike Dunlap stands as a testament to dedication and excellence in the field of firearms instruction, leaving an indelible mark on the industry.