Steve Johnson, a venerable figure in the field of firearms instruction, boasts a formidable career spanning 43 years. His journey commenced at the North Carolina Justice Academy, where his role in teaching at the Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy fueled his passion for firearms training.
Johnson’s career is adorned with remarkable milestones, including attending his first IALEFI Conference, where he interacted with renowned personalities in firearms training like Mike Beckley, Emanual Kapelsohn, Jeff Cooper, and Massad Ayoob, among others. He holds numerous armorer certificates from eminent firearm manufacturers and has received advanced training from institutes like H&K, Singleton International, and Sig Sauer Academy.
Steve adopts a pedagogy rooted in demonstrations and repetitions, emphasizing mastering the fundamentals before advancing to tactical topics. He harbors a particular passion for low-light shooting and precision rifles, given the critical nature of these skills in real-life scenarios. He shares a poignant memory of a letter from a student, asserting that the training he provided had likely saved his life during a bank robbery.
Johnson’s accolades are noteworthy. He was named the North Carolina Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 1980 and was awarded the Distinguished Pistol Medal from the U.S. Army. His leadership skills were recognized as he captained the North Carolina National Guard High Power Rifle Team and served as President of IALEFI from 2000 to 2016. Additionally, he has been invited to speak at various international conferences, sharing his expertise on a global scale.
Outside the realm of firearms, Steve enjoys fishing and golf. A significant book for him is “Who Moved My Cheese,” and he resonates with Louis Awerbuck’s quote, “You are responsible for the terminal resting place of every projectile you launch.”
Steve’s commitment to continual learning is evident as he regularly attends classes, and conferences, and engages with multimedia resources. He has been an integral part of IALEFI since his first conference in 1990, contributing to the organization’s growth and fostering relationships with instructors worldwide. He appreciates the meticulous efforts and diverse opinions that shape IALEFI’s training programs.
Looking to the future, Steve plans to continue his work, expressing concern about the younger generation’s reliance on digital learning over personal relationships with instructors. He advises aspiring instructors to network, keep an open mind, and not solely rely on online resources.
An unexpected tidbit about Steve is his eclectic taste in music, with a special fondness for Carolina Beach Music. In terms of mentorship, he holds John T. Meyer Jr. and Mike Beckley in high esteem for their supportive and team-oriented approach. Networking and collaboration have been the linchpins of Steve’s illustrious career, fostering friendships, mentorships, and enhancing his role as an instructor in the firearms industry.