Below, you'll find a list and description of the primary equipment required for all PFI courses.  Please become acquainted with this list prior to attending any PFI course.


Note:  Each course will have the amount of ammunition required listed in the course description.

Some courses will require additional equipment.  Any additional equipment requirements will be listed in the course description.


Each student needs to show up to class with at least one semi-automatic pistol or revolver.  A semi-automatic pistol is highly recommended as a primary handgun.


Recommended calibers:

  • 9mm NATO (a.k.a. "Parabellum," "Luger")
  • .38 Special
  • .40 S&W
  • .45 ACP
Any calibers smaller than those listed above are not appropriate for use in PFI courses, and will not be permitted.


The student's handgun should be of modern manufacture, and must function as designed to factory specifications. Low-profile, fixed, night sights are preferred.  Adjustable, target sights should be avoided. If possible, your handgun should be test fired and sighted-in with the ammunition you intend to use.

Handguns must be clean and properly lubricated. Sharp edges should be removed (if needed, this should be done by an experienced, competent gunsmith).


Contact PFI for handgun questions and/or recommendations.


No competition guns or related equipment will be allowed.  Handguns shall operate as designed within factory specifications. No non-essential modifications, such as porting.  This will help to ensure a properly functioning handgun.

Further Recommendations:

When possible, a second handgun should be brought in case your first handgun becomes inoperable during the course. Preferably, the same handgun as your primary. Same magazine/speedy-loader, ammunition, and holster requirements, if different than your primary.

It is also highly recommended that each student have a “replica” or “dummy” of the handgun(s) with which they typically use for carry/training.  This equipment can be used in non-shooting drills, weapon retention training, etc.

Two excellent manufactures are Ring’s Blue Guns, and ASP Red Guns.

Contact PFI if assistance is needed.



Each student is expected to provide and manage their own ammunition.



Students must bring a minimum of three reloading devices are needed for your handgun, with a minimum of two belt pouches.



Each course description will state the minimum amount of ammunition needed. This will ensure a student’s full day(s) of training. For safety reasons, PFI requires only factory made ammunition in all courses. For expense reasons, standard jacketed, ball ammunition, is recommended. The more expensive self-defense rounds (e.g. hollow-points, +P, etc) need not be used.  However, it is recommended that students use a small quantity of their chosen self-defense rounds to ensure proper sighting-in and weapon functioning.

For insurance reasons, no reloaded or hand loaded ammunition is allowed. And no aluminum or steel case ammunition is allowed, in order to help ensure proper firearm function. No tracer and/or armor piercing ammunition.


A belt mounted holster, either inside or outside waistband design, is generally accepted for all courses.


Law enforcement and military personnel may wear their duty equipment. An open top, “no thumb snap” holster will work.  No cross draw, shoulder holsters or fanny packs, except for advanced, experienced students with prior approval only.  No “one size fits all” nylon holsters.  

For beginning shooters, an outside the waistband holster is highly recommended. Holsters should be made of leather and/or Kydex.  A sturdy 1 1/4” or wider, sturdy belt is required. Ensure your holster and magazine/speed-loader pouches fit your chosen belt.

Blackhawk SERPA Holster Advisory:

Recently, there have been reports of malfunction and breakage with this holster during extreme training conditions. These reports have caused some training facilities and instructors to prohibited its use in their training courses. I have used this holster for several years without incident. The SERPA holster is an excellent holster system but is recommended for trained users only. This holster requires training to ensure the new user can draw and holster with proper trigger finger placement. If you have one (even new shooters), bring it. But, please bring a second holster in case there is a problem with your SERPA.


Additional references to the SERPA Holster warning are here for your information and decision making:



For students wishing concealed carry training, a vest, jacket, or other concealment clothing.  An out of use sport coat will work fine.



Be prepared for weather changes. Long pants and sturdy shoes required. No shorts or ‘peddle-pusher’ pants. Collared shirts or blouses are not recommended as the collar catches ejected “hot” brass and it will come to rest on your back, neck, or chest.

Note: Gloves for colder weather are highly recommended.  Shooting gloves are permitted and recommended (not required) for the tactile training experience.


No one--not student nor observer--is allowed on the range without the following safety equipment:

  • Clear and/or tinted shooting/safety glasses. Clear for low-light/night training. Side protection required.

  • Hearing protectors. Muff-style and/or ear plugs. Electronic muff-style hearing protectors are very advantageous.

  • Baseball cap or other hat with visor/brim.   Such a hat prevents ejected brass from falling behind the shooter's glasses.  It is very important to keep sun and flying brass out of your eyes!



Students are expected to provide their own lunch for any full day instruction.

Water bottles, backpack-style hydration units, and any other “sports” drinks, as needed.  Minimum one gallon of drinking water, per training session, is highly recommended.  Any time spent on the range requires regular liquid intake. NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES!

Note: As our training site will be relatively remote/distant from food establishments, be prepared with your lunch and required beverages to enjoy at the range.


Gloves can come in handy for protecting hands when students are asked to move steel targets and other equipment.

Among other obvious reasons and uses, we recommend that students bring a small package/box of moistened hand/baby wipes to clean up after handling led-based ammunition prior to eating.

No matter the season, sun and wind exposure is a constant factor.