By Lajeune Hollis
MGI Fire-Arms—which stands for “Mr. Gibson Instructs”—is the result of two things Ricardo Gibson loves: firearms and teaching.
For eight years, Gibson has been teaching children in Waterbury—his hometown—in grades Pre-K through eight. And, he even coaches intramural sports and women’s flag football in his community. The first in his family to graduate college, his aspirations continue to soar as he hopes to become a Waterbury school principal.
Six years ago, although he was “anti-gun” growing up, Gibson took a seat in his first pistol training class. He enjoyed it so much that he pursued his Connecticut gun license and soon after, began posting instructional videos on social media. People took notice and the likes, comments and shares began to increase, as did the inquiries for when he was going to start his own pistol instruction business.
Gibson heeded his fans’ advice and, with just five students in his first class in June 2020, he launched MGI Fire-Arms during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. His online class attendee numbers quickly grew beyond 200 from his popularity on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and through word of mouth and his loyalty card referral program.
My love for teaching has led me to become a Licensed NRA Instructor,” shared Gibson. “Being an elementary school teacher has led to me keeping the same principles when teaching my pistol course—patience, differentiation and high expectations.”
Gibson’s courses include Pistol Permit Certification, CT Basic Permit Certification, and Shooting Refinement for advanced learners. He is also in the process of offering a Massachusetts License to Carry Certification Course. One of his most popular courses is the Utah Pistol Permit Course which covers more than 30 states. He partners with venues like The Gun Store in Connecticut to host it and everything is provided in the classroom, including fingerprints, passport photos, documentation and envelopes to mail everything off. The cost for this course is $130 and is limited to the first 10 people who sign up.
“One of my primary goals is for my students to leave the class feeling comfortable and learning something new."
All of Gibson’s instructional sessions generally last 30 minutes and he meets course participants at their chosen gun range, provides ammunitions, targets and a variety of guns to try. Following classes, if a student wants to get their CT gun license they may need to exercise some added patience. Normally it takes up to eight weeks but due to the pandemic in can take up to six months.
“One of my primary goals is for my students to leave the class feeling comfortable and learning something new,” he shared. “I want them to know that they can always use me as a resource and I’m available by phone or text.”
One of the many reasons Gibson’s classes are successful is because of his contagious enthusiasm and he recognizes that people learn differently, so he caters to each person accordingly. He has found that some people learn by seeing (visual), some by hearing (aural), some by touching (physical), some by logics (mathematical), some by Interpersonal means (social) and some by Intrapersonal means (solitary). His teaching style adapts to all learning styles.
Gibson’s students rave about his classes, sharing that their “only regret is that [they] didn’t take the class sooner,” that they “loved the class—[it’s] informative yet personal, and to the point,” and encourage that “If you’re looking for an instructor to make you feel at home, relate with you and make sure you have a great time, Ricardo is your guy!”
Most of the people who take Gibson’s courses have never even seen a firearm.
One student shared, “I brought someone with me who was unknowingly fearful and by the end of our session Ricardo educated her and got her over her fear.”
Gibson says that he is blessed but recognizes that timing is everything. During the last year, learning how to use a gun safely was high on many people’s list after witnessing disturbing national news stories like George Floyd’s death.
MGI Fire-Arms is proof that 2020 wasn’t all bad after all.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you,” shares Gibson. According to his words of wisdom, he certainly is doing great work, in many ways.
Find MGI Fire-Arms on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or on their website. Class participants must be 18 years or older and 21 years or older to obtain a Connecticut conceal permit license.
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