Class Details

When and Where?

Date: Sunday, Oct 20 – 9 am to 3 pm (ish)
Location: Kalamazoo Air Zoo – 6151 Portage Road, Portage, MI 49002 (Mezzanine Conference Suite)

Mezzanine Level
Mezzanine Level at the Air Zoo

Enter through the main doors into the lobby. Make your way to the area beyond the ticket counter to the stairway. Follow the signs to the Mezzanine level and conference room suite. You should see a sign for “Cooper Meeting.”

Note: If you require assistance from staff, we ask that you refrain from asking for the “gun” or “CPL” class. Rather, please ask for directions to the “Cooper Meeting.” Unfortunately, firearms are a polarizing issue in our culture today. There are likely to be lots of patrons milling about the lobby. To maintain our welcome in the Air Zoo building, we prefer to keep a low profile and prevent potential complaints.

To ensure everyone’s safety, do not bring firearms or ammunition into the building.

Food & Beverage

Your class fee does NOT include lunch. However, an onsite cafe is available at the Air Zoo, which offers a wide variety of reasonably-priced food and snacks. (See menu here.)

Note: The Air Zoo depends upon donations, ticket sales and concessions to remain viable. The venue asks that guests refrain from bringing in their own food. Water bottles are allowed.

Shooting Qualification …

There are no free shooting options in Kalamazoo County for shooting. We will shoot at the Southern Michigan Gun Club in Mattawan, which is a private club. The SMGC has a strict rule that limits guests to two at a time. This is why we don’t schedule shooting for the entire group on the same day as class.

The SMGC closes at sunset – therefore, during the Fall and Winter months it can be challenging to schedule shooting qualifications on weeknights. As the days get shorter, we will try to schedule shooting qualifications for the weekend following class.

Although your CPL class reviews fundamentals of safe firearms handling, it should not be considered a substitute for basic handgun training. Students are strongly encouraged to shoot on their own, prior to scheduling their shooting qualification.

Firearm Rental

As a new shooter, you may not yet know the type, make and model of firearm you wish to purchase. We offer a firearm rental for a nominal $25 fee, which includes all ammunition. Rentals require prior arrangements so please let us know if you plan to go this route.

Prior to Your Shooting Qualification

  • Purchase target ammunition: Unless you’re renting a firearm from us, you’ll need at least 100 rounds of ammunition for our shooting exercises. When you go to the gun store, ask for “target” or “full metal jacket” ammo which is much less expensive than defense ammo.
  • Purchase range safety equipment: All participants must bring approved eye and ear protection at the shooting range. Club rules will not allow anyone to shoot without this protective equipment. Prescription glasses and sunglasses are acceptable eye protection, as long as the lenses are shatterproof. Earmuffs can be purchased at any local sporting goods store. We recommend electronically-enhanced muffs because they allow you to hear normal conversation while filtering out harmful frequencies. The Howard Leight Impact Sport earmuffs are a popular model – they work well, and cost less than $50.
  • Ball cap: Although not required, it is recommended you wear a baseball-style hat at the range. The bill helps deflect ejected, spent casings away from your face.

Very Important: Legally Transporting Your Firearm

There are three important things to remember about legally transporting a handgun before receiving your CPL:

  1. The gun must be unloaded before moving it to your vehicle – for semi-automatics, that means no round in the chamber, and the magazine removed. For revolvers, all cartridges must be removed from the cylinder.
  2. The gun and ammunition should be separated – the gun in a locked case and stowed in the trunk or rear cargo area, and the ammunition and magazines in a separate vehicle compartment (as far away from the gun as possible.)
  3. Without a CPL you are NOT authorized to transport someone else’s handgun in your vehicle unless the owner of that gun is riding with you. While at the range, it is permissible to shoot someone else’s firearm as long as the owner is present.

If you are stopped by a police officer en route to the range, and found to be in violation of these rules, you could potentially face legal penalties and firearm confiscation. Please take these rules seriously!

Payment and Cancellation Policy

Family 1st Defense must make arrangements to reserve a conference room, well in advance of our class date. Prepayment is therefore required to guarantee your seat.

We reserve the right to cancel any class that does not meet minimum attendance numbers. If it becomes necessary to cancel a class, we will do so no later than 48 hours prior. In this case, students will have the option to reschedule or request a full refund.

Students who have reserved a seat and need to cancel are eligible for a refund as long as they notify us at least 48 hours before the class. Late cancellations and no-shows will not be refunded. However, these students are welcome to register for another class at no additional cost.

See you soon. I look forward to meeting you. My contact info appears below.


Tim Cooper
Family 1st Defense
(269) 447-1570