American Tactical Shooting Instruction (Amtac Shooting) and Amtac Blades owner/operator Bill Rapier exemplifies SureFire’s no-comprise, give-your-best and never-rest approach.
Rapier’s winning mindset was shaped via a distinguished career in the armed forces where he spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy — 18 of them were in the SEAL teams with the last 14 as a member of Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU). During his time in the Teams, his assignments ran the gamut from Corpsman to machine gunner to assaulter, breacher, sniper, team leader and troop chief.
It almost goes without saying that Rapier has always been an avid shooter, but he is also recognized as one of the world’s top instructors in combative techniques, a position achieved only through intensive training. He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, having trained under Gustavo Machado (Virginia Beach); has been training in Sayoc Kali since 2006; and has trained in western and Thai boxing as well. With his background, it’s no surprise that many of the courses at Amtac Shooting encompass far more than firearms proficiency. Rapier teaches his students that their gun may not be the only available tool in a fight. You can check out the SureFire Field Notes video above to see him in action.
“Most ‘gun guys’ think that when faced with a situation that requires deadly force the answer is always ‘gun,’” Rapier says. “The reality is that this line of thinking is likely to get you killed. We teach you how to integrate empty hand techniques with blades, improvised weapons and firearms. You will learn to fluidly transition from one tool to the next based on what is situation appropriate.”
Rapier makes no bones about the fact that his combatives courses are physically demanding. In fact, a good portion of his amtacshooting.com website is devoted to physical fitness, with feature stories that include The Modern Minute Man Physical Training Plan, Amtac Shooting Fitness Standards and Food and Fitness.
“Some of our courses are demanding, hands-on courses, but they will elevate your situational awareness and shooting/fighting ability to the next level,” Rapier says.
If Amtac’s courses sound intense, it’s because they are, and yet Rapier has found that his methods can improve the fighting fitness of even the least experienced shooters as long as they keep an open mind and are willing to learn. Amtac has been tremendously successful in training men and women of all ages to be more combat ready.
Rapier acknowledges that one of the common threads from the beginning of his service to today has been the use of SureFire lights.
“In my early years in, I remember using hose clamps and wooden spacers to attach SureFire Scout Lights to the barrels of our M4s,” Rapier says. “By the time I left the service, I think I averaged three to four SureFire lights on me every time we went out the door (hand held in pocket, weapons mounted on rifle, weapons mounted on pistol and helmet mounted). I have been a civilian for around 4 years now, but I still want the best tools available. I have a SureFire XC-1B attached to my pistol right now.”
Rapier’s message is clear, and it isn’t just one that he preaches. It’s also one that he exemplifies: If you’re serious about protecting yourself, with or without a firearm, then seeking training from a professional is a wise investment. That no-compromise approach is equally valid when selecting the tools for your tactical kit. There may come a time when you rely on both to save your life. Choosing wisely could mean the difference between success and failure.
For more information on Amtac Shooting, visit www.amtacshooting.com
For more information on Amtac Blades, visit https://amtacblades.com/