The Cornered Cat

My name is Kathy Jackson. I have been a professional firearms trainer, a small business owner, a magazine editor, a homeschool mom, and  a freelance writer. I guess you could say I have worn a lot of hats. My husband and I have been married more than 30 years, and we have five sons.

I got my start as a shooter more than 18 years ago by taking classes at the Firearms Academy of Seattle. FAS Director Marty Hayes and his talented wife, Gila, took me under their wings and helped me become the shooter and teacher I am today. In 2003, after I had taken almost every handgun class FAS offered, Marty offered to let me join the FAS instructor program, an apprenticeship-based opportunity to learn and grow. I became a lead instructor at FAS in 2005, working with thousands of students at this professional firearms training facility over the years.

Because I was determined to absorb as much knowledge as I possibly could about this field, I’ve lost track of the number of hours I’ve spent in firearms classes from other excellent instructors. It’s well over 1600 hours now, and includes courses from Jim Cirillo, John and Vicki Farnam, Ken Hackathorn, Rob Pincus, Tom and Lynn Givens, Massad Ayoob, Gunsite Academy, and many others. I’ve also taken armed and unarmed self-defense classes from Rory Miller, Marc MacYoung, Tony Blauer, Leslie Buck, Terry Trahan, and many other personal safety instructors. I hold handgun instructor certificates from Marty Hayes at FAS (where I was a staff instructor through 2017), from John and Vicki Farnam of DTI, and from Tom Givens at Rangemaster. After working more than a dozen years as an instructor, I finally decided to get my NRA teaching credentials in 2016. I’m also an adjunct instructor for Massad Ayoob of the Massad Ayoob Group, being qualified to teach Ayoob’s MAG-20 range class and holding a certificate as an instructor in Judicious Use of Deadly Force for the classroom portion.

As I was learning to teach, I worked hard to pick the brains of every competent instructor I could find, spending time both formally and informally with many of the shining stars of the firearms training community. I remain deeply grateful to the men and women who answered my questions, helped me understand what they did (and were trying to do) with their students, and allowed me to observe their classes. Some of the most enlightening and useful hours in my instructor journey were spent in relaxed settings, listening to these people who came before me as they talked about the things that mattered most to them. It is because so many instructors invested themselves so deeply in me that I have tried to turn around and invest in others.

From March 2008 through August 2012, I worked as editor at  Concealed Carry Magazine, the flagship publication of the USCCA. Under my four years of leadership there, the magazine’s circulation more than tripled. One of the coolest things about that job: the tremendous privilege of reading many different instructors’ current thoughts about how to teach people to defend themselves using firearms. My favorite day every issue was when the new articles arrived, because I always learned something new about how to teach defensive handgun skills.

As a freelance writer, my work has appeared in several publications, both print and online, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Women & Guns Magazine, and SWAT Magazine. But I am most proud of the books I’ve written. In 2009, radio talk show host Mark Walters and I co-authored Lessons from Armed America, a book that presents several real-life accounts of people protecting themselves from criminals and the lessons we can learn from those situations. In December 2010, White Feather Press published The Cornered Cat: A Woman’s Guide to Concealed Carry. The book provides a lot of material you can’t find on this website, organized in an easy-to-read fashion.

From 2012 through 2017, I offered firearms training nationwide for both men and women through Cornered Cat LLC. I truly enjoyed my time on the road and getting to know students all over the country. Along with beginner and intermediate to advanced work with firearms, my classes featured hands-on opportunities to try on many different holsters and alternate carry methods. I worked to provide accurate descriptions in plain language, compassionate instruction, and usable shooting techniques that work well with many different body types, physical abilities, and lifestyle choices.

In addition to defensive handgun classes, through Cornered Cat I also enjoyed teaching several different formats of instructor improvement classes. Keeping these small and personalized allowed me to tailor the instruction to match the needs of the students who attended, while the larger versions of these programs let the student-instructors learn how to safely manage a more complex range environment. In all cases, we focused on how to connect and communicate with a diverse mix of defensive handgun students.

As the national Training Advisor for A Girl and A Gun Women’s Shooting League (from its inception in 2012 through 2017), I worked with many different AG&AG Facilitators to help them become better teachers. I truly enjoy mentoring new instructors and helping them become better prepared to work with their own students, and the AG&AG National Conference was often the highlight of my year.

Students reported that they had a lot of fun in my classes, and I especially loved hearing genuine laughter from my students even during the times we were working under high stress. Although the subject matter is serious and I pushed every student to learn as many skills and as much information as they could possibly absorb, I worked equally hard to help everyone enjoy our time together because I believe that the things we learn with pleasure, we never forget.

Over the next few years, I will be publishing more articles and books that focus on the needs of defensive handgun students and their instructors.