hand wraps Self Defense & Conditioning The concepts, the skills, the law. Learn More shooting from cover Concealed Carry Training For the responsible citizen defender. Learn More Integrated Approach Combining Knowledge, Skill and Mindset in the context of Today's personal defense needs. Learn More


Firearms training should be safe, effective, and integrative. Whether you are a concealed carrier, armed/unarmed security or law enforcement, you want the best training available. That means low-risk training with methods that allow you to learn quickly. It means firearms training classes offering well-rounded knowledge and skill building. And of course a place to practice regularly under pressure.

This is what makes us different.

Safe Firearms Training

Our personal defense training program is built on a foundation of safety and responsibility. It is for anyone of any skill level, in any vocation or stage of life. The only requirement is that you are a responsible person of good moral character.

Effective Methods

We are focused on the simplest and most effective methods to build knowledge and skills. The principles of personal defense are universal and form the foundation of the curriculum. Course content is tailored to the individual’s needs, goals, assets, liabilities, and overall situation, suitable for:

  • Citizens who carry a concealed firearm for personal protection
  • Unarmed citizens who still want to protect themselves or their families
  • Security personnel or public servants who endure daily risk and desire supplemental training
  • Any person of good moral character looking to push and improve themselves

Integrative Approach

We take an integrative approach to dealing with violence through self defense principles. This includes practical, moral, legal, spiritual, and psychological factors. Our personal defense program integrates cognitive skills and decision-making with physical skills and techniques. We also seek to develop high-level soft skills as a deterrent to violence, with avoidance being a primary goal.

The Forge – Self Defense is based in Rapid City, SD, in the beautiful Black Hills.


Because we’re talking about firearms training in the context of self defense, marksmanship cannot be our only focus. If you think about a violent encounter, and all the things involved from start to finish, you’ll find there’s a lot more to work on than just marksmanship. Here’s what we do:


Self defense is more than physical techniques. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses, cultivating efficient situational awareness and a survival mindset, and practicing decision-making skills are all key. You must do this in a training setting.


If things get physical, hands free skills are essential. You need an understanding of pre-attack indicators, body language, how to move and use terrain, how to block and strike, and how and when to access any available defensive tools. These are perishable skills.


A firearm, knife, kubotan, pepper spray, or any other defensive tool carries risks you need to be aware of. The principles of personal defense apply to any defensive tool, and we explore them thoroughly in training, under pressure, and with full analysis.

You are responsible for your safety

Now take responsibility for your training

To The Hills


On A Mission

A Message to The Hills, I wasn’t sure what this article was going to look like when I started. I’ve always detested org “mission statements,” those stiff and generic blurbs of verbiage, as dry as the Badlands in August. So this isn’t a mission statement, it’s a mission overview. And an invitation. We believe everyone…

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Resolve: The Harder Path

Dear Blackest of Hills, It’s that time again! When we, the marshmallow people, get a little uppity and think we can break out of the bag and become something else. That’s right, I’m talking about New Year’s Resolutions! Well, how about something a little different this year? Instead of the usual “I’ll definitely hit the…

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Failure’s Bad Rap

To Hills it May Concern, Failure gets a bad rap. We tend to look down on an incident of failure as negative, maybe feeling bad for the person(s) involved or looking upon them as lesser people. God forbid someone fail multiple times, for we will look upon the entire person as “a failure.” And we…

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