Paramount Tactical Solutions

By Rick Hemphill

A black round dot sits alone in the still air. Suddenly small round holes appear and continue to cluster toward the center of the eight inch dot. The thunderous blasts would damage your eardrums were the sounds of the handgun rounds not reduced to a repetitive pop, pop by the hearing protection. A sense of accomplishment builds as you continue to practice the real world defensive shooting techniques you have been learning all day. The ragged black dot agrees that you are competent with your weapon while you can feel the rush of success that is improving your confidence.

Gary Melton, CEO, of Paramount Tactical Solutions, is taking his experience as a Special Operations combat veteran and what he does for a living with the Federal Government as a Special Tactics Instructor and providing that high level of training to individuals so they can feel confident and competent with that firearm they have purchased and more importantly use it safely and effectively.

“The thing that I see the most is just a lack of confidence,” Gary says with concern. “I believe making sure that students leave with real abilities and real confidence in those abilities is our primary job as instructors. So many people take firearm courses all the time but they often don’t get the individual attention they deserve or the instructors don’t have the experience to address handicaps outside the basic fundamentals of shooting. An experienced instructor has seen it all and can easily fix all the shooting handicaps but can also recognize and address those fears and concerns that are the real problems and come up with creative solutions. If you don’t, the student leaves with more technical knowledge but with very little practical skill and no confidence in their ability.” ” For instance, we recently had a female student in a handgun course and she was so afraid of her gun that she was hyperventilating and obviously not shooting it all that well.” “She was shooting a 9mm but at that moment, for her ability and confidence level that was too much gun for her to effectively train with”. “So I pulled out a Smith & Wesson M&P 22 and we got her working on that.” “She started having a lot of fun.” “Later we switched her back to her 9mm and by the time we were doing our final drills, she was able to draw and put 2 rounds in an 8 inch black dot in 1.22 seconds!”

Paramount Tactical Solutions

A lack of experienced instructors is generally the problem. “About 2 years ago I started having an interest in providing more training for civilians,” Gary continues. “I went and took a civilian instructor course and I was pretty disappointed in what I found.” “Generally you see a lot of people with very little experience offering training. Most instructors you find have no real practical experience, very little experience as an instructor and even less have any formal instructor training beyond an 8 hour course ” The average concealed carry course is 4 hours, you shoot 10-20 rounds and then you have a “certified” instructor say you are good to go.”

“I think that creates more liability than anything else.” “I see so many people with a concealed carry license but they don’t feel competent in their abilities and don’t even have enough confidence to carry a weapon.” “The tragedy of it all this is all because they were told that by the end of the training they paid for they would be able to carry a gun and they assumed that meant they would leave with the skill and confidence to do that. They know they aren’t ready to carry a firearm so now they feel personally deficient and they feel their ability to shoot a gun or ability to learn must be the problem.” “What they don’t realize is everyone else that paid for that training feels the exact same way!”

“I want people to know they are not the problem, the training they received, and their instructor’s lack of experience is the problem and the reason they don’t have the skills and confidence to carry their firearm.” With the right instructor and enough time dedicated to training, just about everyone has what it takes to be proficient and safe with a firearm.”

“We realized there was a need provide a much more in depth and comprehensive training system and also emphasize the need for regular sustainment training,” Gary says. “In just about every discipline of shooting, we provide three tiered levels of in depth training and each student is shooting a minimum of 200 rounds during each course.”

“Through experience we’ve found that people need to shoot around 100 rounds before they even start feeling comfortable enough just to begin learning.” “By that last 100 rounds, students are comfortable and receptive and that’s where the real progress is made.” “If you take all the courses for that discipline, you are getting a similar level of training that law enforcement initially receives.” “You have taken 24 hours of training on that one weapon and you have shot 600 to 1000 rounds minimum.” “People walk away with real skills and confidence in their abilities.”

Paramount Tactical instructors are all military veterans with combat experience. “All of our instructors have a military background and some also have law enforcement experience with a minimum of 3 years working as full time, professional instructors for a federal law enforcement agency.” “That experience has shown us there is no one right way of doing something. So we show students what works best in our experience.” “We often show students several different ways to accomplish a task and they can use what works for them.”

At Paramount Tactical Solutions you can expect individual attention. “We understand that it is vital to keep our student to instructor ratio low to ensure each student gets the individual attention they need to make training effective.” “Our goal is to make every student feel like they are the only person in the class and we take the time to answer questions. We never rush to end the class at a certain time and we often train later than we’re scheduled to.”

“Every level one course is 8 hours and includes two hours of classroom instruction where we discuss gun safety, give a lot of technical information about guns, slings, holsters, pistols, different actions, ammo, different bullets, how to store and clean your gun and weapons in general and then we go and spend around 6 hours on the range” Gary says noting his willingness to answer questions on any facet of firearms or tactics. “There are so many options out there now that it is easy to get confused and students know they can always reach out to us to answer any questions they have.”

Their range instruction is a little more involved as well. “We start off by making sure the students are comfortable at the 5 or 10 yard line,” Gary explains. “Most of our training is geared more toward defensive training and we start with a silhouette target with an eight inch black dot placed high in the chest.”

“Without them even realizing, we are conditioning them to aim and shoot high in the chest.” “Once we get them comfortable and consistent we move to holsters and get them to draw and shoot, finally to engaging multiple targets.” “We don’t just do double taps, we also want to condition students to shoot until the target is down and we have drills and training aids that we use for that.” “They will be comfortable with the safe operation of the gun and comfortable with their skills using drills that we have designed to be easily reproduced. We’re not just teaching them to use a gun, we also show them how to train on their own so they can sustain and further their skills.”

“We have our carbine course,” Gary adds. “We have some latitude with the term carbine but this is essentially an AR-15 course.” “We have 95% of the students coming back to take the level 2 and 3 courses and everyone has had a blast and raved about this course” “Almost everyone has an AR-15 these days and most would be surprised what they can really do with it. We show people how to get the most performance out of their carbine.” “In this course students learn everything they need to know about their rifles and how to use them for defense in close quarters and out to 500 yards.”

Many people have never zeroed their iron sights “We do show students how to zero their iron sights and emphasize the importance of being able to use them properly when they need a backup sight. We also show the many benefits of optics,” Gary says. “We recommend a 1-4, 1-6 or 1-8 power scope as those give you the most versatility. With a variable power optic that has a true 1 power, you can reach out to 700 yards and with a turn of a dial, you can easily use the same optic for close quarter targets.”

“We also offer a series of long range courses. Before I went to Special Forces I was Sniper Team Leader in Iraq and long range shooting is one of my passions and several of our staff were also military snipers.

In our Tactical Long Range Level I Course we introduce shooters to long range ballistics. We offer rifles for students to use but if they already have a rifle we do our best to help them get their gun set up so they can get the most out of what they have. Sometimes though, we have to give them the bad news that to effectively shoot at the ranges they are wanting to shoot, they just need to buy a new gun.”

Paramount Tactical does all of their training at Peacemaker Training Center right outside of Martinsburg as they have 14 state of the art ranges, which includes an electronic 1000 yard known distance range and a 1400 yard unknown distance range. With over 2000 acres of training space that can be used for small unit tactics and a lot of different military and paramilitary courses and skills they can teach. After learning the basics in a Level I Course, a lot of the training that Paramount offers is centered around shooting while moving. “Learning to shoot while moving is critical, especially when you are in close engagements.” “Being able to shoot on the move is something that everyone in Special Operations learns to do and why given the danger of the mission, we still have a lower casualty rate than other divisions of the military.” “If you are at close distance to a threat, you need to be moving laterally to the target while being able to deliver accurate fire.” You should always give your threat a moving target. Being untrained and under duress, your threat will probably stay still which gives you a tactical advantage.” “It is a lot harder than it looks on TV and takes training but the last thing you want to do is be standing still when dealing with an armed threat.” “If you want to live, you have to move. If you want to stop your threat from hurting you or others, you have to be able to shoot while you’re moving.”

Defensive shooting reactions need to be practiced under stress. “We see people on a range and they can shoot tight little groups shooting stationary paper targets all day,” Gary relates. “But put them under stress and things fall apart.” “We start inducing those stressors as part of the training.” “These are things law enforcement does pretty regularly but the average person carrying for defense has never experienced.” “Once we get past training on the fundamentals, we apply mild stressors throughout training so they can learn to react properly and learn to make the right decisions under stress.” “Our students know that making the wrong decision because they were stressed is not an excuse that relieves them of any personal responsibility.”

When training as a group, everyone needs to be on the same page. “Regardless of anyone’s background they have to start at our level one course,” Gary says firmly. “When we’re out there training I need to be able to assess each student and I want us all to be on the same page whether military, law enforcement or civilian.” “If someone told me they are the best shooter in the world and I put them in a level 3 course when they are really at a level 1 skill level.. well that would not only take away from other students training but it could be really dangerous.”

“Even really experienced shooters that take our level 1 courses learn a lot and have always walked away happy and ready for the next course.” I tell every student that I will give them their money back if they are unhappy with the course or didn’t feel they learned alot.”

Paramount provides every student proof of progress. “We don’t just talk about performance, we can actually prove it.” “With all of our courses and private training, once we get students comfortable, we run diagnostic drills at the beginning of training and collect a lot of data like shot times and group sizes. We run those same drills and other culmination drills at the end of training to show you exactly where you were and where you are by the end of training. We also send students training summaries within a few days of each course so they can have all that data and can gage their progress. We keep those records on hand so we can use it to customize training and through that data we know precisely if they are sustaining their skills, progressing, or regressing.” “Who else does that?”

“We want to change the paradigm as to how training is approached,” Gary states. “We want people to understand the need for thorough and comprehensive training to begin with but also understand how important sustainment training is as well”. “Our average 8 hour course cost is $249.00. Our courses may cost a little more but they by far are a much better value than anything else out there because of what you leave with.” “You have to invest in training and just like anything; you get what you pay for.” “If you take level one, two, and three, over the course of a year or so, you have spent $750 to $1000 dollars. So for about the cost of what you spent on the firearm you are training with you also now have a high level of abilities and confidence to go along with it.” “You’ve learned how to get the most out of that firearm and you’re more ready to deal with what is out there.” “Beyond our three levels of training, we also offer sustainment courses throughout the year and private training so we can continue to help students progress.

There is more to firearms training than just shooting. “We are getting ready to do an emergency casualty care course,” Gary says. “This will be a very thorough, advanced first aid course and these are skills that every shooter should know.”

“Those of us that carry a weapon for defense usually do so with the thought that we want to be ready to save lives, yet most of us have no first aid training whatsoever. That just doesn’t make sense. We are a thousand times more likely to need first aid training and a first aid kit than we are to need a firearm for defense.” ” In our course you receive a very well stocked military grade Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) and leave knowing how to use what’s in that kit to treat everything from hypothermia to gunshot wounds and loss of a limb.” “You will know what to do to keep someone or yourself alive until the EMTs get there.”

“I believe people are more interested in firearms and self defense than ever before,” Gary explains. “There are also more options out there than ever before and it can be overwhelming. Beyond just offering training, we also want to be a resource that helps people make informed decisions on what firearms and gear will work for them” “We always make the many different firearms that we use and recommend available to students to try out during training.”

Women are a growing part of their students. “We just recently had our first female only defensive handgun course,” Gary acknowledged. “Many women seem to feel intimidated about attending any firearms training but they need to realize that they shouldn’t feel that way because even in our mixed courses, the women often out-shoot the guys .” “We also found having a female instructor on staff to train our female clients really seems to help them to feel more comfortable and that’s important to us.” Jessica, one of our highly qualified instructors, had a long career with the Marine Corps and she is also our hand to hand defensive tactics go-to .” “She has worked as a firearm instructor for the Department of State for several years and also spent a lot of time overseas training foreign military and police.” “She is the one that really opened my eyes to the challenges women face with concealed carry. The standard carry holster is an inside the waistband rig but that doesn’t work for most women and the way they dress.” “It seems so obvious now but without a woman on staff to provide that perspective, that’s something I just never would have thought of.” “Jessica, my wife, and I have been working together researching and developing various options for women to carry a firearm and still be able dress fashionably.” “What we found is that unlike men, women usually need several options to choose from based on what they are wearing and that one solution won’t work all the time.” “So we’re definitely working hard to provide women with training and products that are thoughtfully designed around their needs and we’re making progress.” “At our last all women course everyone had a blast and I even heard one woman say “this is better than shopping!”. “I immediately knew we were doing something right”.

“We try to have three courses a month,” Gary says. “To answer your question of what makes us different, I would say we are the only company or at least one of the very few companies out there that can offer professional, comprehensive training from people that have real world experience along with extensive experience as instructors.” All of our staff have worked as firearms and tactical instructors at a very high level as a full time occupation, each of them have literally trained thousands of people”. “You will not get that level of training we offer from anyone else and if you’re not happy, we’ll give you your money back.”

“We offer all levels of training in firearms, self defense, security, survival, land navigation, situational awareness, surveillance and surveillance detection” “I field a lot of questions on Facebook and e-mail so if anyone has questions feel free to send them to us.”

For course information and availability check their website, call them at 304-620- 4921 or e-mail

Getting To Know The Team

Gary Melton is a former U.S. Army Special Forces Weapons Sergeant and Sniper Team Leader with 4 combat tours. He has worked full time for the last 4 years as a Senior Special Tactics Instructor for a federal agency and is the CEO and Lead Instructor for Paramount Tactical Solutions.

Summer Melton is a dedicated and loyal wife and business partner that had the toughest job in the military as an Army Wife. She graduated from the University of Georgia, School of Business with B.B.A. in Risk Management and Insurance. She is the CFO of, and the real brains behind Paramount Tactical Solutions.

Jason Bautista is a former U.S. Army Special Forces Weapons Sergeant and combat veteran. He has spent the last 7 years working as a firearms instructor and is currently a Special Tactics Instructor for a federal agency and the COO of Paramount Tactical Solutions

Derek DeVeau is a combat veteran and former U.S. Army Military Police Officer assigned to the SRT (SWAT) Detachment with 4 combat tours. He has spent the last 5 years as a Special Tactics Instructor for a federal agency and is a Senior Instructor for Paramount Tactical Solutions.

Jessica Anson is a combat veteran and former Marine Corps Martial Arts and Marksmanship Instructor; she also served as Marine Security Guard at several different overseas posts. She has worked full time for the last 6 years a Special Tactics Instructor for a federal agency and is a Senior Instructor for Paramount Tactical Solutions.

T.S. is a U.S. Army Special Forces Medical Sergeant and Sergeant Major. He has multiple combat deployments and is still serving his country in a U.S. Army National Guard Special Forces unit. He is also a Special Tactics and Medical Instructor at a federal agency and the Lead Medical Instructor at Paramount Tactical Solutions.

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