About Defenders USA

Defenders USA provides comprehensive basic, advanced, and tactical firearms and defensive training designed to teach introductory and advanced firearm safety and skills.  The flagship course of Defenders USA is the “Defenders” Series – a twenty-hour defensive handgun training course targeted to civilians who are actually serious about defense of life and concealed carry of a handgun.  Adam Winch, the creator of the Defenders Series, has been teaching defensive and tactical firearm courses to civilians and military personnel for approximately five years before creating Defenders USA.

Our Vision

Defenders USA was started as an answer to the need Adam saw for high-caliber defensive, advanced, and tactical training for the everyday person that is contextual and reality based for not only the military and law enforcement communities but also for the daily carry needs of the everyday person who just wants to protect themselves and those they love. Adam received excellent training as a soldier and Police Officer but found that so many – far too many – and most who have a Concealed Handgun Permit – have never been properly guided into understanding the laws pertaining to using a weapon in defense. Worse, he found most gun owners and carriers have little or no formal training in the needed details of actually carrying a concealed handgun or in the defensive use of firearms. Adam also found most people rarely understanding the enormity of the legal, civil, and, financial, emotional, and social ramifications of what takes place when a firearm is used during an act of defense of life.

These realizations started a journey that has grown far more than expected as so many people began finding the value in Adam’s life experiences, his training, and how it all affected their lives for the better when all put together in high quality training.

Our Mission

“We help prepare and train those willing to stand in the gap
to defend themselves, their loved ones, and their fellow man”.
                                                                       – Adam Winch

Our Team

Adam Winch

Adam Winch is the owner and creator of Defenders USA. With a background of serving as a Military Police officer (U.S. Army Reserves and Colorado National Guard from 2000 to 2008) after graduating Basic & AIT as an honor grad, with duties including Law & Order, Quick Reaction Team (QRT), Special Reaction Team (SRT), Emergency Reaction Team (ERT), Personal Security Detail (PSD), Fire Team Leader, and trainer for the Colorado National Guard.

As a Police Officer for ten plus years with the Grand Junction Police Department (Colorado) after graduating the Police Academy as the honor grad, Adam’s duties included Patrol Officer, Street Crimes Unit, SWAT, and as a certified Police Patrol Mountain Bike Instructor.

Adam is a certified NRA Handgun Instructor (x2), a certified NRA CCW Instructor, a certified CFS Handgun Instructor through Combat Focus Shooting, a certified ASP Firearms Instructor through Active Self Protection, a certified Firearms Instructor, Advanced Instructor, and Master Instructor through Rangemaster Firearms Training Services, a certified The Complete Combatant Handgun Instructor, a certified Long Range / Sniper Instructor through Crosswinds Precision Academy, a certified Range Safety Officer through Defenders USA and was a certified Range Safety Officer through the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. He has attended four (4) separate week-long SWAT schools while with the GJPD SWAT Team, a week-long Street Crimes School, a week-long CIT school, along with countless other hours of training with many law enforcement training schools and in LE training settings, many of which are not named here. He has worked countless high -risk situations, to include an Officer Involved Shooting and countless deadly force situations, SWAT call-outs, and made more arrests than can be remembered, sending many deserving people to jail and prison, and spending a over a decade dealing with the criminal and civil court systems.

He has also attended multiple private firearms, legal, and instructor trainings and schools with other well-known civilian, military, and law enforcement training entities and trainers in the US and abroad, to include:

  • Rob Leatham & Bryan Morgan’s 3-Day Advanced Pistol Course. Rob Leatham is the undisputed greatest shooter in the world and Bryan Morgan is a world-class firearms instructor who retired from a life-long, warrior’s career with America’s premier fighting force.
  • Tom Givens of Rangemaster, certified as a Graduate of the Instructor Program, of the Advanced Instructor Program, and the Master Instructor Program (Of note: Adam earned the “Top  Gun”  award for the Advanced Firearms Instructor Certification Course for highest academic and shooting performance during that course, along with winning a top gun challenge coin during a full class shoot-off competition in the Firearms Instructor Course).
  • Brian Hill of The Complete Combatant’s 3-Day Diagnostic Coaching Certified Handgun Instructor Course, where Adam won the Top Shot award for the class.
  • Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training, where Adam successfully completed a 2-day Extreme Close Quarters Gunfighting Instructor Development training course.
  • Earnest Langdon of Langdon Tactical, World renown trainer, Distinguished & Grand Master competitive shooter in IDPA & USPSA, etc. Adam won one of several class shoot-offs and won a “Hat Pin” award for the FAST Drill, barely missing a “Coin” run by less than one second (That will be changed!)
  • Tim Herron of Tim Herron Shooting. Tim is a USPSA Grand Master shooter and one of the top competitors in the world.
  • Riley Bowman of RileyTBowman.com. Riley won 3rd Master at the 2022 USPSA Carry Optics National Championship and is one of the top shooters in the USA. Adam earned the highest student score in his class (134.88 total) while shooting Riley’s “Pistol I.Q.” standards (a score of 144 or more represents a “Grand Master” level of skill).
  • A.J. Zito of Practical Performance. AJ is a Master level USPSA & IDPA shooter and a highly sought after firearms instructor
  • Gabe White of Gabe White Training (where Adam earned the coveted “Turbo” pin, one of only 24 people in the world to win this highest award from GWT for handgun performance!)
  • Jeff Gonzales of Trident Concepts. Jeff is a former Navy SEAL and world renown firearms trainer. Adam was the only student in the large class to “pass” the class and also earn the coveted “Top Shooter” award.
  • Rob Leatham of RobLeatham.com (41 time World & National Champion shooter)
  • Mike Seeklander of American Warrior Society & Shooting Performance (current World Champion $ holder of numerous other regional, national, and continental championships)
  • Scott Jedlinski of Modern Samurai Project, LLC in three Red Dot Pistol: Fundamentals & Performance classes and an AIWB Class (Adam won a challenge coin and several other prizes for winning multiple full class shooting competitions in these classes).
  • John Corriea, Neil & Stephanie Weidner, of Active Self Protection in multiple courses and in two ASP Instructor Certifications Cohorts.  
  • Riley Bowman of ConcealedCarry.com, the Concealed Carry Podcast, and USPSA Master Shooter
  • Brian Morgan & Shannon O’Keefe’s Handgun & Fighting Rifle.
  • Dave Laird of Dynamic Combative Solutions
  • Brian Morgan & Shannon O’Keefe’s 2-Day Combined Rifle & Handgun Course (both have lengthy careers in defense of our nation).
  • Chuck Haggard of Agile Training & Consulting
  • Chris Bean of both Tactical Advantage & ASPIC
  • Kaery Dudenhofer of both Kaery Concealed & ASPIC 
  • Terry Johnson of Firearms Legal Protection
  • Neil Ash of Precision Rifle Workshop
  • Russell Anthon of Defenders USA
  • Rob Pincus of CFS/ICE/PDN (both handgun & rifle)
  • Grant Cunningham of the Personal Defense Network
  • “Grizz” (redacted name & background)
  • and more.

Adam earned his Master rating as a shooter in Steel Challenge competition, and is rated as an A Class shooter in both USPSA and IDPA competitions and has also been certified in several areas as a fitness instructor with CrossFit, Inc. He has taught over 20,000 civilians, military and law enforcement personnel over the course of his training careers.

Adam brings his unique combination of military and police expertise into the classroom and on the range for an engaging, thought-provoking learning experience to build both solid mental and physical skills into the students.
The Defenders USA courses are crafted to carefully communicate the seriousness of a defense-of-life mindset and both armed and unarmed defensiveness to a civilian audience – that is, the average person. Far from the dry, boring way most traditional training tends to be, these courses draw the student into the learning process with true to life stories, interactive discussion, and hands-on exercises – all seasoned with a lot of humor. On the range, the instruction and coaching bring to life strong foundational skills in safe, controlled environments to help prepare the student for the dangerous uncontrolled environment we all live in where Evil visits when least expected.

Russell Anthon

Russell has been working with Defenders USA and one other firearms training company for several years as both a Lead Instructor and Assistant Instructor in Long Range Precision Courses and as an Assistant Instructor with a multitude of Defenders USA’s courses.
Russell comes from a civilian background but also has an in-depth understanding of military and law enforcement firearms training needs due to extensive research, personal training, and experience in training civilians, military, and law enforcement personnel.
Russell had attended thousands of hours of training with Defenders USA as a student in all courses we offer, is certified as an NRA Basic Handgun Instructor, NRA CCW Instructor, an ASP Certified Firearms Instructor through Active Self Protection, a certified Range Safety Officer through Defenders USA, a graduate of Modern Samurai Project’s Red Dot Pistol Performance, and recent graduate of another Long Range Precision school taught by a retired Green Beret sniper. 

When we can FINALLY get him to submit his own Bio, this little write-up will certainly expand to point out that though he’s quite talkative, he’s also basically a genius, with a depth of knowledge in a variety of surprising areas and a thirst for knowledge that is tireless and almost unparalleled when compared to vast majority of people in the world. (Written about a year ago)

UPDATE: (Today)
Russell can’t seem to get around to doing his own bio, despite repeated requests, so I’ll help him out.

He is going to die from cigarettes and Monsters. He needs Jesus…badly. He wears way too many sweatshirts and heavy, long-sleeved shirts when it is blazing hot out because he is a for-real freak. He is the enemy of the razor because he thinks his giraffe neck might shrivel up if one touches it. If he doesn’t at least shave his neck, I might someday soon hold him down and dry razor it for him and laugh like a maniac as he bleeds from the plethora of razor cuts and burns I’ll make sure to inflict. He says really, really big words in rapid, mind-boggling succession, amazing people, while I pretend to not be impressed by rolling my eyes. He talks…and talks…and talks…and talks…and talks…and talks…and can rabbit-trail with the best of them… He swears (rarely in front of students) a lot in some of the most imaginative, hilarious ways that even I – a soldier, cop, and SWAT guy – have never heard or thought of. He says things that keeps me laughing or shocked, all while I just wish I was as articulate, smart, and as hilarious as he. He understands at a genius scientist level all about trajectory, atmospherics, ballistics, chemical stuff, smart mathematic stuff, while spouting it all off in language true geeks and nerds understand and appreciate – to include lethal based weaponized math, and so much more gun-related and completely random stuff that only true geniuses ever master the way he has. He can honestly fix or build – while blindfolded – anything with a motor or mechanical from guns, to airplanes, to diesel trucks, to cars, to pumps, to generators the size of buildings, all with nary a sense of fashion. He’s truly a really, really good dude, incredibly intelligent and probably a genius, highly motivated, highly trained, a good to excellent instructor depending on the type of firearm or subject he’s teaching, and talks a lot…and I genuinely, deeply, fully love him as a brother he has become to me. He can shoot the eyes off a gnat at a gazillion yards with a precision rifle…is rather decent with a handgun while constantly improving…is rather good with an AR15…and is a gifted long range shooter few can even think of matching – I can honestly report he is scary good with a precision rifle and one of the least known world-class long range shooters out there, simply because he is actually humble and rarely toots his own horn the way he should. I might break his legs if he doesn’t do a real bio for himself soon…but until then, he is one incredible long range instructor that most of the best precision shooters and professional sniper types need to learn from…and I genuinely respect and love this guy…

Brent Hickmon

Brent Hickmon is the owner of Haven Defense Co. (http://www.HavenDefenseCo.com), a custom holster manufacturing company he formed in early 2016 when he realized the need for access to better holsters and range gear after attending training with Defenders USA’s Adam Winch in 2015. Since then he has trained extensively under various Defenders USA instructors. Over the years since, Brent highly honed his skills in both handgun and rifle so much that in 2020, Adam asked him to start assisting in numerous classes, where he gained a lot of experience apprenticing as an assisting instructor and range safety officer. 

Brent’s training resume is largely with Adam Winch and other Defenders USA instructors, with enrollment and completions as a student, as well as an assistant instructor in many: 
– 3 Day “Defenders Series”, Concealed Handgun Permit Course, Fighting Rifle 1 & 2 , Combined Rifle/Pistol, Handgun Fundamentals, Handgun Speed & Accuracy, Advanced Fighting Handgun 1 & 2, Long Range Precision Rifle 1
Training outside of Defenders USA includes:
– NRA Basic Pistol Instructor Certification, with Dynamic Combative Solutions’s Dave Laird.
– Active Self Protection National Conference classes under John Correia (ASP), Brian Hill (The Complete Combatant), Neil Weidner (ASP), and
AJ Zito (Practical Performance).
– Certified Instructor and Advanced Instructor, with Rangemaster’s Tom Givens. Brent was won the coveted “Top Shot’ award in the Advanced Instructor Certification program.   
– Deliberate Coaching, with The Complete Combatant’s Brian Hill. 

Brent is the proud father of two young boys and has a magnificent wife, Marissa. They both run Haven Defense Co. full time, all while he enjoys camping, archery hunting, movies, reading, and oil painting. 

Myles Standish

Myles background and experience comes from the 5 years he spent as an infantry sniper in the U.S. Army. Myles was stationed in Germany, where he trained as a squad automatic weapons gunner until he was given the opportunity to attend sniper school in May of 2011. Myles graduated as 1 out of 5 students who began the sniper training school with over 50 students. Shortly after his initial sniper school, Myles deployed to Paktika Provence, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

After returning from Afghanistan, Myles was stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas, where he was appointed as the Alpha Team Leader in a Sniper section. While at Ft. Riley, he was tasked with completely rebuilding a failing sniper section and ultimately turned it into the recognized top section for the entire brigade.

During his time at Ft. Riley, Myles and his sniper section regularly trained in long range reconnaissance tactics, using stealth and the use of the terrain to provide key information to higher headquarters. He also attended multiple land navigation, advanced land navigation, pistol qualifications, basic first aid courses, and specialized in sniper craft and concealment.

While stationed at Ft. Riley, Myles also deployed on a training mission to Camp Buehring, Kuwait. During the Kuwait deployment, he was tasked with training two squads of Kuwaiti officers in implementing sniper tactics into their platoons. While still in Kuwait, he was also sent to FOB Hammer in Iraq for 8 weeks to train Iraqi soldiers to combat ISIS.

After ending his time of service in the Army, Myles attended WyoTech’s basic diesel, advanced diesel, and off-road power programs, where he receiving the outstanding student award during graduation.

Myles is an outdoor fanatic and loves to catch monster lake trout, walk the grass fields of Kansas in search of flushing pheasants, and often traverses the mountainsides of Colorado in search of trophy mule deer and elk.

Civilian Certifications:
– NRA Handgun Instructor, with Dynamic Combative Solutions’ Dave Laird
– Rangemaster certified Handgun Instructor, with Rangemaster’s Tom Givens
– Rangemaster certified Advanced Handgun Instructor, with Rangemaster’s Tom Givens 
– Deliberate Coaching Handgun Instructor, with The Complete Combatant’s Brian Hill

David Heide

David has been shooting firearms since he was a young man, ultimately starting his formal firearms training when he first attended the “Defender Series” handgun course with Adam Winch of Defenders USA in 2015.

Before then, Dave had competed in “Cowboy Action Shooting” and won multiple events. He has competed in archery competitions and still competes in blackpowder shoots, all while being an avid hunter.

Dave has a love for the individual and Jesus and he believes everyone should have proper firearms training in order to responsibly carry a firearm in preparation for the day they may unfortunately need to defend life against evil.

David is a certified NRA Basic Handgun Instructor and has trained under John Correia, Neil & Stephanie Weidner, all of Active Self Protection, as well as with Scott Jedlinski of Modern Samurai Project, and has taken many handgun, fighting rifle, long range precision, and medical courses with Adam Winch, Russell Anthon, and “Grizz” of Defender-USA.

Dave has deeply studied the art and nuances of firearms use and self defense, the many legal and emotional impacts, and has assisted in many Defenders USA firearms courses over the years, becoming so skilled that it has been an honor to welcome him as a Certified Firearms Instructor with Defenders USA. He continues to read, train, practice and learn, constantly growing his skills at both the use of firearms and in effectively teaching others while also constantly growing and refining his own skills.

Hank Ownbey

Hank Ownbey has attended multiple handgun and long range precision shooting training courses with Defenders USA under the instruction of Adam Winch, “Grizz”, and Russell Anthon.
He is a formerly certified EMT, an NRA certified Basic Handgun Instructor and an NRA certified CCW Instructor, passing those courses under NRA Training Counselor Dave Laird of Dynamic Combative Solutions. Hank is a graduate of Modern Samurai Project’s Red Dot Handgun course, training under the watchful eye of the legendary Scott Jedlinski. He is also a graduate from a Long Range Precision school taught by a retired Green Beret sniper. He is also a certified as a Handgun Instructor and an Advanced Handgun Instructor, through Rangemaster with Tom Givens. 

Rob Laurin

Born and raised in Kalamazoo Michigan
Graduated Kalamazoo Central High School
Served in United States Navy
Two years at Kalamazoo Valley Community College / Studied Psychology
Two years Michigan DNR Deputy Officer
Three years Kalamazoo Township Police Officer
Seven years Kalamazoo Township EMT II / Firefighter
Seven years Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate
Volunteer armed security Fellowship Church
Coordinator Life Safety Ministry Living Stone Church
Current Operations Manager for Shield Security
Extensive training through Action Pistol Group and Defender’s-USA
De-Escalation and Takedown and Detainment training through GJPD
Certified RSO through Defender’s USA and NRA
Certified NRA Pistol Instructor
Certified American Red Cross Adult and Pediatric FA/CPR/AED as well as Urgent & Tactical medical
Completed ALERRT – CRASE Train the Trainer
Have studied extensively defensive tactics and defensive law and firearms expert at a local gun store
Member of Faith Based Security Network & current head of his church security team
Member of Sheepdog Church Security
Co-Vice Chair Mesa County Church Safety Network

Lora Thorson

Lora Thorson’s formal firearm’s training began in 2016 when she narrowly evaded a potentially tragic encounter. Feeling completely helpless in that moment and having no way to call for help, Lora now sees that moment in time as a wake up call in her life. She had used that learning moment as a catalyst to seek out urgently needed training, approaching this new calling with the same passion and burning desire to learn and grow that she attacks everything in life. Her expertise was soon recognized and she began her own calling of helping train others in the same skills she has meticulously developed so they also would never feel helpless if and when Evil visits.

Lora is a USCCA certified instructor, NRA certified Range Safety Officer, NRA certified basic pistol instructor and Brian Hill (The Complete Combatant) Deliberate Coaching certified instructor

During her career, Lora has trained with the following instructors and completed the following:

Sal Navarro, Montana Tactical Firearms Instruction, Inc. Basic Pistol, Intermediate Pistol, Advanced Conceal Carry Concepts, Carbine 1 (x2), Carbine 2, S.T.A.R.S. Self-Defense Course (x3), Room Clearance, Close Quarters Battle & Handgun Retention/Disarm Course, First Aid/Stop the Bleed Medical Training, Intro to Competitive Shooting – IDPA, Fast Strike & Sabre Pepper Spray Self-Defense Course

Lew Gosnell, Lead Instructor, Gunsite Academy: Attended on a Jeff Cooper Legacy Foundation Scholarship, 5-Day 250 Defensive Pistol; Achieved Marksman 1 status

Dave Jenkins, Rochester Personal Defense: Combat Kinetic Pistol

Adam Winch, Defenders USA: 3-Day Handgun Training, 3-Day Fighting Rifle Applications with a Side of Handgun, Emergency Medical Trauma Training, Avoid the Criminal: Awareness, Safe Habits, & The Weaponized Mind, Mastering Handgun Speed & Accuracy, Handgun Concepts to Win

James Fleming, Warfighters Concepts: 1-Day Basic Pistol, 2-Day Intermediate Pistol, 1-Day Basic Carbine

Brian Hill, The Complete Combatant: 3-Day Deliberate Coaching Instructor Certification

Lora truly enjoys connecting with students and helping them grow in confidence and skill. She believes building solid shooting and mental foundations, especially in the beginning shooter, are integral in starting her students on the right path in their training.

Defenders USA is extremely proud to have Lora with us as we each seek to fulfill the calling she and each of us has – growing and honing the defensive mindset and skills our students desperately need.


Heather Berge

Heather Berge, an outdoors enthusiast, joins Defenders-USA with over 30 years of experience as an instructor/coach, primarily in the discipline of alpine skiing and racing. Heather’s coaching experience has made her well-suited to becoming an instructor in the firearms world, where attention to detail, body movements and the proper execution of fundamental skills are of the utmost importance for the lawfully armed citizen.
Her years of training as a coach enables Heather to get the best out of her students with her successful experience in teaching and coaching, the need for clear communication and positive encouragement.

Heather’s interest in firearms began as a young person when her grandfather and other family members took her shooting.

Having personal experience with potentially deadly encounters with attackers over many years of traveling and living abroad, Heather decided to obtain a concealed carry permit. Having the desire to achieve proficiency in everything she does, she learned about Defenders-USA
and began taking the many courses offered. Her interest kept increasing in defensive shooting and the shooting sports in general, so Heather became a Range Safety Officer through the NRA for her local gun range.
She soon found many of her friends, especially women, were seeking firearms instruction from her. Having many hours of training with Defenders USA, sensing the calling to help others also learn, along with the encouragement from a local gun shop owner, Heather became a certified USCCA instructor in Defensive Shooting Fundamentals.
Soon after, Adam invited Heather to attend an NRA instructor certification course, where she became certified in pistol and in
Concealed Carry Weapons. Since then, Heather has been instructing in Colorado and in her current state, Arizona.
She has taught both women and men with no previous handgun experience, to include students who’ve had no interest in touching a gun but were encouraged to do so by a significant other. Heather’s calm, kind, patient spirit, and her natural ability to help nervous students relax, causes her to have great success in helping deal with and soon remove a nervous student’s fear of handling firearms.
Heather calling and skill both with firearms and with people helps her empower others who want to responsibly and efficiently learn to be their own bodyguard and of those they love.

Heather’s Training and Certifications:

– Basic pistol, Colorado Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP), multiple times
– Defenders-USA training courses: “Defenders Series” (several times), Handgun Fundamentals (multiple times), Defensive Fighting Handgun 1 & 2 (multiple times), Advanced Fighting Handgun, Handgun Speed & Accuracy, Fighting Rifle Applications, all with Defenders USA’s Adam Winch and other Defenders USA Instructors.
– US Law Shield: Gun Shot Wound/Stop the bleed
– USCCA Defensive Shooting Fundamentals Instructor
– USCCA Concealed Carry and Home Defense Instructor
– NRA Range Safety Officer
– NRA Pistol Instructor, with Dynamic Combative Solutions Dave Laird
– NRA CCW Instructor, with Dynamic Combative Solutions Dave Laird
– Deliberate Coaching, with The Complete Combatant’s Brian Hill
– AZ CCW Permit and Instructor Certification

Dillon Wells

Dillon began using firearms, starting young and while growing up in Colorado. Dillon’s’ formal firearms training began in 2016 when he met Defenders USA’s Adam Winch, attended a “Defenders Series”. Dillon was immediately drawn to the calling of helping, training, coaching, and instructing others with firearms. He now has attended numerous courses from a variety of instructors to increase his knowledge and skills.

In addition to his calling to the firearms instructing world, Dillon is currently a Lieutenant on his local volunteer fire department, and is also an EMT working part-time for a local ambulance service due to his love of helping others in need.

Dillon enjoys instructing students and helping them become comfortable and proficient with their handguns. His goal is to develop confidence and skill in each of his students in a safe environment in order to truly prepare in case the day comes when a handgun is desperately needed.

Training & Certifications:
Defenders USA (Adam Winch): 3-Day “Defenders Series” Handgun Training (3 or more times), Urgent Trauma & Tactical Medical Care Course, Handgun Fundamentals (multiple times), Handgun Speed & Accuracy (multiple times), Advanced Handgun, Tactical Handgun.
The Complete Combatant (Brian Hill): 3-Day Deliberate Coaching Instructor Certification.
Texas Private Security License: Level IV armed, Commissioned Security Officer, Personal Protection Officer.
NRA Certified Pistol Instructor: 2-Day course including shooting and proficiency tests.
NREMT: Nationally Registered & Licensed in Texas EMT-B / BLS provider.
Texas License to Carry.

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