I attended the Executive Protection Institute‘s Protectors Pistol Course in the fall after I had completed their 7-day Providing Executive Protection Program earlier in the spring. Before the course, I had a fair amount of firearms training through a law enforcement academy and local firearms classes. I decided that I wanted to continue to train and develop myself through EPI’s classes after completing their Providing Executive Protection Program and having such a positive experience with the program. My expectations were set very high going into the Protectors Pistol Course.

Safety was paramount during the course. Never at one time did I ever feel unsafe, which is something that I cannot say about other classes I have taken in the past. The first day of the program focused on range safety and the basics, which is to be expected, but EPI took it to a new level. They introduced a theory into their program that I was not familiar with. This theory took an in-depth look at the psychology behind shooting and gave advice on how to overcome several situations experienced by all shooters. As with all other EPI programs, the cadre of instructors was filled with experienced professionals, who have put the same tactics on the line during their careers.

The following day, I was able to put this theory into practice. I have a tendency to “think too much” at times and this process helped me to focus on the task at hand, and not so much the individual sight alignment. One of the first things I noticed about the instructors was their willingness to accept other techniques students have become accustomed to in the past. As long as a student was operating safely, they were not forced to change their muscle memory. If an instructor noticed how they could improve their technique, however, the student was shown an alternative method, and was encouraged to use it.

The course also focused on accuracy, immediate action drills and malfunctions, dim light firing, holsters and equipment, legalities, various shooting positions including protective tactics during firearms engagement and a firearms qualification for handgun, advanced handgun and shotgun. I was especially surprised that the advanced handgun qualification requirement was a higher level of accuracy than I had to achieve for law enforcement firearms qualification in my state.

I had always considered myself to being able to obtain a decent level of accuracy before the course. By the end of the class, however, I had achieved and advanced to an entirely new level of speed and precision. My high expectations were exceeded by a far margin! After returning to my home state and attending a local firearms course through a group I had previously trained with, they noticed the improvement right away and immediately asked me what I had done differently. It wasn’t a new firearm, or some modifications done to my firearm, it was a five-day course through the Executive Protection Institute. After attending my original class, I continue to return to their classes at least once a year, not just to re-qualify, but to brush up on my skills and network with the other professionals.

Nathaniel Smith, PPS
Nine Lives Associates Member


This is the original and “creme of the crop” of Executive Protection schools and certifications.

Regarding the flagship course, the very experienced & highly credible staff, very high instructor ratio, ROI, selectiveness of the attendees all packed into a 100 hour Providing Executive Protection / PPS certification course is impossible for anyone else to beat.

This is not the typical “pay for play” open enrollment training course. It is also one of those the so many others have tried to duplicate. It is also one of the most job relevant of all schools and taught by long time, very established practitioners in the field of protection of corporate, celebrity, and high net worth individuals. That is unlike other newer schools that compete for the same audience, which seem to be offered by folks who do not even have a fraction of the experience of the EPI staff, have many of these high risk overseas PSD specialists, or even instructor who have never been in the protection field. EPI teaches precisely what is job relevant to professionals in lower profile, smaller details and for the very top clients. Not days at the range, driving track, and flipping people around a room as you see in the sexy advertising of some lesser schools. (But, EPI does a great job with introductory training in some of the reactive/defensive skills such as driving, shooting, defensive tactics, etc.) EPI’s instruction is focused on what the protectee client actually needs.

In fact, there were attendees of my course who had attended other lesser schools and who admitted that they were either turned down for EP/PPS work due to the lack of what EPI teaches, or were learning that they needed information from the EPI 100 hour course that the other schools either did a lousy job at or did not cover at all. Then while on a very large detail with graduates of protection courses good and bad, the detail leader instructed me to push two of the graduates of a small-time state level school to attend EPI. (they had been to a 40 hour school taught at a gun range and barely meets their state’s requirements, not a 100 hour total immersion in executive protection that EPI is).

I got introduced to this field directly from founder Dr. Kobetz during several trips to EPI while I was working at Sig Sauer Academy and staying at his mansion long before attending the course. Every aspect of EPI displays professionalism and job relevance to the field of personal protection / executive protection.
This is also why you do not see them naming or bragging about who their clients are or were.

With four decades of longevity, its prestige as a leader, credibility, and ROI, this is the “Harvard” of protection schools.

Respectfully, John M. Peterson III

Nine Lives Associates Member

Special Projects Director & General Advisor, International Association for Counter terrorism & Security Professionals (Appointed 1997) and the Counter terrorism & Security Education and Research Foundation

Developing the Right Skills and Mindset

Professional Bodyguard AssociationIn recent years we have witnessed a divergence from teaching the fundamental skills needed to be successful in this profession giving way to the more thrilling aspects such as shooting or driving because that is what people are willing to pay for.

Don’t get me wrong, these skills are important, and this is where regular training will help you master the practical, but what about the thinking processes that precede given actions?

While certain hard skills are necessary for any position, employers increasingly look for job applicants with certain soft skills. That’s because it’s generally easier for an employer to train a new employee in a hard skill (such as how to follow SOPs) than to train an employee in a soft skill (such as tact and diplomacy).

What skills are most important for companies that are hiring?

There are some skills and qualities that employers require of all applicants for employment, regardless of the position they are hiring for. These are called soft skills, and they include the interpersonal skills and attributes you need to succeed in the workplace. They also include the professional skills that are essential for workplace success.

Of course, there are the more tangible skills you need in order to do the job effectively. These are called hard skills, and they are the specific knowledge and abilities required to do the job. You’ll need both for most jobs, and it’s important to show employers that you have the skills they need when you’re applying and interviewing for jobs.

Below is a list of some of the skills that employers consider as most important when recruiting and hiring employees. In order to get your application noticed be sure to incorporate the skills you have that are required for the position for which you are applying in your resume and cover letter. Also, highlight your most relevant skills during job interviews.

1. Analytical
Employees need to be able to figure things out, so you will need to have some analytic skills to succeed in the workplace. The skills you need, and the level of skills required will vary depending on the job and the industry. In conjunction with being able to analyse, employees are expected to be able to organize, plan and prioritize effectively.

2. Communication
The ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, is essential, no matter what job you have or industry you work in. You will need to be able to communicate effectively with employees, managers, and customers in person, online, in writing and/or on the phone.

3. Interpersonal
Interpersonal skills, also known as people skills, are the skills you use to interact and engage with people. It is not unusual for someone to be hired purely because of his or her ability to connect with people as that could trump the other skills the employer might be seeking, so be sure yours are up to par. Your interpersonal skills will be evaluated during your job interviews, so it’s important to prepare for the interview so you are as comfortable and confident as possible when interviewing.

4. Leadership
When companies hire for leadership roles, they seek employees who can successfully interact with employees, colleagues, clients and others. Even if you’re not applying for management jobs, leadership is a valuable skill to bring to the employer.

5. Positive Attitude
Attitude might not be everything, but it’s extremely valuable. Employers want employees who are positive, even in stressful and challenging circumstances. They want to hire applicants with a “can do” attitude, who are flexible, dedicated and who are willing to contribute extra, if necessary, to get the job done.

6. Teamwork
Regardless of the job, employers want to hire people who are team players who are cooperative and work well with others. They don’t want employees who are difficult to work with. When you are interviewing be sure to share examples of how you worked well on a team.

7. Technical
The technical skills you need will vary, of course, depending on the job. However, most positions require at least some technical skills. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for candidates who can jump right in on the first day of work and start helping the company achieve its goals. That means finding people with the right technical skills to get the job done.

Technical skills are the abilities and knowledge needed to perform specific tasks. They are practical, and often relate to mechanical, information technology, mathematical, or scientific tasks. These technical skills require training and experience to master. They are also typically a type of hard skill that can be taught in a classroom, and can be defined, evaluated, and measured (as opposed to soft skills, which are personal attributes that help you succeed at work).

This list of technical skills can come in handy for resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interviews. Included is a detailed list of some technical skills that are most desired across industries including ours.

Data Analysis
Nearly every industry today relies on data, whether it is data about their clients or the success of their product. While it is easy for companies to get data, they need employees who can collect, organize, and then interpret that data.

Project Management
This might seem to be more of a soft skill than a hard skill, but project management is critical for all technical projects. Being a good project manager means being an effective leader, delegating tasks, and measuring the success of each project.

Social Media Experience
Throwing a phrase like “experienced in social media” into your resume is no longer enough to impress most employers – today, so many people use social media. However, if you can explain your experience with certain media platforms and quantify your results, you will be able to stand out from the competition.

Technical Writing/Computer Literate
Many jobs that involve written communication require you to explain complex things in a way that is easy to understand. You might have to send messages to clients or write press releases, web content, or manuals for clients. Being able to communicate complex ideas in a clear way will make you stand out in many jobs.

Let Us Help You Showcase Your Skills
Allowing us to help you develop the right skills and mindset (a mindset is the thinking processes behind a given action) will enable you to showcase your top skills and qualities when you’re job hunting.

Please contact craig@pbagroup.com to learn more about how we can help you.

Craig Knowles, Professional Bodyguard Association | United Kingdom

Do You Plan Your Routes?

Do You Plan Your Routes?

You get THE call. Your employer needs someone that can adapt and make it happen. Here’s what the employer needs: “Can I count on you to meet up with the team, pick up the principal at the airport, take him to his event and get him safely back on the plane?”

You say, “Absolutely.”

The employer responds, “Great, that’s exactly what I need right now. He lands in 8 hours.”

“Do you plan your routes?”

I’m confident that almost all of us would say, “Yes, of course I plan my routes…!”

“Do you analyze your routes as well?”


Can you explain the difference between route planning and route analysis?

Allow me to borrow from my experience in the military. Of course, the following is a simplistic (and in some instances, a textbook) view, which may not accurately reflect the experiences of the reader. But let’s address that later.

In the military, route analysis for the combat engineer or the motor transportation specialist take into account variables such as load weights, bridge ratings, road material and weather. I’m sure there are a million other variables with books and books of data tables to pull information from.

But the infantryman has an entirely different perspective on route analysis. The infantryman is thinking about how to counter known and potential threats. Such as how to use the terrain to mitigate the effectiveness of the enemy’s weapon systems. Or how best to maneuver an obstacle in order to avoid known enemy tactics.

The military commander has the ability and wisdom to consider the various inputs of route analysis, but the commander is different. Responsible for the overall accomplishment of the mission, the commander is focused on route planning. He or she is constantly considering the best routes for efficient completion of the mission.

So… what’s the difference, exactly?

Let’s look at the first question I asked, do you plan your routes?

Does that plan incorporate the appropriate analysis of the route? Did you or someone else consider the most likely and most dangerous enemy weapon ranges? Trajectories? Firing positions? Recommendations?

Did the analysis identify what actions the enemy would have to do in order for him or her to bring harm or embarrassment to your principal? How about enemy timing of his actions and equipment needed? What mitigation actions can you take?

Did the analysis identify and recommend countermeasures to potential hazards? Such as weather and road conditions or trip and fall hazards? The teammate that’s going to be opening the door, does he or she have a cold or cough? (Might want to reassign that team member.)

I think you get the idea. It can get complex. So how do we make it all happen?

In our industry, we probably don’t have the resources to commit to such an exhaustive planning effort on every route. But we do it anyway, in the time we can squeeze out and with whatever resource we can find.

There lies our challenge.

As protectors, we have embarked on a massive, never-ending quest of learning to be better, faster. We need to be able to tailor route planning and analysis to our everyday life as a protector, learning how to quickly and effectively apply those skills. I am thankful for the education I received at the Executive Protection Institute Providing Executive Protection Program and the Professional Bodyguard Association Recognition of Prior Learning course. The information I received helped me to understand how I could bring it all together.

Through practice, I have become more efficient than I ever was. I’m confident in my ability when an employer calls and says, “Can you adapt?”

Justin Bondietti, PPS; Executive Protection Institute Graduate, NLA Member