Manny Espinoza shooting at the range.

EAST ALTON - For gun owners, it is extremely important to have the knowledge of both your weapon and exactly when to use it.

Fortunately, Manuel Espinoza, owner and trainer at Halo Defense Training & Tactics, has recently opened his business’ doors to ensure that all of his clients not only know how to adequately conceal and carry their firearms, but when it is proper and sometimes necessary to use force.

As an active police officer, SWAT officer, police firearms instructor, shoot-house instructor as well as an active-shooter instructor for both police and civilians, Espinoza’s breadth of experience allows him, along with his assistant Range Officer Brandon DeSherlia’s, classes apart from the state standard concealed and carry classes.

“When it comes to Illinois concealed and carry, many curriculum are in similar format because it is required by the State of Illinois,” Espinoza said. “However, with Halo, you have experts in training in the use of force. We as police officers work on that thin line of using the appropriate force necessary in a non-compliant contact.”

Instructing regular citizens in the proper of force, along with the importance of training, gives the public the idea that difficult decisions that police officers may have to make in stressful, rapidly evolving and uncertain situations.

Manuel Espinoza“This education is another tool that bridges the gap between the community and police.”

According to the owner, since the state only requires 16 hours for a five-year concealed and carry permit, any responsible gun owner knows that those skills learned in those classes can deteriorate without further training. Therefore, it’s extremely important to continue training constantly

With constant training in the applications of appropriate use of force, Espinoza and DeSherlia study case law and undergo force-on-force scenario, which allows for training in decision-making.

The importance of constant education of both concealed and carry is important to both instructors.

“We are constantly trying to make ourselves better so that we may instruct the latest skills and laws,” Espinoza said. “I believe that, as a society, we should never stop learning and we can always be better, including the instructors.”

What makes Espinoza most proud of his work at Halo Defense Training & Tactics is not only the services they provide, but the people who choose to come in and take their classes.

“Being a firearms holder is an awesome responsibility,” he said. “Those who seek instruction are taking their part seriously knowing that knowledge is gained by education and training and not through osmosis.

“Those who seek any of our classes do so because they want to be there. They want to be better and they should be proud of themselves, because I am.”

To sign up for classes or for more information about Halo Defense Training & Tactics, please visit their website at or follow their Facebook Page for frequent updates, helpful tips on firearms, gun laws, concealed and carry classes and more. To reach the business by phone, please call 618-208-0619.

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To contact Madelaine Gerard, contact or call 618-465-9850 at ext. 235.

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