About Apex Arms

Who Is Jim Liesen And why is he the guy to help me learn about guns?
Certifications and Firearms Instruction Experience:
NRA Certified in Personal Protection, Pistol, and Range Safety Officer
USCCA Certified Affiliate Instructor
Front Sight Firearms Institute Line Coach (part time since 1-2011)
Utah BCI and DPS Certified Firearms Instructor
AZ DPS Certified Armed Security Guard Instructor
AZ Game & Fish Hunter Education Volunteer Instructor
AZ Game & Fish Boating Safety Instructor

Like many gun guys, I cannot even recall my ‘first’ trigger press. It was most likely a yank, or squeeze with my fearful and anxious eyes locked shut. I was probably 8 or 9 or so when dad figured I was old enough to line up the sights by myself. He had a Ruger Single Six .22 revolver in a western style holster and we would plink with it on hikes. Then I will never forget the day I shot my first shotgun – I was thankful that dad was standing behind me to absorb the recoiling monster! I grew up with a BB gun shooting several tubes per week (350 BB’s for $.39 tax included) on allowance money and when I was old enough I wandered around the desert with buddies and an heirloom .22 that dad re-finished for me.

As a hunter, I took the AZG&F hunter education safety class when I was 14 and was finally able to become a hunter instead of being the defacto “retrieving dog” with a shotgun, or deer rifle, or squirrel gun, etc. In my 20’s I enjoyed weekend IPSC style competition for fun. I was of the first applicants in the state of Arizona when the CCW permits were available and carried occasionally. As an avid hobbyist and reader, I have devoured thousands of magazines and books on the subject. I suppose that up until that time many would have considered me “experienced.” I knew that among my friends I was known and respected as a ‘good shot.’ I have had countless discussions on the best defensive ammo, the ongoing debate over Glocks or 1911’s, or even 9mm vs. 45 ACP firepower, traditional vs. magnum rifle rounds, etc.

I rarely missed a gun show, was a frequent if inconsistent member of the NRA over the years and had a half-full gun safe.

Everything changed for me in 2010. That was when I took a high-quality 4-day defensive handgun class. I quickly realized that I was like most folks who thought they knew how to use a gun. It turned out I just didn’t even know how much I didn’t know. By the end of the class, I was so impressed with the quality and content that I inquired about opportunities in teaching at the facility. I applied, took the 4-day instructor training and development class/interview, and was offered a line coaching position at Front Sight Firearms Institute in January of 2011.

My experiences there have helped me realize just how typical my ‘experience’ was and how truly satisfying it is to help people get from there (or wherever they are) to a level of proficiency and safety far beyond their expectations.

Since that time I have really jumped into the training side of being a gunist and it became obvious that Apex Arms needed to start up.

It is an honor and a trust when someone comes to be trained with a gun. I take a very personal interest in seeing that success in my students. Knowing that a graduate leaves our care safer, competent, knowledgeable, and interested in learning more is a very rewarding experience.

I grew up in the town which is now a thriving and growing city. A 1984 graduate of Lake Havasu High School, I studied engineering and architecture at Arizona State University while gathering working experience working for several architects and engineers in Phoenix, Arizona. I returned to my home town in 1988, started a drafting and design service, and took up shooting as a hobby. Along the way, I have been fortunate enough in business to explore several careers, enjoying being a newspaper photographer and sports editor, high school architecture and drafting instructor, draftsman, as well as becoming an NRA certified shooting instructor, and an 07 FFL.

Lake Havasu City has become my home and my wife and I are very active in the community.  We are both extremely civic minded and have been as long as we could remember.

Some of Jim’s past and present community involvement include:
• Lake Havasu Rotary Club member, Secretary and past President Elect.
• Mohave County Sheriff’s Department volunteer Search and Rescue Posse (#HJ-6) and Boating Safety Officer (#W555).
• Past Board member of the Western Arizona Humane Society and Secretary.
• Arizona Game and Fish Department Boating Safety Instructor.
• LHC Planning and Zoning Commission, member and Chairman.
• Lake Havasu Unified School District Governing Board Member (elected to a 4-year term in 2000)
• VICA/Skills USA, (various) past contest(s), Chairman for Arizona
• LHC Town Hall Participant