Why Choose Us?  Every part of your experience at Lawson Handgun Institute has been designed, from the ground up, with the comfort and ease of our students in mind. No other firearm facility in Illinois can match what we offer to every student, in every class:
  • We're easy to get to. Located right in Chicago, with a huge free parking lot, easy highway access and public transport right to the door
  • We won't leave any student behind.  Our strict, 6 student per teacher max means full attention given to the learning style of EVERY student
  • We have advanced firearm instructor credentials -but we think you deserve still more: Instructors at Lawson Handgun Institute also bring  decades of professional background in medical and cognitive learning fields --  specifically employed in a program we developed ourselves for lightning fast comprehension, retention and response in every student, no matter what, no matter when.
  • We've proven our dedication. You'll meet a part of history here: All LHI staff have worked directly and personally for years to return and preserve your Second Amendment Rights, and the institute itself was founded by two plaintiffs in the case that brought an end to Chicago's handgun ban
  • We feed your body as well as your mind. An all-day spread of food and drink at no extra charge lets you keep your focus strong and energy sharp
  • We teach you to handle "What if?" An NRA certified instructor is a great place to start your firearm safety training. But for LHI, we chose not to stop there. Defensive firearm is more than just handling a gun safely and accurately -- it's learning how to set a part of your mind aside in a moment of stress so that you can gauge all the unexpected parts of a life or death encounter; it's YOU knowing that YOU can handle this.

At LHI, it's  all about YOU.

 7 days a week, multiple classrooms, full indoor training ground, what more could you want?


Here's what's trending at LHI right now -- or click here to ...

Concealed Carry

 IL Concealed Carry License Training

8, 12 or 16 Hours

Available 7 days a week -Choose your own dates!

  • Full Course is 16 Hours
  • Prior training credit can reduce to 8 hours
  • Choose consecutive dates
  • Or  schedule your own

$200 - $400

MAG-20/Live Fire

A Massad Ayoob Group Course

20 Hours

Next Class: June 20 & 21, 2015

  • A two day immersion course in defensive handgun use under extreme stress with an overall emphasis on fast, accurate shot placement. The course emphasizes techniques and responses that will withstand tremors and related effects, and will not appreciably deteriorate in a fight or flight state.Created by Massad Ayoob and honed over a 35-year period of use, the MAG-20 will culminate with a police-style qualification course. Full credit is given toward MAG-40 certification. Estimated ammo count: 500 rounds.


For Women Only!

All of the Extras -- None of the Guys!

16 Hours

Next Class: 

  • As a woman, mother and new shooter,there was a lot I wanted to know  -- Chances are, my questions are your questions. Come enjoy all answers  in an atmosphere where you can absolutely be yourself

$200 - $400


Colleen Lawson

After facing a trio of burglars, Colleen was the woman in the McDonald v Chicago Supreme Court case that ended Chicago's handgun ban.

She opened Lawson Handgun Institute after her children experienced multiple strong arm robberies on Chicago's streets. Fiercely devoted to justice and the power of education, she loves her family, dance, backgammon ... and her two humongous puppies. You can usually find her speaking out on something or other in defense of what's legal and right. 

  • Illinois Concealed Carry Instructor
  • IDFPR Certified Firearm Instructor
  • Massad Ayoob Group MAG-20 Instructor
  • WI State CCW Permit Instructor
  • TCTI Law Enforcement Semi-Auto Instructor
  • NRA Basic Pistol/Personal Protection In the Home/Personal Protection Outside The Home/ Home Firearm Safety & Refuse to Be A Victim Instructor
  • MOTTIN Emergency Hypnosis First Responder Instructor
  • NGCRC Gang Counseling Techniques Specialist
  • NGCRC Law Enforcement and Social Services Instructor
  • NLPF Critical Incident Stress Resolution Counselor
  • 2008 Illinois State Rifle Association Defender of Freedom Award
  • 2010 Second Amendment Freedom Foundation Defender of Liberty Award
  • 2011 Second Amendment Freedom Foundation Defender of Liberty Award
  • 2011 California Senate Recognition for Service to Wounded Warriors

David Lawson

David Lawson was a co-plaintiff in the historic McDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court case. David is married to another McDonald co-plaintiff, Colleen Lawson, and has three children.

. He has been an outspoken advocate for right-to-carry and gun rights in general since 2006, when his interest in American Founding History led to an interest in shooting. He is a devoted collector of military surplus firearms from at least 16 countries around the world. In 2011, he successfully challenged the City of Chicago's over-broad interpretation of its Assault Weapons Ban which overturned the city's denial of registration for fixed magazine SKS rifles. David is a native of Northern California and Washington State who moved to Illinois to attend Northwestern University, where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science in 1987.

  • Illinois Concealed Carry Instructor
  • NRA Basic Pistol Instructor
  • NRA Range Safety Officer

Jim Wenger

Jim was first introduced to firearms in grade school, on his grandfather's farm, plinking and hunting squirrels. 

The Boy Scouts introduced him to the discipline of the range, and he eventually became an NRA Certified Instructor for the Scouts at a large summer camp in southern Indiana. After working through college as a private investigator/security guard, Jim settled into life, and has retired from a career as a registered nurse. After retirement, Jim took up working with firearms again, and was invited to join the staff of the Lawson Handgun Institute. Jim is an NRA Patron Life Member and a member of the Illinois State Rifle Association, the Second Amendment Foundation, IllinoisCarry.com, and the Sycamore Sportsmens and Conservation Club.

  • Illinois Concealed Carry Instructor
  • NRA Basic Pistol Instructor
  • NRA Personal Protection In The Home 
  • NRA Range Safety Officer

When you are searching for a location and instructors to help you  – or your spouse, or someone else you care for – develop the skills of safety and personal self defense, you want to know that your instructors are fully dedicated to your mastery, confidence and understanding … even if you’ve never even seen a firearm before in real life.

You want assurance that the instruction you receive is exactly what you will need to have in a life or death situation.

You want to know, beyond any doubt, that you will be able to remember what you’re taught here; that your mind and body will respond quickly and competently and with  automatic regard for all the safeguards that will keep you and your family unharmed both in a criminal encounter and  in your daily practice.

You want to know that, when your class has concluded and you have earned your certificate, you will leave with a sense of personal pride and autonomy, no longer reduced to the hope that someone else will need to take care of you.

At Lawson Handgun Institute, we know what you want, and we’ve designed every program with your wants at its core.


Register now!