A LABOR OF LOVE

In reality John McClure’s great-grandson, Clint Smith, founded Thunder Ranch in 1993. It wasn’t there when Captain Baylor was fighting Apaches in West Texas. I’m sure the Texas Rangers could have used such a school and equally sure the state wouldn’t have paid for it. Emzy Ann Lakin was Heidi Smith’s great-grandmother.

Clint Smith is a Marine Corps veteran of two infantry and Combined Action Platoon tours in Vietnam. His experience includes seven years as a police officer during which he served as head of the Firearms Training Division as well as being a S.W.A.T. member and precision rifleman. He left law enforcement to serve as Operations Officer for Jeff Cooper’s American Pistol Institute where he was Dean of instruction and was instrumental in range and curriculum development for A.P.I. In 1983, Clint founded International Training Consultants, Inc., an active mobile training program which is nationally recognized for innovative programs in Urban Rifle, Shotgun, Precision Rifle, and various handgun formats.

In 1986, he served as Director of Training for Heckler & Koch, Inc., where he developed and taught progressive courses in fully automatic weapons as well as conventional weapons systems. In 1993, Thunder Ranch, Inc. opened to show not only innovative training, but numerous range designs and functions of a type not seen before in one facility. The facilities and the curriculum are unmatched in the free world.

The Pre-1900 course was added because of the popularity of Cowboy Action Shooting™, in order to teach some of the core values of Thunder Ranch to Cowboy shooters while still having fun.

Some instructors brag of the "saves" of their students, meaning the gunfights won. He’ll mention the number of gunfights won, but he’s proudest of the 270 who have written to him telling of gunfights they have avoided. As a 4 time graduate, I find myself using his ideas and techniques every day and am safer for it.