Meet Our Instructors

Mike Pivacek


Mike’s background in personal defense, hand to hand and firearms training, as well as service in multiple branches of the United States Military, highly qualify him to be an outstanding teacher/trainer for Combat Force Academy clients. He is committed to improving the skill level and safety of individuals, families and businesses across Colorado.

As an active instructor for over 10 years, he has trained hundreds of students on how to become comfortable and proficient with their firearms under stress.

Mike has been training with firearms since age 12 and formally trained in combat firearms skills since his time in the United States Air Force (5 years) and the United States Army (4 years). Post military duty, he has trained hundreds of hours with a variety of organizations growing and improving his skills.

Mike is a lifelong self-defense student beginning at age 15 when he trained in Shin Go Ju Ryu Karate and Aikido with Frank Goody in Denver. Presently he trains in Krav Maga having successfully completed a week of training at the Wingate Institute in Netanya, Israel.

A believer in training for stressful situations via experience, Mike has hunted virtually all of the dangerous game in the world. In addition he is a certified rescue diver and currently training to be a scuba instructor.

Mike Pivacek, Firearm Safety Expert in Denver, Colorado

“Our training is reality-based with an emphasis on thinking and responding to dynamic situations under stress, not pre-planned choreographed movement.”


Mike’s Training & Certifications

Mike Pivacek, Firearm Safety Expert in Denver, Colorado
  • Defensive Handgun
  • Advanced Defensive Handgun
  • Practical and Advanced Practical Handgun
  • Combat Focus Shooting
  • Close Range Gunfighting
  • Physical Unarmed Combatives
  • Extreme Close Range Combatives
  • Tactical Shotgun
  • Advanced Tactical Handgun
  • Handgun Skill Builder
  • Close Range Gunfighting
  • Point Shooting Progressions
  • Advanced Point Shooting Progressions
  • Terrorist Interdiction
  • High Risk Operator/Close Quarters Combat and Team Tactics
  • Fighting in Structures
  • Small arms and team tactics training, United States Army, 87th Infantry Division, 19th SFG
  • Small arms, United States Air Force, HQ Western Pacific Air Force
  • Practitioner of hand to hand combatives (Krav Maga); Trained at Wingate Institute Netanya, Israel, 2013
  • Certified NRA Instructor
  • Certified Counter Ambush Specialist
  • Certified First Responder
  • Certified O2 Administrator
  • Open Water Scuba Instructor
  • Classified Scuba Diver Instructor
  • 15+ years as Founder/Principal Instructor of Firearms Training Company
Firearm academy in Denver, Colorado

Imri Morgenstern


“My interest in teaching is not about competition or sport. I am interested in teaching people the mechanics of combat shooting, for real life.”

Imri Morgenstern grew up playing American football and wrestling, but it was during his service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) that he learned how to fight when the stakes are highest. During his military service, Master Sgt. (Res) Imri Morgenstern was an operator with an elite Special Operations unit, specializing in counter-terrorism warfare, demolition, breaching and hostage rescue. He executed countless missions with his, as well as other Special Operations units.

He took part in creating the first HR breaching squadron in the IDF. He started the first “cold breach” team in the IDF and created SOPs for hostage rescue breaching. He is certified as a hostage rescue breacher/master breacher and breaching instructor.

Imri is certified by the IDF as a range officer for a variety of weapons, including small arms, RPG, Browning .50mg, LMG, grenades, M203, mortars, demolition and explosives and more. He is also a certified instructor in Martial Blade Concepts (MBC), a comprehensive system of edged weapon self-defense. Imri’s proud to have studied under Mike Janich, the system’s creator. Imri’s experience also includes hand to hand combat including Krav Maga, has trained with and instructed international Special Forces units, and is the tactical advisor for ZᴓRE, a revolutionary gun security system.

Imri brings real world combat experience to his instruction. He can teach personal safety and combat shooting techniques to a wide range of people with different orientations and mind sets.

Imri Morganstern, combat training specialist in Denver, Colorado

“[Imri] engaged in many operations and performed his duty professionally and has shown high ethical standards. He executed many missions with his unit as well as with a variety of other IDF elite Special Operations units. MSgt (Res) Morgenstern shows the utmost concern and focus for the safety of his trainees and he is of the highest moral character. I recommend him, without reservation, as a weapons instructor in any capacity.”

– Letter of recommendation from SOEU

  • "Thanks for the follow-up guidance.  My goal is to dry fire practice and get comfortable with everything you taught us today. We were blessed with the beautiful weather and good company.  I thought the class went at a good pace and appreciated your assessment as things moved forward to introduce concepts from your advanced class.  I liked all the drills, even our 'test' at the end. 🙂 All the best and many thanks to you, Mike."

  • "I can't say enough positive things about Mike! While going through a difficult divorce that left me feeling afraid and defenseless, a local law enforcement officer recommended Mike when I asked if he knew someone that could help me review gun safety skills. It had been several years since I'd handled a gun, and I felt uneasy having a loaded gun in my home. However, after working with Mike I feel much more assured and mentally prepared to protect myself, if necessary."

  • "Mike is not only very knowledgeable and informative, but extremely creative with his teaching style which makes learning fun and practical. His calm demeanor and encouragement enabled me to relax and enjoy his class to the fullest. I learned more in the few hours I met with Mike than I have in either of the weekend handgun courses I've taken. I felt at ease in Mike’s presence and his sense of humor allowed me to take myself less seriously."

  • "Thanks for your presentation on the security of our business. You took a very complicated, overwhelming topic and condensed it into a well-organized and focused presentation.  Several people have already told me they thought it was excellent! It gave us the information that we need for our daily lives at this facility and got everyone thinking about it in a constructive and useful way."

  • "I really enjoyed the training and appreciated the sequence and order of the various aspects of our training.  Each activity built on and reinforced what we’d already learned.  I agree that practice is absolutely essential to get comfortable with all this.  I’m glad we were able to tackle the 'point shooting' as well.  I find that this is all a new language in addition to a new skill, so I appreciate your patience, Mike, with questions about terminology, etc."

  • "Excellent course!  Solid curriculum, excellent instruction with rationale provided, meaningful exercises, good venue. Mike proved himself an excellent instructor.  He communicates well, sets a good pace through the 2-day course, and leads by example. Mike comprehends the WHY for each theory presented, freely discusses alternate responses, and WHY he has concluded those other responses are not as appropriate for given circumstances. This type of frank, open discussion of alternatives is missing from the curriculum of many instructors."

  • "I grew up shooting rifles and am comfortable with that class of firearm. I have always been hesitant with pistols, so Mike offered to bring me to the shooting range.  In the short time shooting with him his skills, teaching abilities, and knowledge about pistols made me more comfortable. He covered the basics in safety features, stance, aiming, self-defense, and hostage situations. Mike sparked my interest in this style of firearm and I have recently purchased my own pistol that I now feel comfortable owning. I look forward to taking more lessons with Mike."

    Nick B.
  • "I am a retired Army First Sergeant and former drill sergeant, Airborne Ranger, and SAPPER and have trained with Mike two or three times a year for the past four years. I learned more about effective, realistic, and safe self-defense shooting techniques in that time than in the military. It’s a different mindset and Mike (as a former military member himself) recognized what I needed to make the transition to defensive shooting."

    Steve B.
  • "If you want a professional, skilled, personable, and effective instructor or advisor in the arena of self-defense and personal protection, Mike Pivacek is the first guy I’d tell you to call."

    Steve B.
  • "I've been to several of Mike Pivacek's courses in the use of firearms and specifically regarding personal protection. Mike's training is phenomenal. I came to handguns later in life and really had zero firearm experience before attending Mike's courses. After attending basic and advanced courses, my shooting and overall confidence with firearms has increased tremendously. The instruction was tailored to my skill level and each lesson built upon the one prior. There was never a classroom with a DVD to watch. We did real shooting: the only way to learn. There is definitely thought put into the training modules and I immediately saw positive progression in my skills. Even if I don't shoot for a while and feel rusty, I just remember my training and it all comes back. If you're looking for some serious, practical instruction in shooting and personal protection, I would highly recommend Mike Pivacek."

    Brian S. Denver, CO
  • "It has been my pleasure to train under Mike over the last few years. Mike is that rare instructor who combines subject matter expertise with interpersonal teaching skills. He keeps things fun, but focused on the critical skills the students need for success.  He is flexible and humble, knowledgeable and determined."

    Brett M.
  • "Mike is a top notch firearms instructor. He has the patience to bring up confidence in skills for novice student. Skills are built up from the most foundational skills to being able to engage a firearm safely, quickly and reliably. Mike can also impart new knowledge and skills for an experienced shooter. In short, Mike is one the best instructors in business today."

    Scott W.
  • "I came to Mike's beginning defensive pistol class as a complete novice. While I was not fearful of the firearm, I was intimidated by the potential of the tool and by my ignorance of proper procedures. Mike was very patient, safety conscious and thorough, starting with the bare basics and explaining not only the 'hows' but also the 'whys' in clear and unambiguous language and examples. When I finished the class I had the confidence I needed to train more on my own and to feel comfortable at a public range with other shooters around me."

    Cyd L.
  • "My 19-year-old daughter and I both took a defensive handgun class taught by Mike. The instruction was professional, practical, and emphasized discretion and safety. Mike is an excellent instructor who focused on the realities and responsibilities of using a handgun as a last resort for self-defense. I would recommend Mike as a patient instructor to anyone interested in how to safely handle a weapon."

    Paul I.
  • "My family and I have been training with Mike for many years now and we strongly recommend him. He is experienced, competent, patient, and genuine. Through Mike's guidance, our skills have increased dramatically. We will be training with Mike for many years to come."

  • "I am a 40-year-old, married father of two. After I had children, security and defense took on an entirely different meaning. Initially, I decided to start with getting a home security system installed. A few months later, I started doing research on a qualified professional to train me in both home defense situations and the confident operation of firearms. My research eventually brought me to Mike Pivacek. Now, one year and many consultations later, Mike has helped bring me to an entirely new level of situational awareness and tactical defense preparation. I have an ongoing consultant-based relationship with Mike and anytime I need continuing education and tactical practice Mike has always been there to advise and assist."

    Shane C.
  • "I began training with Mike Pivacek immediately after I purchased my first handgun in 2010 and have continued training with him ever since. He has given me the skills and courage to believe that I can indeed protect and defend myself in some very critical situations. While his professionalism and training style present a serious environment, with high-level attention to the importance of safety, his personality also lend humor, kindness and patience...allowing you to learn at your own pace. He has created an environment and great opportunity for women, not just men, to learn how to defend themselves. I feel very proud to have trained with him and look forward to continuing my defensive handgun training for many years to come."

    Micki W.
  • "I'd recommend firearms instruction from Mike to both new and experienced shooters. He has made a commitment to the craft by studying under a number of the country's foremost experts and brings that background to his courses. I've been pleasantly surprised at the wide variety of drills and techniques which he has at his disposal. He works hard at bringing an entire class up to a given level and then moves forward into more advanced material. His classes move quickly with a nice mix of pre-drill presentation and firing line work. If you've already had a lot of instruction, his classes are even better for refining your technique or just getting in extra reps and he'll tailor a drill for you to work on some particular aspect. If you have a new firearm that you'd like to evaluate under tactical pressure, this is a great way to push it and yourself to validate if it belongs in your holster."

  • "While I have been around guns my whole life, I had never owned or fired a handgun. I recently purchased a handgun for personal protection, but felt like I needed to make sure that I was adequately trained before carrying it. I was referred to Mike by a friend and was instantly impressed with the attention and customized feedback that I received. After a day on the range, I have a better understanding of my gun and the knowledge needed to use it safely. I would recommend [these courses] to anyone who is learning to use their handgun for the first time or looking to receive proper training before applying for a concealed carry permit!"

  • "Never in a million years would I have thought that being involved in my children's education would lead to intimidation and harassment. But there I was, asking myself what I would do to protect myself and my children if one of these individuals were as serious about their threats. I decided I had three options, ignore the threats, stop my advocacy work and hide, or go public. I went with door number three. Mike contacted me within hours of having announced my situation, and offered a consultation and weapons training. I had never handled a gun. Mike was patient and thorough. He took me to a range where we practiced round after round, both outdoor and indoor. We practiced shooting in different scenarios of attack, situations that could actually happen when faced with a real intruder, and not a cardboard bullseye target. But it wasn't just handling a weapon that I learned that day, but also what I am willing and not willing to do in those seconds of decision making. And if that day ever comes, and I hope it doesn't, I would be ready to protect myself and my children from threat."

  • "I was one of those women who had purchased a firearm but was afraid to use it! That was until I started training with Mike. He has a way about him that puts you at ease. Maybe it's that perfect blend of knowledge, expertise and being a great coach. Because of Mike I have built confidence in my ability to defend myself and my children with and without my firearm."


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