The Instructor

  Russ James is an NRA Certified Instructor. He became interested in handguns at an early age, competing in black powder and PPC matches in the early 1970's. He became most successful in the sport of IPSC in the 1980's. He later became a full time police officer in 1979 and retired in 2011 at the rank of sergeant. 

  Spanning a 32 year career he graduated from the Smith & Wesson Armorers academy and became the PD's firearms instructor for many years.

"Russ' personality is easy going, and he seems to be quietly analytical. He is clearly a highly skilled shooter and coach.."

Robert S. Fallen



  During the move from wheel guns to automatics, he was the transition instructor. He showed the BPD into the age of automatics by retraining all sworn personnel in the use  of Glock pistols. And so the officers reluctantly, but forevermore turned in their bull-barrel Smith & Wesson model #64-3 pistols. A pair of the PD turn-in guns can be seen in the right frame.

   The transition took several months to find the right pistol, but after an exhaustive search the Glock was simple to use, simple to teach, and worked every time under any conditions.


As the PD firearms instructor, he had the opportunity to shoot with some of the finest shooters in the Central Connecticut ERT (Emergency Response Team) Team.

Included, was one of the British Special Air Services (SAS) members which can be seen in the photo on left in the second from the right position..

  In the mid 1980's Russ James scored among the top competitors in the shooting field of IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation). He was designated to be the US team captain among an All-Star list of shooting notables in the USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Confederation)

  The Australian World Championship IPSC team, is a photo of  (left to right); Russ James, Brian Enos, Debby James, Mark Mazzotta, Shirley Hamilton, Doug Koenig, Jerry Barnhardt, Kippi Boykin, Mike Plaxco, Sharon Kimbril, and Rob Leatham.

This was arguably the single best  shooting team of it's kind ever to be assembled on earth at the time.

In 1989 Russ James "captained" a similar international US IPSC Team to South Africa. Rob Leatham (AZ), Jerry Barnhardt (SC), Doug Koenig (PA), John Dixon (TX) and Debby James (CT) were among the Americans that competed in Pretoria South Africa..

The American shooters came as part of a "good will" team, in a "non-competitive" mode.

As you can see, the intensity of a reload under timed fire, while running down a jungle path consisting of "..100 yards of shoulder high grass" with targets hidden here and there, can be quite exhilarating in any mode.

The American shooters voluntarily put their titles "unofficially" on the line. Rob Leatham & Debby James, the reigning IPSC World champions.

In the end of a week-long shooting match the South African Springboks were defeated on their own home court by the Americans.

  From small beginnings, it all happened one day when the police department handed Russ James a revolver and a box of reloaded .38 special. They asked him to go practice and that he did. He asked his wife Debby, a teacher, to go with him to the outdoor range, "Just for the fun of it.." The rest is history.

At the pinnacle of their 15 year career they were shooting 1,000 center-fire rounds a day, 6 days a week. The 7th day was at a regional or out-of-state match like the one in Colorado above.

Debby James
2-Time IPSC World Champion
4-Time US Ladies National Champion

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