Riding Shotgun With Charlie
Quinn Cunningham
FASTER Colorado

I’ve mentioned the “Olympic rings” idea before. It’s where I know person A and they know person B, but I don’t know person B. Ok, it’s a classier version of the Six Degrees of Separation. In this case, I know Laura Carno (RSWC #188), and Laura knows Quinn Cunningham. If you missed The Gun Experiment Ep 83, Laura said Quinn is who she wants on her side in a gunfight. He is someone you’d want too and you could also train with him. 

Laura was selling me on having Quinn in the stagecoach. Not a hard sell. She gave me some of his back story. Again, it’s a story that I’ve heard and read about. You may have heard it, too.  And you’ll hear it right from him at the end of the show. 

Quinn is a SWAT officer, a FASTER Colorado instructor, and a competitive shooter, sponsored by Shadow Systems. An influence on what being a man is came from his brother in law. He showed Quinn about virtue, leadership, and shooting and marksmanship. He grew up in Nebraska and would take the .22 rifle out shooting and tell his folks he didn’t know why the ammo supply was depleting. His decision to get into law enforcement was due to watching Lethal Weapon back in the 1980’s. They drove fast and shot guns and he knew he wanted to do that. 

After 22 years of being a police officer, he worked in the jail, got to work the streets, and finally got on the SWAT team. To get on SWAT, there’s more training, you need to be an LEO for a number of years, have good performance evaluations, mental and physical challenges, and performance under stress. Now, he instructs at the local police academy.

Getting into competition shooting was a way for Quinn to check some of the things he was teaching at the academy. Going to a GLOCK competition, he thought shooting at stable targets from a standing position would be easy. When the buzzer went off, he started shaking and missing shots. There was going to be a lot to learn from this kind of shooting. He had to focus on mindset, marksmanship, and fundamentals under stress. This opened up the world of high performance shooting to him. He found himself completely addicted to it. He worked his way through the rankings and in 2017, found himself at number 2 in the World Police & Fire Games. That year the French team took 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th. But Quinn was at 2nd. Talking with the competitors from around the world and hearing how they trained was also beneficial to him. 

Quinn is one of the lead instructors with FASTER Colorado. His years as a police officer, SWAT, competitive shooter, and trainer has been instrumental with this position. FASTER Colorado has four levels of courses, each building off the other. FASTER gives school staff the skills and information needed to respond to active shooter incidents. I’ve done a number of shows with people from FASTER Saves Lives, and I have a few more coming soon. 

He skimmed over the incident during the conversation.I wasn’t sure about asking about the story, the reason Quinn does FASTER, but he offered it up and I wanted to hear it. You will too. The shooting at Arapahoe High School happened in 2013 and it lasted 80 seconds long. Quinn was one of the responding SWAT members. He was injured at the time and responded regardless. He took someone else’s rifle and a traffic jacket to identify himself as a good guy.  What he saw changed his life and his direction. He works with FASTER trying to make sure incidents like this don’t happen again. 

Favorite quotes: 
“I was a SWAT guy. I walked up there thinking I was this big, bad dude. And I just got my ass kicked.”
“Dry fire will get you so much better.”
“Every school, there is someone in every school planning to shoot that school, right now.”
“You act totally different than you think you act.”
“We need to get this message out. If I have to go through a little bit of pain so kids live, then… so be it.”

FASTER Colorado Website

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FASTER Colorado Twitter

FASTER Saves Lives Website

Shadow Systems

Quinn Cunningham Instagram


Second Amendment Foundation


Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms


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Dennis McCurdy

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