Oz and Karin Johnson of Desert Hills started their company, Christian-based Johnson Group Tactical, in October 2020.
At the top of its website is a quote from John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
“We do everything with God as a partner,” Karin said.
Johnson Group Tactical was a logical business move for the Johnsons. Oz had more than 30 years’ experience with firearms and tactical training with the military and law enforcement. He retired from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in 2016 but still wanted to share his knowledge. He opted to impart his experience on the community surrounding Desert Hills at Ben Avery Shooting Facility.
“With the direction the world is going, there are a lot of people out there who want firearms training,” Oz said.
The couple met while they were serving in the Air Force as part of Operation Desert Storm from 1987 to 1993. Oz also served in the Army with the 101st Airborne as an infantry sniper from 1983 to 1987.
“We were medical air evac technicians in the Air Force,” he said. “We were assigned to a C-130 aircraft and we evacuated patients from a warzone to the hospital.”
Two years after Oz left the Air Force, he spent 20 years with the MCSO. Seven of those 20 years he spent with its SWAT team. He was also the lead firearms and tactical instructor at the Maricopa Regional SWAT School.
Johnson Group Tactical’s business has been “very good” since the couple founded it. Oz said most of his clientele are beginners, with 90% of that group being women.
“Most of them are new gun owners,” he said. “They just purchased a gun and the first time they shoot that gun is at the beginner’s class I teach.
“Some women come to the class, and when they first shoot, they’re shaking. When they leave, they feel so comfortable not only with shooting but with knowing their weapon.”
For a beginner’s three-hour class, it’s $80; and that includes the lecture and instruction and two hours on the range. The intermediate class is $125. Open practice is $25. The couple purposely kept the price affordable.
Students automatically become members of the Johnson Group TAC Shooters Club, Karin said. They get $15 toward any future beginner’s class or $25 toward any future intermediate class. Students who refer clients receive a $5 credit. In addition, the military receives a 15% discount.
“Because we started our company with the beginner’s classes, I didn’t want to scare people away from getting instruction about firearms because of the price,” he said. “Other ranges charge more, but I wanted to make it affordable so people would learn how to shoot and handle the firearm.”
Oz said Johnson Group Tactical affords him a different experience than he’s used to. For that, he’s grateful.
“It’s kind of a change for me,” he said. “I’m used to teaching in the military or law enforcement capacity. My wife comes into play by dealing with civilians and women. It’s a different environment. It’s been really rewarding.”