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Academy Director

Sarah VanAcker

Sarah VanAcker, an Idaho native, grew up with a love for the outdoors. For 18 years, Sarah has been an avid hunter, bow-hunter, and sport shooter. As a wife and mother, Sarah saw a need to become more prepared for self-defense and personal protection, and began attending various firearms and self-defense courses. The experience, knowledge, and sense of empowerment she gained gave her the passion to bring this same confidence to others. She has been working and teaching at Independence Indoor Shooting since 2017.
Sarah is proud to lead her team of instructors in developing curriculum that reaches every student at every level in order to develop and build individual skills in a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. In addition to developing curriculum and supervising her team  of instructors, Sarah instructs women's only and co-ed classes from new shooter seminars to advanced defensive courses.
Sarah is proud to have master level instructor certification through Rangemaster Firearms Training, and also holds NRA instructor certifications (pistol, rifle, CCW, Firearm Safety In the Home, and Refuse to be a Victim) and is a USCCA certified counselor. She believes that  instructors should always continue to be students as well, and thoroughly enjoys continuing her shooting and firearm education to expand her knowledge in order to pass this knowledge and experience to others.

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Academy Instructor: Long Range Rifle

Mike Perkins

As a professional, Mike served as a police officer for 30 years, with 27 of those years operating as a sniper on various Swat Teams. For seven years, Mike worked for Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department in San Jose, California and for the Boise Police Department, in Boise, Idaho for 20 years.


Mike has had the opportunity to attend regular sniper training throughout his career, allowing him to become a highly recognized and sought after instructor. Mike has attended FBI Sniper School at Camp Pendleton, California and has trained with the FBI and Secret Service in sniper operations. Mike was asked to serve as sniper over-watch for the 1984 Olympics. He has also served as executive protection for high profile government officials including sniper over-watch for four presidents and close personal security for Governors, Senators, and numerous company executives.


For 17 years, Mike served as Lead Sniper instructor for Counter Measures Tactical and competed in military/police sniper competitions around the world. Due to his extensive training and experience, Mike was tasked by the Secret Service and FBI to assemble the sniper over-watch teams for the Salt Lake Winter Olympics and worked that assignment for three months preparing, training, and deploying during the games.


Notable Competitions:

1999- 1st Place Team- Top Shooter- Countermeasures Tactical Match

2000- First US Team to win the Austrian Super Sniper Shootout – Vienna Austria

2006- 1st Place Team – Top Shooter – Far West Sniper Challenge

2007- 1st Place Team- Top Shooter – Far West Sniper Challenge

2009- North American Sniper Championships – Top Shooter- 3rd Place Team

1999-Present- Owner Cross Hairs LR Hunting School - teaching LR shooting classes around the United States and in New Zealand and Sniper schools for law enforcement agencies.

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Academy Instructor: Medical

Sean Brenner

As a native to Idaho, Sean is passionate about using the knowledge and skills that he has gained over his extensive career to help others become equipped with the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to save lives.


Growing up in Pocatello, Idaho, Sean graduated from Highland High School. After graduating, Sean moved to Omaha, Nebraska where he pursued and obtained a bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of Nebraska. Sean then had the opportunity to stay in Nebraska when he procured a job as a professional fire fighter. Over the 20 years of his professional career, Sean has worked as both a professional fire fighter and lead paramedic in the urban environment. Sean has also worked as a paramedic in hospital based level one ERs, PACU’s, Cardiac telemetry, and medical surgical units. During his time in Nebraska, Sean had the opportunity to participate in tactical paramedic units along side local LEO’s in service of warrants and hostage situations. 


Sean holds the following certifications: EMT, EMT-Paramedic, Fire Fighter I, Fire Fighter II, ACLS, BLS, PALS, and PHTLS . Additionally, he is currently working to obtain his BLS/AED instructor certification. Even before procuring employment as an instructor at Independence Indoor Shooting, Sean was determined to advance his skill sets in advanced firearms manipulations which he did in our classes at Independence 

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Rob Nielsen

Academy Instructor: Sportsman & Reloading

In 2009, Rob Nielsen retired from his day-to-day career in the dairy industry of California, where he devoted 32 years of his life. After retiring, Rob moved to Idaho, where he has enjoyed his retirement by helping others become more prepared sportsman.

While working in California, Rob was an active proponent of hunting and the shooting sports. From an early age, Rob enjoyed hunting Big Game and Upland Game Birds, a passion that he has maintained into his golden years. Taking his training seriously, Rob has gained a wealth of knowledge as a certified RCBS reloading instructor, chapter Chairman of the Mule Deer Foundation, big game hunting guide for Antelope and Deer, Taxidermist, NRA Member, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation committee member, and Hunter's Education instructor. 


Independence Indoor Shooting and the residents of the Treasure Valley are lucky to have the talent represented in Rob Nielsen.  


Barrett Nelson

Academy Instructor: Sportsman

Information Coming Soon


Steven Zimmermann

Academy Instructor: Gun Build/Maintenance & Range Safety Officer Certification

Information coming soon! 


Academy Instructor: Olympic Air Pistol

Silvino Lyra

Coach Sill Lyra is a USA/NRA International Advanced Shooting Coach who has been involved in Olympic Air Pistol for more than 20 years. He came to Colorado Springs in 1997 to be a pupil of Mr. Eric Buljung, who was at that time the National Head Coach of the U.S. Pistol Team and the only Olympic Silver Medalist in air pistol for the U.S. since the Olympics in Seoul. Coach Sill was Pistol Head Coach for the Olympic Training Center Juniors Shooting Club and then pistol coach for the Modern Pentathlon US Army World Class Athlete Program team and for the USOC-USA Modern Pentathlon Team.


Air Pistol is one of the events of Modern Pentathlon, and Coach Sill worked with elite athletes from a variety of sport backgrounds. These Modern Pentathlon athletes have often never shot a firearm before, and his work was to transform them in Olympians.


After traveling internationally as a pistol coach for over 10 years,  Coach Sill has experienced the shooting philosophy in a diverse cadre of  world shooting schools. He has coached  Olympians in Modern Pentathlon over three Olympic cycles. His athletes include a world cup gold medalist and Silver Medalist at the 1999 Pan American Games, three athletes who qualified and two of whom competed in the 2000 Olympics, two Gold and two Silver medalists at the Pan American Games in 2003, and three athletes who competed in the Olympic Games in Athens.


Coach Sill founded the site in 2006, an innovative internet coaching system that serves athletes all around the United States and the World from the immediate beginner, junior, to the Olympic level. Sill looks forward to helping you start your air pistol journey or help you reach a higher level of performance.