About Riverside Sporting Gear

Experience you expect, at prices you don't mind paying

Riverside Sporting Gear was started in 2006 to fundamentally change the way firearms are purchased and training is provided to those who wish to learn to shoot for both recreation and personal defense.

Before I started Riverside I found myself with very few options. It was hard to find knowledgeable people to help me with the purchase of a firearm.  When I did find a store I thought I could relie upon, I usually found the clerks had very limited knowledge and had no idea how to fit a firearm to me or, as I observed, to other customers.  How does it feel just doesn't cut it when your are spending hundreds of dollars on a firearm.

I also found that few clerks knew much about opportunities for classes taught by people who actually shoot firearms on a frequent basis or could help me find clubs to join to improve my skills.  So I decided that I would try to fill this void.

I began my education by acquiring a number of NRA instructor certifications.  This was a good first step.  It gave me a foundation but it was not enough.  So I took classes from nationally recognized instructors.  The primary being John Farnum and his wife Vicki.  Later I was fortunate to add Massad Ayoob, Dr. david Grossman, Robert Vogel, Ben Stoeger and Mike Seeklander to that list. I also want to recognize training I received from Don Larson, Steve Quill and Steve Zerwas.  I consider these instructors to be amoung the best instructors in Minnesota. During this time I also joined the International Defensive Pistol Association and began to compete.  I now compete year around trying to constantly build and improve my skills.

While the NRA and actual firearms skill training really helped, I also needed to have a clear understanding of how firearms worked. I felt that this was the next step I needed  in order to properly help my customers so I could  fit a firearm to them and teach them to properly use and maintain the firearm. 

To accomplish this I obtained a certificate in gunsmithing from Pine Technical College and a diploma in gunsmithing from  Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) in Scottsdale, Arizona.  The course of study at Pine Technical College was a year long full time.  To obtain the diploma form SDI I spent over 10 months of study and completed 55 separate lessons representing 40 semester credits with an overall grade percentage of 99%. I refer to myself as a bench gunsmith.  I know my skills and my limitations.

I also began getting armorer certifications from manufacturers like ArmaLite,  Glock,  Smith & Wesson and Sig Sauer.  I am also factory certified by JP Enterprises in the installation of fire control systems for AR 15 platforms. What better way to build on my gunsmithing education than to learn from the manufacturer themselves.

I continued my education by becoming a United States Conceal Carry Instrutor(USCCA) and Training Counselor.  Not only do I offer the Minnesota Permit to Carry Class utlizing materials form the USCCA, I can also certify you as a USCCA instructor if you want to start offering your own classes.

I am one of possibly a few instructors that actually have a vetted teaching credential.  I have a Masters Degree in Special Education from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the past, I was an adjunct instructor in the MBA gradutate school at the University of St. Thomas where I taught a course in financial accounting.

Finally, when you come to Riverside, you will receive a unique experience in the way you will select and purchase a firearm. My staff and I are here to help you grow and develop in the shooting sports.  I hope you will consider us for both training and firearms/supplies purchase.

Jon T.

Recent Certifications:

Sig Sauer Classic/P320 Amorer          T. Casper          Sig Sauer                             8/21-23/2017      24 Hours

Certified LE Armorer AR-15                 M. Foster         American Gunsmithing Inst. 10/31/2017            8 Hours

Certified Furearms Appraiser               G. Kelly            American Gunsmithing Inst. 01/05/2018           8  Hours

Countering the Mass Shooter Threat   M. Martin          USCCA                                01/09/2018           8 Hours

Jon Thompson with Mike Seeklander. This was a contest during one of Mike's classes. Mike shot his firearm and the challenge was to get as close to Mikes shot as possible. Jon's shot went 2/3 into the hole Mike shot. You could just see the small outline of part of the Jon's bullet and the grease ring.

          Jon's  Qualifications


NRA Basic Pistol Bryan Phillips National Rifle Association 2007 6
Firearms Safety Instructor Certificate State of Minnesota DNR Staff State of Minnesota DNR 01/07 8
Armorer Armalite AR-15 Pat Raley Armalite 5/11 16
Armorer S&W M+P Keith Kalen Smith & Wesson 5-17 8


Armorer Glock

Alan Ramsey Glock 8/16 16
Armorer Sig Sauer Dennis Carrol Sig Sauer Academy 4/10 16
NRA Advanced Training - Personal
 Protection Outside the Home
Andrea Murphy NRA Master Training
2 NRA Training Counselors instructed
  – Joyce Borchart and Bryan Phillips  
  - Jon was among the first 20
  instructors in MN to receive this training
06/07 30
Intermediate Defensive Handgun  John Farnam  Defensive Training
  International, Inc.
08/07 20
Adv Defensive Handgun and Shotgun John Farnam & Len Breure, PhD Defensive Training International,
05/08 20
Chief Range Safety Officer Bryan Phillips National Rifle Association 06/08 15
Rifle and Shotgun Instructor Bryan Phillips National
  Rifle Association
01/09 24
Certified Affiliate Instructor John Farnam

Urban Rifle Class  Confronting Daily Threats        


6/ 10-11/2017 



Basic Operator AR-15 Platform Steve Quill Monticello Sportmens orig 5/09 5/11 16
Defensive Handgun Training Don Larson Front Line Firearms Training 7/09 6
Competitive Shooting Ben Stoeger IDPA Class 
  Master Class Shooters
8/09 8
Adv Operator – AR 15 Steve Quill Monticello Sportmen orig 9/10 5/12 16
Basic/Intermediate Handgun John Farnam Assisted in Instruction 9/10 20
Advanced Defensive Handgun John Farnam DTI Named
  Affiliated Instructor
7/11 20
Law Enforcement Master Instructor Dev
Program Pistol, Rifle , Shotgun
Various Law Enforcement Trainers International Association of Law
  Enforcement Firearms Instructors
5/12 24
Beyond Advanced Techniques & Force on
John Farnam, et al DTI, assisted as an affiliated instructor 7/12 20
NRA Instructor Training Bryan Phillips Assisted in training instructor candidates 8/12 16
Tactical Shotgun Steve Quill Monticello Sportmens 9/12 8
IDPA Techniques Michael Seeklander Nationally renown trainer, author and
  former LEO, Air Marshal
9/12 16
Defensive Shooting Robert Vogel World Champion Shooter ISPC and IDPA, police officer 9/12 20
Gunsmith Diploma SDI Faculty Sonoran Desert Institute   10/11 35 Semester Credits
Gunsmith Certificate Pine Technical College Faculty Pine Technical College 5/13 24 Semester Credits
Armed Citizens Rules of Engagement and MAG 40 Massad Ayoob Armed Citizen’s Rules of Engagement MAG-20 Range 8/12 & 6/13 40
Bullet Proof Mind Dr. David Grossman Grossman and Associates 11/13 8
NRA Advanced Pistol Instructor NRA Training Headquarters NRA Headquarters 11/13 8

USCCA Certified  Instrutor

USCCA Certified Training Counselor

Michael Martin


Michael Martin

United States Concealed CarryAssociation








IDPA Competitor Since 2006  Six Gun Classified --5 EXPERT REVOLVER Sharp shooter   Current 2017  
IDPA Safety Officer Instructor     Current 2017  

IDPA Chief Safety Officer/Match Director 

See recent certifications at left of page for more---




Current 2017