Monarch Defense regularly brings on guest instructors who we respect and trust in the industry. This month, we are holding a Gun Shot Wound First Responder class to educate students on how to treat trauma that you might see in a self defense situation. This is life saving information and we highly recommend students to attend. You can sign up here for our June 25th class at Morgan Hill, CA.


Our instructor for this course is Chris “Val” Valenzuela who has served in the US military, been a paramedic, firefighter, personal security personnel, an NAEMT Affiliate Faculty instructor and more. He now teaches shooting and tactical medicine in Southern California.

We asked him a few questions for this article to introduce him. There are two parts to this article. In the first part, we ask Val about his background and get to know his motivations behind teaching. 

What is your motivation behind teaching firearms and tactical medicine to others as a profession?

Val: My passion as an instructor, as an educator, comes from two places. As a firearms instructor, it comes from the pure love of shooting. Through my background and professions, I have been able to experience and attend a lot of training courses (shooting courses) on private, public, federal, and military levels. I’ve seen it, done it, lived it, and have pool from personal experiences. I feel that I have a lot of knowledge that should be passed on to others.

What about as a tactical medicine instructor?

Val: My passion for teaching tactical medicine comes from once a upon a time when I was in the military and I was helpless to help others that were injured. In the military I was trained up as a combat life saver. I had some advanced medical training, but when it came time during combat, it still wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t a combat medic. I was an infantry sergeant, a fire team leader for a 4 man team.

My company, which is roughly 160 men, had only 1 medic. This one time, there were multiple guys who were hurt, and this medic was being pulled into 4 different directions at the same time. At that point, the light bulb went off in my head. What if I was one of those hurt casualties? What if I needed those skills of that medic, but I couldn’t get it because he was already with another patient?  

I felt helpless because I didn’t have the additional training to give the level of care that these other casualties needed. All I could do was stand there and watch this scene play out before my eyes. Well, after that I got with my line medic and had him train me and teach me as much as he could so that I could be as much of an assistant to him whenever possible. Then, after I got out of the military in 2006, I became a civilian EMT and attended paramedic school and progressed into my current profession as an educator.

Can you tell me about your last 10 years as a civilian EMT?

Val: Between 2006 and 2015 when I began teaching under NAEMT for TECC and TCCC, I worked as a municipal firefighter and EMT.  As an EMT, we took 911 calls. I made that transition from the military to civilian prehospital care, working in the ambulances and emergency rooms. Then I got picked up as a firefighter, so that gives me a very broad background of experience to draw upon.

I attended paramedic school in 2009 and ended up accepting a contract to go overseas instead of finishing. From 2010 to 2014, I worked as a team medic in a personal security detail for Triple Canopy in Iraq.

Note: NAEMT is the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. TECC and TCCC are course programs by the association which cover Tactical Emergency Casualty Care and Tactical Combat Casualty Care.

We will be posting the second part to this interview soon! If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below and we will get his answer for you!

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