Why Vanguard?

Mike Mercado has dedicated his career to providing safety for others and has over a decade of experience between military service, law enforcement, and private security contracting. He holds a B.A. in Criminal Justice and an M.B.A. with a Management concentration, both obtained from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND. His military experience includes extended CONUS security missions, OCONUS deployments, and service in Military Funeral Honors. Notably, while deployed to Iraq, he served as a team leader conducting secure convoy operations and close protection for high-ranking US military officers and DoD civilian employees. Since 2018, he has worked in the Middle East, Europe, and East Africa as a private security contractor for the DoD, NSA, and Joint Special Operations Command. He also works as an armed contractor supporting the US Marshals Service.

Mike is a graduate of the Active Self Protection Instructor Certification, a 6-month program focused on adult learning theory, teaching methodology, and curriculum design as they relate to teaching firearms and self-defense. Mike is also a graduate of the RangeMaster firearms instructor development course. He is an NRA-certified pistol & rifle instructor, a South Dakota enhanced concealed carry instructor, a Stop the Bleed™ instructor, and is certified by the Force Science Institute to teach their Realistic De-Escalation program.

Through Vanguard Training Solutions, Mike delivers evidence-based training supported by real-world experience, designed to transcend the status quo, dispel myth and misconception, and improve the skills and safety of both public safety professionals and law-abiding private citizens. Classes offered include: Duty Handgun for Law Enforcement & Security, Defensive Concealed Carry, Stop the Bleed™, Realistic De-Escalation, OC/pepper spray, and Taser certification, as well as a 40-hour Basic Security Officer Training program.

Vanguard can also provide consultation for organizations needing to develop Use of Force or firearms-related policy.

Mike’s Training Resume:

● Pistol Intelligence (Riley T. Bowman, 2023)
● Enhanced CCW/Use of Force Instructor (SD LETC, 2023 & 2020)
● Realistic De-Escalation Instructor (Force Science Institute, 2023)
● Confident Non-Escalation (Premier Police Training, 2023)
● Active Self Protection Instructor Certification (ASP, 2022)
● Suicide by Gun Prevention Gatekeeper (QRP Institute, 2022)
● Street Encounters Skills & Tactics (FPF Training, 2022)
● Tactical First Responder (Triple Canopy, 2021)
● Firearms Instructor Development Course (RangeMaster, 2020)
● Enhanced CCW/Use of Force Instructor (SD LETC, 2020)
● Taser CEW Instructor (Axon, 2020)
● Advanced Firearms Training (Israeli Counter Terror & Security Academy, 2019)
● High Risk Medic (SECFOR International, 2017)
● CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers (American Red Cross, 2017)
● Extreme Close Quarters Concepts (ShivWorks, 2016)