For over 40 years, the Smith and Wesson Academy has been considered one of America’s finest training facilities by Law Enforcement and Government agencies. Military and Law Enforcement from every state and U.S. possessions, as well as over 50 foreign countries have come to the Springfield, Massachusetts facility to receive state-of –the art instruction to prepare for and exceed their mission specific role in a fluid environment. The Smith & Wesson Academy’s superior training will give today’s law enforcement the tools necessary to handle tomorrow’s most extreme situations.
Martin (Marty) Driggs has been an adjunct firearms and armorer for Smith & Wesson since April of 2009 and joined us as a full-time instructor in the same capacity in October of 2011. Marty has over 30 years’ experience in the self-defense and weapons training arena, receiving training in the U.S. Marine Corps, where his small arms expertise and unit tactics were fine-tuned. Driggs then shared his knowledge and professionalism as a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, Class 5-79, training and preparing hundreds of Marines for combat. Upon an Honorable discharge from the Marine Corp, he then joined the Massachusetts State Police, where he held many numerous specialized mission specific billeting. Honorably discharged on December 3, 2009 after 27 years of duty and service to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the last twelve years being the Officer in Charge of the Armorer’s Section. Responsible for the testing, evaluating, purchasing, tracking and repair as well as instruction of all small arms and use of force equipment for 2500 troopers. Marty has honed and excelled in the use of force continuum, both lethal and less lethal. Some of his training and experiences include firearms instructor, armorer, advanced tactical operations, high security protection, high risk apprehension, surveillance, counter surveillance, executive protection, homicide investigator, narcotics investigator and small arms expert. Marty has a high level of motivation and attention to detail that makes him a practical instructor, who not only brings a high level of enthusiasm, but also real world applications to the training of personnel in the areas of security, operational awareness, threat assessment, judgement, documentation and proper application in the use of force continuum.
Gregory "Cruz" Grutter is a Disabled Veteran, Military Wounded Warrior, and Combat Veteran nominated for the Silver Star for Combat Valor, Awarded Bronze Star with Valor and Purple Heart Medals, along with other prestigious awards. He is most proud of being a U.S. Marine Corps Grunt, USMC Scout Sniper and Scout Sniper Instructor. Gregory participated in support of Operation Just Cause in Panama, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom. A highly experienced competitive shooter, firearms and tactics instructor, and lifelong student of the tactical/shooting arts, Gregory was a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security/ Federal Air Marshal firearms program post 9/11. He retired in 2014 from the Boston Office of the Federal Air Marshals due to his combat injuries. An experienced Law Enforcement Officer, Gregory worked in Federal Corrections holding positions such as: Lead Academy Instructor, CERT Team Commander, and High Risk Transport team member. He was a Reserve Police Officer in Charlestown, Rhode Island where he served as a member on the Emergency Services Unit (ESU) Team, and Police Instructor for firearms and tactical training. He also served as the Chief Firearms Instructor at the Rhode Island Municipal Police Academy. Gregory established the first operational security detachment in Afghanistan in support of covert and overt intelligence gathering operations for Governmental Intelligence Agencies. He was the team Chief of the Security & Protective Services Detail on over 1000 missions in two years, protecting intelligence members, flag ranking military officers, high ranking diplomats, and U.S. and Foreign Government Officials; and any and all other missions as directed or he could be assigned. "Cruz", as he was called by his Afghan fighters, brings a solid knowledge base in combat tactics, weapons and military skills. But, his passion, which is second to none, is to continue to learn and pass on his knowledge. Whether it is a legally armed civilian, law enforcement, or in a military context, Gregory has the ideal combination of skills and experience to instruct combat shooting, from the very basics to the most advanced skills and techniques.
Dean is a well-respected instructor with a teaching methodology and adaptability that constantly receives accolades from both novice and seasoned veterans. A combat veteran serving in the infantry and honorably discharged from both the U.S. Marine Corp and U.S Army with extensive deployments and is U.S Army Combat Lifesaver Certified. Some of his deployments serving our country included Desert Shield / Desert Storm, Operation Eastern Exit, Operation Provide Promise, as well as Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has been a seasoned instructor having landed a coveted Leadership Instructor Position in the U.S. Army PLDC program, responsible for Instructing Map reading, Land Navigation and traditional Army values. Dean also utilized his combat experiences to train and expand the U.S. Army’s fighting capability by being a Primary Marksmanship Instructor. In 2002 Dean placed first place in the U.S. Army Tri-Color Sniper Competition. His Law Enforcement background includes being a member of the Hampden County Sheriff ’s Department, as well as specializing as a Security Contractor in Global Hotspots and as a Counter-Insurgency Specialist. He has also worked in many roles in the Middle East that included Physical Site Security, Convoy Security and High and Low Profile Protective Security Details. An extensive career spans over 28 years not just in the Military and Law Enforcement, but also in the firearms related field, from owning a small ammunition company to representing several firearms and ammunition companies internationally.
He is part of the Smith and Wesson Academy Firearms Instructor cadre being an advanced Smith & Wesson Certified Firearms instructor andhas held NRA Firearms instructor as well as NRA Range Safety Officer Certifications. Dean has been a crucial full time member of theSmith & Wesson Training Academy since 2015.
Ken Vinacco is a Sergeant with the Providence Police Department and has recently joined the Smith and Wesson Academy as an adjunct instructor. Ken comes to us with over 36 years of law enforcement experience. He started his career with the Providence Police in 1980 and was assigned to the Providence Police Academy in 1984 as the head defensive tactics and physical fitness instructor until 1988. He was then transferred to the Providence Police Weapons Bureau as a firearms instructor until he was promoted to Sergeant in 2000. Ken is a Black belt in Uechi Ryu Karate and has studied Tai Chi for 20 years. Ken became an International Monadnock PR-24, Monadnock Expandable Baton and Monadnock Defensive Tactics Instructor in 2000. He is also considered an expert witness in Federal Court in Firearms and Defensive Tactics. He also received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Roger William’s University, December 2003. Ken is also a Certified Counter Sniper, trained by “GYSGT Carlos Hathcock II USMC, retired”. Ken served three years in the United States Coast Guard where he was assigned to the Special Response Team. He was later transferred to the Small Arms Instructor Unit and trained the members of the Coast Guard as a Small Arms Instructor. Ken transferred to the United States Army National Guard in 2000 as a Military Police Officer. In 2003, he was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and was assigned to Detainee Operations. He also attended the Less Lethal Instructor School in Fort Leonard Wood Missouri, and trained over 500 soldiers in OC, Defensive Tactics and Riot Control while in Cuba. In 2007 Ken was promoted to First Sergeant of the 169 MP Company and was deployed to Iraq until 2008. Upon returning, he was assigned to the Regional Training Institute in Camp Varnum, Narragansett, RI and was the Military Police Course Coordinator. Ken retired from the military in 2011, having served for 22 years. Ken is presently the Commanding Officer of the Providence Police Weapons Bureau and oversees all the Pistol, Rifle and Shotgun training for the Department, along with all the defensive tactics and less lethal training. Ken is also in charge of the Homeland Security Bureau and is responsible for visiting Dignitary’s protection in the City of Providence. Also Ken is in charge of the division that provides security for the Mayor of the City of Providence. As a member of the Special Response Unit, Ken is the deputy commander and is responsible for the Unit’s training. Ken is also in charge of the Providence Police Marine Unit and supervises 15 Officers assigned to the Unit. He is also the Harbormaster for the City of Providence.