Originally Posted by Tronite
You might want to check out Yavapai Firearms Academy at Reed's Indoor Range in Santa Clara. It's run by Louis Awerbuck and he's good with the female students, at least the two that were in the stage 1 class that I took with him last year. He's got a stage 1 at the end of this month. He's running his stage 2 class this weekend. You might want to drive to Reed's and take a look in the window and observe the class for a bit. You can probably talk to Louis briefly during one of the breaks if you want.
To the OP:
I agree Mr. Louis Awerbuck would be an excellent choice for a first class or any other. Mr. Awerbuck is a well respected and extremely knowledgeable individual. Even if you have taken classes from others, taking his class would be something to seriously consider.
Another great instructor, a bit down South for you, is Mr. Scott Reitz and his wife who run ITTS.
There are many great instructors out there, but I generally prefer to learn from someone who has actual experience in multiple gunfights, because practical experience always trumps theoretically based ideas and book learned techniques.
Mr. Awerbuck and Reitz are able to provide this type of practical/ real world experience and knowledge. Something to consider when you spend your money. I also like that they are generally of the philosophy that you don't have to fire 1,000-2,000 rounds of ammunition in a class to learn the basics for self-defense/ combat shooting. Many classes seem to propose that hosing-off a bunch of rounds somehow equates to imparting a fruitful and knowledge based experience.
One thing you will hear from both of these gentleman is that there is no such thing as advanced self-defense 'Training' tactics. It is a grounded mastery of the basics of marksmanship, tactics, awareness, and discipline that will aid you in overcoming an opponent in a firefight. They will also advocate that you train with many others in order to become a more well-rounded student as well.
Lastly, beware of anyone who says their way is the only way or the best way (loose paraphrase of both these men).
Good Luck in your class selection,
Note: I have no professional affiliation to either of these organizations.