Our History

HardTarget was originally started by a nurse and a policeman, who decided to help the world by sharing what they knew.

Understanding the need.

Quinton Swanson (his friends call him ‘Q’) came from a military family and had started martial arts at five years old. He joined the NZ Police in 1991 and served nine years in various specialist roles including:

– VIP & Witness Protection Officer and Unit Defensive Tactics Trainer
– Defensive Tactics Instructor at RNZPC for Protection Officers
– Team Policing Squad Team Member and Defensive Tactics Trainer
– Surveillance and Monitoring Officer
– Warrant Execution & Entry Team Member


Developing skills and passing them on.

During that time he realised that there was a gap in conflict management training, especially in military and law enforcement roles. So with the support of his wife Vicky, he started passionately developing his training systems. He began teaching others what he knew and quickly those around him realised his talent. His scenario-based and instinctive approach was natural to follow and easily recalled in times of stress. Not only that, he could even teach children as he had a way of making them feel at ease despite the underlying seriousness of the content. He left the NZ police and in 1998 they foundered Contact Self Defence Ltd (later called Contact Training Systems Ltd) which initially delivered ‘Management’ training programmes nationally to NZ government departments. These included the Department of Corrections, Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry, Customs Service, NZ Police and NZ Defence Force.

He was also contracted to deliver training to a wide range of other government agencies internationally in South Africa, USA, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore. This international experience ensured that his training was up-to-date and of the highest international standard.


HardTarget now has a team of Trainers to deliver the training across a range of sectors in New Zealand and internationally. They are at the forefront of their industry and help all sorts of people to confront challenges to their safety. Teaching skills in the event of an incident, but importantly preventing situations arising by enhancing awareness and increasing confidence. With new technology always evolving we continue to use these as tools to accelerate learning and scale up access to quality content.  Have more questions to ask us? Flick us a message HERE.

Try it out first!

If you would like to experience what a course will be like, then try our short free quiz and test your understanding of personal safety before you make a commitment to the full course. Enjoy!