View Full Version : Shotgun Class Necessary?

March 20, 2009, 07:03 PM

Is it very recommended for me to take the "Basic Shotgun" NRA course to get into the activity? Or can I waltz into a range and ask for a rental and instruction on use of the weapon?

I am interested in trying out various shotguns, particularly the popular Remington 870 and Mossberg 500, for mostly recreational shooting and maybe eventually calling it a "home defense" weapon.

Thanks for any advice!

March 20, 2009, 07:16 PM
You have 3 options... 4 if ignorance is an option...
TAKE THE COURSE!!!! Great info...
Train semi official with a local
Self train... easier with sites like this compared to 20 years back or....
and #4... is a bad option...

March 20, 2009, 07:18 PM
Doc, I am always available for discussion. I will go phone call if better. If local to the florida panhandle, we can meet and go that route...

March 20, 2009, 09:12 PM
I bought my first gun, Mossberg 500 a few months ago. The main reason is for home defense, but I've always wanted one.
I intend to participate in formal training at some point. I'm fortunate enough to have friends to shoot with on private property. We have an auto clay thrower, and I bought a $5 handheld thrower.
Even before I brought my gun home, I was real excited about getting as much information as possible. When I can't shoot, I'm thinking about it. I've learned a lot through forums like this. You realize that you have to accept internet info for what it is, but once you dissect the bs you can become fairly educated.
I'm not claiming to be an expert by any means, but here's an example: My 2nd outing with my gun with a few friends, one of which as been hunting for several seasons, was shooting his Mossberg 500 that he has had for years. I found myself explaining things to him, etc. He had only shot his gun a few times, but in 2 weekends I was 200 shells ahead of him.
I will not take away from the importance of formal training, but with the proper dedication and opportunity, you can still enjoy the sport effectively.
By the way, my black 20" barrel hit about as many clays as the semi auto hunting guns those weekends. Just make sure you know the 4 rules and ASK questions if you don't know.

March 20, 2009, 09:21 PM
Hey Johnny, you only have 19 posts... you can't give good advise until you break a hunert!:D Good advise from one new guy to a nutter is always smiled upon by the shotgun gods!;)

March 20, 2009, 09:40 PM
I guess I only have 3989 to go....3988
Thanks to guys like you.

March 20, 2009, 10:02 PM
WOW!!! I had 3,900 hunert when the wolf thread started in hunting section... My how post count grows when debating tree huggers!:o

March 21, 2009, 03:20 AM

These days, many information sources are available on-line. May I suggest that you go to the Mossberg and Remington sites and down-load copies of the M-500 and R-870 owners manuals. Thoroughly digest the manuals and you'll learn more than you'll get from any rental counter clerk.

What you won't learn from the manuals are the rules specific to individual shooting venues. Most places have them posted. When at any new club, read their rules, and question the rangemaster if anything is unclear. Safe shooting is somewhat like safe driving -- a lot of it depends on being able to anticipate what the other guy is going to do in almost any situation. Being able to behave in a predictable manner requires a knowledge of the rules.


How do you expect to learn anything shooting with the inexperienced? If they know less than a newbie, may I suggest you shot with more experienced folks for safety's sake. Too many new shooters feel safe shooting is intuitive, or genetic, it's not.

March 21, 2009, 06:27 AM
I've been able to shoot 3 times so far. And I didn't expect anything. The guys I've gone with have varying levels of experience. The guy that didn't know his shotgun usually hunts with his rifle. These are guys that I trust and we all worked together making sure everyone knew what, when and why.
That being said I do see the need for formal training, and will take classes. I've been riding motorcycles for 17 years and a professional mechanic for 9 and am signed up for an experienced rider course this year. I feel you can never stop learning.
My original reply to the thread was to point out that if you have the means you can have a rewarding experience. Right now I can't afford the courses I want to take, and range time with the shotgun is pretty expensive around here. My wife and I have been talking about joining a shooting range that also offers rentals and classes. She wants to get a handgun now so training will now take priority for both of us.
If we take the handgun to the range it will be a lot cheaper to shoot and the shotgun can be brought along for a few shots, but I'm just not going to spend $1.10 per shot for $20 per hour

Lee Lapin
March 21, 2009, 06:41 AM

Perhaps it isn't necessary, but it will shorten your learning curve a good bit as you get into a new activity. IMHO it's worth it. but then as a former NRA certified instructor (I had to stop due to a seizure disorder, but I hope to get my credentials back now that I'm better) you could call me biased, of course...

I keep getting confronted with how lucky I was to have a father, two grandfathers, a clutch of uncles, and a gaggle of 'old men' in the community who taught me the ropes of shooting and hunting as I was growing up. It really makes me sad to know that so many folks these days don't have those connections to learn from.

In all seriousness, Doc, please let me encourage you to get yourself a copy of Robert Ruark's book The Old Man And The Boy. As lucky as I was, I still wasn't as well off as Ruark while I was growing up- close enough to get by, sure, but not that lucky 8^). There are a lot of books out there that will teach you whole heaps about various aspects of shotgunning (Bob Brister's Shotgunning: The Art And The Science comes immediately to mind), but not so many that can impart... an ethos... the way Ruark's book can.

Take advantage of every opportunity available to learn- if you have a club near you that offers instruction and rentals, that's a good thing too. IMHO your intent to 'try before you buy' is an excellent approach.

And while you're looking at classes, and the possibility of adding a shotgun to your home defense battery, let me suggest the NRA's Personal Protection In The Home class as well- see http://www.nrahq.org/education/training/basictraining.asp for more information.

Welcome aboard, and Stay Safe,


March 21, 2009, 12:43 PM

My point was that you don't need to spend big $$$ on special lessons and coaching when so much info is readily available on the internet for free. Your friend,"The guy that didn't know his shotgun usually hunts with his rifle." Has no excused for going to the field without first reading and comprehending his owner's manual. I can't remember the last time I saw a gun manual that didn't have a significant section on general safety as well as model specific information.

March 21, 2009, 01:14 PM
I agree that if you are a decently intelligent person and have decent reading comprehension these days a course is not necessary. But you have to get off your arse and practice. A course is good in that it forces you to get off the internet and get some real world experience. But yes all the info is out there for free these days.

March 21, 2009, 06:59 PM
Zippy I think we're on the same page. It's the typing vs. talking thing happening, know what I mean.

Thanks again to this forum, I found the Protection in the Home course local to me!
This is what I'm talking about Doc. you can learn a lot from these guys.

srt 10 jimbo
March 21, 2009, 09:42 PM
Sorry, did not know that posting improves your aim.:)

March 21, 2009, 10:03 PM
I bought my shotgun before I even shot one. You don't need to spend money on a class imo, unless you don't feel comfortable. Follow the rules with a firearm, do a little research to learn how to hold the shotgun while shooting/load it/strip it/clean it etcetc.

March 22, 2009, 08:16 AM
"Sorry, did not know that posting improves your aim."

Of course, it improves dexterity.

March 22, 2009, 01:14 PM
In order to lawfully possess a firearm in Canada, it is necessary to have both a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL), which allows for the possession and acquisition of a specified class or classes of firearms, as well as a valid registration certificate for each firearm. PAL’s and registration certificates are issued by the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program (CFP).
The Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Education (CORE) Program is British Columbia's Hunter Education Program. It is also a great program for anyone interested in outdoor recreation.

This is why the main difference in the states you can just purchase a firearm and maybe get a background check? In Canada you have to take courses and they provide great information on safety and even have "dud" firearms missing key opponents (firing pin+ a few more) but other than that their the real deal. So we get to use all 5 actions semi auto, lever, break barrel, pump, bolt action. (those are firearm classifactions) and we get monitored on every aspect holding, reloading, unloading etc and we get graded (these courses are 4 hrs a day for 3-5 days.) now Thats the non restircted firearms class (Hunting rifles/shotguns) I also have taken the Restricted firearms class (pistols, military rifles) and again we take courses. What Im trying to say is courses HELP alot.