View Full Version : Any NRA Basic Pistol Instructors?

August 29, 2009, 08:10 AM
Hi guy,

I am a newly Certified ( well I will be when the card gets here lol ) NRA Basic Pistol Instructor. I was lucky enough to have a VERY experienced Senior Counselor as an instructor. I took the Basic Pistol discipline first so I had a good idea but of course I took it again for the class. I walked out confident that I can instruct others but I am always looking to improve.

This is not a money maker for me, in fact I set my prices at less than 1/3 of the local guys who have less shooting experience or training that myself and I have insurance which NONE of them have, I did some " job shadowing " and asked alot of questions and it is a shame some people turn it into their paycheck instead of responsible training.

My intention is to teach a class or two per month and also hope to pick up some small volunteer gigs like teaching the " First Steps " handgun classes to local scout troops or other groups that would like to be educated on the safe handling of firearms. I know this is all a huge goal, I was taught at a young age ( around 6 ) to shoot handguns and it has made me the great shot and safe person that I am today with firearm. Responsible trainers are few and far between around my rural area so I look forward to meeting alot of nice folks.

In Missouri the Basic Pistol course is more than enough for the student to qualify for Concealed Carry Permits and I am sure most of my students will be in the class for that.

So I ask this, can any of you give me some tips or pointers that help you teach folks Basic Pistol, or any firearm discipline for that matter?

Thanks in advance

August 29, 2009, 08:30 AM

I too am awaiting the paperwork on my NRA instructor certification in Basic Pistol; as well as, Personal Protect in the Home.

One thing I intend to incorporate into my class teaching is to tell each class that I bring both over 50 years of experience and bias to the instruction. I will attempt to prevent my bias from influencing my teaching but I suspect that is impossible to totally remove how I think from how I present the material. I will tell each class to be aware of my possible bias and to ask questions with that in mind. It is my goal to meet each student's needs in the class as each individual will bring different backgrounds, firearms experience, and expectations to each class.

I do not want to have a "one size fits all" mindset. I will not advocate a revolver over a semi-auto or a semi-auto over a revolver in general; but have to see how each student demonstrates their abilities with the pistols they use in the class. I hope to see what works best for each student.


August 29, 2009, 09:42 AM
How long have you been waiting for your paperwork? I was told 4-6 weeks but hope it is not that long

August 29, 2009, 09:46 AM
One thing that I have seen totally kill a class is politicis. Leave politics out of your classes. Do not preach to the class, do not try to promote CCW or even try to sell the NRA. Stick strickly with teaching firearms. Get people shooting and going to the range and the other stuff will fall into line.

August 29, 2009, 10:03 AM
One of my pet peeves about CCW instructors is they push their own pet pistol/revolver as the end all of Concealed Carry.

Please dont do this. When I teach a class, I provide as many pistols as I can, and asked others to bring differant pistol/revolvers so the class can get exposed to as many types as possible to see what works for them.

Even when asked I what I recommend, I tell them, what fits and works for them is the best pistol.

Many years ago, I went to the FBIs LE Firearms instructor class. to their credit the instructors also would not recommend any certain gun or ammo. Even though the FBI thinks they are the know all/end all, to firearm knowledge, the instructors I had weren't that way. Shoot, unlike most feds, my instructors would reach out to other "local" agencies for help, even picking me to handle the shotgun phase for problem students.

Another Example, and I'm not saying the FBI is like this, but many private schools are. One un-named shooting school praised their pet gun and condemned Brand X as the worse, most unsafe, dangerous pistol out there, and wouldnt allow it in their class. One student carried the brand x. but had to barrow a pistol for the class. Now what happend if that student goes back to his brand X, and is involved in a shooting. Ligit or not, he's gonna have to justify in court why he went against his training. Stupid I know, but you can see how that could be a problem.

So in short, you may like a certain brand, style, pistol and ammo combnation, but not everyone does. Not all people are alike, not all guns fit all people.

Having said that My Brand Z is better then your brand Y.

August 29, 2009, 10:12 AM
Thanks for the tips guys, I definitely dont try to sell my guns at all. I know the importance of a good fitting gun as it took me several manufacturers and several calibers to land on the Glock 30 as my daily carry. I do carry a Keltec PF-9 as a backup as well because of weight and it is a 9mm.

I currently own 2 Glocks ( 19 & 30 ), an XD9, Keltec's PF-9 and P3AT, 3 revolvers ( 2 smiths and a Colt ) and a " double 9 22lr revolver ) that I intend to take to classes so everyone can see the difference in guns.

The only things I really want to pick up now is a couple Browning buckmark 22lr or Ruger MKII or MKIII so I can have guns for newer students. Also thinking of picking up a couple 4" barreled 357 revolvers for students to shoot 38 ammo through.

What are your thoughts on the 22lr guns for newer students?

August 29, 2009, 03:33 PM
It will take 5 weeks or so right now to get credentials, seems to be about the normal timeline.

I have various pistols, but i found the Walther P22 to be a useful one for teaching beginners. Has all the neccesary parts, SA/DA etc to get somebody comfortable, can fit large or small hands and is of course a 22, so easier to stay on target.

August 29, 2009, 08:13 PM
+1 about not selling the students on your favorite handgun.

A lot (most) of the students taking Basic Pistol around here are women, most of whom have never shot anything before. I had heard they made the best students, and my experience backs that up, they really do approach the class with an open mind, they listen, and they try to do what the lessons say to do. And it seems to work well for them!

All of the women taking the Basic Pistol so far with me have been doing it so that they can get their CWP. I tried to emphasize that if they decide to actually get their own gun for home defense or for carry, THEY are the only ones who can decide what's best for them. I get a LOT of head-nodding from them and they really seem into it when someone tells them that they are the best person to decide what works best for them. Not the boyfriend, the husband, or the father, no matter how much gun and shooting experience he has. One woman told me she was glad we emphasized this, because her crusty 'ol dad told her she should get a derringer for protection! I didn't have a derringer for her to try, but after trying several revolvers and semi-autos she came to her own conclusion that even a 38 snubbie would better serve her than a derringer. I think the NRA course materials are good, but students especially women students really get a charge out of learning the material and applying it to make their own decision.

What are your thoughts on the 22lr guns for newer students?

Oh, absolutely a good idea. I use a revolver and a semi-auto in 22 for their first shots. It seems to be a real confidence builder. We start with those and then the ones who are interested try out the other stuff from 38 Special on up. But I think starting with the 22 is great.

August 29, 2009, 10:09 PM
for the 4H program.
Make it fun, and get your point across strongly but subtlety.

Direct the student how to do and let them put it together, the ligth buls goin off will be illuminating.

.22 sidearm is great as it teaches the fien points of sigth alignment, trigger control, BREATHING, and follow thru.
If possible have students with .38/.357's use the target wadcutters, as the recoil in the heavy sideram will be like a .22.

August 29, 2009, 11:04 PM
How long have you been waiting for your paperwork? I was told 4-6 weeks but hope it is not that long

I mailed my paperwork about 12 days ago.

My understanding of the Basic Pistol course is that it is really basic. This is a class for people who know almost nothing about safe handling, shooting, cleaning, and storing of handguns.

The NRA class titled Personal Protection is the Home is more advanced and requires that the students already have completed the basic skills of safe gun handling, shooting a group, zeroing the firearm, and cleaning the firearm. Proof of shooting experience can be one of the following: NRA Basic Pistol Course Certificate, NRA first Steps Course Certificate, NRA pistol competitive shooting qualification card, military DD 214 with pistol qualification, Concealed carry permit, or passing a Pre-Course evaluation.

August 30, 2009, 11:11 AM
You are somewhat correct,

FIRST Steps Pistol

FIRST stands for “Firearm Instruction, Responsibility, and Safety Training”, a program the NRA developed to meet the need for a firearms orientation program for new gun purchasers. This FIRST Steps program is a basic courses abbreviated to the most fundamental shooting skills, and the specifics of a particular model of pistol.

This course, because of its narrow focus, can be completed as quickly as three hours. Students will get the NRA's The Basics of Pistol Shooting handbook and quick practical lessons on the safe use, cleaning, and storage of their pistol. The practical exercise covers a single pistol shooting position. As the number of participants or pistol types present increases, the course will take proportionally longer.
Course Goal

“To provide beginning shooters with an introduction to the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to own and use a specific pistol model safely.”
—NRA FIRST Steps Pistol Orientation Lesson Plans

1. Introduction to Pistol Safety, Parts, and Operation
2. Introduction to Ammunition and the Fundamentals of Pistol Shooting
3. Introduction to Pistol Shooting from the Benchrest Position
4. Introduction to Pistol Cleaning, Storage, and Training Opportunities


The are no prerequisites for taking this course, and the material is accessible to appropriately supervised mature children.
Course Completion

Students will receive feedback on the live-fire exercise and a course certificate upon successful completion of the lessons. Students will receive a “Basic Practical” rocker upon successful demonstration of firing a qualifying “group”.

THE Basic Pistol

A pistol, or handgun, is a firearm designed to be fired while being held in one hand. While such firearms are small and compact, they can be the hardest to learn.

The Basic Pistol course can be as short as ten hours. In it students will get the NRA's The Basics of Pistol Shooting handbook and intensive lessons in safety, gun handling, the various types of pistols, the fundamentals of pistol marksmanship, various pistol firing positions, several practical exercises on the firing range, cleaning, storage, and a summary of pistol sports and activities.
Course Goal

“To teach the basic knowledge, skills, and attitude for owning and using a pistol safely.”
—NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course Lesson Plans

1. Pistol Knowledge and Safe Gun Handling
2. Ammunition Knowledge and Fundamentals of Pistol Shooting
3. Firing the First Shots (includes cleaning and storage)
4. Two-handed and One-handed Standing Shooting Positions
5. Pistol Sports and Activities


The are no prerequisites for taking this course, and the material is accessible to appropriately supervised mature children.
Course Completion

Students will receive feedback on the live-fire exercise and a course certificate upon successful completion of the lessons. Students will receive a “Basic Practical” rocker upon successful demonstration of firing a qualifying “group”. There is a short written test on the lesson material at the end of the course.

August 31, 2009, 03:08 PM
I feel pretty much the same way. I only train people I trust will be responsible gun owners. I screen people on the phone and mostly they are recommended by people I know.

August 31, 2009, 04:14 PM
What are your thoughts on the 22lr guns for newer students?

It's pretty much the best thing for any student. Besides the benefits of low recoil, cost, and noise, the .22 comes in just about every handgun platform.

Good luck in your efforts.

August 31, 2009, 06:01 PM
I went shopping today, I picked up a Browning Buckmark and a Ruger MKIII. I will shoot both of them for a while to see which I like more and that will be the one I choose for the class

August 31, 2009, 06:18 PM
Remember that many companies offer discounts for NRA Instructors. Special Offers (http://www.nrahq.org/youth/specialoffers/)

RUGER (http://www.ohio4hshootingsports.org/Forms/Ruger-Program/2009%20Instructor%20Purchase%20Ruger.pdf) discounts currently end on 12/31/09.

August 31, 2009, 10:19 PM
Buy "Shooting Missology" from tactical response!!! Its worth its weight in gold. It will debunk a lot of the myths that are being perpetuated out there about shooting accurately and the difference between technique and fundamentals (yes, there's a difference!) It will improve the quality of your classes 10 fold and will shorten the length of time it takes your students to progress if you apply this video's lessons to your classes.

August 31, 2009, 10:21 PM
Thanks for the tip, I will check into it.

September 5, 2009, 09:38 AM
I became an instructor for many reasons. I live in Ohio and will put a class on for you and your friends if you would like. Let me know ----I teach everybody - men women - new beginners to old salts, everybody in the class will learns somethings. I do go straight by the NRA book.
Have a good day -- and I hope to hear from you !!

September 5, 2009, 10:21 AM
You will put what class on for me? I AM a basic pistol instructor already so I dont know if that is what you mean or what?

I will be looking into doing a personal protection class inside the home and outside the home if you do that but I can not come to Ohio to do that lol

September 5, 2009, 11:01 AM
I have been an NRA Instructor for over 14 years and have taught a lot of people over the years. One important thing you have to remember to do is not dump more information on them then they want or can absorb! It is called vomitting! Keep your answers to there questions simple and make sure they understand where you are coming from.

Have fun it has been a lot of fun over the years and I have really enjoyed it and plan to continue to do so for a lot of years.

September 25, 2009, 12:43 AM
Just for my info, how much is the NRA course?

September 25, 2009, 05:21 AM
The price ranges depending on the instructor, for the student part of the class it ranges usually from 50-150 and for the instructor class 100-300 depending on who is teaching it.

The NRA does not tell people what to charge, it is really up to the instructor or counselor what they want to charge.

September 28, 2009, 08:02 PM
Just be yourself. ALWAYS teach local laws for carry and use of a firearm. AlWAYS teach the 3 points of the legal use for self defense.
1. does he have the MEANS to commit the crime
2. does he have the OPPORTUNITY to commit the crime
3. does he have the INTENT to commit the crime
Enjoy your classes, you are doing a good service to your community.
Gary M. about 20 years NRA instructor.

September 28, 2009, 09:35 PM
Don't allow those in the class to talk too much, if at all. Questions only. No comments. As a student I got tired of the "attitude" of students questions/comments, like: "After you blow their head off drag them in your house to make it legal." Once the stupidity starts it's hard to stop.... I actually heard that in my CCW class.

September 28, 2009, 10:26 PM
Take at least one or two classes a year from a professional firearms training school (not just another NRA trainer, though those are helpful too). There's always more to learn!


September 30, 2009, 02:01 PM

Mailed my paperwork to the NRA on August 18, 2009.

Just received my Instructor Certificates from the NRA (September 30, 2009). So it took right at six weeks for the paper work to go through.

September 30, 2009, 08:29 PM
Mine was mailed off Monday...we shall see how long it takes....

October 23, 2009, 11:22 PM
wow, should here my deal.

I mailed mine off August 21st, have been told they lost my papers yet they have my name on a roster for the class, now they " found " my papers and supposed to be in the mail on its way to me, we will see. I will post when it gets here but I wont hold my breath

October 24, 2009, 10:55 AM
Okay so I tried to register on www.nrainstructor.org and it let me so it looks like they finally did get my crap together, hope to get it in mail in a few days as they said it was mailed yesterday.

October 24, 2009, 06:27 PM
The only non course related issue I bring up is the exposure to lead. If you have young children, use one pair of boots for shooting and leave them in the garage or outside. You don't want to expose young children to that. I also mention to wash you hands with cold water after shooting.