My High Standard 1980 Olympic Commemorative Pistol.
WHY TAKE THE NRA BASIC PISTOL SHOOTING COURSE? The NRA has been the world's biggest and most respected firearms training organizations since 1871. That means they really know what they are doing! In 2016 they put their expertise to work on behalf of a state-of-the-art new Basic Pistol Shooting Course that WILL give you the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to safely shoot (store, transport, and maintain) a handgun with considerable skill.
IS THIS THE COURSE FOR YOU? It IS if you are a beginning shooter who wants to start off right, or are an experienced shooter with some doubts about what you've been doing. It is also a prerequisite to take the NRA Pistol Instructor Course - regardless of your shooting experience and proficiency (no exceptions).
WHY IS THIS COURSE THE NRA "GOLD STANDARD"? The NRA Basic Pistol Shooting course is offered two ways: THE NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting - Blended option, and the Instructor-led option. I teach both. I recommend the blended option unless you just can't stand on-line learning. The Blended option has two phases. Phase I is only offered by the NRA on-line. It is a self-paced course that can take about 8 hours to finish. The NRA will notify me when you register for the Blended option and I will furnish a Course Control Code and instructions for you log-on and finish Phase I at your own pace. You can start and stop all you want. DO NOT PAY FOR PHASE I ON LINE! There is an option to do that, but the $60 cost of the on-line training is built into my $125 course fee. We don't want you to pay twice. I charge the same $125 for the Instructor-led format. It will take about 8-hours. Everything is included in my tuition for both options- range fees, firearms rental, ammo, targets, and training materials. In Phase II, or during the last half of the instructor-led course, I spend about 3 - 4 hours conducting hands-on exercises with my students before we go to the range. You'll learn firearm and range safety by handling several different types of handguns (provided). You practice handling common malfunctions. I'll coach you on the five fundamentals of shooting as you practice with laser pistols (real shooting at full-size targets - except with lasers not bullets). You'll load, cock, de-cock, unload, and practice maintaining all the modern types of pistols. Then we'll go to the range shoot for as long as students want - typically about 2 hours. Students WILL finish my class able to fire five shots within a 3-3/4" "Bull's Eye" at 10 yards four times (guaranteed). Most of my students "qualify" at intermediate, advanced, or even "instructor" level (targets further away and/or smaller). Classes are typically very small (2 - 4 students). I only shoot with 2 students at-a-time (unless more students WANT to shoot together - e.g. a family, or group of friends. With larger groups, I rent an entire range and we have it all to ourselves.
THAT SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF WORK. ISN'T THERE AN EASIER, QUICKER, LESS EXPENSIVE OPTION? The short answer is, YES! In fact, I offer a few for folks who already have quite a bit of experience but do not intend to become NRA Instructors, only want to learn to shoot one kind of pistol, or just want to spend an hour or two safely seeing if they like shooting at all. You'll find plenty of instructors offering courses that are not up to NRA standards. In fact, it won't take you long to learn that most ranges offer pistol lessons - and very few of them (if any) are NRA accredited. That's because it takes too long to teach an NRA class for what the market will bear. They can charge almost as much for their 1 - 2 hour classes as you will pay for an NRA course - and they don't have to "split" the tuition with the NRA (Phase I). I'm not saying there aren't some good instructors teaching at local ranges. I'm just pointing out the difference between an 8 hour class and one you can finish in one or two. I will also "admit" that many adults, especially those who finished school before blended learning was common, find Phase I tedious. My comment to those who feel this way is to wait until you see how much you retain after a year or so before you judge the NRA's course.
DO I KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT? You be the judge. I'm a former university assistant professor in kinesiology (motor learning). I coached and led two programs at the US Olympic Training Center for Modern Pentathlon, I wrote physical fitness policy/programs at the Pentagon, and had three podium finishes in pistol marksmanship (Bronze: Paris - 1968, Silver: Hanover - 1971, and Rome - 1973). The NRA's new, blended-learning course is based on peer-reviewed academic research on the development of motor skills where learning AND retention are both important.