Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Becoming an NRA Instructor

As I posted before, I spent some time recently in class to become an NRA Certified Instructor (and got these shiny patches that I'm going to show off one more time)

The NRA offers certifications in a lot of different areas, from the seemingly obvious like pistol, rifle and shotgun, to the more advanced/obscure like reloading metallic cartridges, range safety officer, and muzzle loading pistol, rifle or shotgun.  I am now certified to teach (as if you couldn't tell from the patches) home firearm safety, personal protection in the home, and basic pistol. 

Before you can become certified to teach any of the specific disciplines, you must attend Basic Instructor Training (or BIT), which basically makes sure that you're capable of getting up and speaking in front of others...something only moderately important for a teacher, right?  

Day 1 of class consisted of mostly BIT, though we started covering some of the pistol course information as well.  I really enjoyed the fact that our BIT training consisted not only of making sure we had a good grasp of basic firearms knowledge, but also covered topics such as advertising, writing a press release, checklists of "things to do" before hosting a class, etc.  For someone with no prior paid teaching under their belt, this is a helpful way for you to dip your toes into the pool, and figure out how to swim before you swan dive off the 10 foot board in that first class. 

Day 2 was the meat of our pistol course and a trip to the range which made sitting in a classroom all day worth it.  The information is pretty basic, which is good considering the pistol course is designed to introduce new shooters to pistol shooting in a safe way. 

We begin discussing the various types of pistols and actions, breaking down and explaining the components of a pistol and even a cartridge.  From there, the fundamentals of pistol shooting such as sight alignment/sight picture, proper grip, trigger pull and follow through is all discussed.  This class can take someone who is a complete novice, and turn them into a knowledgeable shooter.  

On the range we mainly were tasked with making sure we were familiar with all the various action types that may be in class, from semi autos to double and single action revolvers.  The single action revolvers were new to me, and I have to admit I prefer modern designs in both revolver and semi auto.  The grip on an old school single action revolver were a little hard to get used to for me.  They're fun to shoot and have nice triggers, but they just feel weird in my hands.  (Though I do want to get a SAA clone in .357 to pair with my lever gun just because they go together like peanut butter and jelly.) 

Day 3 was the most fun day to me because it was more advanced, dealing with home security, personal awareness, and the importance of having a plan for a home invasion.  Personal protection in the home is considered a more advanced class, so the teaching is directed towards those who already know how to shoot or may even be CHL holders, that would like to improve their in home safety knowledge and skills. 

The range session was also a lot of fun, as we got to practice shooting from different positions and behind barriers, not to mention emphasizing defensive shooting as opposed to bulls eye shooting.   Don't get me wrong, its fun to tear a tiny hole in the paper to show what a great shot you are, but knowing that you're able to bring the pistol into action quickly and be accurate enough to stop a threat is a very comforting thing and the perfect range session for a class on in home defense. 

In summary, I felt the classes were very helpful, and absolutely worth the price of admission.  Now that I am certified, I plan on teaching both NRA classes and my own classes, specializing mainly in helping introduce new shooters to pistol shooting.  I don't plan on making "quit your day job" type money, but as long as I can cover my costs regarding ammo/insurance/other expenses, I will be happy.

I'm mainly doing this because I love shooting and enjoy teaching people about things.  If I can infect others with my enthusiasm for the shooting sports, then that is X number of people who are now informed about their 2nd Amendment rights and are therefore less likely to buy the utter drivel that passes for "thinking" regarding guns from the media, the brady bunch, and the statists.  As well, they will possess the knowledge and skill to safely use their gun and enjoy shooting.  That's a win in my book any day! 

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