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Training Updates

All About Training Update

“Training Update” is a communication center exclusively for NRA Instructors.  It contains articles, videos, news releases, special offers, information, topics  - everything that keeps NRA instructors in the center of the communication loop.

What is the NRA Instructor's next step in training?

As an NRA Instructor, you may be certified to teach a single NRA Basic Course, or perhaps all eleven of them.  As a method to teach novices the basic knowledge, skills, and attitude to safely handle, shoot, maintain, store, and transport a particular type of firearm, the NRA Basic Courses are the industry standard.  They are very good at doing what they are intended to do.

Many Instructors want to become better trained to teach some shooting discipline beyond the skills required to complete a basic course. If you become an NRA Training Counselor, you will be trained to teach people how to teach. Your knowledge and skills will be enhanced beyond those required to conduct NRA basic courses.

If you want to train shooters more advanced shooting skills and enhance their shooting proficiency beyond the basics, you should consider becoming an NRA Coach. The NRA Coach is trained to teach the competitive shooting sports, either to individuals or to shooting teams.  While the Instructor's time spent with a student is typically limited to the length of the Basic Course, the Coach may train shooters over an extended period of time, sometimes for several years!

Separate two-day Coach Schools are offered throughout the country for Shotgun, Rifle and Pistol.  Level 1 Coaches must be at least 18 years old.

The Shotgun Coach School teaches the coaching of American Trap, American Skeet, Sporting Clays, International Trap, and International Skeet. The Rifle Coach School teaches position shooting for both .22 rimfire and air rifle.  The Pistol Coach School teaches bullseye shooting for both cartridge and air pistols. The NRA Coach Courses are endorsed by all of the major shooting National Governing Bodies including Amateur Trapshooting Association, National Skeet Shooting Association, National Sporting Clays Association, USA Shooting and Civilian Marksmanship Program.

The lessons covered in each Level 1 Coach School include Safety and Risk Management, Rulebook Use and Etiquette, Coaching Ethics, Equipment Selection, Shooting Fundamentals and Sport-specific Techniques, Coaching Methodology, Mental Training, Planning Training, and Building Quality Programs.  Practical coaching exercises allow the coach candidate to put into practice some of what they learned in the classroom.

Coach School schedules are usually posted on the NRA Website at coaching.nra.org/coach-training-schools.aspx. Download the Sponsor's Guide to find out how you or your club can sponsor a Coach School in your area. For more information, email coaching@nrahq.org or call 703-267-1401.

NRA's Action Rifle Challenge

NRA Action Rifle ChallengeNew from NRA Training is a fun way to develop or expand your skills with your modern sporting rifle. Dubbed NRA-ARC (America's Rifle Challenge), this training event is presented by Daniel Defense and is open to semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazine like the AR-15. The course of fire is designed for shooters of all skill levels and can easily be adapted to most ranges with center fire capabilities. Participants will learn safe gun handling skills and proficiency with their firearms.

Shooters will be introduced to scenarios involving single and multiple targets, using cover and concealment, defensive positions of prone, standing and kneeling and efficient magazine changes. Participants will also receive guidance in the use of bipeds, slings and optics commonly used in defensive situations.

Beta NRA-ARC events have already been conducted in Arizona, Virginia, West Virginia, and Michigan. Some events have offered targets varying in distance from 7 yards to 300 yards. Most ranges will only be able to offer distances out to 100 yards, and the primarily course of fire is designed to meet that need.

Participants love this event. Brooke Fleming, who traveled nine hours to shoot in the West Virginia event held at the beautiful Peacemaker Range exclaimed, "With this being my first tactical-style event, I was a little intimidated. But with the training I received while on the line, I started developing skills I always thought were too difficult and out of my reach."

Now is the time to schedule an NRA-ARC event at your range for 2015. For more information, contact NRA-ARC@nrahq.org or call 703-267-1500, then press 5 for details.

Training Tip: Becoming a Better Speaker

If you're not accustomed to public speaking or you need to help someone improve his or her speaking efforts, these observations and suggestions might help:

  • Most people should speak a bit louder than normal and use larger gestures than they feel comfortable with.
  • Invest quite a bit of time in analyzing the audience. Be sure to tell that audience something it doesn't know.
  • Avoid reading a speech with your eyes glued to the lectern. If you want to read to people, just remember your parents read to you to put you to sleep. Work from an outline and trust yourself.
  • Move away from the lectern. Establishing rapport with the audience is vital.
  • Videotape your speech rehearsals and analyze them to strengthen your presentation.
  • Spend five or six seconds looking at each person in the audience. Shorter times can make you look like a scared rabbit.
  • Pause instead of inflicting "ums" and "ahs" on the audience.

The Forefront of Firearms Training

Since 1871, the National Rifle Association has been the premier provider of basic firearms training. For over 141 years, NRA’s training has continued to grow and improve in order to provide our students with the most informative and professional training experience possible. Our training fosters knowledgeable and safe students. It works – firearm accidents are at an all-time low.

Along the way, we have gone through many improvements that started with the development of handbooks for students. Those handbooks contained hand-drawn images that evolved into black and white photographs to more recent times, high definition color photos. In 2013, some 380,000 student copies of NRA’s Basics of Pistol Shooting Handbook were sold.

We created similarity in the courses with the development of lesson plans that established learning objectives and helped instructors with time management. Next came overhead slides that allowed students to read information projected on a screen as the instructor taught the material. Our current PowerPoint presentations take the pressure off the instructor during their presentation and allow them to focus on total participant involvement.  Beyond the handbooks and lesson plans, we have created a warehouse and distribution system for easy ordering of the materials needed for each course.  NRAInstructors.org has become instructors’ exclusive tool for marketing courses and handling administrative needs for registering students and renewing ratings from NRA.

We are now starting on our next innovation in firearms training – blended learning. This teaching method blends an online student interface with one-on-one instructor training and evaluation. The online portion will cover the curriculum that is currently being taught from the student handbook. The live instructor will cover the hands-on firearm portions of the course, shooting exercises, the shooting qualification and make the final evaluation of student.

There will be two assessments of the student – upon completion of the online portion and during the live portion with the instructor. A student will not receive a certificate of completion for the NRA course until the instructor validates the student’s knowledge, skills, and attitude.

One of the major factors for moving towards the blended learning is it insures that each and every student receives the course information in a complete and consistent manner every time the course is given. Also the classroom portion of each course can now be accomplished by the student, at their pace, on their schedule. The ability for students to take the classroom portion at anytime, day or night, weekday or weekend, will increase the pool of students for you to evaluate and instruct. No longer will you need to rent a classroom where you will spend all of your day.  This allows you to focus on the student’s course and their first shot. You decide on fee schedule, pre-range process and ultimately issue the certificate. The instructor has the final authority on when a student is ready to receive their certificate. As an NRA instructor, your process in determining which students are ready or those who need more training is important. You should have practices in place to determine each student is prepared for your instruction. This may include a safety test, shortened classroom review, and/or any process you feel necessary to ensure the student meets your standards for the live fire portion. As always, NRA is relying on the instructor to ensure each student meets the requirements to earn the certification.

There have been many questions about what NRA will be charging for the online portion of the course. That is yet to be determined based on the development cost of the learning management system. In the near future, we hope to build a senior team of training counselors that will assist in the continued growth and enhancement of the training programs. Our goal is to always be the standard when it comes to firearms safety, training and marksmanship. Blended learning is the first in the direction of securing ourselves of that standard. We will keep you informed on all these aspects. In 2015, we will introduce Basic Pistol in this new format and in time, all of our training courses will have an online component.

New Features for NRAinstructors.org

The NRAinstructors.org website has received a facelift -- new colors, new masthead, better spacing, easier applications, and quite a few new added features that NRA Instructors are sure to appreciate. The facelift went online on June 25. Many of the new features that were added came about because you asked for them -- and we listened! Have you checked it out? Here are a few highlights.  

One click on the new Update Account Information page now does it all! Instructors can manage their login and password information, change mailing addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and highlight the youth groups they work with -- all on one page!

On the instructor's Manage Courses and Students page, there’s a new ALL STUDENTS tab that provides a history/overview of everyone trained by the instructor in a student table. And the table is exportable, providing instructors with the flexibility to transfer the information to their own spreadsheet or database software program, should they prefer.       

And we didn't forget the students, either. Those looking for classes/courses can now sort their radius searches by course, date or city. Exclusive searches can also be conducted for Boy Scouts of America -- both Scouts searching for BSA classes/courses and Scout Leaders searching for NRA instructor training courses provided for BSA. Did you know Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest shooting sports exposure pockets in the youth development arena?

And there is much more to come, too:

  • Course waiting list
  • Transfer/Copy student info to other courses
  • Exclusive searches for women & youth
  • Coach admin

Teaching Tip: Seeing Double? Make Your Own Occluder

As an instructor or coach, you can enhance your shooters' success by ensuring they use their eyes properly. Proper eye use includes having both eyes open, with the dominant eye focused on the front sight.

(Eye dominance is explained in NRA Basic Firearms Training course outlines and lesson plans. Focusing the dominant eye within the sight picture varies by shooting discipline and the type of sights being used.)

Expanding or contracting the pupil of one eye by squinting or straining the eye muscles tends to cause the other eye to react similarly. Therefore, both eyes should remain open and receive equal amounts of light.

Keeping both eyes open may cause some shooters to see a double sight picture (two targets and/or sights). Using an occluder (blinder) allows the shooter to see a single sight picture. With practice, shooters are often able to reduce the size of their occluder, or eliminate its use altogether.

As long as the shooter sees a single sight picture, the occluder can be used as small as ¼ to ½-inch square. The occluder should be transparent enough to allow equal amounts of light to reach each eye.  Translucent tape works well as an occluder for beginners.

To place a tape occluder properly:

  1. Place the shooter in position with an unloaded gun.
  2. Stand at the shooters non-dominant side.
  3. Hold a piece of tape in front of the shooting glass lens of the shooters non-dominant eye.
  4.  Move the tape around until the shooter attains a single sight picture.
  5. Placed the tape on the lens in that position.
  6. Ask the shooter to explain and draw the sight picture to verify proper placement of the occluder and focus the dominant eye.

An occluder can also be made from a translucent plastic milk carton and attached to the rear rifle aperture, a hat, or shooting glasses. High-quality aperture sights often have a device for the attachment of an occluder. An occluder can be attached to a shooting cap or shooting glasses by bonding a clip to the plastic.

To construct a plastic occluder for a rifle, cut a rectangular piece of plastic large enough to cover the non-dominant eye. Cut a hole, about the same size as the aperture threads, approximately ½-inch from a narrow end for attaching the occluder to the aperture. Put the aperture threats through the hole and the plastic and screw the aperture into the rear sight.

When using plastic as an occluder, always melt or sand the edges to a smooth finished to prevent cuts.

Several types of occluders, including flip-down models, are also available commercially.

Teaching Tip: Cylinder Rotation

In basic pistol marksmanship courses, instructors are required to have their students load a single cartridge, so as to fire a single shot. If the student is using a semi-automatic pistol, single loading is not a real challenge. If a revolver is involved, the student must load a chamber and locate it to one side of the chamber that is directly in line with the barrel. That way, when the hammer is cocked or the trigger pulled, the loaded chamber rotates to align with the barrel and is fired when the trigger is pulled. The instructor and the student must know which way the cylinder turns.

Usually this is a matter of memory – cylinder in revolvers of this make rotate in this direction – but not always. Inevitably a student is going to turn up with a revolver both the student and the instructor is unfamiliar.

The easy way to determine the direction of cylinder rotation is to examine the cylinder stop notches. The cylinder stop notches are machined grooves, the shape of which resembles an arrowhead, found on the surface of the cylinder near its rear edge. The “tip” of the arrowhead points in the direction the cylinder rotates. Thus, by observing the cylinder stop notches, the instructor and the student will know which way the cylinder will turn when the revolver is cocked.

Direction of the arrowhead cylinder stop notches indicates the direction of cylinder rotation. This Smith & Wesson's cylinder turns counterclockwise.

Survey Says

Our goal is simple: to provide quality firearms education and to keep NRA training the gold standard for firearms training in America. To achieve this, we need to be innovative in our approach and continue to enhance the experience for the students.  

Recently, we surveyed a group of students from all NRA training programs. We asked them what they liked and what things could be improved to make their experience better. The number one most requested item was more range time. Helping the first-time shooter with that intimidating moment just before they safely shoot a firearm is the most important role of an instructor. Increasing the students' knowledge and confidence with a firearm is second.

As we reviewed the surveys, other recurring items were mentioned: more gun handling and more one-on-one instruction.

Here are some of the responses from students describing how they felt the course could be improved:

  • More one-on-one instruction. Opportunity to get more questions addressed. More time handling the pistol.
    - George T.
  • Shooting different types of guns in different stances.
    - Kimberly B.
  • A chance to practice with different guns to help choose the most comfortable one for purchase. More shooting time.  Add some gun maintenance information (cleaning and care, taking the gun apart for cleaning).
    - Travis H.
  • Smaller groups or more instructors for shooting.
    More hands-on activity.
    -Charles Q.
  • Chance to fire different caliber handguns.
    - Susan B.
  • Although the stories were both captivating and enjoyable, there seemed to be a common theme of getting off topic.
    - Bryan M.
  • It was too long.
    - Priscilla A.

Feedback is important to our success. As we continue to survey students for their thoughts, we will create more opportunities for students to learn the basics of firearms safety and marksmanship.

Please remember to have your students fill out the student surveys. These are great opportunities to gather feedback on your courses.

Wanted: More Opportunities to Shoot

As we continue to survey our students on how to improve our courses, one theme is clear – students want more time shooting on the range.

The recent graduates of the Basic Shooting Classes will find more range time in a confidence-building atmosphere with the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program. This program is perfect for the instructor to work with students and further develop their marksmanship skills. Whether you are a volunteer or this is your business, the Marksmanship Qualification Program is a great recruitment and retention tool.

 The Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program, which is more commonly referred to as the MQP, has courses of fire for rifle, pistol, shotgun and muzzleloader tied in with various levels of difficulty, making it the the perfect next step for a person who has just completed a basic class.

To get started, visit our website at mqp.nra.org then choose a course of fire. For example, let's say you've just taught a basic pistol class and you have a few students that may benefit by additional range time or they simply need more supervision by an instructor. Invite them back to your range and start with the Pistol Qualification (on page four of the NRA's current issue of the program guidebook). Have the large discipline patch ready for them, since they earned it by attending the Basic Class. Get them started them on earning the Pro-Marksman level, and work with them through all the levels until they complete to Expert.

Several requirements are necessary for the Distinguished Expert level, explained under the NRA Member Benefit on the MQP webpage. Additional courses of fire are encouraged and explained in the MQP book. Also refer to the addenda in your Instructor's Manual.

NRA encourages positive instructor to student relationships, resulting in student growth. Either the instructor or the student can chart the progress, and the students receive awards as they reach each ranking.  These awards are available from our Program Materials Center.

The MQP is an honor-based and self-paced program; no targets or scores need to be sent to the NRA for validation. Both NRA members and non-members can participate in this program. If a participant reaches the Distinguished Expert level and is an NRA Member, the participant will receive national recognition and the Distinguished Expert Awards packet free of charge. For non-members, the award can be purchased from the Program Materials Center.

Help your students save money while earning money yourself.  Become an NRA recruiter and earn money from each person you sign up.  For more information, visit recruiting.nra.org.

If you have questions or you would like additional guidance, contact the program coordinator at 703-267-1505 or email marksmanship@nrahq.org.

Distinguished Experts that were achieved summer through fall of 2014:

Triple Distinguished
Vincent Herrera Paradise, CA
Double Distinguished
Linda Butler Charlotte, NC
Jeff Hewlett Yorktown, VA
Sherri Huff Wylie, TX
Marietta Johnson Dallas, TX
Dennis Lloyd Charlotte, NC
Cheryl Long Fairview, TX
Cindy Keel-White Odessa, TX
George Mounce Suffolk, VA
Tanja Pietrass Falls Church, VA
R. Philbrook Holiday, FL
Robert Sorge Bloomfield Hills, MI
Dale Alexander Paradise, CA
Trisha Allen Garland, TX
Carroll Anderson Monroeville, PA
Diane Anderson Monroeville, PA
Richard Anderson Bowie, MD
Jeff Anderson Gridley, CA
Larry Akins Gloucester, VA
Anne Barrett Magalia, CA
Dennis Barrett Magalia, CA
Kenneth Bass Cary, NC
John Bourne Wake Forest, NC
T. Bowles Boise, ID
Susan Brennan Waxhaw, NC
Edith Bunch Cookson, OK
Walter Butler Matthews, NC
Steve Carlin Le Roy, MN
Vernon Carr Universal City, TX
Alan Carroll Raleigh, NC
James Carroll Raleigh, NC
Caleb Chinn Paradise, CA
George Collins Paradise, CA
Gerald Collins Murphy, NC
James Colotta Charlotte, NC
Linda Bishop-Cooper Dallas, TX
Melanie Coyl McKinney, TX
Ralph Crippen Paradise, CA
John Dekeersgieter Yorktown, VA
Frank DeYoung Onalaska, WA
Melissa DeYoung Onalaska, WA
Jason Dickert Newport News, VA
Henry Dobson Waxhaw, NC
Vincent D'Orazio Williamsburg, VA
John Eerenberg Fort Mill, SC
Don Edwards Indian Trail, NC
Stacy Engel Havelock, NC
Gregory Fountaine Cary, NC
Mark Franks Paradise, CA
Mathew Fultz Charlotte, NC
Thomas Galvanek Cary, NC
Nelson Godbey Charlotte, NC
Arcadio Gonzalez Allentown, PA
Clifford Yun Wo Goo Waipahu, HI
David Gough Paradise, CA
Robert Gray Fowlerville, MI
Janet Grooms Charlotte, NC
Nathan Gunn Spencer, WV
Frederick Haggerson Charlotte, NC
Luke Hammond Manhattan, KS
William Harrison Charlotte, NC
Wanda Hartung Suffolk, VA
Liza Hendricks Dallas, TX
Timothy Herr Hartland, MI
Vincent Herrera Paradise, CA
Thomas Herstedt West Frankfort, IL
Jeff Hewlett Yorktown, VA
Cathi Higgins Indian Trail, NC
Forrest Holnbach Paradise, CA
Fred Hornback West Harrison, IN
John Howard Homewood, IL
Sally Ann Hnatiuk College Station, TX
Randall Humphries Chico, CA
Bill Jackson Indian Land, SC
Marietta Johnson Dallas, TX
Arthur Joslin Pinckney, MI
Stephen Julian Southlake, TX
Rick Kania Brighton, MI
Eugene Keel Paradise, CA
Cecily Ketterer Dallas, TX
Fredi Kodl Paradise, CA
John Krogmann Catawba, VA
Brian Krueger Plymouth, WI
Wendy Kvale McCormick, SC
Leah Lewkowicz Chico, CA
Dennis Lloyd Charlotte, NC
Greg Lowe Matthews, NC
Elizabeth Lutz Annville, PA
Ling Ly San Diego, CA
David Lyon Oak Forest, IL
Judith Mackowski Pierson, FL
Kimberly Manuel Wylie, TX
John May Chico, CA
T. McAdams Chico, CA
Lyla Malzahn Dallas, TX
Tom Markson Honolulu, HI
A. Duane Menefee Paradise, CA
Christopher Michini Charlotte, NC
Robert Minton Chico, CA
David Mize Yorktown, VA
Marcy Molz Groveland, CA
Albert Motley Hampton, VA
George Mounce Suffolk, VA
Daryl Murray Shertz, TX
Mark Myrdahl Chico, CA
Alan Nichols Howell, MI
Joyce Butler Nichols Hamilton, OH
Barbara Parks Dallas, TX
Jeffery Parrott Enumclaw, WA
James Payne Jr. Charlotte, NC
James Payne III Charlotte, NC
Terry Pepperdine Paradise, CA
R. Philbrook Holiday, FL
Richard Picard Monroe, NC
Tanja Pietrass Falls Church, VA
Michael Pinault Richmond Hill, GA
Neil Potts Paradise, CA
Harry Pratt Alexandria, LA
David Ramsey Chico, CA
Gerald Richardson Magalia, CA
Michael Riggleman Smithfield, VA
Judy Rhodes Dallas, TX
Gregory Rupp Augusta, KS
Steve Sautter Missoula, MT
Heather Schrunk Garland, TX
Guy Scott Grimes, IA
Jeffery Scudder Circleville, OH
Shannon Selstedt Wichita, KS
George Siegel Rincon, GA
William Smith Hutchinson, KS
Frank Sonsini Williamsburg, VA
Robert Sorge Bloomfield Hills, MI
Michelle Sorano Newport News, VA
Steven Sorano Newport News, VA
Thor Sparre Paradise, CA
Howard Stephens Waxhaw, NC
Gregg Stouder South Lyon, MI
Greg Thomas Charlotte, NC
Mitch Thomas Clifton, CO
Michael Tomlinson Gloucester, VA
Paula Truitt Grand Prairie, TX
Bernard Vanraaphorst Pinckney, MI
Tom Utterback Fort Bragg, CA
Debra Erwin-Votaw Lancaster, TX
Duncan Way Paradise, CA
James Weinrich Howell, MI
Cindy Keel-White Odessa, TX
Larry Wilkins Chico, CA
Carol Williams Dawsonville, GA
Ken Williams Dawsonville, GA
Ian Wise Nampa, ID
Billy Azzinaro East Bruswick, NJ
Timothy Breslin Colorado Springs, CO
Linda Butler Charlotte, NC
Eric Chun Alameda, CA
John Dekeersgieter Yorktown, VA
Vincent D'Oranzio Williamsburg, VA
Kenneth Foist Cheyenne, WY
Jerrine Fussell Sandy, OR
Russell Harrelle Riverside, CA
Jeff Hewlett Yorktown, VA
Sherri Huff Wylie, TX
Marietta Johnson Dallas, TX
Cecily Ketterer Dallas, TX
Cheryl Long Fairview, TX
Stanley Long San Antonio, TX
William Marsh Colorado Springs, CO
Pat Morganthaler Nappanee, IN
George Mounce Suffolk, VA
James Payne Charlotte, NC
Richard Picard Monroe, NC
Tanja Pietrass Falls Church, VA
Frank Sonsini Williamsburg, VA
Michael Diggs Hampton, VA
Virgil Frick Lubbock, TX
Vincent Herrera Paradise, CA
Mike Hull Paradise, CA
Gary Leroy Walnut Creek, CA
Cassandra Mack Raleigh, NC
Steven McMullen Chico, CA
John May Paradise, CA
Steven Nunes Orlando, FL
John Packs Hawthorne, NY
R. Philbrook Holiday, FL
Richard Picard Monroe, NC
Donald Pitchford Sprinfield, IL
Kevin Portanova Orlando, FL
Nancy Roberts Rocky Mount, NC
Steve Sautter Missoula, MT
Gregory Scafidi Itasca, IL
Robert Sorge Bloomfield Hills, MI
Christiaan Van Der Walt Aurora, CO
Sally Zimmerman Murphy, TX

Welcome Coaches!

On October 1, coaches were welcomed to the NRAI website. This first stage of integration included several cosmetic facelifts to webpages along with the ability for coaches to renew their credentials online and print updated certificates and ID cards.

In the next phase, the National Coach Development Staff will have the ability to register and promote their coach schools in the system, and prospective student candidates will be able to register for coach schools online.

In the last phase, we'll be adding the programming to link the general public to NRA coaches with have the knowledge and skills they are seeking for themselves or for their groups, schools, teams, and clubs.

Teaching Tip: Mask the Master Eye

Coaches and instructors frequently encounter problems associated with eye dominance and uses of the dominant eye. Here's a follow-up to ]"Seeing Double? Make Your Own Occluder."

What happens in a situation involving reverse dominance – a right-handed shooter who is left-eye dominant and absolutely unable to shoot from the left shoulder, or vice versa? It is a particularly troublesome in shotgun, when binocular vision is needed for depth perception and wide field of view is involved.

In this instance, applying a circle of lip balm to the lens of the shooter's glasses around the pupil of the dominant eye can work wonders.

Like the opaque patch with its central aperture, finding the location for the lip balm mark is easy.

  1. Check to be certain that the student's gun is UNLOADED.
  2. Have the student put on his or her shooting glasses and aim at a fixed object.
  3. While standing near the student's dominant side, move a pencil point in front of the shooting glass lens of the dominant eye. Have the student tell you when the point touches the object.
  4. Put a smudge of lip balm on the shooter’s glasses at that spot – the smudge should be 1/2 inch to 2/3 inch in diameter.

The smudge enables the shooter to see with his dominant eye, but it prevents him from looking at the gun’s barrel. It forces him to use the eye that is most nearly parallel with the line of sight. It also requires that he wear eye protection.

As an added benefit, lip balm is easy to apply at any temperature. It is easy to adjust if the first try is a little off. It cleans up with alcohol or lens cleaner and a piece of lens tissue.

This solution is particularly useful when the student is a beginner or when his interest is confined to "fun shooting." The serious competitor or potential champion derives greater benefit from being forced to use his master eye, to the point of offsetting the sights, if that is required.

NRA Pistol Marksmanship Simulator Training

The NRA Training Department, with the help from our top certified instructors from across the country, has developed a new introductory pistol marksmanship course called the NRA Pistol Marksmanship Simulator Training Course.

When surveying our instructors needs we see a reoccurring theme – limited access to shooting ranges and help recruiting more students. The goal of this program is to address those needs while teaching basic marksmanship fundamentals, firearm safety and enticing the students to continue their education by signing up for your Basic Pistol Course with live fire. No range is needed with this simulator-training course. It can be held anywhere – a meeting room in a hotel, a boardroom in office, or a church. With very little equipment, the NRA Pistol Marksmanship Simulator Training Course (or "SimCo" for short) will teach the fundamentals of sight alignment, trigger, grip, and breath control. At the completion of the course, an NRA participation certificate is awarded.

After evaluating several systems, we have determined that there must be minimum equipment requirements to enable NRA instructors to conduct a quality marksmanship course. One of the main requirements would be a simulated pistol that has a resetting trigger and uses a laser to indicate where the shots are being hit. The pistol must have enough heft to feel realistic and include a removable simulated magazine and realistic sights. A good example of such a pistol is the Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger (SIRT) pistol such as those designed by NextLevel Training (NLT).

In addition, you must have the ability to record the shots and provide instant feedback to your students. For instance, there are systems available that will allow you to use any standard target (or a piece of paper), a web cam and a laptop to record all your student’s hits to provide this form of feedback. In addition, there are even more elaborate systems that use projectors, web cams, laptops, and a myriad of devices that can also provide the same sort of data. How elaborate you want to be is up to you, but as indicated, NRA does have absolute minimum requirements that must be met.

Those equipment requirements are:

  • Realistic pistol with resetting trigger, sights and a laser indicating shot placement,
  • Computer software that will record shots and provide instant feedback for students and instructor,
  • Webcam for recording shots.

NRA Certified Pistol Instructors that possess the appropriate equipment and are interested in exploring this new opportunity can download the lesson PowerPoint® and certificates at nrainstructors.org.

During our evaluation process, two computer software systems met the requirements of the SimCo training. Those are systems are LASR's Laser Activated Shot Reporter and Laser Shot's WebCam Range. For more information on their systems please visit their websites at lasrapp.com and lasershot.com.

NextLevel Training offers special pricing for NRA Certified Instructors. To learn more about SIRT pistols and how to use them in your coursework, NLT has developed an Affiliate Pistol Instructor Course. For more information on that course, visit nextleveltraining.com/NRAInstructor. For more information about purchasing SIRT pistols, visit nextleveltraining.com/content/sirt-specifications.

Close the Gap in Your Self-Defense Plan

As an NRA-Certified Instructor, you have the skills and mindset to survive a physical attack. But is that enough? What about surviving the potentially devastating legal and financial attack that often follows?

We've all heard countless stories about those who have been arrested, jailed, sued, fired, and bankrupted. Unfortunately, most people, even instructors, are entirely unprepared for this.

Fortunately, you can close this important gap in your personal defense plan and instantly have all the tools in place to protect yourself legally by simply joining Second Call Defense.

Second Call Defense provides the most comprehensive protection for armed self defense in America, including insurance protection backed by the NRA Endorsed Insurance Program, administered by Lockton Affinity, LLC.

Members get UNLIMITED Civil Suit Defense Protection on the top membership levels, up to $250,000 Civil Suit Damages Protection, up to $250,000 Accidental Shooting Protection, and up to $50,000 Criminal Defense Reimbursement.

There are non-insurance benefits as well, including up to $25,000 Immediate Cash for a Bond up to $250,000, up to $10,000 Immediate Attorney Retainer, up to $500/day Compensation While in Court, a 24/7 Emergency Legal Hotline, Personal Crisis Manager, Local Attorney Referral within 24 Hours, Gun Retrieval or Replacement, and more.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Second Call Defense. We urge you to join ASAP. In fact, we've arranged for you to get your first month free so you can give membership a try. Enter “NRA Training” in the online application form where it asks for a special offer code.

Do you have your ducks in a row?

Beverly Powell, NRA Training Counselor from Logan, Utah provides us with this month’s training tip. Her tip is quite ducky -- literally.

Beverly Powell

Before each of her training courses, she identifies important review questions and prints them out. After cutting out each individual question, she tapes it to a flat plastic duck (those used for traction in bathtubs). The goal is to have a "question duck" for each student.

At the beginning of the day, Beverly tapes the ducks underneath chairs or the table and secures them to prevent falling off. At the end of the day while providing the final summary, she asks each student to grab the questions underneath the table. Then one at a time, she has the students go to the front of the room and read the question aloud and provide the answer.

If there are any questions or discussion from the class or the student with the duck, she knows that area needs to be reviewed. Once everybody is satisfied with the answer, the student then sticks the duck up on the white board or chalkboard. The next student then follows the same process of reading the question, answering and placing the duck next to the previous. Once all the duck questions have been answered, she ends her class by asking, "Now everyone should have all your ducks in a row. Do you have any other questions?"

This training tip is creative and includes total participant involvement. It is a great way to ensure important information is reviewed a final time. The ducks she uses were purchased at a dollar store or a home living store.

Do you have a training tip you would like to share? Please email it to nrainstructors@nrahq.org.

Age Requirement Change

Accurate identification has evolved to a level where date of birth has become essential information. You have probably already encountered instances where you are asked to provide your DOB for drivers licenses, hunting licenses and even to receive medical information. To ensure individuals with common “John Smith” type names are properly identified and more, date of birth is now required of all students taking an NRA course. Age requirements are associated with almost everything we do ranging from membership types to training eligibility. Often individuals under 21 become apprentice instructors or junior coaches and by posting their DOB at the time of entry will allow the data base to automatically update their status when the reach the proper age to do so.

Please note that DOB is now required information for all students taking an NRA course. Your support in providing this important information is greatly appreciated.

Muzzleloading Updates

Big changes have taken place for the Muzzleloading Shooting Course. After 10 years in the making, what once was broken into three parts -- muzzleloading rifle, pistol, and shotgun -- has now been merged together into one convenient course. 

How does this affect you, the instructor?

Instructors will need to pass the pre-qual for any discipline they currently do not hold in muzzleloading to teach that portion of the course. For example, a muzzleloading Rifle Instructor would need to pass the pre-qual for muzzleloading pistol with a qualified Training Counselor to teach that portion of the course. The TC will then notify the NRA Training Department, and the new rating will be added. 

The course also comes with an all-new NRA how-to series handbook. The muzzleloading certificates will now be merged into one, where instructors will be required to mark the appropriate rifle, pistol, or shotgun discipline.

NRA Personal Protection Course Update

Big news regarding lesson III of the NRA Personal Protection courses: Lesson III of the Personal Protection Courses must be conducted in a way that allows live interactivity.  This includes traditional live on-site instruction as well as instruction via telecommunication technology that allows live video-conferencing interactivity between the students and the course presenter(s) during the program.

Proper and effective use of such technology can satisfy NRA’s requirements regarding the manner of presentation of  Lesson III. You must discuss with your attorney whether it satisfies the laws applicable in your jurisdiction or other requirements of your situation. This communication should not be used as a basis for any inference on appropriate teaching methods for any other lessons.

NRA Annual Meeting 2015

The 144th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits are right around the corner! This year's meeting will be held at the Music City Center in the heart of Nashville, TN from April 10-12.

We hope you'll be able to join us as we celebrate our firearms freedoms in a family-friendly environment. While you're there, one of the best ways to support your NRA is by volunteering a few hours to help register guests, help out in the NRA Store or with one of the many activities that help make the Annual Meeting a success.

Volunteering is easy. Just visit the Volunteer tab on the NRA Annual Meeting website, or call Greg Baird on the NRA Volunteer Hotline at 717-620-8382.

Other onformation you need to know:

NRA Trainers Update Seminar
Saturday, April 11 at 1:00pm
Location:  Davidson Ballroom A
Brought to you by NRA's Education and Training Division, you will have the opportunity to acquire solid firsthand information about the exciting direction NRA training is headed. There will be presentations by John Howard, National Manager, NRA Training Department; Daniel Subia, National Coach Trainer; Nathan Judd, Lead Program Specialist for NRA America's Rifle Challenge; and others. This year, Aimpoint has graciously donated Aimpoint Red Dot Sights which will be awarded to lucky ticket holders at the conclusion of the seminar. The session will last approximately 90 minutes. Pre-registration is required at www.nraam.org/seminars/nra-trainers'-update.aspx.

Refuse To Be A Victim® at the Annual Meetings
Refuse To Be A Victim (RTBAV) has been spreading its potentially life-saving personal safety and crime prevention message to thousands of people all over the country.  This important seminar encourages people to create a safety plan, and teaches them how to put layers of protection in place in order to avoid becoming a victim of crime.  At this year’s Annual Meetings in Nashville, Fairfax County Police Department Captain and RTBAV Executive Counselor Ed O'Carroll will be with us to present RTBAV seminars.  These seminars cover a wide range of topics, such as mental preparedness, home security, cyber security, travel safety, and much more.  RTBAV is not a firearms course or a self-defense class; rather a crime prevention and safety education seminar.
To attend a seminar and/or the Instructor Development Workshop, please email refuse@nrahq.org.

Workshop: Refuse To Be A Victim
Friday, April 10 and Saturday April, 11 from 1-5pm
Location:  Room 105
Learn personal safety tips and techniques you need to avoid dangerous situations and prevent becoming a victim of crime. This 4-hour workshop is free and open to the public. Don't miss it! Seating for this event is first come, first served.  Pre-register at refuse@nrahq.org.

Workshop: Refuse To Be A Victim - Instructor Development
Sunday, April 12 from 9am-5pm
Location:  Room 107A
Pre-registration is required. To be eligible for this workshop, instructor candidates must attend the Friday, April 10 or Saturday, April 11 Refuse to be a Victim Seminar. Register with NRA staff at refuse@nrahq.org.  Successfully completing the Instructor Development Workshop (IDW) earns individuals the NRA Instructor credentials required to teach the Refuse to be a Victim Seminar in their communities. The registration fee for the IDW is $175, which includes materials.  This IDW is limited to 50 attendees.

Refuse To Be A Victim: Teaching your students how to avoid tax season scams

Con artists are impersonating IRS agents to catch you off guard. Refuse To Be A Victim Instructors give their students helpful tips to avoid several popular scams:

The Scam

  • Someone calls or emails saying they're from the IRS -- and you owe money. They say if you don't pay immediately, a warrant could be issued for your arrest.
  • Sometimes they recite personal information such as the last four  digits of your Social Security number to sound credible. The number on the caller ID might even look legitimate or imitate the IRS toll-free number, or the email address might be similar to actual IRS email addresses.
  • Someone promises you a big refund if you let them prepare your taxes. Scammers generally prey on people who do not have a filing requirement, such as low-income individuals or the elderly. They also target people who do not speak English. They charge big money for bad advice -- or worse yet, file the return and have the refund deposited into their own account.
  • Someone gets your previous tax returns, income history W-2s, or other personal information and files fraudulent returns on your behalf.
  • Someone contacts you directly after a disaster and claims to be working on behalf of the IRS to help the victims file casualty loss claims and get tax returns.

 Helpful tips

  • Do NOT give out info over the phone or via email. The IRS will never ask for such information over the phone and will always send out a written notice.
  • Call the IRS to verify that the claim of money owed is legitimate. Call the 800 number to be sure you're talking to the real IRS, not some scammer.
  • Always get a copy of what was filed for you if you use a tax preparer. Remember, taxpayers are legally responsible for what's on their tax return even if it is prepared by someone else.
  • Shred anything with personal information on it. If you have emails with tax information, be sure they are secure by choosing difficult passwords and changing them often.

Trainer Spotlight: Leah Crowe

Leah CroweLeah Crowe is not your average 24-year-old.  The daughter of an NRA instructor and Training Counselor, she recognized early the intimidation that some women face when instructed by men at the range, as it can be difficult for a male instructor to re-program teaching techniques to fit female students. However, this is not the only problem. When seeing a female shooter on the range, it can be very hard for a man to withhold his own training tips, even when he isn't an instructor. "It's intimidating to go to the range and be surrounded by men telling me what I'm doing is wrong because [they're thinking] 'I have all this experience, and this is how you should do it,' but I know I’m doing it right!"

Leah decided she could reach those that were too uncomfortable to train with stereotypical big, burly male instructors. At 18, she started as an assistant instructor, and at 21, she obtained her Certified Instructor credentials. With 47 registered students under her belt, she is well on her way to making a difference for those who may feel too uneasy to seek training.

As a resident of Texas, she is now a TC on the Texas Training Crew Team, and will be working at the Dallas Arms Collectors Association, Inc. at the Market Hall Gun Show.

Trainers Toolbox: Crimson Trace


I have never been opposed to lasers in concept as an addition to a good firearm and a good set of sights. Until my trip to Gunsite for training with Dave Starin and their new Crimson Trace Gunsite 250 Laser Course, I didn't realize just how much of an advantage they gave you.

First, let me say to those who are groaning and muttering about front sight -- a laser does not replace the front sight. This is the first thing you are taught in using a laser. The laser dramatically increases the sight radius for your firearm. It's another point of reference in your sight alignment and picture, and a rather attention-grabbing one at that. Instead of aligning with just the rear and front sight radius, which on some guns can have as little as a few inches, you now have a third bright dot of light that extends that radius by whatever distance you are shooting.

Part of the final exam at Gunsite is a series of box range drills starting with a shot to an area about the size of a 3x5 card. This must be done at three yards from the holster in 1.5 seconds. Perhaps this sounds easy to some, but it is a challenge, especially when you are practicing good fundamentals and acquiring your front sight before each shot. The first time I went to Gunsite and did this drill, it was tough. The second time, we used the laser, and I found I actually could acquire the sight picture and had time to readjust my aim and shoot before the 1.5 seconds ran out.

This is where proper training comes in, and they had it in abundance at the class. A student must be taught from the beginning to acquire the sights in the proper, traditional way, regardless of whether they're using a laser or not. The addition of a laser is not a cure for all problems. Mechanical offset, lighting, batteries, and mechanical function of the laser used can all affect the laser and how you see it. It is an extremely valuable addition to the toolbox for enhancing sight picture, but it isn't a replacement for the sights. The user needs to be trained and practice so that regardless of which they pick up -- just the irons, or irons and the laser -- they're able to use it.

This doesn't even begin to describe the benefits of lasers on the range during practice. Having a student use a laser aid like a Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger (SIRT) pistol in the class is tremendous at helping teach fundamentals, but the student knows the gun won't go "BANG!" On the range, with a firearm, you can see what the student is doing through the whole process. You can see if they flinch, jerk the trigger, violate safe direction, and so on. You can even make a video with your phone that you can play back for the student so they can see it for themselves.

There is so much more that the laser can add to the class or to practical use in such things as Personal Protection In The Home or Personal Protection Outside The Home. We look to adding such useful tools to the curriculum as our programs develop.  Lasers are no longer the future -- they are already here, and we and our students are using them more and more. Like the firearms they enhance, lasers have limitations, but they also offer vast advantages. If you haven't yet explored these tools, I urge you to do so. Even if you don’t make use of them, some of your students most certainly will.

To see the Training with Laser Sights video, log in at nrainstructors.org.

Important Notice

Effective July 1, 2015, we are implementing a service to stop false addresses from being entered across NRAInstructors.org. The criteria will be validation of all U.S. addresses that are deliverable by the United States Postal Service (USPS).

We are aware that there may be instances when you must promote a course at locations that do not have a USPS deliverable address. You will still need to enter a valid USPS deliverable address in the mandatory fields. However, in the Location/Venue field, you can place the actual location -- or "see comments" if you must include directions, which you will explain in the comments section when you register your course.

Improper addresses will result in a notice (some examples below):

  • Multiple addresses similar to your entry were found in the postal database. Please select an address below as contact address.
  • Unable to confirm your apartment number with the postal database. Please review your contact address and make corrections.
  • (Note: Street address or PO Box information MUST be in the first address line) Unable to confirm your contact address with the postal service database. Please review your address and make corrections.

NRAInstructors.org Security Upgrade

Some of you may have experienced "unable to establish a secure connection" issues when trying to log in to NRAInstructors.org. NRA recently upgraded security protocol which is not supported by older versions of web browsers.

The secure connect issues are with Windows Vista, XP and older operating systems, or browsers that are not up to date. The problem is more of a browser issue rather than the operating system. If you use Internet Explorer, it must be version 11, which you cannot have with Vista, XP or anything older than Windows 7. In these cases, you can use Google Chrome. To learn about and download Google Chrome, visit https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95346?hl=en&ref_topic=14660.

Here are some common configurations that currently meet our security protocol:

  • Android 4.4 and above
  • Safari 7 on iOS 7.1 and above
  • IE 11 on Windows 7, 8.1
  • Chrome 42 and above
  • Firefox 31.3 and above

Add a new credential through online training!

NRA Refuse to Be A VictimLooking to expand your NRA class offerings? Want a way to reach out to people who might not have looking into taking NRA classes before? The Refuse To Be A Victim program is a personal safety and crime prevention seminar for both men and women. While Refuse To Be A Victim does not focus on firearms, it encourages participants to create a safety plan and gives instruction on how to make themselves more difficult targets in order to avoid criminal confrontation.

With over 7,000 Refuse To Be A Victim instructors across the United States, the program has been growing in popularity every year. To become an instructor, you can find an in-person Instructor Development Workshop or take our Online Instructor Course. The online course lets you work from the convenience of your home, earning your certification on your own schedule.  The course generally takes 10-15 hours to complete, and you have two weeks to complete it. We have classes starting on the 1st and the 15th of each month.

To find more information regarding the online course, please visit NRAOnlineTraining.org.

Women On Target Update

NRAInstructors.org ScreenshotThere's a common question among instructors who volunteer at NRA Women On Target® Instructional Shooting Clinics throughout the country: Why don’t instructors get activity credit for assisting at Women On Target® events? You can, but it is not automatically entered by NRA staff. Since Instructional Shooting Clinics are entry-level events and not considered NRA First Steps or Basic Courses unless conducted as such, the lead instructor must register the course as a Non-NRA “Other” event and list it as a Women On Target® Clinic via the NRA Instructor Portal as seen in the picture at right.

The NRA Instructors website is not currently set up to display events in this category and this process does not replace the current Clinic Registration Process outlined on http://women.nra.org/womens-instructional-shooting-clinics/host-a-clinic.aspx. Once registered, the lead instructor, who may or may not be the clinic director, can enter assistants and student information in order to complete the course report on the Instructor portal. This requires a bit of extra work on the part of the lead, and is not a substitute for completing the required Post Clinic Reporting process already in place for Instructional Shooting Clinics. Keep in mind that course reporting now requires each student's birth date, so if your club or Clinic Director is not currently requiring this information from the attendees, it is not possible to complete the course report without it.

Proposed changes to the Women On Target® Program will eventually allow online registration and reporting of events, and future updates will explain the process once it is in place and ready to go.

Fundamentals of a Range Safety Brief

By Andy Lander, NRA Training Counselor Program Coordinator

Engrained in an NRA Instructor's frontal cortex are the shooting fundamentals that are taught to new impressionable students repeating them ad nauseam. When the NRA rules for safe gun handling are brought up in a classroom discussion, it seems as if a Gregorian chant may suddenly ensue. After all, the fundamentals are carved in stone. Just like fundamentals of shooting a pistol, or the three NRA rules for safe gun handling, NRA Range Safety Officers need to be able to rattle off a range safety briefing on command.

Whether you're an NRA Range Safety Officer working in an advanced indoor range, or a NRA Rifle instructor conducting a shooting merit badge session, you need to know the five steps of a range safety briefing. Teach them in a way that relates to your particular shooting activity. In case you have forgotten them, here are the fundamentals:

  1. Purpose of the event
  2. Layout and Limits
  3. Safety Rules (Administrative, NRA, site specific)
  4. Commands
  5. Emergency Procedures

I've seen quite a few different safety briefings, some of them good, but many are unorganized and inffective in their delivery. In order to maintain a professional image, when asked to do a briefing, these five fundamentals need to flow off the tongue with ease, maximizing the information that a new shooter must know about shooting safely on the range. Remember, the five-step safety briefing is an organized effective format used to deliver the most critical information a new gun user must know. 

Meet the Staff: Patricia Lewis and Andy Lander

Patricia Lewis, Senior Credentials Data Entry Specialist

Patricia LewisPatricia Lewis was hired as a temporary employee for the Education and Training Division within the National Rifle Association. We quickly realized she had a great dedication and commitment to learn every aspect of this position, so we made sure we brought her on as full-time staff. Patricia has been an outstanding asset to the Training Department for nearly nine years now.

Many of you may have talked with Patricia a time or two. She provides guidance to hundreds of individuals a week, on the phone and by email. She guides them through any difficulties they may encounter registering on NRAInstructors.org or processing credentials renewals. She has been instrumental in the implementation of online renewals. Patricia is our go-to person when anything comes up and we need a hand.

She is married and the proud parent of six children and the grandparent of 13 grandchildren. Previously, Patricia spent 12 years in Europe as a supply clerk for all commissaries throughout the military in Europe.

Andy Lander, Training Counselor Program Coordinator

Andy LanderAndy Lander is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and has been involved in the firearms industry since 1998. For the last ten years, he has worked for the National Rifle Association, most of that time spent training NRA Training Counselors (instructor trainers). He has assisted with updates for published NRA Training books, lesson Plans, and materials. Andy is also a technical editor for Firearms Science, which is the technical segment on the TV show NRA All Access, which airs on the Outdoor Channel.

Andy has communicated with tens of thousands of firearm instructors throughout the years. He has trained actors, professional athletes and dignitaries, as well as hundreds of certified instructors to include government employees from several agencies. During his free time, he finds himself reloading some of his favorite calibers – 9mm, 223 Remington, .308 Winchester, and .50 BMG.

Andy is an avid shooter, hunter, kayak fisherman, tinkerer, black rifle and silencer advocate. When he is not in West Virginia, you may find him on the range doing load development for a new AR rifle he just built for himself or another NRA employee. Find a pond, lake, or river and you’ll see him fishing for anything that bites. Andy's passion for the Second Amendment is easily seen through his dedication to NRA and the Training Department. Many times a year, he travels all over the United States, training people from different backgrounds to become better trainers and educators.

Training Biscuits

If you have ever owned a dog, you know how effective those little dog biscuits can be in the training process. What if we had training biscuits that we could use for our basic students, or even for instructor candidates? What would we use, where would we get them, and how would we use them?

As an NRA Certified Instructor or Training Counselor, you already have the answer: positive feedback.

As a trainer, your ability to evaluate an individual’s progress is the most vital skill you possess. However, if you are unable to make the appropriate adjustments to your students, that skill is useless.

This is where positive feedback comes into play. Use the sandwich method to prevent focusing on the negative and build off of the positive.

 The sandwich method consists of addressing what needs to be adjusted (the meat of the sandwich) sandwiched in between two pieces of positive bread.

For example, start out with your first piece of positive bread by letting the student know what went well. Find one or two things the student is doing correctly, and praise the student for that. You want that to continue so you will need to reinforce what was correct so that the correct procedure will be repeated.

Now that you have the student's positive attention, you add the meat to the sandwich: areas for improvement. Let the student know where he can improve, not by criticizing what went wrong. This is most effective when you include the student in the evaluation process by using questions and referencing the correct behavior so the student can become self-proficient. Rather than indicating what went wrong, reinforce the correct way to do something either by discussing or demonstrating proper way – no negativity!

Then, we finish off the sandwich with the last piece of positive bread by leaving the student with something else he did well, indicating that you want the student to continue that behavior.                   

Remember, people come to you for guidance, not criticism. It is the responsibility of the trainer to bring out the best in his students, not to find fault with their performance.

Blended Learning

We plan to roll out the new blended pistol course before the end of the year, and completely replace the pistol course as it is now conducted by the end of the first quarter of 2016. This means that the current packets and certificates will become obsolete, so we want to make sure you consider that when placing your orders.

NRA Pistol Instructors will be provided with a new Instructor Led Training (ILT) lesson plan, which will be downloadable right on your NRAInstructors.org account page. Basic pistol students will come to your course with a solid foundation, which they learned in the e-learning module. The ILT portion of the course will consist of a firearm and range safety review, fundamentals, practical handling exercises using each action type with dummy ammunition, shooting positions, and shooting to a standard with a qualification shoot requirement. Once you are satisfied that the students have fulfilled each learning objective, you can check them as passed and print their certificates through NRAInstructors.org

We anticipate reaching more people than ever before. There will be two ways for students to find your course – the way they currently do, where you advertise on nrainstructors.org, or they will be directed to your courses if they found out about the NRA Basic Pistol Course from another source. We will provide more information as it develops.


Advanced Pistol Instructor

The NRA Education and Training Division is no longer accepting applications for the Advanced Pistol Instructor after September 24, 2015. Any future changes to this status will be announced via the instructor updates on NRAnstructors.org.

NRA Practical Coach Program

A new NRA Practical Coach Program will be released in October 2015 locally, taught at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. These initial classes will be by invitation only from the National Coach Trainer. This is not an open invitation; candidates will be notified of their selection. The program will release nationally in the spring of 2016.

NRA Practical Coach Candidates will be vetted and trained to provide ongoing coaching, instruction and mentorship to students. The NRA Practical Coach will develop exercises and classes using the NRA development format. There will be a rating for Pistol, Rifle, and Shotgun in the initial phase of the program.

NRA Training Counselors and Instructors associated with the Boy Scouts of America

BSA will be releasing four new shooting sports programs this fall. These programs affect you and all the folks that you train. It is extremely important that you sign up for the BSA National Shooting Sports Newsletter.

For more information regarding these programs and how you can help, please contact Mark Belli at mbelli@nrahq.org or call 703-267-1550.

The BSA National Task Force has released a new National Shooting Sports Newsletter in May 2015. This newsletter includes all updates regarding shooting sports programs, training, and policies in BSA. It is extremely important that you sign up for the newsletter; click here to register.

NRA Practical Coach Program

NRA CoachThe NRA Practical Coach program is a new NRA program designed to extend the training that the NRA provides to shooters beyond the instructional level. The target audience for the NRA Practical Coach is the non-competitive shooter who needs more help after the completion of an NRA basic instructional program.

To be a competent coach, a new coach needs to have some core skills. These skills include analytical skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, strategic planning skills, time management skills, and teamwork skills. We will introduce these core competencies to the prospective coach candidate through the NRA Practical Coach program. This will be done via a 16-hour course of instruction. The first coach classes will be taught at NRA headquarters, with future visions of making it available nationwide with the help of specially trained instructors to teach the coach class.

Currently, the coach program focuses on coaching a competitive shooting team. The new practical coach disciplines will be a paradigm shift from coaching athletic teams to coaching individuals who wish to become more proficient shooters. Currently, the NRA has instructors who teach basic firearms handling. There is nothing in place to take the basic shooter to the next level of shooting proficiency. The NRA hopes to fill in that void with the practical coach program.

There are five new coach classes:

  • Long Range Shooting: Long range shooting will benefit high power rifle shooters that want to shoot a rifle at 300 yards and farther, typically 300-1,000 yards. This will be useful for both small and big game hunters and people who are interested in the science behind long-distance accuracy.
  • Practical Rifle: A practical rifle coach will benefit shooters of practical rifles. This involves shooting an AR-type rifle at ranges under 100 yards. This may include shooting multiple targets, multiple positions, teaching tactical reloading, jams, and malfunctions.
  • Practical Pistol: A practical pistol coach will benefit shooters of defensive pistols. This is shooting a semi-auto or revolver pistol at less than 25 yards. It may include shooting multiple targets, multiple positions, teaching tactical reloading, jams, and malfunctions.
  • Practical Shotgun: A practical shotgun coach will benefit shooters of practical shotgun. This is shooting a shotgun at less than 25 yards. It may include shooting multiple targets, multiple positions, teaching tactical reloading, and jams.
  • Practical 3-gun: A Practical 3-gun coach will benefit shooters that participate in 3-gun events. This will be coaching a shooter to improve at 3-gun events. It includes the best methods to transition between platforms and how to shoot in the most efficient manner.

There will be common core material.  A coach in one discipline can become a coach in a separate discipline by only taking the courses relevant to the new discipline.

Blended Pistol FAQ

Blended Pistol Frequently Asked Questions

The NRA Training Department has been receiving an unprecedented call volume regarding blended learning programs and the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course. Please look over the following questions and answers to see if they address your needs. Contact us if you have additional questions.

Questions From Instructors:

  1. How is the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course administered?
  2. Where do students find the online phase of the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course?
  3. After successful completion of the online phase, how do students locate an instructor to complete the instructor-led phase?
  4. How do we get the student's certificate?
  5. What happened to FIRST Steps Pistol?
  6. Will individuals be able to purchase the NRA Guide: Basics of Pistol Shooting?
  7. Will I be able to purchase a hard copy of the new Basics of Pistol Shooting Phase II Lesson Plan?
  8. Will NRA authorize the concurrent use of the discontinued NRA Basic Pistol course with the current NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course?
  9. How will I know the individual that completed the online phase is the same person that comes to my class?
  10. Do I need to provide a student packet to the students that come for the instructor-led phase?
  11. My range has length restrictions. How do we shoot the qualification?

Questions From Training Counselors:

  1. What do I need to order to conduct the Pistol Instructor Course?
  2. How do instructor candidates register for a Pistol Instructor course?
  3. Do pistol instructor candidates need to complete Phase I online?
  4. Do candidates need to provide proof that they have passed Phase I online?
  5. Do I need to order the NRA Guide: Basics of Pistol Shooting handbook for candidates?
  6. I have instructor candidates who have attended past courses, are law enforcement, are in the military, etc. Do they still need to take the online phase?


  1. How is the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course administered?

    The course is conducted in two phases. Phase I is online through the NRA Learning Management System (LMS). Once the students complete the online phase, they attend Phase II, the instructor-led training portion of the course. During Phase II, NRA Certified Instructors validate comprehension and application of gun safety rules, range protocol, proper handling, loading and unloading procedures, application of pistol shooting fundamentals, stable shooting positions, live fire, and students shoot a final qualification.
  2. Where do students find the online phase of the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course?

  3. After successful completion of the online phase, how do students locate an instructor to complete the instructor-led phase?

    Students can find your courses through NRAInstructors.org. They will be required to enter a Personal Identification Number (PIN) when they register for the course, prompting them to complete the online phase first.  Ifyou conduct courses infrequently and do not advertise, instruct your students to complete the online phase so you can create a course report after you have completed the instructor-led phase with the students.
  4. How do we get the student's certificate?

    The instructor and student sign off each objective on the Performance Requirements Checklist. Provide a copy to the student. Finalize the course report and submit it through NRAInstructors.org. After you submit the report, a "print certificate" button will appear. Print the certificate directly from NRAInstructors.org.
  5. What happened to FIRST Steps Pistol?

    FIRST Steps Pistol was discontinued with the release of the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course. You may teach the instructor-led phase to individuals who have completed the online phase with one action type or with their particular pistol only. If you conduct Phase II with one action type, do not sign off the additional action types on the Performance Requirements Checklist.
  6. Will people be able to purchase the NRA Guide: Basics of Pistol Shooting?

    The NRA Guide: Basics of Pistol Shooting is provided to students enrolled in Phase I of the Basics of Pistol Shooting course. It is not available as a standalone product.
  7. Will I be able to purchase a hard copy of the new Basics of Pistol Shooting Phase II Lesson Plan?

    No. The lesson plan is available on your NRAInstructors.org page as a PDF for you to download or print.
  8. Will NRA authorize the concurrent use of the discontinued NRA Basic Pistol course with the current NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course?

    No. Once the transition period ends on May 15, 2016, the course will be taught in one manner only: the online portion administered by the NRA Learning Management System, followed by the instructor-led training.
  9. How will I know the individual that completed the online phase is the same person that comes to my class?

    You are responsible for completing and documenting the requirements established in the Phase II Lesson Plan. Ask for identification if you are not comfortable with signing your students' Performance Requirements Checklist.
  10. Do I need to provide a student packet to the students that come for the instructor-led phase?

    No. Students have immediate access to a digital handbook and will be mailed the NRA Guide: Basics of Pistol Shooting. You can ask them to bring the book for reference. Print certificates from NRAInstructors.org, and make extra copies of the Performance Requirements Checklist.
  11. My range has length restrictions. How do we shoot the qualification?

    Use the target scaler to determine the diameter of the target based on the distance at your range.


  1. What do I need to order to conduct the Pistol Instructor Course?

    The Pistol Instructor Lesson Plan is available on your NRAInstructors.org page; replace Lesson V in your Training Counselor Guide with this new Pistol Instructor Lesson Plan.

    You only need the NRA Trainer's Guide for Basic Instructor Training. All the other items are on your NRAInstructors.org page, including exams, lesson plans and answer keys.
  2. How do instructor candidates register for a Pistol Instructor course?

    This has not changed. They do need to provide a copy of their Phase I completion certificate to you.
  3. Do pistol instructor candidates need to complete Phase I online?

    Yes, it is a prerequisite.
  4. Do candidates need to provide proof that they have passed Phase I online?

    Yes. 90% is the minimum passing score for Phase I.  Candidates should provide a copy of their completion certificate.
  5. Do I need to order the NRA Guide: Basics of Pistol Shooting handbook for candidates?

    No. Tell your instructor candidates to bring the handbook they received in Phase I to your course for reference.
  6. I have instructor candidates who have attended past courses, are law enforcement, are in the military, etc. Do they still need to take the online phase?

    Yes, the online phase is a prerequisite. This serves to vet a candidate's comprehension of the basic knowledge and technical aspects of the course and familiarizes the instructor candidates with what their future students will be learning in the online phase.

If you have additional questions, call an NRA Program Coordinator directly:

Instructor Program Coordinator 703-267-1428
Training Counselor Program Coordinator 703-267-1422
Senior Training Program Coordinator 703-267-1496
Training Program Specialist 703-267-1391
Training Program Coordinator 703-267-1427
Lead Training Program Coordinator 703-267-1535
Women's Instructional Shooting Clinics 703-267-1398
NRA-ARC Program Specialist 703-267-1453
Coach Education (Shotgun) 703-267-1401
Coach Education (Rifle/Pistol) 703-267-1589
Youth Training Coordinator 703-267-1597

Blended Learning Garners Immediate Interest

The new NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting has been released.  This course is blended, which means it is conducted in two phases.  Phase 1 is administered online by NRA's Learning Management System in an eLearning environment, and Phase 2 is instructor-led training. With over two years of fine-tuning for the ultimate training experience, Phase 1 has successfully attracted new students from all over the country with little to no promotion since its initial release on February 17, 2016. We can also see participation from every age group, and are confident that this new process will meet the needs of all different stages of life, styles, and schedules imaginable.

Here are the stats:

It was a pleasant surprise to see that 43% of those who have completed the first phase fall within the age range of 50 and above, and 24% were 40-49.

Pie Chart

Across the board, the success of the Blended Learning format is prevalent and will accommodate the previously unattainable students who desired to learn more about firearms but couldn’t find the time. They'll have even more one on one range time while completing Phase 2 with one of our top-notch NRA Instructors, resulting in a new era of exceptionally trained students. 

Training Update: Growing Programs

The New NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course

NRA first started researching the blended training concept about five years ago, initiated development two years ago, and produced the final product and released it on February 17, 2016. We created a high-quality course that grows as knowledge grows, with universal and rapid updating capabilities. It lets students participate at their leisure and to review materials as needed to maximize retention. It's detailed, accommodates different learning styles and incapable of forgetting to cover prescribed material -- and still ensures that the NRA instructor remains the source of final approval.

Students also expressed a desire for more time for hands-on participation in class. They wanted to gain real experience in basic gun handling, loading and unloading, and of course, shooting. They wanted to leave the class with a meaningful certificate. The new NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course provides them with an opportunity to spend much more time with the instructor learning to shoot. When they come away from a course now, they have a Performance Requirements Checklist that is signed by the instructor and the student, as well as a completion certificate that indicates they actually shot a qualification to pass the course. Over a thousand students enrolled in our course within the first month, without any promotion. This is a great opportunity for instructors to reach more students than ever before!

NRA America's Rifle Challenge

If you are interested in AR platform rifles, consider conducting (or participating in) the NRA America's Rifle Challenge. The AR Challenge consists of training events on the AR platform, as well as competition events designed to test out your newly acquired skills. The AR Challenge is for AR owners of all skill levels, so take yourself -- or teach others to move on to the next level.

Program Material Updates

The NRA Basic Rifle course has also been updated this year with a new full-color hardback handbook, the NRA Guide: Basics of Rifle Shooting, and a new lesson plan and PowerPoint presentation for instructors.

The Home Firearm Safety course has been updated to include the new NRA Guide: Basics of Home Firearm Safety, also a full-color handbook.

The Concealed Carry Holster Guide has been discontinued, but it is now in the new NRA Guide: Basics of Pistol Shooting, which is provided to all students enrolling in the course.

Other items currently under development are a new Basic Shotgun course and the New Shooter Guide, which will be focused on those new to firearms.

Defensive Pistol

Another exciting release is the Defensive Pistol course to all Personal Protection Outside The Home Instructors. This will give you the ability to conduct a detailed, defensive pistol-oriented course without requiring access to an entire range. The course is completely objective-based and can be conducted in conjunction with the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course. If you are a Personal Protection Outside The Home instructor and are interested in conducting this course, email sthornton@nrahq.org for a copy of the course lesson plan.

2016 Annual Meeting

The 2016 Annual Meeting will be held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky from May 20-22. This year boasts over 650 exhibitors in the 475,000 square foot exhibit hall, and will host family events, celebrities, and educational seminars.

The Training Department will be hosting an NRA Trainer's Update on Saturday, May 21 at 1:00 PM and will last approximately 90 minutes. During the update you will have the opportunity to acquire firsthand information about the exciting new direction NRA Training is headed. Presentations will be given by John Howard, National Manager of the NRA Training Department; Nathan Judd, Lead Program Specialist for NRA America's Rifle Challenge, and Sean Maloney of Second Call Defense. This year's special guest is motivational speaker Ken Fritz.

If you have the opportunity to attend the NRA Annual Meeting, we strongly encourage you to attend the NRA Trainer's Update. As an NRA Trainer, it is important to be involved, stay up-to-date on all changes, and see how this new direction will take you and your students' training experience to the next level.

Training Tip: Handgun Accuracy

This shooting drill lets you evaluate just how accurate you are with a handgun.

Take a 3" x 5" index card and send it out to a distance of 15 feet. If you are at a range with a fixed backstop, move back 15 feet. Shoot a five-shot group. If all of the shots are on the index card, send it back out another 5 feet.

Replace the index card and shoot a five-shot group from 20 feet. If all five shots are there, then replace the file card and move to 25 feet. Keep moving further out with every completed five-shot group.

If you fail to hit all five shots, you have to bring the target closer 5 feet and repeat. Miss too many times, and you will find yourself back at the start.

How far out can you go?

Meet the Staff: Joe Logar and Brett Simon

Joe Logar

Joe LogarJoseph Logar, PT, DPT joined the Education and Training team as the National Manager of the Adaptive Shooting Program in June 2015. Prior to that, Dr. Logar worked extensively throughout the physical medicine and rehabilitation fields in areas ranging from acute post-operative care, vestibular rehabilitation, and occupational health and first responder wellness. The Inova Health System, a network of five nationally ranked community hospitals, urgent care centers and rehabilitation clinics located throughout Northern Virginia, chose Dr. Logar as one of the original rehabilitation providers for the Inova Spine Institute.

It was while working in this capacity that he gained invaluable experience in working with people of all ability levels and witnessed the challenges they face when returning to previous activities. Dr. Logar's other qualifications include being a veteran of the United States Navy and an NRA certified basic pistol instructor. Since joining the Education and Training team, Dr. Logar has had the opportunity to combine his medical expertise with his lifelong passion for firearms and self-defense to create one dynamic project -- the Adaptive Shooting Program.

Brett Simon

Lead Training Program Coordinator Brett Simon is the newest addition to the training staff.

Brett SimonA competitive shooter most of his life, Brett started competing in skeet at the age of 11. In 1996, he became a member of the Junior Olympic Skeet Team. In 1997 and 1998, he traveled overseas to represent the United States in international skeet. During his college years, Brett competed for George Mason University and won the school three individual national championships. Looking to broaden his expertise, he hung up his shotgun and started competing in practical pistol shooting, which included the United States Practical Shooting Association and International Defensive Pistol Association. He currently holds the title of Division Master in USPSA.

Brett started his own personal instruction business in 2001 and has taught countless new shooters. With a passion for intermediate and advanced shooters, his focus was to help them achieve goals they previously thought were unattainable. He is also an adjunct instructor for Practical Firearms Training in Alderson, West Virginia.

The Training Department looks forward to benefiting from his skills to develop and revise curriculum and training materials for the Basic Firearm Training Program, provide technical support for e-learning projects, and provide support to our instructors, members, and the public. With technology moving at such a rapid pace, Brett will work to help us think outside the box and launch the Training Department into the 21st century.

The NRA Shotgun Coach Program

NRA Shotgun Coaches are trained to coach clay target sports, including American trap, American skeet, sporting clays, international trap, and international skeet. While a Shotgun Instructor conducts the NRA Basic Shotgun Shooting Course teaching novice shooters the basic knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to safely use a shotgun to shoot flying targets, a Coach is specifically trained to coach the competitive clay target sports. The Instructors usually have a teaching relationship with their students for only the 8-hour duration of the basic course; the Coaches usually have a much longer instructional relationship with their student athletes lasting from a single shooting season to several years. While most Shotgun Coaches work with youth shotgun teams, many coaches prefer to coach small groups or individual shooters. Even the casual weekend shooters want to improve and would benefit from the help of a trained coach.

The NRA Coach Program is endorsed by all of the major clay target sports' National Governing Bodies, including The Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA), The National Skeet Shooting Association (NSSA), The National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA), and USA Shooting. The Coach Education Program is managed and administered by the NRA Education & Training Division, and also includes coach training courses for Rifle and Pistol Coaches.

The NRA Level 1 Shotgun Coach is trained in the Level 1 Shotgun Coach School. The School consists of 12 hours of classroom instruction followed by 4 hours of practical coaching exercises on the range. Satisfactorily participating in this instruction and passing the 80-question open-book written examination results in being awarded a two-year rating as a Level 1 Shotgun Coach. Level 1 Coach Candidates must be age 18 or older and must have at least a basic knowledge of shotgun shooting and be familiar with at least one of the clay target sports. Youth clay target shooters ages 15-17 who have an interest in helping others learn to shoot may also attend a Shotgun Coach School. Those satisfactorily completing the school will be recognized as a Shotgun Junior Trainer until their 18th birthday at which time they will be automatically upgraded to a Level 1 Coach with no additional training or upgrade fee required.

The Level 1 Coach Schools are conducted by a member of the NRA Shotgun National Coach Development Staff (NCDS). NCDS members are carefully selected coaches who are specially trained to present the Level 1 Course in an interesting and enjoyable manner.

The Level 1 School includes lessons on safety, shotgun shooting fundamentals, equipment, coaching trap, coaching skeet, coaching sporting clays, mental training, shooting rules and etiquette, coaching ethics, coaching methodology, team building, and training planning. The 430-page Shotgun Coach Student Study Guide and other printed materials are provided to each Coach Candidate.

The current schedule and contact information for all coach schools can be found at NRAInstructors.org. Interested persons may register on-line at that web site for the school of their choice. In each of the past two years NRA has conducted over 50 Shotgun Coach Schools throughout the United States. If there is not a school that meets your time or distance requirements, a club or organization in your local area may decide to sponsor a coach school to better meet your needs. Coach schools are conducted at any date and place of the sponsor's choosing. The sponsor establishes and collects the tuition fee which must include the $100 NRA fee per attendee and the transportation, lodging, and meals costs of the school instructor. The sponsor provides the necessary classroom and range locations. If the total tuition fees collected exceed these financial obligations, the sponsor may keep the excess revenue and use it as they see fit. The tuition cost varies from school to school. They usually range from $150 to $200 per Coach Candidate. You can obtain a complete Coach School Sponsor's Guide at NRAInstructors.org.

If you are a clay target shooter who would enjoy helping beginning and intermediate shooters learn and improve their ability in a lifelong sport while building life skills like self-confidence, discipline, responsibility, teamwork and sportsmanship, please consider becoming one of our nearly 5,000 Shotgun Coaches who work with over 120,000 clay target shooters annually.