NRA Course Descriptions

 

 

NRA Course Descriptions

Ever wonder what the NRA teaches in its basic courses? This page is
a summary of the most popular courses taught by the NRA. There is no
substitute to good training in the fundamentals of any skill.

This page was not funded or endorsed by the NRA, but rather is an
effort of one NRA-certified instructor to educate the public.

 

NRA Gun Safety Rules

Safety is the primary goal

Conscientious attention to these rules will prevent most, if not
all, gun accidents. Be aware that ignorance and carelessness lead to
accidents in all walks of life, including the handling of
firearms.

Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction

If the gun should discharge, it should not harm any person or
destroy any valuable property. Careful attention to muzzle direction
is key to safely handling a firearm.

When carrying a firearm from place to place, the best way to
control the muzzle is to keep it in your view.

Be aware of what objects can stop a bullet, and what ones
cannot.

In NRA courses, and on shooting ranges, the instructor or range
officer will explain and point out the safe directions available.

Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to
shoot

Under normal conditions guns do not discharge unless the trigger is
pulled.

When holding or manipulating a gun, hold the grip firmly and place
the trigger finger along the frame or receiver, not inside the trigger
guard.

Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use

Guns cannot be discharged unless they are loaded with live
ammunition. There are many uses of guns which permit them to be
loaded, but such firearms must always be under your control.

Guns not in use, but not stored, should have the action locked open
so that anyone may inspect the chamber and magazine for live
ammunition.

When handing a gun to another person, lock open the action (if
possible) and check the chamber and magazine by sight and feel to
ensure than no live ammunition is present. The person receiving the
gun should also check.

 

Home Firearm Safety

Description

The NRA Home Firearm Safety Course is the basic course I recommend
to anyone unfamiliar with guns or who needs a to learn gun
terminology.

In this four hour course students will get the NRA’s Home
Firearm Safety
handbook, pamphlets on safety and terminlogy
and lessons on the rules of safe gun handling, identifying and
unloading various firearms, ammunition, cleaning, and
storage. Students will also get hands-on experience with the most
common types of handguns, rifles and shotguns.

Course Goal

“To teach the basic knowledge and skills and to
explain the attitude necessary for the safe handling and storage of
guns in the home.”
—NRA
Home Firearm Safety Course Lesson Plans

Lessons

  1. Rules for Safe Gun Handling
  2. Identifying and Unloading Different Firearms
  3. Practical Exercises in Safe Gun Handling
  4. Types of Ammunition; Cleaning and Storage of Firearms

Prerequisites

The are no prerequisites for taking this course and the material
can be understood by mature people of all ages.

Course Completion

Students will receive feedback on the practical exercises and a
course completion certificate.

 

Basic Pistol

Description

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

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

Course Goal

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

Lessons

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

Prerequisites

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

Course Completion

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

 

FIRST Steps Pistol

Description

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

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

Course Goal

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

Lessons

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

Prerequisites

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

Course Completion

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

 

Basic Shotgun

Description

A shotgun is a long gun designed to be fired with two hands. It has
a smooth bore (the inside of the barrel) and is designed to shoot a
variety of ammunition, ranging from a solid bullet, called a slug, to
multiple projectiles, called shot. Shotguns are often used in bird
hunting, and in the sports of trap or skeet.

The Basic Shotgun course can be as short as ten hours. In it
students will get the NRA’s The
Basics of Shotgun Shooting
handbook and intensive lessons in
safety, gun handling, fundamentals of shotgun shooting, several
practical exercises on the firing range, cleaning, storage, and a
summary of shotgun sports and activities.

Course Goal

“To teach the basic knowledge, skills, and attitudes
necessary for the safe and proper use of a shotgun in shooting a
moving target.”
—NRA
Basic Shotgun Shooting Course Lesson Plans

Lessons

  1. Shotgun Knowledge and Safe Handling
  2. Ammunition Knowledge and Fundamentals of Shotgun Shooting
  3. Firing the First Shots (includes cleaning and storage)
  4. Shotgun Shooting Skills Practical Exercise
  5. Shotgun Games and Activities

Prerequisites

The are no prerequisites for taking this course, and the material
is accessible to appropriately supervised mature children. Be aware
that the proper fitting of a shotgun to a shooter can be
time-consuming.

Course Completion

For best results, the shotgun shooting skills exercise is repeated
several times, with feedback from the instructor.

Students will receive feedback on the live-fire exercise and a
course certificate upon successful completion of the lessons. There is
a short written test on the lesson material at the end of the
course.

 

FIRST Steps Shotgun

Description

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

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

Course Goal

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

Lessons

  1. Introduction to Shotgun Safety, Parts, and Operation
  2. Introduction to Ammunition and the Fundamentals of Shotgun
    Shooting
  3. Introduction to Shotgun Shooting at Straightaway Targets
  4. Introduction to Shotgun Cleaning, Storage, and Training
    Opportunities

Prerequisites

The are no prerequisites for taking this course, and the material
is accessible to appropriately supervised mature children. Be aware
that the proper fitting of a shotgun to a shooter can be
time-consuming.

Course Completion

Students will receive feedback on the live-fire exercise and a
course certificate upon successful completion of the lessons.

 

Basic Rifle

Description

A rifle is a long gun designed to be fired with two hands. It has a
rifled bore (thus the name “rifle”) and is designed to
shoot a specific size of ammunition. Rifles are often used in game
hunting and in long range marksmanship competitions.

The Basic Rifle course can be as short as fourteen hours. In it
students will get the NRA’s The
Basics of Rifle Shooting
handbook and intensive lessons in
safety, gun handling, fundamentals of rifle shooting, several
practical exercises on the firing range, cleaning, storage, and a
summary of rifle sports and activities.

Course Goal

“To teach the basic knowledge, skills, and attitudes
necessary for the safe use of a rifle in target shooting.”
—NRA
Basic Rifle Shooting Course Lesson Plans

Lessons

  1. Rifle Knowledge and Safe Handling
  2. Ammunition Knowledge and Fundamentals of Rifle Shooting
  3. Firing the First Shots (includes cleaning and storage)
  4. Standing Rifle Shooting Positions
  5. Prone and Kneeling Rifle Shooting Positions
  6. Sitting Rifle Shooting Positions
  7. Rifle Sports and Activities

Prerequisites

The are no prerequisites for taking this course, and the material
is accessible to appropriately supervised mature children. Be aware
that the proper fitting of a rifle to a shooter can be
time-consuming.

Course Completion

Students will receive feedback on the live-fire exercises and a
course certificate upon successful completion of the lessons. There is
a short written test on the lesson material at the end of the
course.

 

FIRST Steps Rifle

Description

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

This course, because of its narrow focus, can be completed as
quickly as three hours. Students will get the NRA’s The
Basics of Rifle Shooting
handbook and quick practical lessons
on the safe use, cleaning, and storage of their rifle. The practical
exercise only covers a single firing position. As the number of
participants or firearm types increases, the course will take
proportionally longer.

Course Goal

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

Lessons

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

Prerequisites

The are no prerequisites for taking this course, and the material
is accessible to appropriately supervised mature children. Be aware
that the proper fitting of a rifle to a shooter can be
time-consuming.

Course Completion

Students will receive feedback on the live-fire exercise and a
course certificate upon successful completion of the lessons.

 

Basic Personal Protection in the Home

Description

Unlike the other basic courses, the Personal Protection course
covers defensive shooting. Self-defense is a topic somewhat distinct
from the regular diet of shooting fundamentals, it can cover mindset,
legal issues, decision-making under pressure, and planning for the
worst. The Basic Personal Protection in the Home course is designed
around the use of the defensive pistol.

Although the course can be completed as quickly as eight hours, the
amount of information presented, and the probability of intensive
question and answer sessions on the included topics, makes it likely
that the course will take longer.

Students will receive the NRA
Guide to the Basics of Personal Protection in the Home

handbook and intensive lessons on basics of defensive shooting, issues
of self-defense, and other strategies for protecting the home and
family.

Course Goal

“To develop in the students the basic knowledge, skills, and
attitude essential to the safe and efficient use of a handgun for
protection of self and family, and to provide information on the
law-abiding citizen’s right to self-defense.”
—NRA
Basic Personal Protection in the Home Course Lesson Plans

Lessons

  1. Introduction to Defensive Shooting
  2. Basic Defensive Handgun Skills
  3. Firearms and the Law: Possession, Ownership, and the Use of Deadly
    Force
  4. Strategies for Home Safety and Responding to a Violent
    Confrontation
  5. Selecting a Handgun for Personal Defense
  6. Sport Shooting Activities and Training Opportunities
  7. Course Review and Examination

Prerequisites

Participants in the Personal Protection course should be
experienced shooters, showing mastery of the basic skills of safe gun
handling. If necessary, this course will put partcipants through a
pre-course evaluation exercise, where potential students are asked to
demonstrate safe gun handling, shoot a series of five-shot groups,
discuss the operations necessary to zero a pistol, and demonstrate how
to properly clean a handgun.

Participants are expected to show validation of shooting experience
by showing an NRA Basic Pistol Course certificate,
an NRA
Marksmanship Qualification Program certificate, a Pistol
qualification card, a DD 214 card with
pistol qualification, or a Concealed Carry Permit.

Finally, the Personal Protection course is intended for mature
law-abiding adults, who have the mindset and seriousness necessary to
properly perform the activities in the course. Self-defense is not a
topic that lends itself to horseplay and distractions.

Course Completion

Students will be given feedback on their shooting exercises, and a
certificate upon successful completion of the lessons. Not only are
shooting standards fired during the practical exercises, but a written
exam will be given at the end of the course. Throughout the course the
instructor will use a individual checklist for each student to ensure
the coverage of course material, and satisfactory absorption of the
material being taught.

 

Basic Metallic Cartridge Reloading

Description

The NRA Basic Metallic Cartridge Reloading course exposes students
to the basics of reloading centerfire metallic cartridges with little
or no prior experience in reloading.

Although the course can be completed as quickly as eight hours, the
amount of information presented, and the probability of intensive
question and answer sessions on the included topics, makes it likely
that the course will take longer.

Students will receive the NRA
Guide to Reloading
handbook and intensive lessons on the basics of
reloading.

Course Goal

“To provide beginning reloaders with the basic knowledge,
skills, and attitude necessary to safety reload metallic
cartridges.”
—NRA Basic Metallic Cartridge Reloading
Course Lesson Plans

Lessons

  1. Introduction to Reloading and Reloading Safety
  2. Centerfire Cartridge Components
  3. Using the Reloading Manual and Reloading Data
  4. Metallic Cartridge Reloading Equipment
  5. The Metallic Cartridge Reloading Process
  6. Basic Metallic Cartridge Reloading Practical Exercise
  7. Course Review and Examination

Prerequisites

The are no prerequisites for taking this course, and the material
is accessible to organized and conscientious people. Be aware that
attention to detail is a vital skill in safe reloading.

Course Completion

Students will receive feedback on the practical exercises conducted
during the course. There is a short written test on the lesson
material at the end of the course.

 

Basic Shotgun Shell Reloading

Description

The NRA Basic Shotgun Shell Reloading course exposes students to
the basics of reloading shotgun shells with little or no prior
experience in reloading.

Although the course can be completed as quickly as eight hours, the
amount of information presented, and the probability of intensive
question and answer sessions on the included topics, makes it likely
that the course will take longer.

Students will receive the NRA
Guide to Reloading
handbook and intensive lessons on the
basics of reloading.

Course Goal

“To provide beginning reloaders with the basic knowledge,
skills, and attitude necessary to safety reload shotgun
shells.”
—NRA Basic Shotgun Shell Reloading Course
Lesson Plans

Lessons

  1. Introduction to Reloading and Reloading Safety
  2. Shotgun Shell Components
  3. Using the Reloading Manual and Reloading Data
  4. Shotgun Shell Reloading Equipment
  5. The Shotgun Shell Reloading Process
  6. Basic Shotgun Shell Reloading Practical Exercise
  7. Course Review and Examination

Prerequisites

The are no prerequisites for taking this course, and the material
is accessible to organized and conscientious people. Be aware that
attention to detail is a vital skill in safe reloading.

Course Completion

Students will receive feedback on the practical exercises conducted
during the course. There is a short written test on the lesson
material at the end of the course.

 

Basic Range Safety Officer

This is a course designed to prepare experienced shooters to the
basic duties of a Range Safety Officer (RSO). RSOs ensure that the
users of a range follow range regulations in order to reduce property
damage and personal injury. RSOs often have responsibilities to take
action when circumstances require it. The RSO is the range’s official
on the firing line to ensure safety and to help shooters.

Many ranges seek out volunteer Range Safety Officers and the NRA
developed this course to help ranges train those RSOs.

Becoming a Range Safety Officer is akin to becoming a NRA Certified
Instructor, with much harder testing and the maintaining of a
certification card with the NRA. A new RSO will need to pay fees
annually to maintain the certification. RSOs are neither certified
instructors or coaches.

Although the course can be completed as quickly as nine hours, it
often will take longer depending on the class size and the facilities
at the range. For example, a large number of indoor and outdoor ranges
of different types cannot be toured quickly.

Students will receive a student
packet featuring a RSO handbook. This handbook is not available
separately.

Course Goal

“To develop NRA Certified Range Safety Officers who possess
the knowledge, skills, and attitudes essential to organizing,
conducting, and supervising safe shooting activities and range
operations.”
—NRA
Basic Range Safety Officer Course Lesson Plans

Lessons

  1. Introduction to the NRA Basic Range Safety Officer Course
  2. The Role of the NRA Range Safety Officer and Range Standard
    Operating Procedures
  3. Range Inspection and Range Rules
  4. Range Safety Briefing
  5. Emergency Procedures
  6. Firearm Stoppages and Malfunctions
  7. Test and Review

Prerequisites

NRA Range Safety Officers should be experienced shooters, involved
in many aspects of target shooting, training, and range supervision.
The NRA encourages active shooters to learn more and become
responsible for the safety of fellow shooters through this
program. There will be practical exercises with all types of firearms
in this course, even if a shooter’s discipline does not require
experience with those types.

Course Completion

Students will receive feedback on the practical exercises conducted
during the course. There is a short written test on the lesson
material at the end of the course. A 90% score is required to obtain
certification. In addition, certification will require registering with the
NRA and paying the appropriate fees.

 

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