NRA Basic Safety, Shooting, Defense and Range Safety Officer Training
Home Firearm Safety
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.
“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
- Rules for Safe Gun Handling
- Identifying and Unloading Different Firearms
- Practical Exercises in Safe Gun Handling
- Types of Ammunition; Cleaning and Storage of Firearms
The are no prerequisites for taking this course and the material can be understood by mature people of all ages.
Students will receive feedback on the practical exercises and a course completion certificate.
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.
“To teach the basic knowledge, skills, and attitude for owning and using a pistol safely.”
—NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course Lesson Plans
- Pistol Knowledge and Safe Gun Handling
- Ammunition Knowledge and Fundamentals of Pistol Shooting
- Firing the First Shots (includes cleaning and storage)
- Two-handed and One-handed Standing Shooting Positions
- Pistol Sports and Activities
The are no prerequisites for taking this course, and the material is accessible to appropriately supervised mature children.
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.
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.
“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
- Rifle Knowledge and Safe Handling
- Ammunition Knowledge and Fundamentals of Rifle Shooting
- Firing the First Shots (includes cleaning and storage)
- Standing Rifle Shooting Positions
- Prone and Kneeling Rifle Shooting Positions
- Sitting Rifle Shooting Positions
- Rifle Sports and Activities
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.
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.
Basic Personal Protection in the Home
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.
“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
- Introduction to Defensive Shooting
- Basic Defensive Handgun Skills
- Firearms and the Law: Possession, Ownership, and the Use of Deadly Force
- Strategies for Home Safety and Responding to a Violent Confrontation
- Selecting a Handgun for Personal Defense
- Sport Shooting Activities and Training Opportunities
- Course Review and Examination
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.
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 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 $25 for processing of their card, and $5 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.
“To develop NRA Certified Range Safety Officerse 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
- Introduction to the NRA Basic Range Safety Officer Course
- The Role of the NRA Range Safety Officer and Range Standard Operating Procedures
- Range Inspection and Range Rules
- Range Safety Briefing
- Emergency Procedures
- Firearm Stoppages and Malfunctions
- Test and Review
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.
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 mailing in the appropriate documents along with a $25 fee for processing.