How NRA Instructors Impact Their Communities

When NRA firearm instructors properly train individuals, they are demonstrating the “Gold Standard” that the sets them apart from any other training.

by posted on August 16, 2022
Rao Nra Outreach Shotgun Training 2

The NRA offers firearm training and other programs to meet the needs of every citizen. Some training is expected to be utilized each time someone handles a firearm—like keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction—while other training one hopes to never have to use, like self-defense. Some NRA training benefits the community by helping train law enforcement officers to protect us. Other programs, such as the NRA School Shield program, are designed to help protect our schools, and the Eddie Eagle program helps protect our children.

As an NRA Training Counselor, I train and certify many individuals for myriad reasons. Some individuals seek training for personal growth. Some want to be able to better train other individuals in the proper use of firearms. Lastly, there are those that use their training to volunteer for various youth organizations, such as the Boy Scouts of America, to promote the Second Amendment and the safe handling and use of firearms.   

NRA firearm courses are in-depth and ensure that NRA Instructors are the best in the business. Some of these instructor courses include NRA Rifle Instructor, NRA Shotgun Instructor, and NRA Pistol Instructor. There are requirements to be met before anyone is permitted to enroll in any of the instructor courses. First, everyone must complete and pass the NRA Basic Rifle, NRA Basic Shotgun, or the NRA Basic Pistol Course, respectfully, depending on the Instructor Course that the individual is seeking. Second, the individual seeking an instructor course must shoot a qualifying course and achieve a passing score. These courses and curriculum are standardized. Once an individual becomes an NRA Instructor, certification allows him or her to teach the NRA Basic course. The NRA wants all instructors to “see” what the Basic course “looks” like first, before teaching it. These requirements are not meant to make it difficult on individuals trying to become instructors, but to ensure the public when they see an NRA Instructor, they see a well-trained and qualified Instructor.

As a Training Counselor, I always enjoy hearing from my students. I encourage all my students to keep in touch and reach out if they need any assistance as they continue with their firearm training. Over the years, I’ve come to realize there are there are three types of outreach many NRA Instructors do: Individual, Community and Organizational outreach.

Individual Outreach
You never know who you are going to meet while enjoying a day on the range. Many times, you may have a less-experienced individual on a lane right next to you. If you notice that individual struggling with a firearm or getting into a shooting position, it is difficult to sit idly by and not offer words of advice or assistance, if welcomed. Same situation occurs when waiting your turn to check in before being assigned a shooting lane. While visiting with others in lobby or at the counter, many conversations usually develop, and tips and suggestions are always exchanged. Here is a message I received that serves as an example of how a new NRA Shotgun Instructor impacted other new shooters:

From: Matt D.
To: Heidi Rao
Sent: Sunday, May 19
Subject: Shotgun Instructor course

Beckett (my son) and I shot sporting clays today at ASC, and as we checked in, a couple of guys from the Netherlands were checking in as well but had never shot clays. Only one of them had ever shot a shotgun! I offered to go with them and got to use my newly learned techniques. Worked out great for all, and one did better than I did :).

Hearing a story like this reinforces the fact that I, as a Training Counselor, received first-class training from the Instructors at the NRA Headquarters when I received my NRA Training Counselor credentials. It further reinforces the fact that I paid it forward to my own students. One of my students was able to use what he learned in the class to help another shotgun shooter. By helping these individuals from the Netherlands, not only were they introduced to the value and benefits of properly trained NRA Instructors, but they were also shown that the NRA as an organization is a benefit to the public. 

Community Outreach
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the NRA have worked together for more than 100 years to develop a strong shooting sports program. This long-standing relationship benefits all parties involved. If running a BSA rifle range, a certified NRA Range Safety Officer (RSO) is to directly supervise all live fire on that range. Additionally, an NRA Rifle Instructor must provide support to the shooters during live fire on the rifle range. These must be two separate individuals. If running a BSA shotgun range, a certified NRA RSO supervises all live fire plus a certified NRA Shotgun Instructor provides support to the shooters during live fire on the shotgun range. Again, two separate individuals. Same for running pistol ranges during BSA events: an NRA RSO plus an NRA Pistol Instructor on the pistol range.    

Without this historic partnership, the successful BSA shooting programs would not exist. Standards for firearm instruction and supervision were created and continue today. The NRA’s training program is world-class and structured to help shooters of all skill levels to learn how to safely shoot firearms while improving marksmanship. This directly benefits and impacts the shooting sports community, one Scout at a time.

Organizational Outreach
I sometimes conduct instructor classes for individuals whose reason for certification is to benefit their organization. Knowing that I can help these organizations reach their training goals really gives me a sense of pride. Here is an example of one of the groups that benefits from NRA Certification:

I am honored to announce that Deborah, Sherry, Robyn, and Rebecca have met and completed the required training to become NRA Certified Pistol Instructors.

I do believe that we are the only chapter in AG & AG that all the leadership are Certified NRA Pistol Instructors. I am so proud of these ladies. Without all the help, time and dedication of these ladies, we couldn't have all the activities and programs that we have. I love that they display the same passion for continued training and education so they can bring it back to share with our chapter ladies. — Cindy, AGAG Facilitator

When NRA firearm instructors properly train individuals, they are demonstrating the “Gold Standard” that the sets us apart from any other training. It is important to remember that we are each an ambassador for NRA Training.

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