Monday, June 23, 2014

Review - NRA Basic Pistol 6-22-2014


Had a great Basic Pistol course this past Sunday. Small, but that makes for plenty of back and forth – and I like that.

We had an interesting mix of folks – a photographer, an electrician and a young woman at the beginning of a career in law enforcement. Two were looking to fill Iowa’s requirement for their carry permit. The young woman was just gathering foundational information.

There is always the temptation to think small classes go quicker . . . yet that never happens. There is specific material that must be covered . . . and that simply takes time. From a “basic information” point of view – a new shooter simply cannot do better today than the NRA Basic Pistol course. Everything from why a cartridge fires to the components of virtually every type of handgun on the market today is covered. Add to that fundamental firearm safety, storage of the gun and its ammunition, shooting stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger press, cleaning . . . and live fire on a range . . . it’s very hard to beat the material presented.

That said – unless a new shooter is willing to set aside what they “know” and really jump in and do the course, very little information is actually transferred to the student. I actually experienced that in an experienced shooter at a training I took recently. Frankly, it was stunning to watch. The gent resisted the new material for the entire course. As far as I could tell he didn’t budge a bit from the way he did things when the course began. What a waste of time, money and – frankly – of the effort the instructor spent on him.

Happily, my experience was just the opposite in this weekend’s course. The photographer had been pistol shooting but was fairly new to foundational information this course is intended to teach. The electrician is a hunter but had limited handgun experience. Both were open to learning and was willing to jump in, work hard and “play”. Our young lady embarking on a law enforcement career was simply a sponge. She had never touched a handgun before. Once past some initial quietness, the questions came and her effort on the range was great.

The range work was . . . well . . . let’s just say it was WET, WET, WET!!! But, we had made some changes to our range recently that enabled the folks to stay relatively dry. We started out with pie plates and progressed to a qualification target I like. As I said above – they did great!

So – congrats to Cory, Carter and Raechel . . . GREAT JOB folks!



  1. Good for them, and good for you for doing a small class! ;-)

  2. Jim - yep - they played hard, always nice to see. And as for doing small classes, I like them and - frankly - unless I want to teach the quickie 4-hour type of class, you have to be happy with doing classes for those folks who actually want to learn some details and do range work. There aren't as many of those folks - so the classes are naturally smaller. Just the way it is.