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NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting

Beginners' pistol training the NRA way


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The NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting is intended for all individuals regardless of previous shooting experience or NRA-affiliation.


This is the NRA INSTRUCTOR-LED-ONLY (not online or hybrid) training.  The learning takes place in a traditional classroom and range environment. This course may be completed in a single day format or over several days with smaller blocks of instruction.


Course topics include: gun safety rules, proper operation of revolvers and semi-automatic pistols, ammunition knowledge and selection, pistol selection and storage, shooting fundamentals, pistol inspection and maintenance, marksmanship, and shooting range safety. Additionally, students will complete live-fire training and a nationally standardized shooting qualification while on the range with an NRA Certified Instructor. Students will receive the NRA Guide: Basics of Pistol Shooting handbook, take a Basics of Pistol Shooting Student Examination and receive a course completion certificate bearing the signature of the NRA Secretary and your NRA Certified Instructor.



We will start in the classroom and then move to the seasonally-appropriate range for live-fire exercises.



(This section lists only course-specific gear.  See our FAQs for other required and recommended items.)

  • Your handgun: a revolver, a modern semi-automatic—or one of each, if you like—in good working order

  • Please bring your firearm to class in a case or "gun rug"—NOT in your bare hands!

  • IF you can SAFELY verify that your gun is unloaded, please do so prior to bringing it to class.

    • If you do not know how to SAFELY clear your firearm, KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF OF THE TRIGGER and secure it in a case without any other loose objects that might press the trigger.  When you arrive, I will safely inspect your gun and make sure it is unloaded.

  • At least one magazine for your semi-automatic handgun.  Revolver users may bring a speed-loader if they wish.

  • At least 100 rounds of factory new ammunition​.


    • Steel-core ammunition will damage range equipment and is not permitted for use.

  • Approximately $15 for range fees, payable directly to the range, when applicable.

  • During cold months, you will need at least three dummy rounds (aka, "snap caps") for your firearm's chambering.  DUMMY ROUNDS MUST BE READILY DISTINGUISHABLE FROM LIVE AMMUNITION.



  • For medical reasons, we do not allow pregnant women to participate in our live-fire activities.  If you are pregnant and wish to take this class, please do!  But kindly allow us to find a time outside of your pregnancy to help you complete the live-fire requirements at no additional charge.

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