I received an email yesterday from another NRA Instructor friend of mine asking if I could help him this morning at an NRA "First Steps" pistol course.
Of course I said yes!
Normally he limits the size of his classes to 10 people, *maybe* 12,but hes been so swamped with applicants, and he knows numerous other instructors, that he decided to increase his class size as long as he can get some of us "other" instructors to help.
We had 18 people today, and after he ran the classroom section, out we went to the range.
The other instructor and I had (somewhat) prepped the 5 lanes he reserved, having stacks of targets ready, plenty of empty magazines and ammo, and a table set up to use in between rounds.
We started the students off with just plain old 8-1/2x11 sheets of paper to see where they were getting hits, and correcting them as necessary.
We had the usual issues with new shooters; poor grip, poor stance, poor sight picture, which all resulted in them not being able to consistently hit the piece of paper. Most of them were too "aggressive" in their stance, with their feet too far apart both side-to-side, and front-to-rear, or leaning back, rather than forward, so we worked on that first. Then we made sure they understood proper grip, and reminded them of what a proper sight picture was.
Everybody got two magazines (20 rounds) on blank paper, and when we were satisfied they understood what they were doing, we moved on to "real" targets.
We let them fire another 20 rounds at the targets, had a question/answer break, and went back to another round of targets to see how they were doing.
For the Grand Finale, they got one target, and one magazine, and shot for "score".
It was amazing to see them improve from the blank paper to the targets, and improve again after the break.
We were using Ruger "Mark II" pistols, a nice little 22LR semiautomatic that's fairly easy to shoot, especially after you add a few dabs of white paint to the all-black sights!
All of the students did very well, and their range safety discipline was excellent, and was better than I've seen in some of the advanced classes I've taken.
After the range session, we went back in the classroom, and handed out their NRA cards, patches, and certificates, and had another Q & A session.
They ALL wanted to know when the next, slightly more advanced, classes would be held, how could they join the NRA, and asked a bunch of questions about going to the range, buying their own guns, and how to store and transport them safely.
The student ranged from 19 years old, to 70 years old, and all in between. The youngest and oldest were a grandmother and her grandson, and the "Best Shot" in the class was a 50 year old woman whose husband is an LAPD officer.
All in all it was a very fine day, even though the class ran over 45 minutes.
It's great to see young and old people show up for these classes, and doubly great that they all have a positive attitude about becoming good, SAFE shooters and gun owners!