Monday, February 1, 2010
Two days, 17 hours of classroom and range work, and I'm now an "NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor".
The course was in two parts, the "Basic Instructor Training", and the "Pistol Instructor Training".
A lot of the instruction was geared towards teaching us how to teach. We did a lot of presenting to each other, and proper SAFE gun handling was stressed. MUCH emphasis on the NRA "Three Rules" (ALWAYS keep the gun pointed is a safe direction, ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, and ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use), and I was surprised they didn't have rule #1 as "Treat ALL guns as loaded", which is the first rule stressed in other training I've had at the range. Our first presentation was to take a bagged pistol out of the instructors large bag, open it up, and make sure it was unloaded, explaining all our steps to the class as we went along. The first student drew a Springfield XD pistol and did it perfectly. I was next, and drew a cap and ball pistol, something I've never even *seen* in-the-flesh before, let alone handled. Talk about having a "DUH!" moment! I was able to pretty much figure it out (no percussion caps installed=no bang!), and explained that to the students. I had no idea how to remove the cylinder (HINT: You have to push the "Wedge Pin" on this particular gun, a 44 caliber Colt Navy Model, through the frame...NOT easy to do!), and fumbled my way to explaining that you could use the loading rod to check if there was any ball/charge in the chambers of the cylinder. The instructor laughed and said I did OK. The next guy drew a flintlock, and we all had a good laugh while learning about safeing older pistols that we had no experience with. He stressed the CONCEPT of how a firearm works is important to remember, and that you just might have somebody bring you "Grandpas Old Gun", and it's vitally important you can handle it safely.
The training was fast paced, as there's a lot of info to cover in the 17 hours, and the instructor, who I've trained with before, was excellent.
Another element of the training I didn't expect was the emphasis on how to run the more mundane aspects of teaching a course, like promotion, budgeting, emergency/first aid preparedness, and all the little details involved in record keeping.
All in all, an excellent course, and I should receive my credentials in about 60 days.