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Many gun enthusiasts love the convenience and accuracy of pistols—but before you purchase a new handgun, are you sure you know how to fire it safely?
Shooting a pistol and handling it safely can be very different than other types of firearms, so the best way to get started with pistols is by taking a shooting course. They are often offered at local shooting clubs or gun ranges and will teach you all the basics of handling and firing pistols with caution and respect.
However, not all shooting courses are created equal. Before signing up, you want to be sure to find the right course for your needs.
To learn more, keep reading to find five key features to look for in a pistol shooting course.
When it comes to finding the right pistol shooting course, know that experience matters! In fact, it’s one of the key things to look for when signing up for a class.
You should examine both the experience of the teacher running the course and the history of the shooting range facility where it’s being held.
Regarding the instructor, look into their credentials. How long have they been teaching, what are their educational qualifications, and what background do they have with pistol shooting—these questions can help you work out if the instructor is as qualified as they should be.
When looking for a class, the instructors should have the knowledge to safely and comprehensively cover everything you need to know—you may want to read more on the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course for an overview.
Also, check out the shooting range where the course is being held and make sure it has good reviews online from fellow pistol enthusiasts.
A short or long-range shooting course needs to be done safely. Responsible gun and pistol owners know that safety is always your biggest priority when it comes to gun handling, storage, cleaning, and firing.
Look for a course that emphasizes this to new students. While we all love the fun of shooting, everyone in the course needs to be aware of the safety risks, especially if they don’t come from a firearm background and may not understand the importance of safety.
A legitimate course should cover state laws when it comes to firearms ownership, ensuring you know what’s required of you as a pistol owner. This includes permits, storage, where and when you can shoot, and whether or not concealed carry is allowed.
Safety also applies to those around you, helping you learn when it’s ok to shoot and what you should always check for before firing.
3. Class Size
We recommend looking for a course with a small number of students. In an ideal world, a one-on-one course is always going to be the best way to learn, but if that’s out of your budget, try to find a class with only a handful of students.
A small class size will give you plenty of individual help from the instructor and opportunities to ask questions. In large classes, it’s hard for the instructor to give everyone the attention they need, so the caliber of your education might not be as good as in a smaller group.
When researching classes, don’t be afraid to call up the school and ask them what their maximum class size is, as this can help you make a decision.
4. NRA-Certified Instructors
It’s essential to look at the qualifications of the course instructors. A love of pistols isn’t enough to make someone a good teacher—ideally, look for someone who is accredited by the NRA, the peak body for guns in the US.
The NRA, or National Rifle Association, was originally founded back in 1871, with the aim of improving rifle skills and knowledge across the US. Today, they provide accreditation to select instructors who meet their standards.
They are widely considered to be the highest standard of instructors, since not everyone meets their requirements. NRA instructors need to complete both the class they want to teach and an instructor course, plus they need to demonstrate impressive firearm firing, handling, and safety skills.
Before signing up for a pistol course, make sure the course teacher is accredited by the NRA.
5. Ongoing Learning Opportunities
After you’ve completed your course, what happens next? You’re sure to want to continue your shooting practice and learning, but in a safe environment.
Many pistol shooters love being part of a community, where they can socialize and learn from fellow gun enthusiasts. Therefore, you may find it helpful to look for a school that offers additional opportunities after you’ve completed their course.
Check to see if the school offers advanced courses as a way to learn more. Or, do they have a pistol club or days out that you could get involved with?
The best way to improve your pistol shooting skills is with regular practice, so joining a shooting club is a great way to improve your technique and also to make new friends.
Find the Right Shooting Course for Your Needs
Are you ready to take your pistol skills to the next level? If so, use these tips to find the right shooting course for your needs.
Look into courses in your area, then try to find reviews from previous students. This can be a helpful way to get an unbiased account of what the course is actually like.
Soon, you’ll be looking forward to your first day of class! Get started today and become an accurate marksman and a responsible pistol owner.
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