Thursday, March 29, 2012

Becoming an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor

I’m not sure who was more surprised, the 36 men in my NRA Pistol Instructors certification class that there was a woman in the class, or me, that there was ANOTHER woman in the class! 36 men, 2 women. Giddyup!

When a gentleman from my Sportsman’s club put out an email that he would be teaching an NRA Instructors class, I jumped at the chance. My husband was less excited about spending the required time in a classroom, but I honestly think he didn’t want me to do it without him so I signed us both up. There were a few other guys from my club there, but most of the other attendees were from other clubs.  

We were to start promptly at 9 am. Until about 8:55 I was the only female. I got some strange looks as the “good ole boys” club settled into their seats.  I sat with my husband and the guys from my club, all whom which I’m very comfortable with.  

The class itself was excellent. The NRA does a great job providing material and structure for the course. My instructor did a great job keeping the course work fun and informative. He said in the beginning of the class that there would be 100% participation because we were being certified to teach, and we should be comfortable speaking in front of groups of strangers. Then he did it..”Annette, come on up and speak to the class about how to teach to women and kids..” Ohhh...great...he could have given me a heads up at our lunch break so I could have mentally prepared something..but no. I was on the spot.

I did a decent job with my on-the-spot-no-prep presentation. Naturally in hindsight, I have a whole different lecture planned in my head, but I did the best I could, given the fact I had zero time to prep. As it turns out, only 3 of us spoke to the class that day. One was a lawyer, one a police officer, and me.

After all the instructional part of the class was complete we went on the range. We had to partner up and naturally they wouldn’t let my husband and I be a team. One person was the student, the other the instructor. The student had to shoot a course, clear a misfire, (we loaded dummy rounds into their magazine so it would cause a failure, and then had to teach them how to clear the failure). My partner and I whizzed through the range aspect of the course, then switched places and the student became the instructor. We had to evaluate their performance, and give suggestions for improvements. It was a fun, interactive process and it really brought to light some things that people may do on the range that you don’t notice, like raising their shoulders before they pull the trigger. It was my first time in an indoor range and it was awesome!

I will admit to being nervous prior to the class. I assumed I’d be the only woman there, but I was happy to see another lady taking the class. I met a lot of great guys at the class and I’m very happy I took the step to further my shooting skills and credentials. The instructors seemed happy that there was a female in the class, and they made sure to cover things like asking before you reach over a woman to show her how to do something properly.
Bottom line is, if you’re thinking of becoming an NRA Certified Instructor,  don’t hesitate to take this class and get it done. The more women on the line, the better!

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