April 1, 2016: NRA Kills Basic Pistol Course

The NRA Training Department has mandated that the Basic Pistol Shooting course and the FIRST Steps Pistol course be discontinued as of May 15, 2016. In their place the NRA Training Department has designated a “blended” course.  The new course is divided into two phases.  The first phase is now an online only course managed through an NRA learning management system.  The fee for this portion is $60 that is paid directly to the NRA.The second phase is a minimum 5 hour instructor lead course that includes live fire. Students who want to take a Phase II course must first complete the online only phase I.  Students will find instructors for Phase II through the NRA training portal.  Instructors who want to hold the Phase II course must use the NRA training portal to establish their classes in advance.  The fees for Phase II are set by, and paid to the NRA Certified Instructor who presents the course.

Instructors who still have the student packets for either the FIRST Steps or the Basic Pistol Shooting course can continue to hold these courses until May 15, 2016. After that date, the NRA will no longer recognize these courses that are presented by their Certified Instructors.  Instructors who have wanted to hold these courses before the May 15 cutover have not been able to obtain student packages through the NRA Instructors portal since the beginning of 2016.

NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course – current course discontinued after 05/15/2016

NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Phase I and Phase II – new course after 05/15/2015

The fee for Phase I has been set by the NRA at $60. Once a student signs up for and pays the fee for the course they will have access to the learning management system that presets the course material.   The online only course consists of 11 lessons.  A test is administered and the student must achieve at least  90% to pass.  If the student does not pass on the first attempt, they will have four additional opportunities to take the test.  The course expires in 90 days after enrollment.  Payment has to be made with a credit card.  The course is non-refundable.

The sign up for the course is located at:


The photo promo for the online only course is a student watching an instructor demonstrate gripping a gun.  Maybe that’s a screen shot from the course, or a teaser for Phase II.

Once a student has passed Phase I they can find an instructor offering Phase II through the NRA Training web site.  http://www.nrainstructors.org

The Instructor material for Phase II indicates the minimum time for the Phase II course is 5 hours. Each student will be assessed on skills and shooting performance in order to complete the phase and receive a completion certificate.

The benefits for the student:

     A consistent presentation of the basic classroom information.

     Students can access the system at any time to fit their schedule.

     The Phase II classroom/range course is shorter than the full Basic course.

     No written exam for the Phase II course.

     Specific minimum shooting performance qualification to achieve certification.

The detriment to the student:

     The blended course will cost more.

     Students have to provide personal information to the NRA.

Before May 15, 2016, the NRA received payment for each student in the form of the student packets that each NRA Certified Instructor would purchase for each student.  Based on the searches for this course in the Tampa/ St. Pete/ Orlando area most if not all instructors included this cost in their fee for the course.  Instructors in this region charged from $75 to $125 for the  NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course.  Searches for the new Phase II course range from $65 to $100. 

The result is that what a student might have paid toward the high end or the range for a fully Instructor led course, is now the low end for the blended course when you add the Phase I fee of $60 to the Instructor led Phase II.  The price point for obtaining the NRA Basics has gone up. 

The benefits for the Instructors:

     They don’t have to spend time going over the fundamental information

     The Phase II course is shorter than the Basic course.

The detriments to the Instructors:

     They don’t get to teach the fundamentals.

     Less flexibility, they can only use the NRA web site to setup Phase II classes.

     Documentation for the Performance Requirements Checklist.

     More ammunition per student.

The benefits to the NRA:

     A new revenue stream.

     More control over student personal information.

     More control over the course content that is delivered.

     More control over the Instructors advertising for classes.

The NRA stated in 2014 that it is their intent to move all there courses to this blended model.  They have started with the Basics.

 UPDATE:  Read the post titled:  April 4, 2017: You won’t see this on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, or even Fox News to read about the NRA change in policy regarding the Basic Pistol Shooting Course.




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