Pistol Briefing

What level of training do I need to give Venturers so they can participate in a fun shoot?

Please take a look at the BSA 30 minute briefing slides [here]

I verified with Mark Belli that we could do a Level 2 "Pistol Open Shooting Experience" with 22lr pistols. This course was sufficient to give new shooters the opportunity to shoot one on one with an instructor provided the instructor does the loading and unloading (Slides 6 and slide 23 specify this)

Does it only take 30 minutes? Sometimes, if it is just a few people but usually it takes longer. New shooters will have lots of questions and need more time practicing the fundamentals. The 30 minutes does not include any of the range time. I love to use simulators to get students up to speed quickly. You can read more about that [here]

In my crew, the instructors changed the briefing to do the loading/unloading/decocking drill with each student (using dummy rounds) so we only load and unload for them the first few times on the firing line and then we supervise them doing it. Shooters start out with only one round. Those first shots are usually standing pointing at a paper target. We expect them to group on a paper plate at about 20 feet or we give them additional instruction/coaching before they can move up. We'll go to bench rest if they are struggling. We also skip the revolver slide since we are not shooting revolvers.

While I can give the briefing in my sleep without the slides it was mostly used when we allowed "drop ins" at practice. We changed our procedure to require new candidates to attend an open house which includes the NRA First Steps course. The only time I'll use it now is if I'm accepting a shooter who already has prior training. So I use it as a review.

Benefits of First Steps: 
While it says 3 hours, that includes the range time. All certified instructors can get NRA instructor credit by registering the class on the NRA website. You can always add more content to the first steps to make it more applicable to your goals. The NRA allows BSA to use the first steps course without purchasing the NRA student packets. When we teach the BSA Rifle Shooting Merit Badge, we use the First Steps class. The BSA shooting manual covers how to merge the two.

Whats really important here? Make sure each shooter knows the safety rules and is trained for the firearm you are using. Coaches need to be confident that the items have been covered and absorbed. The orientation should not be rushed. The shooters need to feel comfortable as well. Some youth will need more instruction and some will need less. Having extra instructors makes it easier to separate those who need more time.

-Mike Michaels