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Firearms Instructor Certification

by Van Thompson, studioD

If you're a gun hobbyist who is passionate about educating others, you might consider training to become a firearms instructor. There's no single firearms instructor certification; instead, a wide variety of organizations offer courses and seminars. To become a true expert, you'll need to prepare for months or even years before you begin taking courses.

What Firearms Instructors Do

Firearms instructors work in a wide variety of settings. Some develop educational sessions for law enforcement and military personnel, while others teach gun safety on the weekends or at conferences. For many firearms instructors, firearm instruction is only a portion of their work, not their entire career. A private investigator, for example, might complete a firearms instructor course so he can educate his staff in the proper use of firearms.

Preparing for a Class

Many firearms instruction schools have highly specific prerequisites or require a long history with guns. For example, the National Association of Certified Firearms Instructors screens applicants for experience and previous training. According to the organization's website, applicants need lots of experience with handguns, should have some law enforcement or legal training, should have some previous carry training, need previous experience in firearms training and should be active in a local gun club or gun rights organization. Depending upon the organization you choose, you might have to apprentice under another instructor or take prerequisite classes.

Course Options

A wide variety of organizations offer instructor training. For highly experienced firearms instructors, the Department of Homeland Security's Firearms Instructor Training Program provides an intensive 10-day certification. The National Rifle Association offers several firearms courses, as well as various levels of instructor training. Local gun clubs and police stations may also offer training, and many cities have firearm schools. For example, Sig Sauer Academy offers a five-day, 40-hour certificate and has regional offices throughout the country.

What You'll Learn

Because firearms instructors should already be experts, you'll skip over basics such as how to shoot a gun. Instead, your course will focus on pedagogy, equipping you with tips on teaching people to aim their weapons and offering foundational drills. You may also learn about advanced shooting techniques, injury prevention and instructor safety skills as well as legal issues that firearms instructors and gun owners face.

About the Author

Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.

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