Gun Skool

Some weeks ago, I had mentioned to Joe that I would like to get my NRA Trainer’s certification.  There were classes offered over in Western Washington, and Joe offered to let me stay at his hardened, underground bunker, located beneath a non-descript building in an ordinary part of an obscure town in a crowded part of the state.  In the middle of getting some new gun products photographed, spec.ed, instructions written, and put on-line, I drove to Western Washington for some courses, created by the NRA, in Instructor Training, Basic Pistol instruction and Home Firearm Safety instruction.  That was three days of intense (for me) study, from 8:00 AM to after 6:00PM Friday and Saturday, and 8:00 to about 5:30 on Sunday.

The first exercise of the weekend involved demonstrating that we could show another person how to safely load and unload five different long-gun actions and three handgun actions (aced that–for me it was akin to asking a chef to demonstrate his ability to prepair scrambled eggs and dry toast, but enough bragging).  We then had to score at least 90% on four separate written exams and shoot at least 50% on a pistol qualification course—shooting from a distance of 25 yards at a nine-inch target, from three specific standing positions including one-handed.  Apparently, most pistol shooters don’t shoot much beyond 10 or 15 yards, but I was unaware of this, having tried my hand at 100 yards. 100 yards is a bit of a “hail Mary” exercise with a common handgun. At 25 yards you have to take your time and concentrate, but it is very much doable.  I’d have scored higher than my 63% if I’d either used my own guns or if I’d known in advance that their pistols were regulated for a “bull’s-eye” zero at 25 (sights held on the bottom of the round bull’s-eye to hit in the center of the bull’s-eye– ask me if you want to know why that’s a great idea, which it is) because I was holding the sights on the center of the bull. Most of my misses therefore went high. Most of us in the class were “combat” shooters (they’d make fun of that by saying we were from the “Billy-Bob School of Running and Gunning”) and so we were a little bit unprepared for the slower, more relaxed, more skeletal-supported bull’s-eye style they use in the NRA basic pistol classes.

I passed everything with flying colors, except for the second written exam—I was completely unprepared to “study for the tests”.  I hadn’t been in college for almost 30 years.  I was listening intently to the instructor, and was confident of knowing everything he was talking about, plus I had already scored 96% (I think it was) on the first written exam.  Trouble was, I didn’t have the precise verbiage they wanted as answers on the second test—the Three Principles of this, and the Eight Steps of that, etc..  One instructor was impressed enough that he let me take the test over, which I passed with 100%.  The trouble with that, however, was it took time away from my studying the material for the other classes, so in spite of taking no time for anything but studying, eating and sleeping a little bit, I was behind the curve so to speak, for the whole weekend.  I was a hair trigger from bugging out on more than one occasion, but I am very glad I stuck it through.  As soon as I receive my official certification I’ll be qualified to teach NRA basic courses in Pistol and Home Firearm Safety.

Aside from being impressed by the quality of both the teachers and the students at Kenmore Range, there was a lot I never knew about the NRA, in spite of having been a member for years, and I gained a new respect for the organization.  It turns out they started for very much the same reasons Joe started the Boomershoot— to increase the number of competent shooters for the times they may be required to defend life and Liberty.  The whole political persona we all know, came much later, and to this day is only a very small part of the NRA.  They are mostly a marksmanship advancement, training, and competitive shooting facilitator, having founded Camp Perry and a number of other excellent ranges, and developed a comprehensive and effective training program.


To you NRA phone solicitors and mailing program developers out there:  You really should spend more time talking to your perspective members about all the things, in addition to the political wing, the NRA does to promote American marksmanship.


The weekend was rough, but I highly recommend NRA Trainer education to anyone interested in teaching gun handling or shooting skills.  Thank you, Joe, for the use of the hardened bunker.  I could not have done so well without it, and the broadband pipe you provided also.


As an aside, I left my wallet and checkbook, everything, at a rest stop near Dusty, WA on my way to the West Side.  I didn’t know about it until Joe informed me as I was entering the Seattle area.  It turns out that someone from the West Side was driving to Moscow, ID where I work, picked it up, called my place of work, and hand delivered it.  Sort of renews one’s faith in Mankind, that does.  That person could have easily relieved me of many thousands of dollars, to say nothing of depriving me of 100% of my ID and other creds.


3 thoughts on “Gun Skool

  1. You’re welcome Lyle. Just helping you get another step closer to the apex of the Triangle of Death.

    I don’t really think my place in the Seattle area qualifies as a hardened bunker until I get a few more feet of reinforced concrete over the top (the sides are just fine). I’ve been debating with myself about doing that for quite a while now. It’s likely to draw attention and I’m not sure which is better; A) The obscure location or, B) A more hardened position.

  2. Thanks for the invite Boyd. But weekends just don’t work for me. I’m either in Idaho for the weekend or Barb is over here (Seattle area) to visit.

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