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How to Become a Certified Firearms Instructor

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The National Rifle Association, the National Association of Certified Firearms Instructors and Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers each offer certification to individuals who are both expert shooters and expert teachers of shooting techniques. Those who meet the basic qualifications can take instructional courses on proper teaching methods, leading to certification. Certified instructors are then eligible to teach in their respective organization’s beginner firearm courses.


The NRA instructor training program requires that individuals have extensive knowledge of firearm safety and shooting techniques and are able to demonstrate safe firearm handling skills. Participants choose a specific shooting discipline, such as pistol, rifle or shotgun training, firearm safety, personal home protection, range safety office or shotgun shell reloading. Courses typically have four to 12 participants and involve extensive role-playing techniques. NRA training counselors ensure that all instructor candidates learn teaching techniques, how to improve a student’s shooting skills, basic budgeting skills, class organizational skills and lesson planning.


To qualify for National Association of Certified Firearms Instructors training, you must be a trained law enforcement officer or have other extensive handgun training or experience. You should also be active in local or state gun rights organizations or related gun clubs. NACFI training courses are run by people who have both trainer and certifier credentials through NACFI. These courses and certifications are only available in Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Utah and Kansas. The training sessions last two and a half and cover -- in addition to NACFI training methods -- standard business practices for running a firearms training business.


The Firearms Instructor Training Program offered by Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers is a 10-day program that helps newly assigned firearms instructors in federal agencies familiarize themselves with different firearms and teaching techniques. To participate, you must be a full-time law enforcement officer or active-duty military, according to the FLETC website. It adds that you should either have experience presenting instructional material to law enforcement personnel or possess the potential to do so. You must be in good physical condition and must successfully complete a health screening and handgun skills assessment. A score of 85 or higher on the first-day exam is required to continue in the training. The course teaches techniques in firearm use, marksmanship, instructional techniques, safety, survival, trauma management, injury prevention, online teaching and more.

Future Expectations

The goal of the certified firearms instructor is to teach others the knowledge and skills needed to safely enjoy firearm and shooting activities. The NRA requires that all certified instructors uphold the NRA standards and procedures. The NACFI customizes all training and future retraining requirements according to state laws and -- as of the date of publication -- requires certified instructors to pay $350 annually. FLETC has regular requalification requirements as well.


Amy Whitmyre has been a writer for more than 10 years. Her career experience also includes work as an educator and market researcher and a librarian in the legal and medical fields. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Science in library science and is currently working on a Master of Science in education.

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