Basic Pistol Course

I am about to take my first firearm class, towards the end of next month. I have my CCW permit, and have been carrying for years now, but now is the time for training, enough procrastination! Any advice from yinz?


My biggest piece of advice is do your research on your instructor, read reviews from other students.

Being former LEO or military does not always make for the best instructor.

If the instructor doesn’t feel right, says something that doesn’t sit right, or is in any way demeaning find yourself a new instructor. I recently ran into a woman at the range, she’s a revolver girl, won’t touch a semi-auto pistol. She’s had two instructors chastise her for her choice of firearms.

I’ve been through a few instructors myself, one was all about bragging on his skill and kills while in the military, another was very lax about safety. Safety is my number one priority.

Research people like Carry Trainer, Instructor Zee, Greg Ellifritz, I could go on and on here. Reach out to one see if they have a recommendation for someone local to you.

Listen to your gut!


Thank you very much for your input. I will take all that into consideration! Safety should definitely be first.

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Don’t know in what part of the country you live in but if I was seeking training I would seek out Wildrose. That man impresses me with his input in this forum. The wisdom and encouragement he has shared here is appreciated and seems to me to be down to earth common sense. Mr. Rose, I hope you don’t mind my comments.


NRA basic pistol is a great course for beginners as it will really introduce you to the fundamentals at a very elementary level and it’s very good prep for the USCCA Home Defense and Concealed Carry course.

Repetition of basic courses can be boring but it’s also necessary to really build a solid foundation.

I would suggest this for progresison.

NRA basic, USCCA Concealed Carry and HD, NRA Personal Protection inside, then Outside the home, USCCA DSF1, NRA Defensive Pistol, then USCCA DSF2.

IF you take each of those at about six month intervals, and review regularly, practice the drills developing your skills along the way, in a couple of years you’ll look back and be amazed at how far you’ve come and how your entire world view will have been altered.

You may have some frustrations along the way as well but you’re guaranteed to have a good time and get some real lasting value from the experience.


Thanks Pat, much appreciated.


Thank you @BrophE :blush:
@Jeffrey you can find USCCA trained teachers / classes here:

It lets you search by zip so you can find someone local. If the local instructor isn’t offering the specific class you’re looking for, I’d contact them anyway… they may have other offerings that aren’t listed.

Having trained as a teacher under both NRA and USCCA banners, I’m a fan of the USCCA process for qualifying teachers. Both curricula cover what you should know from a firearms perspective, but I like the USCCA materials better, and the teachers’ courses really put a strong focus on how to be an effective teacher.

As far as what to look for… years teaching is important. Shooting skill and experience matters, but teaching skill and experience matter just as much. Being g a good shooter doesn’t make you a good teacher.

Read reviews for sure.

At the local range, you may ask the staff who teaches, and ask some questions about their styles and who seems to work with students like you who are interested in what you are.

Call the instructor befor you sign up and ask questions so you get a sense of what they know, what they find worth talking about, how they communicate, and if they are interested in what you want and need, or if they just want to tell you about how good they are.

I’m willing to take a chance on an instructor if that phone call goes well. If I don’t click with them in the actual class, I look for a different teacher to try on next.

I’ll check to see if I’ve got anyone to refer you to in PA, what area are you in?


I agree with all there but to the bolded.

I can’t agree more skills cannot be willed from instructor to student so it doesn’t matter if he can flip a quarter in the air and bounce rounds off of it till hitting slide lock.

What matters is if you are comfortable in they instructor’s competency, demeanor, and ability to impart the information you need in a way you can enjoy, understand and digest.

I worked with some of the best shooters in the world for over a decade, few were good instructors and most don’t fit in too well in polite society.


I’m ok with them not fitting into polite company. But I’ve worked with some world class competitors and a few world champions in both shooting and dance… some of them wasted both my time and theirs because of being not competent teachers.
I’m an aggressive learner, I’ll get something out of the session even if they aren’t effective teachers, but I’ve learned more from some other teachers who were not nearly as accomplished in competition because they were brilliant at seeing just what I needed next to make the next breakthrough.
I didn’t say shooting skills don’t matter. But a teacher who is far enough better than me to advance my skill and who can actually teach is going to give me the best advancement for my dollar and my time.


I will ask him vaguely, where he is from - Thank you Patrick!

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WildRose, do you happen to live anywhere near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania? I am so glad that you put the progression down in your comments, thank you, I will write them down after I am finished here. Now is the time to start training! Thanks for all of your great input!!!

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Also, Thank You for your service to our country.

No, but you wouldn’t be the first to fly in for a long weekend. SW airlines is cheap and gun friendly.


Sorry, I hope I didn’t wake you with an alert sounding off. Really, can you tell me which state you are in? I may consider it.

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I’m in Texas, near Wichita falls. We could get you through as many as 3 classes in four days starting with the NRA basic pistol course.


Thank you Zee for the great input! I live just east of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania! I will check out the USCCA training search.

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I will keep you in mind. I am gonna check out the USCCA training search right now, I will let you know what I find!

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USCCA has a lot of good instructors and TC’s, some I’d rate as great.


The Basic Handgun Course I am considering involves classroom and SIRT training one day, and then range time another day. The fee is $90 and it’s not too far from me.


Is it an NRA course or just something someone has thrown together?

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