First class to reccommend for new gun owners

What training do you recommend for the folks who have no firearms training but bought a gun for ‘home defense’ during the last year or so and are intimidated by the idea of taking their new pistol to a range. Few of them have ever fired their new gun and would be terrified at the idea of carrying concealed themselves. I’ve seen a couple ‘intro to pistols’ courses offered at my club, but they are often cancelled for lack of interest (maybe because the only advertising I’ve seen is on the mailing list for my gun club, which misses the target audience for these courses).
When I find out that one of my acquaintances has purchased a firearm for home defense that they don’t know how to use I recommend they sign up for the concealed carry class that my state requires to get a concealed carry permit even though they don’t plan to ever take their gun out of their house. These courses are cheap, usually 1 day duration, cover the laws about use of deadly force in the home and include a little bit of range time at close distances. Most people get the need to understand the law. My hidden goal is that the little bit of range time might get them interested in further training and range use.
What better ideas do you have?


Most gun store’s where you but you guns know were or they offer first time classes for first time gun owners, shooters would offer such classes and you don’t have to have bought your gun there. They also offer c/c classes for the state that the store is in. Or if you don’t have a shooter’s world ask at your local gun store I’m sure they would be happy to assist you in finding a good class.


I think a good two day defensive handgun class would be the ideal. It is what I took shortly after getting into firearms and self defense. There is a lot of info for a new shooter to absorb in one day. Having that second day really helped me better process and store all that information.


The following is a brief summary of my experiences and opinions.

I do not have any experience with any of the USCCA’s in-person classes and cannot comment on them.

Beginners should not be taught by a spouse, significant other or family member. Generally, this will be a case of the blind trying to lead the blind. I think most women already know this.

Any course with the word “weapon” in the title must be avoided especially by women because there is a good chance that students will be exposed to toxic levels of testosterone. This is fine for experienced shooters but is a turn off for beginners.

As a general rule I would advise against any first class that is more than one day in duration for two reasons. First, the instructor might be a jerk and a second day would be a negative experience. Second, more than one day would be an information overload even in a “good” class.

It is not a good idea for couples/partners to attend the same session of a class.

Gun store, shooting range and club sponsored classes are probably all right. I’ve seen some good and some bad.

A woman might benefit from attending a women-only class conducted by a man or a woman.

The NRA FIRST Steps Pistol course is a good start for a new shooter. On the other hand, the NRA Basic Pistol course presents too much information for many students. For instance, it is not necessary for anyone be taught about revolvers when they will own a semiautomatic. Yes, I know about battlefield pickups.

Many classes are simply PowerPoint presentations given by rookie instructors who do not have any real teaching or classroom management skills. These “classes” are a waste of money.

Classes given at gun shows are quick-buck schemes and scams. You might qualify for your state’s concealed carry permit but that is all. In Virginia, a quadriplegic who is blind can qualify for a CCW when an NRA shotgun instructor reads him or her the basic gun safety rules. Don’t get me started.

In conclusion: pay your money and take your chances.


The class I took focused on introducing and teaching topics the first day. The second day was mostly reviewing the day one topics and running some fun drills based on the day one lessons. Day one was a bit overloading. Day two put it all together in a fun confidence building environment.

But I could see how poorly designed classes could be overwhelming regardless of length. Especially if you have an instructor who’s techniques and personality don’t work for you. Highly recommend that folks look for reviews on classes and talk to people who have taken them if they can. Finding the right teacher for your learning style is vital.
Guess I got lucky.


All good info above, my thoughts are a little different. Learn the rules of firearms, read your manual, learn how to take your firearm apart & clean it, put it back together. If you can dry fire your firearm, do so. Most folks that have been around a firearm can teach you some fundamentals. Your front sight must remain stable as you pull the trigger. All this after you find someone to help you .Sometimes fear is normal & needs to be conquered. You need a certain amount of courage & knowledge to carry & to protect yourself & loved ones.


Do think there is a lot you can and should try to pick up on your own or with some help if you are lucky enough to have a good source available. Especially in the internet age, though you need to know how to filter the good info from the bad.

I was able to strip, lube and figure out how to shoot reasonably accurately on my own before my first class. But that class was a big skill and confidence builder. And some people just don’t like or have a hard time figuring things out on their own.


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We are on USCCA’s Community… so definitely USCCA’s course would be preferable… :slightly_smiling_face:

But you can also look into NRA’s Pistols classes.
I like those, because they really start from the scratch. Zero knowledge, or a little knowledge - doesn’t matter, after 2 days you will know how to safely handle and operate your handgun.


Generally, sure. But that also depends on the individual situation.
While I have no official qualifications, I did shoot Expert every 6 mos during my military service.
When my wife & daughter wanted to learn I started with not only the 4 rules but basic handling, vocabulary, & function. Snap Caps are a wonderful thing. Practice loading & racking while keeping the room free of ammo.
I took them to the range individually then sent them to a class together (w/o me). Not sure if it was a case of personality clash or what but both said they preferred our time to the class given by a stranger.


This is true to my thinking also. Teach your own first, then send them off to learn. If they are taught incorrectly by someone else, you’ll know. & If you don’t you better get some training yourself. ( As adults to spouses or kids)


It’s always good to get a 2nd opinion. Teaching others makes me slow down & keeps it fresh in my own crowded head. If it turns out I did forget some fundamentals, I’m happy to be reminded when they get back from the class. But at least this way I’m not sending them in blind…


One more thing all new firearm owners should know. If you have a weapon for whatever reason you should get some GOOD insurance, well worth the price of admission.


Sort of my thinking too. Although, I think it would help to ask if they wanted to visit the range with me (familiar face for their comfort) and shoot a bit. That way we can do the run down on range etiquette and handling basics together. In my opinion this would give them more confidence in range visits by themselves.


For those who have just purchased a firearm and have 0 experience, I think the NRA First Steps and Women on Target courses are excellent places to start.

It’s absolutely crucial to do some research on any potential instructor you may attend a class with.


Mike, I’m with you till the end. “pay your money,”
I would recommend you read the google reviews of the class. If there aren’t any, caveat emptor.
As an example.
Check out their reviews and their format. This is a place that does it right.

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I would strongly recommend using the USCCA web page and type in the location nearest you to find a certified USCCA Instructor. I personally offer a Basic Handgun Course (Not Concealed Carry) specifically geared toward the new gun owner. Also, the Home Defense Course that we can offer is also beneficial.

USCCA Instructors can offer mini-classes. Contact one in your area today.