I want to train friends/family on firearms -- certification options?

Hello, I would like to train my friends and family that are interested in firearms and wondering if USCCA offer any certifications or courses that could help. I know about the Become an Instructor option, but that seems more for people who want to make a career out of training the general public and helping them get CCW licenses. I’m just your average, non-military, non-LEO, citizen that likes teaching others and I (and I’m sure my friends and family) would definitely appreciate if I have some third-party certification and met some objective standards. The topics I would cover are safe handling & operation of pistols, revolvers, rifles; range safety & etiquette; and rendering first aid or responding to an emergency on the range. Should I go through the Become an Instructor program or would the Level 1-3 qualifications be the more appropriate route? I may be over-complicating, but I would like something more under my belt aside from my personal experience and watching videos, you know?


USCCA has excellent resources as well as doing an nra course or 4 until USCCA gets the certification criteria which they may have already, I want to teach basic concepts in hand gun shooting . In the mean time develop your curriculum and your focus points so you can pack that into your class rehearse it till you can do it in your sleep, take the nra courses it’s a big help as it is a standard to this day


Regardless of what else you do, I suggest attending some Project Appleseed events hosted by the RWVA. Once you qualify Rifleman or above, you can take take an orange hat and become an instructor in training. It’s strictly volunteer but it’s also great learning and experience in Liberty, Marksmanship, and early American History/Heritage and is free experience and training in how to instruct/train.



Thanks! The NRA’s Range Safety Officer program looks promising.


Thanks! I’ll check them out. Looks like Appleseed is holding events in my area later this year.


i became an NRA Basic Pistol instructor before becoming a USCCA CCHDF instructor. Both are worthwhile trainer certifications. With experience in both, I would say either will bring you to the skill level adequate for your purpose. However, there are a few aspects about each that could influence your decision one way or the other.

First, I definitely recommend taking either (or both) of the instructor certifications, and not simply one or two basic skills classes. Doing a good job of teaching family and friends requires having had some training not only in how to be safe and shoot, but also how to teach the knowledge and skills that will benefit your students.

The NRA Instructor certification is much more widely known across the population than is the USCCA certification. To become certified you must first complete the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting (BoPS) class as a student, then pass a one day Basic Instructor Training (BIT), and a one day BoPS Instructor class. All three have a written exam, and for the BIT and Instructor classes you must pass with 90% (they are open book).
The BoPS class and instructor class have required live fire shooting. You will definitely pass the BoPS requirement at one of three levels; depending on your skill you may need some practice in advance to pass the instructor qualification. (BIG HINT: shoot the quals, especially the Instructor qual, with a .22LR handgun.) In the BoPS class if you pass the 3rd level drill the instructor should let you try the Instructor qualification fire, too, as an option.

Once NRA certifies you you can teach the full one day BoPS class or the slightly shorter First Steps class. The major difference is that the classroom portion of the BoPS class covers several types of revolvers and semi-auto pistols. while the First Steps class covers only one type of handgun. In either you shoot the same drills with only one handgun. Important: you must teach only the NRA curriculum with their slides to call it an NRA class. They consider you not a general pistol instructor but certified to teach their curriculum.

To become a USCCA CCHDF instructor you must complete an online video course which is effectively the full CCHDF classroom portion, and then pass a two day live in-person instructor class, which also includes a live fire portion. The USCCA Training Counselor (the instructor trainer) may allow you to use a .22LR handgun, or may require you to use a centerfire gun. Once you are USCCA certified you have much more flexibility to customize your classes within the CCHDF realm, which I consider more complete and better thought out than the NRA BoPS/First Steps curriculum.

You are not required to be a member of either NRA or USCCA to become one of their instructors. However NRA charges you a bit more for your biennial instructor fee if you are not a member.
Once certified by NRA, you must pay a renewal fee every two years, but there is no requirement to conduct classes to be eligible to renew for another two years.

Once certified by USCCA you must log at least 20 students each year to maintain your certification, but there is no renewal fee. The advantage is that they allow you to teach a variety of mini-courses that can be even under an hour each, and all of your mini-course students count toward the 20. If you brother-in-law takes three mini-courses, you get credit for 3 students.

Also, once you have learned the added firearms teaching skills and understand the topics, you can certainly use them to give informal training that is not formal USCCA or NRA classes.

Overall, I consider the curriculum developed by USCCA for the CCHDF program to be broader and more complete than NRA’s. Plus, active instructor support from USCCA is much stronger than NRA’s instructor support, although the latter depends more on their Training Counselors handling a lot of the help that USCCA Headquarters does.

The fact that you can build a variety of focused topic courses under the CCHDF program umbrella is a benefit over the NRA program.

You mentioned the three USCCA Member Qualification levels. If you are already a member, i very much recommend completing Level 1. The skills and knowledge there will assist you in using your teaching skills with friends and family. Moving to higher (cost) membership levels to have access to Levels 2 and 3 woudl be up to you once you have completed Level 1.

Good luck! and enjoy the trianing, both receiving and giving.




Thank you! I’m definitely going refer to your post for guidance in my future studies!


Welcome Alejandro23.

Great post. That’s awesome. Lots of free training vids online. I imagine anything live and in person by USCCA would be superb.

IDK. Maybe check with a few of your local ranges.

Range USA has several sites U.S. wide. They offer some in person classes.


You are pretty much what I have been doing. I went through the USCCA Instructors Certification class and after the time ran out and I have not had 20 students that registered and the fact I am in Washington State my status as an instructor had been dropped. The fact of not having a range that would let me train because they have classes that they offer, and it would be a conflict with the range.
The knowledge that you can offer needs to be the best possible because those who are taking your class are depending upon you to teach them how to stay alive and safe. That is why I focus on situational awareness for about an hour.
The people you train will have questions and they need an answer that is not BS and helps them out. Clarity of information to those you are teaching needs to be repeatable for them. After class time I have them tell me what the four safety rules are and have them explain each one of them to me. I do not want to have to correct them at the range with safety issues and I do not want them to miss out on range time because they cannot remember the rules.
It is a big responsibility but when everything starts clicking together and they find out that their capable shooters they will just want more training.
I take classes twice a year and I train regularly whether it is with a SIRT Laser gun doing dry fire or practicing drills at the range. It has paid off well for me.

I look at it as a way to help people be safer and responsible gun owners.
USCCA Course will help you out a lot! Good luck! Be safe! Train and practice.


These are some fantastic! And comprehensive answers to your question. Thank you


@Paul442 Welcome to our community, we are glad to have you. :slightly_smiling_face:


Hello and welcome @Paul442


The 20 student per year requirement is the one thing keeping me from taking the USCCA CCHDF certification course. I would also mostly just be doing some occasional introductory/safety trainings for friends, family and neighbors. But if I’m going to pay the money I’d like the certification to remain active. Wish their was an option to take a basic refresher every couple years for those who don’t meet the minimum trainings requirement.


Paul442. Welcome an you have made a great decision to join the family AND NO QUESTIONS ARE WRONG :bangbang: OR STUPID :bangbang:ask anything ABOUT SAFETY TRAINING OR PROTECTION AND SELF DEFENSE AND ALL THE ANSWERS ARE RIGHT HERE GRATE TO HAVE YOU Bobby Jean

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Welcome to the family enjoy this is a great place to train your the best people in the world. Bobby Jean welcome

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