NRA FIRST Steps

Who Should Take This Class

NRA First Steps courses are designed for the student who already owns a firearm but wants quality training in the use and maintenance of their firearm. NRA first steps courses are designed for low instructor-student ratios of no more than two students per instructor during the shooting phase of the First Steps course.

Overview and Course Goals

The “FIRST” in First Steps is an acronym refering to Firearms Instruction, Responsibility, and Safety Training. The First Steps Course familiarizes the student with the attitudes and knowledge to safety handle, fire, and store firearms. Gun safety rules are covered first, then a complete introduction to the parts of the firearm is given, followed by familiarization with the construction, identification and components of ammunition. Gun cleaning is covered next, followed finally by range work. Total time for the course is about 6 hours. SAFETY: For safety’s sake NO live ammunition is allowed during the classroom segments.

Rules of Safe Firearms Handling:

Nearly all accidental injuries and deaths from negligent firearm discharges violate one or more of the rules of safe gun handling. Safe gun handling involves knowing the safe gun rules, developing a safety attitude, and integrating habitual safety awareness every time you pick up a firearm. Safety is paramount and this is why it is the first segment taught. It doesn’t end here, our instructors reinforce safety concepts throughout the course in order to help you habitualize firearm safety practices. Throughout the course students will be expected to practice safe firearm handling skills.

Firearm Construction and Design:

There are many different firearm designs on the market and each has its unique characteristics, function and design purpose. Understanding how the various designs function is crucial to safe firearm handling. This segment will overview the different designs of firearms to be used, their common major components, and how each type of firearm functions. At the end of this segment students will be expected to demonstrate the function of each type of firearm to be used and how to “field break-down” each firearm type for cleaning.

Ammunition Types:

Put the wrong type of ammunition in your firearm, pull the trigger and you just may be getting a very expensive ride to the emergency room. Familiarization with the various types of rifle ammunition is critical for safety and for effectiveness of the planned use of the cartridge. Even within the same size and caliber of ammunition one can find a wide variety of options for purchase and use. This segment overviews the ammunition cartridge design, components, calibers, types and uses appropriate for your firearm. Shooters will occasionally experience malfunctions of ammunition cartridges. Knowing how to recognize and handle these malfunctions is crucial for your safety. In this section our instructors will teach you how to safely handle these malfunctions. At the end of this segment, you will be expected to select various ammunition boxes, match those boxes to your firearms, and identify the components of a typical ammunition cartridge and their uses.

Fundamentals of Shooting:

You will be taken through the fundamental skills for safe and accurate shooting. The fundamental skills of grip, breath control, sight picture, trigger press, and follow through will be overviewed and practiced by the students with one-on-one attention from the instructors.

Firearm Cleaning and Storage:

Gunpowder residue builds up in nearly every nook and cranny of the firearm. Both copper plated and lead bullets leave deposits in the barrel. If the firearm is not cleaned, over subsequent range sessions these deposits not only begin to hamper the functionality of the firearm, in some firearms they can cause major malfunctions that can be dangerous to the shooter. Proper firearm maintenance is critical to ensure the continued accuracy, reliability, and safety of your firearm. This segment overviews proper firearm cleaning materials and the proper procedure for cleaning the firearm to be used. You will have an opportunity to clean your firearm under supervision. Once cleaned you will want to store your firearm so that only authorized users have access to both your firearm and ammunition. Our instructors will overview safe gun storage practices, tools, and equipment so you can make an intelligent choice in firearm storage options.

Shooting Sports and Activities:

Now you have a firearm -why not have fun with it? Engaging in shooting sports not only helps maintain your comfort level with your firearm, it develops and maintains your proficiency with your firearm. There are a range of activities for firearm owners to engage in from target shooting within the NRA Marksmanship Program, to competitive bullseye shooting, to combat firearms games. In this segment our instructors will overview the available activities and provide contact information for the various organizations and ranges sponsoring these activities. Atlanta is fortunate in having a number of ranges in the metro area supporting many of these shooting activities.