With the devastation and suffering that we’ve all seen in Ukraine, the importance of an armed, trained population in the United States is more evident than ever. And there’s no organization in the nation that recognizes the importance of firearm training more than the National Rifle Association of America. Over the past 151 years, NRA has been dedicated to safe training and to advancing marksmanship—as well as to serving our country as its foremost guardian of Second Amendment rights.
NRA’s efforts to improve the state of marksmanship training in the United States go back to when the organization was originally chartered in 1871. In fact, the two National Guard officers who founded NRA, Lt. Col. William C. Church and Capt. George W. Wingate, were motivated to do so because of their firsthand knowledge of the decline of American marksmanship during the Civil War. By the dawn of the 20th century, NRA had grown into a national association that set the standards for military rifle training, which has saved countless American lives on battlefields around the world.
Before World War I, NRA recognized the urgent need to teach citizens how to shoot. To prepare, in 1915, the NRA promoted civilian marksmanship at large factories, organizing clubs at facilities belonging to firms such as General Electric and Goodyear Rubber. During World War II, the association aided in the war effort by offering its ranges to the government and by developing training materials. The NRA’s high standards for military rifle training even inspired the federal government to form its own segment within the War Department to promote rifle practice among soldiers and civilians alike.
Training more than one million students around the country each year, NRA programs remain the gold standard for safe firearm training. NRA Certified Instructors provide an invaluable service to their communities as more Americans choose to exercise their Second Amendment right to own a firearm. Modern NRA training courses range from ones designed for new gun owners to instructor-level courses for experienced shooters who wish to support others. Additionally, the NRA Coach Education program offers multi-level training for coaches of the competitive shooting sports in partnership with USA Shooting and other organizations. (Take your training to the next level by visiting firearmtraining.nra.org to search for courses near you!)
Aiding police officers in their training has been another longtime focus for NRA, beginning with revolutionary programs conducted at the National Matches in the 1920s setting nationwide training standards for local-level police, the FBI and military police. By the 1960s, NRA’s specially designed training and courses qualified thousands of law-enforcement officers in the use of their firearms. Modern NRA law-enforcement firearms-instructor training exposes students to a broad base of techniques, tactics, teaching methodologies and technical knowledge to develop the skills required to become effective firearm instructors. I’m proud to share that over the past six decades, NRA’s law-enforcement division has trained more than 55,000 law-enforcement firearm instructors and currently has more than 13,000 active certified instructors. Learn more at le.nra.org.
NRA’s ability to train America’s gun owners and the men and women in uniform is made possible by the thousands of certified instructors, training counselors and range-safety officers we are lucky to count among our ranks. I am forever grateful for the time and commitment they have made to teach gun safety—empowering individuals with the confidence to keep themselves and their families safe. In addition, we are fortunate to have exceptional staff in the NRA Education & Training Division who work around the clock to support current and potential instructors. If you are interested in becoming an NRA Instructor, please visit nrainstructors.org today.