Let’s take the wayback machine to last year about this time when a LivingSocial deal popped into my Inbox about a Basic Pistol class. It was not local, but was in an area where I routinely travel for work so I asked my wife what she thought. I had been around firearms all my life and purchased my first pistol nearly 24 years ago. It had barely seen 100 rounds in that time and while I was a decent shot it had been a nightstand drawer paperweight for at least 15 years. She reminded me she didn’t like guns because she did not feel comfortable around them. I told her the class, taught by someone else, might be a perfect fit for her to learn how to handle a pistol safely and to gain confidence so we purchased the deal.

Just before the Basic Pistol class I found another LS deal for a Concealed Carry class and figured I might as well take the class due to the cost. I purchased the deal and signed up for a class date early this year. The Basic Pistol class was put on by an NRA Instructor. It was not an NRA class, but had he provided the require materials it certainly could have been. She absorbed the information he provided and then we went to shoot and she thoroughly enjoyed the experience. On the way home she commented we should find a local range and practice.

Prior to this class I am not sure I had ever shot a semi-automatic pistol before, but I had always wanted a Glock. I had selected a Ruger SR9C for my CCH class and so not long after I purchased the firearm (and a Glock, of course). We found a local range and began to practice and I worked quite a bit on my trigger control, breath and follow-through. About that time my wife said to me, you could teach that class. (Did I mention to you she also purchased a pistol last year?) So I signed up for a NRA Basic Pistol Instructor class the weekend after my CCh class.

The CCH class was smooth and I easily qualified. I had been practicing for the Pistol Instructor qualification and it is not so easy. It varies by instructor, but ours was 15 yards, 4 plates, 5 shots per plate, 6″ groups, 80% scoring! Yowza that took some practice and in the end my pistol of choice was that 24-year-old Ruger revolver I had purchased long ago. The Instructor class was 17 hours and my Training Counselor did an excellent job. During the course he told me I could do Range Safety Officer via home study. I had signed up for an all day course over an hour away and being able to do it in my spare time sounded wonderful.

Once I received my NRA certification as a Pistol Instructor I ordered the RSO information for home study. A few days later I realized you can also become a Reloading Instructor via home study so I got those materials. Over this past weekend I reviewed the material and will mail them to the NRA for certification later this morning. I’m still not complete, but once the RSO is in place I will take the Chief Range Safety Officer course and I also plan to take the Refuse To Be A Victim instructor training.

This time last year I hadn’t fired a pistol in over 15 years and now I’ve put thousands of rounds through several pistols and spent many hours on the range. I’ve devoted a considerable amount of time to coursework and have qualified for a CHP and as an NRA Pistol Instructor. What a long strange trip it’s been…indeed!