A Review of our Handgun 101 Entry Level NRA Certified Class by Brian from Washtington D.C.

Review from our Handgun 101 class from “Brian” from the Washington D.C. area. Thank you Brian for the excellent write up! We look forward to keeping our high standards and supporting the growing community of Northern Virginia and Washington D.C.  gun owners. See below for the write up:

I use Yelp for pretty much everything my wife and I do in the DC area, so it is probably high time I start contributing, and I can hardly think of a better business for my first review than National Shooters.  I am not new to guns, but am new to handguns, particularly semi-automatic pistols.

I took Handgun 101, the intro course (which satisfies the education requirement for concealed carry in Virginia, if you’re into that), and, for the shooting portion, the Handgun Sampler.  More on each below.

As mentioned by another reviewer, the Handgun 101 class is held in the clubhouse at a condo complex, which led to a moment of “um, am I in the right place” inner monologue when I arrived.  But luckily, there was another student waiting who confirmed we were both in the right spot.  No matter.  Everything started on time, and only improved from there.

Some people are visual learners, some people are auditory learners, and some (like me) are kinesthetic learners.  We learn best by doing.  Luckily, we did a lot of doing in both Handgun 101 and, more so, in the Handgun Sampler.

In terms of the classroom-style content, the information presented during Handgun 101 is largely NRA-approved and pretty standard safety and introductory firearm material, but Sean, Lindsey and Brian did a great job making it more interesting than just reading off the slides.

Now the good stuff.

You don’t shoot during the classroom portion of Handgun 101, but you do get to handle several different firearms (if you want, or you can stick to one or two).  If you bring your own piece, the instructors will work through all of the drills with you with your gun.  You receive instruction and watch demonstrations by the instructors, and then go through a variety of hands-on drills in basic, necessary skills, including proper grip and gun orientation (downrange!), loading and unloading magazines, magazine insertion, racking and un-racking the slide, and, finally, bringing your pistol to a shooting position and squeezing off a few “shots” with a laser round in the gun.  This may show how bad you are at first, but it gives you a feel for trigger pull mechanics that won’t jerk the gun when you have a live round chambered.  This portion of the class alone is more than worth your time if you have not handled semi-autos before and are looking to get into them, for sport or personal protection.  

In short, Handgun 101 is a must for anyone new to handguns, and will give you the skills and confidence handling weapons that you need to proceed to your shooting day, and your eventual life of shooting.

I did not do the shooting portion that accompanies Handgun 101, so cannot comment on that.  I am sure it is excellent, though, based on my experience in the Handgun Sampler.

Handgun Sampler.  What a blast.  If you are new to handguns and want to purchase, do this program.  Pretty simply, you get to shoot a lot of guns.  And it’s only by shooting several different models that you can figure out what you like and don’t, because a pistol can feel one way in your hand at the store, but a totally different way with live ammunition at the range.  I left with a few new ideas on what I do and don’t like in a handgun, a new appreciation for one pistol I hadn’t really considered before, and a somewhat strong dislike for one or two that I previously had on my list of possible purchases.  While Handgun 101 includes some demos and some classroom content, the Handgun Sampler is all shooting.  Your instructor will provide tips and cues if he or she sees something you can improve or are doing flat-out wrong, but mostly you just shoot, getting the feel for the different pistols presented over the course of 100 rounds, in different calibers.  

Chances are, if you live in this area, and are not military/LEO, you prolly don’t know that many people who have a lot of handguns you can try out.  If that’s the case, and you want to buy, I repeat, check out the Handgun Sampler.  You won’t be sorry.

In addition to being a great help in class and at the range, Sean has patiently and fully answered probably 30 questions from me via email, both before and after my instruction was done.  I personally have found that some folks in the gun scene are not so into being online, or so responsive when they are.  National Shooters (Sean specifically) blow this stereotype up – that guy is aces on responsiveness.

Final bonus – they have a female instructor, Sean’s wife Lindsey.  In addition to being an accomplished and highly proficient shooter, I think Lindsey’s presence will make any women out there who are worried that handguns are a “boys and their toys”-only scene feel a lot more comfortable in the classes offered by National Shooters.

My wife is signed up for Handgun 101 and a shooting session next week, and is very excited!

Last word – if you are at all interested in handguns, check these guys out, and support a great local business.

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