The following review was written by former student Charlie:
“Gun class in Northern Virginia,” no wait, “Gun instructional program in Northern Virginia,” better searched “Beginners Handgun Class in NOVA.” Hold up, does Google know where “NOVA” is? The first time you hold a pistol it is possible, even probable, that your hands will shake. I needed a class. Not just any class. A certified first time gun class for entry level shooters. Why? We’ve been conditioned by books, TV, and Hollywood to think of guns as “magic death sticks” that never run out of ammo, go off at the wrong times, and bestow magical powers on whoever possesses the weapon.
Ok, then I found it. Certified firearms class? Check, NRA Certified. Located in Northern Virginia? Yup, perfect location in NOVA, Shirlington to be exact. Reputable? YOU BET! Check out these Yelp.com Reviews. Awesome reviews for a their basic gun class. So I signed up through their online booking system.
When I first stepped foot into the National Shooters classroom I was nervous but curious. I had fired rifles and pistols a few times with my dad as a kid, but was never allowed to load, unload, or do anything but put my finger on the trigger after the gun was prepped for firing. National Shooters Instructors seemed familiar with my “shakes,” as well as the taught nerves of the other members of my class. They explained it’s normal and healthy to be nervous, and that it’s foolish NOT to be at first.
The first class for Handgun 101 lasts about three hours and starts with a multimedia presentation about basic handgun vocabulary, safety rules, and demonstrations on how to load/unload. It might sound dull, but somehow I was totally focused the entire time, and so were the other students. It was very informative.
National Shooters Instructors focus heavily on safety (as expected in a beginners gun class) and cover the four golden rules of firearms in great detail:
- Treat every gun as if it’s loaded
- Be sure of your target and what’s behind it
- Never point your gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy (safe direction)
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re sites are on the trigger.
A few minutes on youtube.com searching for “gun accidents” or “bad gun handling” will reinforce the logic behind those four rules. Bottom line in a entry level gun class think safety, safety, safety.
After the classroom portion, National Shooters splits the group up into sections so that students practice basic pistol manipulations. We loaded magazines with the dummy rounds, inserted magazines into the pistols, racked the slide, locked the slide, dropped the magazines, dry fired the handguns, and practiced our malfunction drill. If you don’t know any of that means, don’t worry. Sean and Matt are right there with you the whole time. They made the whole process very comfortable and certainly prepared all of the students for our time at the range. Nervousness gone, now how to deal with the anticipation!?
Next up, actually shooting at the range. Stay tuned!