Most instructors do this as a part time passion, so give us a day to get back to you. Be prepared to ask questions and listen to the answers, they will help you judge if the instructor is a fit for you. If you don't hear back within 24 hours, they may not have the training at the top of their priority list and I would keep looking.
How to get started?
You can find a NRA certified instructor in your area by visiting the NRA Instructor portal at www.nrainstructors.org , selecting the course(s) you want, inputting your zip code and radius you are willing to travel, and you will see a list of offerings in your area with dates, locations and contact information. You can also visit your local range or gun store and look for fliers or business cards. You can ask around, odds are you already know someone who shoots; you just might not know it. These people might be able to recommend a good instructor.
I encourage new shooters to start with a NRA First Steps, or Basic Pistol class, or a similar introductory level class. Your course should cover a general introduction to pistols, what the main components are, generally how they work, the basics of cleaning, shooting fundamentals and some hands on live fire at a range with an instructor to help you get started.groups; this can be a great source of support and encouragement.
You have identified a couple classes or instructors that look interesting, but how do you know you have found “the one”? Talk to him or her. If they are not willing to spend a few minutes answering questions, move on to the next instructor on your list. If you have to leave a message, or send an email, give them at least 24 hours to get back to you. Most of us have day jobs, and we teach shooting because it is our passion. We love it! But, that means it can take us a day to get back to you. Once you get in contact, what questions should you ask? Following are some suggestions that should help you get a sense of the instructor and their personality so you can judge if you would be comfortable with them.
· Are you a NRA Certified Pistol Instructor?
· Are you following a NRA approved curriculum?
· How many students are in an average class?
· Is there range time included in this class?
· What is the ratio of instructors to students on the range? (If it is less than one instructor for every two or three students consider going to the next one on your list.)
· Do I have to have my own pistol or will you have guns I can shoot?
· Are you the one who will be teaching my class, and if not, what can you tell me about the instructor I will have?
· How long have you been teaching?
· What kind of shooting do you do?
· What is the number one priority for this class? (SAFETY!)
· Where will the class be held?
· What range do you use?
· Does the range have eye and ear protection I can borrow?
· Are there any additional costs above the tuition?
These should give you a sense of the instructor, and how you will respond to him or her. Ask any other questions you may have, such as; “How do you handle nervous students?” Are you comfortable with the person you spoke with, their answers, and attitude? The introduction to shooting can be a little scary and you want someone to lead you through the first shots that you feel comfortable with and trust. If you are not satisfied, keep looking! I promise there is an instructor out there for you. The adage “You have to kiss a lot of toads to find a Prince” applies to finding the perfect instructor. We all have different needs, and there is at least one perfect toad, or instructor, out there for you. Your first class can set the tone for the rest of your shooting experience. If you leave with a huge grin thinking, “That was AWESOME!” your instructors job was done well and you will want to come back and do it again! If not, returning to the range can be a little intimidating and might not be a high priority. I have worked with many students on the range, some had shot before, some were afraid to pick up the pistol the first time, some were so anxious to shoot they were jumpy. 99% of them shared one thing; they left with huge smiles, clutching their targets with nice tight groupings and were ready to go again!