I live in Boston, and I’m applying for my LTC-A. I’ve long been interested in owning a gun, and knowing how to safely use one, but to be honest I’ve also had a fear of them. On Tuesday I took a Basic Safety Course (the one the state requires) with no live fire, and fifty people in the course. I went to police Headquarters to sign up for my interview, and still felt that I needed more practice given that for the Boston test I have to actually shoot a gun. Because of this, I found Steve’s class on the NRA Instructors website and decided to sign up for it. It worked well with my budget compared to the other more expensive classes and the timing (it was four hours, many of the others were eight). I wish I had known about Steve’s class before I took the Tuesday class. Steve called me on Friday to confirm my attendance. I explained to him why I was taking it (I took the Basic Pistol Course) and he gave me great information about what I would need, and why the class would be beneficial. With my GPS it was a pretty easy drive in Braintree. We went over many important safety tips and advice for using a pistol. What made the class better than the Tuesday class, however, was the small setting. If I remember correctly he usually caps classes at five students. On this day there were two of us. One of the benefits of this was that we got to actually handle unloaded pistols while we learned about the multiple parts and how they worked. These were things they covered with slideshows in the other class, but actually being able to handle them make a lot more sense. Steve also taught us how to clean them, how to dissemble them, what to do if there’s a misfire, hangfire, or squib (meaning you pull the trigger and they don’t shoot), and the mechanics of the gun. In the other class they teach you how to hold the gun. In Steve’s class we were taught how to hold the gun and actually got to hold it. I’m a hands on learner, and when it comes to firearms I think it’s important that all of us hold them as learn how to use them. He also taught us important stances for different situations (one handed, in the home if there’s an intruder, two handed, etc. These were important aspects of handling a gun that I didn’t get in the other class, but that Steve taught. The second part of the class was the live fire portion. We put on our protective eye and ear gear went to an indoor range next door. This was my first time ever firing a gun. Initially I felt nervous about live fire, but after a few hours of training, handling the gun, holding them, and learning how to be safe with them, I felt much more comfortable firing. Even still, actually doing it is a lot different than watching it being done. Steve helped me get over my nervousness and made me feel much more comfortable about actually firing it. We fired multiple rounds with multiple targets and during the process he gave great advice. For a first time shooter I didn’t do so badly! hahaha.
We went back in, and Steve gave us our paperwork, the Basic Safety Course paperwork as required by the state, and the NRA Basic Pistol completion certificate.
I have to be honest, my politics aren’t really aligned with the NRA’s, and that initially made me hesitant about the class. That shouldn’t worry anyone! I don’t agree with the NRA’s leadership, but from what I’ve seen their courses are great and they offer plenty of safety and training preparation for new and experienced gun users. I can’t speak enough about how much more safe I feel now. I honestly can’t speak enough about how well Steve did training me. I teach high school and so I particularly value the patience, checking back that we were learning, and encouraging us to ask questions that Steve did. Like I said, I walked in a little nervous about guns, and now I feel much more confident moving forward. I’m going to go back for more training with him before my test. Highly highly recommended.