Basic Class Descriptions

NRA Basic Pistol

 The NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting is intended for all individuals regardless of previous shooting experience or NRA-affiliation and is available for delivery in two ways. One option is the traditional, instructor-led course where you will receive direct instruction from an NRA-certified instructor from beginning to end. The other option has two components: a self-study or “eLearning module” which is completed online in your own time frame and a hands-on practical portion conducted in a classroom and shooting range with an Instructor.  The online coupled with range time is referred to as the blended course.  The classic instructor training course is a full day and includes firearm safety, function, basic fundamentals of shooting and a live fire component.  A NRA basic pistol certification will be issued after successful completion of the course, including a 90% score on the written test.  Many states accept the NRA basic pistol course as proof of training for concealed carry so if you are interested in concealed carry, this is a good place to start.

Topic that will be covered in the NRA Basic Pistol Certification class:

  • Firearm Safety
    • Basic safety
    • Firearm storage safety
  • Pistol Mechanisms of Operation
    • Pistol parts and how they work
    • Semi-automatic pistol parts and how they work
    • Operating double and single action semi-automatic pistols
    • Revolver parts and how they work
    • Operating double and single action revolvers
    • Ammunition fundamentals
    • Popular pistol cartridges
  • Fundamentals of Pistol Shooting
    • Fundamentals of pistol shooting
    • Fundamentals of pistol shooting positions
    • The benchrest position
    • Standing pistol shooting positions
    • One-handed shooting position
    • Common pistol shooting errors
    • Clearing common pistol stoppages
  • Pistol Maintenance, Selection and Use
    • Selecting pistols, ammunition and accessories
    • Cleaning and maintaining your pistol
    • Pistol shooting activities and skill development

The NRA Basic Pistol class is the cornerstone of all Maryland Handgun classes and satisfies the need for at least three of the five major topics described below.

Maryland Handgun Qualification License

A Maryland HQL is required to purchase a regulated firearm (pistol) in the state.   Handgun Qualification License training is a four-hour block of instruction which includes classroom instruction on state firearm law, home firearm safety, handgun mechanisms and operation, and a component that requires the applicant demonstrate the ability to safely fire a handgun.  This class is comprised of 4 hours of classroom instruction with one additional hour (may be less or more time) spent on the range where each student will demonstrate the safe operation and handling of a handgun (this demonstration includes a live-fire component).   The NRA basic pistol class coupled with Maryland firearm law instruction meets the requirements for an HQL.  

Topics covered in this class:

  • Maryland Firearms Laws
  • Firearm Home Safety
  • Handgun Mechanisms and Operation
  • Operation and Handling Including Live Fire
  • Evaluation

Link to Maryland hql application instructions


Reloading is fun, it can save you money, it saves wear-and-tear on your firearms and is absolutely required for long range precision shooting.   The basic reloading course is designed for students who have no experience with the topic.  The topic covered in the basic metallic cartridge reloading course are:

  • Safety while reloading
  • Components of a centerfire cartridge
  • How to use the reloading manual and reloading data
  • Equipment for reloading centerfire cartridges
  • The process of reloading
  • Reloading exercise
  • Examination

The basic course covers the essential process and the specific points that should be observed during the reloading process.  More advanced courses are also available if the student is interested in precision shooting.

NRA Basic Rifle

Goal- to introduce students to the knowledge, skills and attitude necessary for owning and using a rifle safely.

During the NRA basic rifle class the student will learn;

  • rifle parts and types of rifles and safe gun handling
  • ammunition and fundamentals of rifle shooting
  • fire the first shots from benchrest and free standing positions
  • how to score targets
  • selecting and maintaining a rifle
  • course examination

Personal Defense classes

NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home

 The NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home class is considered an intermediate level pistol shooting class.  This course exposes the student to new shooting techniques and builds on the lessons learned the the NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home course.  Accordingly, the Personal Protection Inside the Home is recommended as a prerequisite.  The topic covered in the Personal Protection Outside the Home course are:

  • concealed carry safety and the defensive mindset
  • self-defense and concealed arry including the importance of mental preparation, avoiding life-threatening situations, psychological/physiological changes during an attack,  controlling and responding to a violent encounter as well as the emotional and legal aftermath
  • legal aspects of concealed carry and self-defense (taught by a legal professional)
  • carry modes and concealment
  • presenting the pistol from concealment as well as positioning and movement
  • special shooting techniques including speed reload, movement, use of cover, turning  to engage targets and low-light shooting
  • sport shooting activities and opportunities
  • course review and examination

NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home

The NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home builds on the skills learned in the NRA Basic Pistol Course.  Students shold be experienced shooters.  The topics covered in the course include:

  • introduction to defensive shooting including mindset and levels of awareness; mental preparation
  • basic defensive pistol skills such as defensive accuracy, flash sight picture, cover or concealment, kneeling while shooting and point shooting
  • firearms and the law- taught by a law enforcement professional
  • selecting a pistol for self-defense including criteria for selecting the pistol and ammunition
  • sport shooting activities and opportunities
  • course review and examination

Maryland Wear and Carry Permit (Concealed Carry)

Maryland is a "may issue" state. This means you must have a clear and compelling reason to carry a handgun concealed.  Approved Wear and Carry Permit training courses are offered by Maryland State Police approved Qualified Handgun Instructors like me. Training is valid until the permit expires. However, you must receive subsequent training within with your renewal application every  2 years.  Wear and Carry Permit training is 16 hours of instruction for an original application and 8 hours of instruction for a renewal application. The approved training includes instruction on state firearm law, home firearm safety, handgun mechanisms and operation, and a component that requires the applicant to demonstrate gun safety and proficiency with a minimum score of 70% accuracy.  Designated security personnel (security guards, private detectives, special police, and armored car drivers/guards) must shoot a practical police course of at least 50 rounds, from no further than 25 yards and score at least 70% accuracy.  All other applicants must shoot a course of at least 25 rounds, from no further than 15 yards and score at least 70% accuracy.  

Instruction will include:

  • Maryland Firearm Law
  • Home Firearm Safety
  • Handgun Mechanisms and Operation
  • Demonstrating Gun Safety and Proficiency 
  • Live fire with a Minimum Score of 70% accuracy 

Maryland Wear and Carry Application Process


  • How is the class conducted?  At this time, small class or one-on-one instruction occurs in my home with range time at a nearby indoor shooting range.  The student is responsible for paying the range lane fee which is approximately $20-25/hour.
  • Do you supply the targets,  firearms and ammunition? I supply the firearm, ammunition, targets, eye and ear protection for the firearms training class if needed.  Please notify me if you will need a firearm, ammunition and eye and ear protection provided.