High Round Count Classes?

It seems that there is a competition in the firearms training industry to see who can run the training class with the highest round count. It’s not uncommon to see classes advertising that students will shoot 500+ rounds per day of class. That’s a huge number of rounds and begs the question why so many?

Are students judging the value of courses by how many rounds are fired?

Are instructors trying to one up each other by having the largest round count?

Where it is especially curious is in instructor classes. As a baseline, the NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor classes run for five days, including one night shoot, and average about 250 rounds per day.
Each day of an NRA LE class is crammed full of learning and has a well thought out balance of range and classroom time. It is common to see 400+ per day round counts in 2 to 3 day civilian instructor schools. Is the 60%+ daily round count in these civilian classes really necessary?

Fatigue: the Enemy of Learning…

Ever been so fatigued that you pressed the trigger on what you knew was going to be a bad shot just so you could get the shooting over with?

Here are some observations for typical students about round count that are taken from our various classes running the gamut from introductory (6 hours classroom : 2 hours range) to our highly advanced Defensive Combat class (5 hours range). This is the number of rounds fired before muscle, mental, and/or general fatigue sets in:

  • Brand new shooters: <50 rounds
  • Shooters that don’t practice regularly: <100 rounds
  • Experienced shooters that occasionally practice: 150-200 rounds
  • Advanced shooters that practice regularly : <400 rounds

Being able to run the gun quickly and accurately is tremendously important. Unfortunately, FAR too much emphasis is given by many instructors on the hardware aspects of self-defense at the expense of the more important wetware aspects. This misplaced emphasis by instructors translates to students focusing on the gun while ignoring wetware training such as avoiding threats, detecting threats, strategically planning to dominate an encounter, and understanding use of force laws.

We watch our shooters very carefully on the line; when we see them taking shots just to get it over with, their range time is done for the day. They have stopped learning and are just trying to get through it. Worse yet, safety is one of the victims of fatigue.

As a firearms Instructor, it’s important that you be a good shot. With that said, don’t waste time with excessive round counts in instructor training; the person there should already be a good shot (or shouldn’t be there). Make them a better instructor—they can take student classes if they want to become better shooters.

When I go to a class, I want to learn about threat detection, avoidance, and elimination; the gun is only one part of that. When I go to an instructor class, I want to learn new information that makes me a better instructor and that makes me able to better equip my students for what they may face. What I don’t want to do in either situation is attend a class with an unnecessarily high round count, whether the instructor does so because they think self-defense is about a gun or whether they just don’t have enough worthy material to fill the class hours.

So far, the highest daily round count class I’ve run across is 750! Sadly, some other instructor will see this and raise their daily round count to 1000…

Becoming an NRA Instructor

Once you’ve decided you want to become an NRA Instructor or add a new discipline, your next decision is what Training Counselor to take the class from. This is likely to be the most important decision you make in your instructing career.

If you plan to base the decision of who to train with on cost alone, it’s a simple matter to look at the NRA Instructor classes in your area and find the lowest price. You might get lucky and that Training Counselor may do a great job, but more likely basing your decision on price is going to cause you to lose out on a much better educational experience.

In every field or product, quality costs

NRA Training Counselors are free to set the cost of their NRA Certified Instructor class at whatever price point they wish. Some will look at what others charge and price their classes cheaper than everyone else. Most others will pick a price somewhere in the middle. Almost all will avoid being the highest.

Our classes are almost always the highest.

Students coming to Strategic Outfitters to become NRA Instructors, or for any of our classes, benefit from the depth and breadth of our experience, a custom designed training facility, and trainers that help you towards success.

Our Experience

  • Doug has 24 years of experience in teaching including: FBI Academy in Quantico, VA; the Institute of Police Technology and Management (IPTM); and he is a professor at Valencia College in Orlando, FL
  • In addition to being an NRA Training Counselor, Doug is also an NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor
  • Doug is one of only a handful of Training Counselors that is also licensed by the State of Florida as a Firearms Instructor and can therefore teach and qualify armed security officers and armed private investigators
  • Unlike some Training Counselors that are only certified to teach NRA Pistol Instructors, Doug can teach the following NRA Instructor courses:
    • NRA CCW
    • Pistol
    • Rifle
    • Shotgun
    • Personal Protection In The Home (PPITH)
    • Personal Protection Outside The Home (PPOTH)
    • Refuse To Be A Victim (RTBAV)
    • Home Firearm Safety
    • Range Safety Officer/Chief Range Safety Officer (RSO/CRSO)
  • At Strategic Outfitters, you don’t get a single trainer, you get a husband and wife team. Jody is an NRA Instructor certified in multiple disciplines and offers different perspectives to the topics covered
  • Both have years of law enforcement experience, Jody at the local level and Doug as a Special Agent for the State of Florida
  • Doug and Jody are successful business developers and owners, having created, run, and sold businesses in both the retail and service sectors for over two decades
  • We have held an FFL for nearly a decade, giving us a great deal of insight into the hardware aspects of firearms, including NFA items (suppressors, short barreled rifles, etc.), and federal regulations covering their manufacture, sale, and transfer

What You Will Experience

  • Our NRA Instructor classes go well beyond the required material. We share our insights and experiences in everything from establishing a business to marketing it
  • We’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars and many thousands of hours in designing, building, equipping, and maintaining a concierge level training facility with classrooms, an onsite range, and a Pro Shop that is within easy driving distance from anywhere in the greater Orlando area
  • Your manuals will already be assembled into notebooks so you can concentrate on learning and don’t have to bring empty three ring binders with you
  • We mentor Instructors that train with us. Our professional guidance is always available to our students; it doesn’t end when the class does

Becoming an NRA Instructor: Value not Price

The cost of the training to become an NRA Instructor is an investment in your future. You can maximize that investment by making certain to attend the class that is going to teach you the most, especially as it pertains to the business side of being an Instructor.

To put cost into perspective, NRA Instructors typically charge around $65/student for classes to obtain a Florida Concealed Weapon or Firearm License. The cost difference between our classes and most others is only a couple of students—the tangible benefits you’ll receive are immeasurable.

Here’s a previous post on choosing a Training Counselor that goes into detail. Use it to compare us to the others and you’ll see that we offer the greatest value in training in the Central Florida area.

More information on our class to become a Certified NRA Instructor, including the registration page can be found here.

NRA Instructor Class Expectations

Before I go to a training class, I try to find out everything I can about what I’m going to learn, what I’m going to do, what is expected of me. I want to know how is the class going to help me toward reaching my goals and pretty much anything else that comes to mind. Hopefully this post will answer some of those questions for those of you that are contemplating becoming an NRA Instructor or already  signed up for an NRA Instructor class.

The NRA requires that the Instructor Candidate successfully complete the Basics of Pistol Shooting student class prior to the two day Instructor class. Effective 1/1/2018, the same is now true for all Instructor disciplines.

What an NRA Instructor Class Is

NRA Instructor LogoThe NRA Pistol Instructor class is two days with the first being Basic Instructor Training (BIT) and the second being the Pistol Instructor training. BIT is the NRA way of teaching a class and is very good. I was already a college professor before taking BIT and I found it helped me immensely in teaching.

The second day delves into specifically teaching the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting curriculum.  Day two of the Instructor class is learning how to teach the class, not the actual information that is presented to the students—that was learned in the preceding student class.

There are multiple exercises over the two days where the Instructor Candidates teach sections of the class. Each time an Instructor Candidate makes a presentation to the class, with the other’s playing the role of students, they are evaluated by their classmates. (This is why the NRA requires a minimum of four Instructor Candidates in an Instructor class.) The evaluation is conducted by the Training Counselor with the class first providing positives about the presentation, followed by improvements that can be made in the presentation style, and then the positives are reviewed.

Negatives are not allowed in the evaluation. For example, saying that the presenter did a terrible job presenting the section is not allowed. Instead, an improvement that could be shared with the presenter might be to ensure that all of the important points of the section are covered.

Each day has its own written examination. They are open book and require a minimum of 90% to pass.

At the end of the class, those that have passed the two examinations, passed the shooting qualification, passed the firearm handling requirements, demonstrated an absolute commitment to safety, and demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to be an NRA Pistol Instructor will be certified (after registering and paying a $50 non-member or $30 member certification fee).

What an NRA Instructor Class Isn’t

There is more to certification than paying for/attending a class. The class is for well experienced shooters. In order to become a certified NRA Instructor, you must demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary for an NRA Instructor. The class will require your active participation and attention. Merely attending the class does not guarantee that you will become certified; it provides you the opportunity to achieve certification.

Instructor Candidates are expected to already have a firm knowledge of firearms and shooting. The NRA Pistol Instructor class is intended to teach candidates with that knowledge and skills how to teach the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course. The class is not a remedial shooting skills course—you should be able to pass the shooting qualification before you attend the class. (20 rounds fired from 45 feet at a nine inch target with a minimum of sixteen hits within a six inch circle.) If you can’t shoot to this level, seek out an Instructor that can help get you to this level before the class. Failing the qualification means not getting certified.

Staying in Your Lane

One thing that many Training Counselors fail to stress is that being an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor does NOT mean that you are qualified to teach anything you would like to—actually, the NRA is only going to certify you to teach the Basics of Pistol Shooting student class (four different versions),  a Gun Safety Seminar, a Women On Target class, and a laser marksmanship class— nothing more.

Absent other instructing certifications, an NRA Pistol Instructor is way out of their lane in teaching anything beyond basic firearm safety and handling, the fundamentals of pistol shooting, and a few other basic topics. Teaching holster draw, concealed carry, and anything “tactical” is well beyond the limited instructor training they have received and potentially opens them up to substantial civil liability should one of their students discharge a firearm and cause an injury.

An NRA Pistol Instructor desiring to be able to teach true concealed carry classes, which would include teaching drawing and firing from a holster, would need to go through the process to become certified to teach the NRA’s Personal Protection Outside The Home (PPOTH). That process involves first becoming an NRA Personal Protection In The Home Instructor (PPITH). As the NRA requires taking the student course of a discipline before taking the Instructor version, the order of classes for someone that is already a Pistol Instructor is: PPITH student > PPITH Instructor > PPOTH student (Basic & Advanced) > PPOTH Instructor.

What to Expect

The first thing to understand is that the class is really three days worth of material forcefully compressed into two days. The pace has to be fast in order to meet all of the objectives. Some topics will only be touched upon and you will need to do your own studying after the class is completed. Above all, you need to be paying attention.

Strategic Outfitters Classroom

Don’t expect this to be one of those classes where you can be a passive observer. NRA Instructor classes are highly interactive—you are expected be an active participant and will be presenting to the class multiple times. You’ll also be expected to work with your classmates to put together presentations.

Hint: pay careful attention when you take the required Basics of Pistol Shooting class for students as you’re going to be expected to know the information taught there and are going to be teaching that same information during your Instructor class.

The range portion of Day 2 is particularly fun and educational. The Instructor Candidates are paired up and take turns being the “student” and the “Instructor”. We have highly skilled shooters shoot with their non-dominant hand when playing the role of student. The idea of the range exercise is to give each Instructor Candidate an opportunity to help a “student” to correct any errors in the shooting fundamentals.


Hopefully you noticed that I keep italicizing attitude. I do so to draw attention to how important your attitude is. NRA Instructors, first and foremost, should have a genuine desire to help others to learn how to safely handle, fire, and store firearms. They should want to help others to be safe, confident, and proficient gun owners and to help their students to reach their goals with firearms.

I stress in my Instructor classes that they must focus on the needs of their students. They must put themselves into the students’ shoes and ensure they meet the students’ needs. Every class you teach will be different because every class will be made up of different people with different knowledge, skills, and attitudes—especially attitudes towards guns.

By reminding the Instructor Candidates how nervous they feel in getting up in front of the class, they can empathize with the student that is nervous in handling a firearm, perhaps for the first time in their life.

Wrapping Up

This post was quite long and had a lot of information in it—just like your Instructor class will be. Come prepared to have long days filled with learning!