BREAKING: NRA fixes online ‘blended training’ mistake, offers details on the new Basic Pistol course

The NRA’s controversial and mandatory online training program for its Basic Pistol course, which is known as “blended training,”  is no longer mandatory, according to John Howard, National Manager of NRA’s Training Department.

Howard told me Thursday that the NRA is keeping the online “blended course,” but students will now have the option of taking the entire Basic Pistol course from an actual, live instructor.

The online program just became optional.

If the student still wants to take the first portion of basic pistol online, they can, but they’ll pay the instructor rather than NRA. The Instructor will give the student a password, which Howard called “control codes,” so the student can access the site.

This was planned, Howard said, so instructors, “will have control of the course from the beginning.”

Howard said the new Basic Pistol packets for the instructor-led course will consist of handbooks and exams only — no certificates.

Instructors will now be able to print certificates right off of the NRA’s instructor website.

“They’ll have the ability to print the actual certificates,” Howard said. “This will save them a lot of time and money, and it will be more convenient for the instructors. Before, if a student lost their certificate, the instructor would have to purchase a new one and reissue it. Now, they’ll go into their account and reprint it. They won’t even have to write in the student’s name.”

The new system will go live April 4 — the same day training packets become available.

NRA launched their controversial blended training program more than a year ago.

The format required beginner student to take the first portion of the Basic Pistol class online and then complete the course with an actual instructor at a range.

Trainers across the country told me the move killed their business. Demand for Basic Pistol classes dried up.

NRA began working on a fix after we published a series of columns and stories that chronicled the program’s problems and the discontent it created among the instructor cadre.

NRA’s Training Department has been working on the fix since December, Howard said.

“We’ve had three focus groups and we’ve brought in trainers from all over the country,” he said.


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. It’s called “blended learning” not “blended training” – and it was launched on May 15th, 2016. The focus groups were started BEFORE you published any of your drivel here, so don’t try to take credit for something that you had no hand in.

    Oh, by the way, when are you going to show your NRA LED credentials? Everyone knows they are expired and you are not an NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor. So come clean already, what a fraud you are Lee Williams, a total fraud.

  2. Tiredofpunks on

    @km moore, care to tell us what you’ve accomplished? Besides an obviously owned piece of NRA toilet paper? Which….you also haven’t produced.

    What strikes me as odd, is that they needed to pay for focus groups to determine what their own “certified instructors” were already telling them.

    Don’t worry km moore, we’re all anxiously waiting to read your published news stories. Which forum site, or blog should we check for your flaming, troll insights?

  3. Pingback: ‘Blended Learning’ No Longer Mandatory for NRA Basic Pistol Courses | Firearms Life

  4. It should have been this way to begin with. The only reason the NRA changed it was because everyone jumped ship and taught other programs after the NRA and John Howard sold out the instructor base. This was the only way of saving face on this failed elite Blended training program that was born out of arrogance and greed.
    Let’s all meet at the instructors update at the NRA convention to voice our displeasure of his arrogance Over the last two years! It will be interesting to see if MOORE shows his face too!

  5. Pingback: NRA delenda est | The Zelman Partisans

Leave A Reply