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.