Time to fix NRA’s chaotic and scandal-plagued training division

Enough is enough.

It’s high time for NRA’s senior leadership team and Board of Directors to make a thorough examination of its Education and Training Division.

Once this is completed, I hope they clean house.

I don’t like calling for people’s heads, but the training division seems dead-set on making stupid decisions — decisions that are an embarrassment to the organization and an insult to its members.

In other words, the training division seems hellbent on shooting itself in the foot on a regular basis. It either needs to be fixed, or it needs to be put out of our misery.

It’s become an organizational credibility-killer — a millstone around NRA’s 145-year-old neck.

Let’s take a quick look back at some of the division’s more recent foibles and self-inflicted wounds:

First, there was the “blended training” debacle, when students were suddenly forced to take the first part of the Basic Pistol course via online modules instead of from a live instructor.

Thousands of instructors balked — some very publicly — until finally a fix was put in place and the computer training sessions became voluntary.

Then, there was the horrible roll-out of NRA’s concealed-carry training and insurance program — which was basically a thumb in the eye of the United States Concealed Carry Association Members.

Known as NRA Carry Guard, NRA’s training program was designed by Navy SEAL and Army Special Forces operators, but tailored for civilians, NRA’s spokesman told me.

The controversy began when NRA un-invited the USCCA from its 2017 Annual Meetings out of “concerns regarding its programs.”

The sudden move perplexed USCCA’s leadership, they claimed, since the two organizations had been meeting for several months to “discuss the shared goal of the two organizations in support of the Second Amendment.

An NRA spokesman explained that it was a business decision, but the damage had already been done.

Millions of USCCA members were needlessly pissed off.

Finally, there was the most recent faux pas — banning 1911s and revolvers from Carry Guard concealed carry classes.

To be clear — the NRA banned the 1911 from its Carry Guard classes — the 1911!  

Col. Cooper must be spinning in his grave!

Despite the plethora of polymer, the 1911 is and always will be America’s handgun. Banning the 1911 is decidedly un-American.

Who could even conceive of such unpatriotic lunacy!

I shudder to think what’s coming next — a Tokarev-only rule?

Will new students be forced to don black berets, Che Guevara T-shirts and hum The Internationale?

Once again, only after the gun community exploded, NRA announced that the 1911 and revolver ban was a “mistake,” and the ban was rescinded — but only after more damage had been done.

I hope my good friends on Waples Mill Road, to whom I’m sending this column, will see past its harshness and tongue-in-cheekiness — subtlety has never been one of my strengths — and examine the training division’s actions. I hope they fix the problem, not the blame.

Their recent decisions have done significant damage to the country’s oldest civil rights organization.

If immediate and long-term corrective actions are not taken, things will only get worse.


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. John D Farquhar on

    Neither the Blended or Carry Guard came out of T&E Blended was ordered and the Training dept complied as they wanted to keep their jobs, and Carry Guard is out of General operations. Carry Guard is actualy diect competition to the the NRA certified instructors

  2. Good article! I have to agree with every point.

    Don’t get me wrong I love the NRA, but whoever is making and approving these decisions needs to get their collective heads out of their third point of contact. They’re making fools of themselves and of a great organization.

    I contacted them when the USCCA debacle occurred, and I’m glad to hear they reversed the 1911 decision. That was just plain stupid. When I first read about it I had to read the article over again to be certain I was reading it correctly.

  3. Paul Mattson on

    One of the NRA’s biggest disappointments over the past 36 moths is with all these program modifications, some small some enormous, the NRA Certified Instructors with boots on the ground were not consulted beforehand.

  4. Donnie Robertson on

    I believe the NRA has become a group of elite gun owners whose sole goal is to utilize members dues so they may follow the example of previous administrations……… travel on members nickle, enjoy fine dining and appear to be the all-knowing and all-caring bunch of executives. The glory of the positions held within the NRA are their own personal ‘Master Card and Visa. Only the best of the best for the honchos who lead us down the path of extinction!

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