Standard Operating Procedures: Basic Volume
Shooting Sports – American History – Civic Engagement
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES: BASIC VOLUME
- 1. OVERVIEW
- 1.1 Organization Purpose
- 1.2 Foreword
- 1.3 Edition Information
- 1.4 SOP Approval
- 2 ADMINISTRATION
- 2.1 Revere’s Riders Event Scheduling
- 2.1.1 Basic Event Administration
- 2.2 Reimbursement Policy
- 2.2.1 Philosophy
- 2.2.2 Fees and Money
- 2.2.3 Reimbursement Policy
- 188.8.131.52 Individual Reimbursement (No Overnight Travel)
- 184.108.40.206 Individual Reimbursement (Overnight Travel Required)
- 220.127.116.11 Event Director Reimbursement
- 2.2.4 How to File for Reimbursement
- 2.2.5 Advances
- 2.2.6 Direct Corporate Payment
- 2.2.7 Limitations on Reimbursement
- 3 CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
- 3.1 The Call to Action
- 3.2 Instructor Fundamentals for Winning Hearts and Changing Minds
- 3.2.1 Learning the Theory
- 3.2.2 The Affective Domain
- 3.3 Political Positions
- 4 MARKSMANSHIP & SHOOTING SPORTS
- 4.1 Revere’s Riders Range Operations
- 4.1.1 Authorized Procedures
- 4.1.2 Safety Procedures
- 18.104.22.168 Rules for Safe Firearms Handling
- 22.214.171.124 Medical Emergency Plan
- 126.96.36.199 Additional Rules & Procedures for Safe Firearms Use and Storage
- 188.8.131.52 Unloading Firearms
- 184.108.40.206 Ammunition Difficulties
- 4.1.3 Range Layout
- 4.1.3 Certain Types of Guns
- 4.1.4 Shoot Personnel
- 220.127.116.11 Event Director
- 18.104.22.168 Range Director
- 22.214.171.124 Range Officer
- 126.96.36.199 Chief Pit/Target Officer
- 188.8.131.52 Pit/Target Officer
- 4.1.5 Line Commands
- 4.2 Fundamentals of Instruction
- 5 HISTORY & STORYTELLING
- 6 REVERE’S RIDERS TRAINING PROGRESSION
- 6.1 General Overview
- 6.2 Revere’s Riders Basic Instructor Training
- 6.3 Test—Safety Fundamentals
- 6.4 Test—Instructor Fundamentals
- 6.5 Test—Revere’s Riders Policies
- 7 RESOURCES
1.1 Organization Purpose
The vision of Revere’s Riders is: “Every American Choosing Liberty – Every Day!”
The purpose and mission areas of Revere’s Riders are: “To educate the public in American history, support marksmanship, and promote civic engagement.”
The goals of this organization shall be as follows:
- Educate the general public in marksmanship.
- Educate the general public on pro-firearms issues by providing visible leadership by example andthrough the dissemination of pertinent information.
- Promote the safe and responsible use of all types of firearms and range equipment by facilitating formal and informal classes.
- Promote the safe enjoyment of all areas of shooting sports by facilitating formal and informal shooting activities.
- Gain and maintain affiliations with nationally-recognized shooting sports associations.
- Educate the general public in American history.
- Promote awareness of American history, with a focus on the colonial period, Revolutionary War, and early Republic.
- Cultivate an appreciation for American heritage and of the sacrifices made by earlier generations ofAmericans on behalf of liberty and freedom.
- Promote responsible non-partisan civic involvement.
- Encourage the general public to participate in civic life.
- Educate the general public on civic participation.
- Foster an appreciation for the freedoms and liberties provided by American civic life.
- Provide an environment for club members to practice leadership in traditional organizationalgovernance roles and skills.
- Comply with all regulations and requirements to maintain 501(C)3 status. Bias favoring or opposingone candidate or political party over another is strictly prohibited.
Thank you for your interest in our organization! This manual of Standard Operating Procedures is intended as a reference guide. It is not intended to be read from cover to cover; instead, use the Table of Contents to jump to the relevant sections as needed.
No manual can replace passion or mentorship. All Revere’s Riders members are encouraged to work as part of a team to grow and move towards our shared objective.
This is Volume One of the SOP. It contains our core basic procedures in all three of our key mission areas: Civic Engagement, Marksmanship, and History. Additionally, it includes key information regarding basic event administration and the training progression for Basic Instructor Training.
There are other volumes for each of our specialized areas: Event Administration for Event Directors, Shooting Sports by discipline for instructors, History for storytellers, and so on. Please refer to those volumes for greater details on each topic.
1.3 Edition Information
1.3.1 Revision Notes
This is Edition 3.0. The primary change for this edition is a reorganization. Volunteers will find all core information that is of broad interest in the first volume. Separate volumes will include information needed to run events in different disciplines, and is of interest only to volunteers working in those disciplines.
Additionally, a number of items specific to various disciplines have been tweaked and streamlined based on inputs from volunteers and experience in the field.
Many individuals contributed to this manual, and not all can be individually named. We are especially appreciative of the following key contributors:
- John Lee, who adapted CMP and NRA procedures for use in our range procedures
- Ben Edman, who drafted much of the Basic Rifle instructional tips
- Heather Seidler, who compiled the initial history materials
- Sharon Sabo, who compiled the initial civic engagement materials
- Phil “V” who executed a major formatting cleanup in Version 2.0
Any errors are those of the editor (i.e. myself).
1.3.3 Revisions and Changes
This manual will be revised on a periodic basis. Please identify changes to the appropriate Officers.
Version 1.1 adds additional detail on skill challenge scoring.
Version 1.2 fixes several typographical errors, removes blank pages, and updates the Qualification Test descriptions for clarity.
Version 2.0 fixes some hierarchy numbering of sections and converts to LibreOffice to auto-generate cross-references etc. Replaces old MRM references with Revere’s Riders. No substantive changes to content.
1.4 SOP Approval
PO Box 9571
Las Vegas, NV 89191
MEMORANDUM FOR RR CLUB MEMBERS
The enclosed Standard Operating Procedures address typical activities. On 25 April 2015, the RR Board of Directors reviewed the SOPs and passed the following resolution:
WHEREAS, the board of directors has reviewed the proposed Standard Operating Procedures (SOP),
WHEREAS, the SOP are based upon best practices in our field,
RESOLVED, that the proposed SOP are approved and in effect,
RESOLVED FURTHER, that the board shall review the SOP annually,
RESOLVED FURTHER, that the President or Vice President may approve additions, subtractions, or other changes to the SOP from time to time, except that neither shall remove any safety precautions.
The SOPs is approved /
rejected. It will go into effect immediately and be reviewed on at least an annual basis. It supersedes any previous versions.
The primary points of contact for any issues with the branding usage policy will be the appropriate club officer, but I am always happy to field questions or concerns. This SOP is not perfect, but should serve through our launch.
Christopher M. Seidler
2.1 Revere’s Riders Event Scheduling
2.1.1 Basic Event Administration
When you volunteer at a Revere’s Riders event you may be asked to help with some basic administration. This SOP details some of the key procedures.
184.108.40.206 Parking Lot Greeter
Welcome students to the event. Help them find parking. Tell them to unload their gear but please leave all firearms in the vehicle until after the safety briefing.
220.127.116.11 Setup Team
You may be asked to help setup tables, a target line, or other instructional areas.
When shooters check in, they should sign several releases. The Event Director may ask you to review and file these waivers. Ensure all waivers are properly signed by an adult.
- Liability Waiver (mandatory)
- Model Release for photos (suggested)
- Physical Contact Authorization (suggested)
- Loaner Equipment Liability Release (mandatory for those using loaner equipment)
The Event Director should have a roster of pre-paid students. Check off students as they arrive. Help students with name tags.
18.104.22.168 If Something Goes Very Wrong…
The Event Director is fully authorized and expected to take immediate actions if there is a safety or medical emergency. Other volunteers are expected to assist and apply sound judgement. Resolve the situation per SOP and with good judgment. After the immediate situation is controlled, contact the Revere’s Riders Officers and inform them of what happened. Do not make any statements admitting guilt, promising specific restitution, or so on until Revere’s Riders Officers have coordinated with the insurance company and legal counsel.
If a participant is dissatisfied with their experience but there is no safety or liability issue, refer them to the event director for further discussion.
2.2 Reimbursement Policy
The Revere’s Riders reimbursement policy is intended to ensure that volunteers are reimbursed for their legitimate business expenses, comply with IRS regulations governing non-profits, ensure volunteers do not lose liability protections, minimize the reporting burden on the Revere’s Riders and on volunteers, and maximize the efficiency of limited resources.
Deviations from this policy could have undesirable effects such as tax liability for the volunteer or for Revere’s Riders or the inadvertent conversion of a volunteer member (with liability protection) into an independent contractor employee.
2.2.2 Fees and Money
To the maximum extent possible students should use online sign-up to minimize the need for handling cash at events. Event Directors may choose to collect cash to cover range fees at the event.
After events, the event director can fill out an event an Event Reimbursement Form to ensure all costs are reimbursed. Any cash collected on site must be mailed to the treasurer. If alternate arrangements are required please work with the treasurer before the event occurs.
Each individual volunteer at the event can file an Individual Reimbursement Form for their personal expenses.
2.2.3 Reimbursement Policy
Volunteers working at a sanctioned Revere’s Riders event may be eligible for reimbursement for certain expenses. Revere’s Riders runs what is called an “accountable reimbursements plan.” In order to comply with IRS regulations, volunteers must ensure that:
- Any expenses being claimed are incurred for a nonprofit business purpose. The expenses being reimbursed must be directly related to the work or services provided by the volunteer.
- The volunteer adequately accounts for the expenses within a reasonable period of time—no more 60 days after the expense was incurred.
- The volunteer returns any amounts received in excess of the actual expenses incurred within a reasonable period of time—no more than 120 days after receipt of the excess money.
- Every expense should be supported by documentation showing: What was purchased, how much was paid for it, and who (or what company) it was purchased from. Certain expenses including all expenses over $75 require receipts.
- Every expense must be connected to a sanctioned Revere’s Riders event or other Revere’s Riders business purpose.
- Expenses claimed must be in accordance with this policy. Exceptions are at the discretion of the Treasurer.
22.214.171.124 Individual Reimbursement (No Overnight Travel)
- Travel Mileage: $0.14/mile (current IRS charitable reimbursement rate)
- Lunch: Actual cost not to exceed $5.50 (50% of $11 GSA per diem rate)*
- Dinner: Actual cost not to exceed $11.50 (50% of $23 GSA per diem rate)*
- Incidental Expenses: $5/day or actual cost (whichever is less) per volunteer. All incidental expenses mustinclude a brief written justification statement explaining how they relate to a valid non-profit businesspurpose and accounting for the “who/what/where/why.”
- Other expenses: Approved on a case by case basis by the treasurer.
Example #1: A volunteer worker is required to stay at the range during lunch because instruction is occurring through the lunch break and incurs costs. Lunch is a reimbursable expense.
Example #2: The event director decides that during a two day weekend event, on Saturday evening the volunteer workers all be required to stay at the range “after hours” in order to conduct an after action review, plan the next day’s activities, and prepare supplies for the next morning. Everyone chips in for pizza delivered to the premises so the volunteers can continue working. This expense is reimbursable up to $11.50/person.
Example #3: After concluding an event, the volunteer workers depart the premises and go out to dinner together. They discuss the day’s events and lessons learned. Because they have departed the premises, the meal is not directly connected to a business purpose and is thus not reimbursable under our accountable plan.
126.96.36.199 Individual Reimbursement (Overnight Travel Required)
- Lodging: actual cost, not to exceed $41.50/night per volunteer (50% of GSA $83 rate). Receipts are required for all lodging expenses, even if they do not exceed $75.
- Meals and incidental expenses: $23/day per diem (50% of GSA M&IE $46 rate)
- Travel mileage: $0.14/mile (current IRS charitable reimbursement rate)
- Other travel expenses (airfare, rental car, etc.): approved on a case-by-case basis by the Treasurer.
The IRS has rules about overnight travel and per diem usage. To be eligible for per diem reimbursements, the volunteer must travel away from their “tax home” (i.e. outside the metropolitan area) and also have a bona fide overnight rest stop.
In certain high cost areas, the treasurer may authorize higher reimbursement rates. In no case will the treasurer authorize reimbursement that exceeds 50% of the GSA per diem rate.
188.8.131.52 Event Director Reimbursement
Refer to the Event Director Annex for details (section XXX link).
184.108.40.206 Other Reimbursements
The treasurer may authorize other expenses on a case-by-case basis. For example, if a volunteer agrees to do a bulk order of supplies at a lower price and then ship those supplies to others, the treasurer may reimburse the costs and postage. Another example might include a promotional project, or unique expenses required to get essential personnel to an understaffed event. Any such reimbursement must be done on an accountable basis, and authorization should be sought in advance prior to obligating any funds.
2.2.4 How to File for Reimbursement
- Go to the online expense reimbursement form on the Revere’s Riders website
- Fill out the form completely.
- Email any required receipts to the Treasurer.
- Please allow up to 45 days for payment; if you have not been paid within 45 days, contact the Treasurer.
Routine reimbursements must use the online form. Contact the treasurer if using the online form is impossible or if you have any special circumstances.
In special circumstances, the club officers may authorize in advance to cover expected expenses. Advances must comply with specific IRS rules and thus prior coordination is required. Advances will not be available more than 30 days in advance of an event due to IRS rules. If actual expenses are less than the advance, any excess must be returned.
2.2.6 Direct Corporate Payment
Some expenses may be paid for directly by Revere’s Riders with prior coordination through the Treasurer. For example, it may be possible to have Revere’s Riders directly pay for shirts which are then shipped straight to an Event Director. This method is preferable to an advance payment.
This method is preferred for “one time” purchases of non-consumable supplies such as steel targets, promotional banners, and so on.
2.2.7 Limitations on Reimbursement
Reimbursement is at the discretion of the Treasurer based on the current state of finances. If reimbursement is an issue, check with the Treasurer before the event.
All expense forms should be filed within 14 days of the event. Late forms may be accepted up to 60 days after the event but are a lower priority for reimbursement.
Break-Even Events: In general, Revere’s Riders events should be run on a break-even basis. Revere’s Riders has limited resources, and we urge our members to be good stewards. It is the Event Director’s responsibility to monitor the financial status of their event.
The Treasurer will work directly with Event Directors if it appears that there are events with excessive costs. As a general rule of thumb, Event Directors should ensure that they have one paying student for each local Revere’s Riders member who intends to seek reimbursement at an event, and two or three students for each instructor who requires overnight travel.
The Treasurer has the discretion to limit the reimbursement for very poorly attended events. If this is necessary, the Treasurer should inform members at least 48 hours before travel costs or other expenses are incurred.
$500 Cap: In no circumstance can non-accountable reimbursement to any volunteer exceed $500 in any calendar year without approval of the Board of Directors. This cap only applies to any payments which are not part of an accountable plan payment. Payments which are part of an accountable plan where each expense is substantiated (i.e. almost all normal reimbursements) are not considered on the annual $500 cap.
Non-accountable payments in excess of $500 may compromise the volunteer’s liability protection under the Federal Volunteer Protection Act. Payments in excess of $600 may require additional IRS paperwork to be filed. This also ensures that volunteer workers do not inadvertently become considered independent contractors or employees, which could compromise the club insurance and cause significant financial publications for the club and the volunteer.
3 CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
3.1 The Call to Action
The purpose of the Call to Action is to encourage attendees to get involved in civic life. It is a critical opportunity to reach the core of our purpose.
From the moment you earn a hat, your Revere’s Riders story begins. Using another individual’s vision won’t work: their past is not yours. Historically the “Benediction” has been reserved for the “Shoot Boss” which limits delivery of message to end of the day Saturday or Sunday. Every volunteer on the line has the opportunity from the very first to hold a concept which can be delivered at a moment’s notice. This is entirely beneficial as new Instructors often have a closer tie to the attendees as they have just “stepped out” of those shoes. Let’s breakdown the concept of “Find, Filter, Follow Up & Finale”.
Choose one point in the History that “called” to you.
Entire books have been written about Menotomy. There is a lot of material to select from! Choose one example (with documentation) and craft a short message as to how it applies to one of the values Revere’s Riders honors.
Example: Jason Russell–Valor, Faith, Courage. 59 and lame, escorted his wife and children to safety and then returned to the battle (www.arlingtonhistorical.org/learn/the-battle-of-menotomy/)
3.1.3 Follow Up
Who is your audience? Tailor the “Call to Action” to them before you meet if possible.
- Farm store? Jason Russell was a mid-level farmer whose orchard kept most of the surrounding area in Vinegar and Cider. These were important to preserving foods or as a substitute for water.
- Family-oriented group? Jason Russell realized that through his sacrifice his family might survive to see the Liberty he desired for them.
- Military/”Tough Guys”? Tactically speaking, Jason Russell and those in Menotomy were outnumbered – but courage shown through their understanding that subjugation of the populace must never happen or enslavement would ensue.
What actions specifically can the listener(s) do today? A week from now? In the long term? If we provide “…go forth and bring more people what result do we know happens? Encourage Letters to the Editor (about this event or specific history moments), present bills/ordinances that are local and without presenting opinions encourage civic engagement through action, exhilarate your audience to feel compelled to rouse others to become involved in their community choices, etc.
This becomes the initial starting point of your eventual Call to Action. Creating vs copying instills part of “you” into history instead of reciting another person’s experience. Reach out to others involved in Revere’s Riders that you’ve worked with if you feel confident – send them your ideas and accept input. Eventually when the muscle fatigue and adrenalin combine at the end of your event and facing you are a group of folks inspired and waiting for direction – the Find, Filter, Follow Up, Finale will shine forth with little effort on your part.
Calls to Action aren’t memorized – they are born from the very ideas that inspired you to give the golden gift of time to fellow Americans.
3.2 Instructor Fundamentals for Winning Hearts and Changing Minds
3.2.1 Learning the Theory
A key part of civic engagement is winning hearts and minds. This is what educational theorists have classified as the “affective domain” and is concerned with feelings and emotions. The domain is organized like a ladder, with simple feelings that are relatively easily tapped on the bottom rungs up to more complex feelings at the top. When trying to reach hearts and minds, you have to start at the base of the ladder and work up it.
For more reading: Krathwohol, D.R., Bloom, B.S. and Masia, B.B., Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Book II. Affective Domain. New York, NY. David McKay Company, Inc. 1964.
It is critical to realize where your audience is on this spectrum in the affective domain. You should tailor your presentations to persuade the audience to move up a rung or two on the ladder. Before conducting a deliberate civic engagement event, ask yourself (1) where is my audience before we start? and (2) where should they be when we finish? In labeling objectives using this domain there has to be a very clear instructional intention for growth in this area specified in the learning objective(s).
3.2.2 The Affective Domain
This refers to the learner’s sensitivity to the existence of stimuli – awareness, willingness to receive, or selected attention.
This is a critical first step: if the audience is not receptive to your ideas then you will be ineffective at reaching any hearts or minds. You must capture their awareness and attention, and remove any barriers to communication. Marketing efforts assist with this, but the initial first welcoming contacts at an event are key for creating a receptive atmosphere.
KEY WORDS: FEEL, SENSE, CAPTURE, EXPERIENCE, PURSUE, ATTEND, PERCEIVE
This refers to the learners’ active attention to stimuli and his/her motivation to learn – acquiescence, willing responses, or feelings of satisfaction.
At this level, the student is willing to engage with the ideas. They may be willing to discuss the ideas, try some exercises or work with others. This may be the only level you can get to at a shorter event with a “cold” audience.
KEY WORDS: CONFORM, ALLOW, COOPERATE, CONTRIBUTE, ENJOY, SATISFY
This refers to the learner’s beliefs and attitudes of worth – acceptance, preference, or commitment. An acceptance, preference, or commitment to a value.
This is the desired level for our students to attain at the conclusion of an event. We would like them to respect the values that we discuss and start searching on their own for more meaning.
KEY WORDS: BELIEVE, SEEK, JUSTIFY, RESPECT, SEARCH, PERSUADE
This refers to the learner’s internalization of values and beliefs involving (1) the conceptualization of values; and (2) the organization of a value system. As values or beliefs become internalized, the learner organizes them according to priority.
This level is one that prospective RR members often reach. At this stage, RR members have carefully considered values and ordered them into their existing priorities. For example, a RR member might decide how the civic values we discuss compare with their duties to friends, family, faith, work, or other obligations.
KEY WORDS: EXAMINE, CLARIFY, SYSTEMATIZE, CREATE, INTEGRATE
220.127.116.11 Characterization–The Internalization of Values
This refers to the learner’s highest of internalization and relates to behavior that reflects (1) a generalized set of values; and (2) a characterization or a philosophy about life. At this level the learner is capable of practicing and acting on their values or beliefs.
Seasoned and dedicated RR members reach this level where they fully incorporate civic engagement into their value system and way of life.
KEY WORDS: INTERNALIZE, REVIEW, CONCLUDE, RESOLVE, JUDGE
3.3 Political Positions
Our Articles of Incorporation limit us to purposes compatible with Section 501(c)3 of the IRS Code. In order to maintain tax-exempt status, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations cannot engage in political campaigning.
The bottom line is that you cannot take a partisan stance on an issue or candidate in an official capacity as a Revere’s Riders member. You can absolutely support civil engagement, take stances on non-partisan issues such as ballot initiatives, or educate the public in accordance with our purposes. The following is adapted from NOLO (www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/limits-political-campaigning-501c3-nonprofits-29982.html):
3.3.1 What Does “Participating in a Political Campaign” Mean?
In general, the IRS rule refers to campaigns between people who are running for offices in public elections. These can include: candidates running for president of the U.S.; candidates running for governor; candidates running for mayor; and also candidates for lower elected offices such as school board officials, city supervisors, and county trustees.
What is “participating?” Your organization cannot participate in a campaign, directly or indirectly, on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate. If your organization takes a stand in any campaign, supporting or opposing one or another candidate, this violates the prohibition.
18.104.22.168 Activities that Violate the Prohibition on Political Campaigning
Some activities that the IRS has found to violate the prohibition on political campaigning include:
- Inviting a political candidate to make a campaign speech at an event hosted by the organization.
- Using the organization’s funds to publish materials that support (or oppose) a candidate.
- Donating money from the organization to a political candidate.
- Inviting one candidate to speak at a well-publicized and well-attended event, and inviting the other candidate to speak at a lesser function; arranging the speaking event or choosing the questions in such a way that it is obvious that the organization favors one candidate over the others.
- Conducting a “get out the vote” telephone drive in a partisan manner by selecting caller responses for further follow-up based on candidate preference.
22.214.171.124 What Political Activities Can a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Engage In?
A 501(c)3 organization can engage in the following activities without violating the IRS rule:
- Non-partisan activities. Your organization may engage in non-partisan activities such as non-partisan voter registration drives, non-partisan candidate debates, and non-partisan voter education, as long as these activities fulfill your exempt purposes.
- Legislative or issue advocacy. Your organization can engage in legislative advocacy and issue-related advocacy, as long as it follows certain rules and steers clear of political campaigning. (If your organization is contemplating such activities, it’s a good idea to get advice from a qualified attorney.)
To learn more, see Nolo’s article, “How Much Lobbying Can a Nonprofit Do?” (www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/how-much-lobbying-can-nonprofit-do.html)
Don’t forget that any individuals associated with a 501(c)3 organization are entitled to voice their opinions and participate in a political campaign, as long as they are not speaking for the organization.
3.3.2 Taking a Position
In addition to the IRS limitations, be careful when speaking on behalf of Revere’s Riders in an official capacity. Revere’s Riders has many members of diverse views. No one person can claim to speak for all of us.
In general you may take a position if it is one endorsed by our Board, if it is one endorsed by the members, one supported by an organization we are affiliated with (such as the NRA, CMP, or Youth Shooting Sports Foundation), or one which is compatible with our purposes. As a Member of Revere’s Riders, you can and should bring up positions to the Officers or at the Members meetings for consideration.
Bear in mind that the NRA-ILA is a 501(c)4. You may not echo NRA-ILA positions as they may be partisan in nature. Stick to the main NRA discussion points from places such as the training division.
You can also make it clear that you are speaking individually and not as a member of the club, or just steer clear of controversial topics which do not relate to our purposes.
4 MARKSMANSHIP & SHOOTING SPORTS
4.1 Revere’s Riders Range Operations
4.1.1 Authorized Procedures
RR Members may utilize any of the following Range Operations procedures:
- NRA Procedures as outlined in competition rule books or instructor materials
- CMP Procedures as outlined in competition rule books or instructor materials
- Revere’s Riders procedures as detailed below
Event Directors may approve minor modifications to procedures to conform with local conditions so long as safety is not negatively impacted. When possible, procedures should remain standardized to allow a consistent participant experience, simplify crew training, and ensure consistent safety measures are executed.
The word “gun” is used throughout these procedures to conform with NRA terminology. Feel free to substitute “rifle,” “pistol,” “firearm,” etc.
4.1.2 Safety Procedures
126.96.36.199 Rules for Safe Firearms Handling
The following safety rules will be taught verbatim. All attendees must be familiar with and strictly adhere to these core rules. Encourage all participants to watch themselves and others for compliance with the safety rules.
- Always Keep The Gun Pointed in a Safe Direction
- A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle of the barrel is pointed at all times.
- Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.
- Always Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until You Are Ready to Shoot
- When holding a gun, rest your trigger finger outside the trigger guard alongside the gun.
- Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.
- Always Keep The Gun Unloaded Until Ready to Use
- Whenever you pick up a gun, always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction, keep your finger off the trigger, engage the safety, and remove the ammunition source (magazine and ammunition from chamber).
- At Revere’s Riders events, students will only load firearms when specifically directed using the “LOAD” command. At all other times, the line will be “cold” with no ammunition in the guns.
188.8.131.52 Medical Emergency Plan
- Determine if anyone has First Responder, Medical, or CPR training. You should offer for them to let the Event Director know privately. Designate those people.
- Designate a person to call 911. Make sure they know the address of the range.
- Designate a rally point for everyone else.
- Designate staff to direct everyone else to that rally point.
184.108.40.206 Additional Rules & Procedures for Safe Firearms Use and Storage
The following safety procedures will be followed at RR events. They are based on NRA rules, and while participants should be familiar with them they do not need to be taught verbatim.
- Know your target and what is beyond. The Event Director is responsible for surveying the range before use. During firing, the Range Officer(s) must maintain awareness of any changing conditions downrange.
- Know how to safely use the gun. Students may need familiarization with their gun’s basic parts, how to open and close the action, and how to remove ammunition from the gun.
- Be sure the gun is safe to operate. Regular cleaning and proper storage are a part of a gun’s general upkeep. If there is any question regarding a gun’s ability to function, a competent gunsmith should look at it.
- Revere’s Riders instructors are authorized to assist with attaching slings, building up cheek rests on stocks, making sight adjustments, and other minor alterations which do not affect the action of the gun. Revere’s Riders instructors may also assist students in field stripping and cleaning a fouled gun.
- Revere’s Riders instructors are neither armorers nor gunsmiths. Revere’s Riders instructors may not perform any substantive modifications to a gun’s fire control group, action, or other parts. Any actions as an armorer or gunsmith are NOT covered as part of a member’s official duties and may not be covered by club insurance.
- Use only the correct ammunition for your gun. Most guns have the proper ammunition type stamped on the barrel. Do not shoot without the proper ammunition. Revere’s Riders strongly suggests the use of factory ammunition.
- Wear eye and ear protection. Safety glasses and ear protection are required. Revere’s Riders club insurance may not cover individuals who choose not to wear personal protective equipment.
- All personnel, attendees, guests, and observers of any shooting event will wear eye protection while on the range before live fire commences, during live fire, and until after firing has ceased. Shooting glasses, sunglasses, and prescription glasses are permitted.
- All personnel, attendees, guests, and observers of any shooting event will wear ear protection while on or within earshot of the range before live fire commences, during live fire, and until after firing has ceased. Ear plugs of appropriate rating, shooting earmuffs, and electronic shooting earmuffs are permitted.
- Never use alcohol or drugs before or while shooting. Alcohol, as well as any other substance likely to impair normal mental or physical bodily functions must not be used before or while handling or shooting guns.
- Store guns so that they are not accessible to unauthorized persons. Safe and secure storage requires that untrained individuals (especially children) be denied unsupervised access to guns. At Revere’s Riders events, firearms will either be secured in a closed container or under the supervision of a certified Revere’s Riders member.
- Sidearms. Sidearms are not permitted to be worn by students who will be in the prone or sitting positions on the line. Exceptions to this policy for events requiring holstered sidearms may be approved by the President, Vice President, or Executive Officer for Marksmanship.
220.127.116.11 Unloading Firearms
Safed Gun. This procedure will be followed to make a gun safe so that participants and instructors can go downrange to the target line.
- Remove all ammunition and detachable magazines from the gun.
- Tube fed rifles should cycle the action to unload, then extend the plunger a few inches.
- BOLTS OPEN
- Open the bolt of the gun and verify that the chamber is clear.
- Lock the bolt back is the gun is capable, otherwise leave fully open (manual actions) or close on a chamber flag (AKs and similar).
- SAFETY ON
- If the gun has a safety that can be accessed and engaged with the bolt open, do so.
- INSERT EMPTY CHAMBER INDICATOR (CHAMBER FLAG)
- Place the chamber flag fully into the chamber of the gun.
- GROUND AND CLEAR OR PRESENT AND SLING/HOLSTER*
- Place the gun with the muzzle across the firing line, pointed downrange.
- Remove any items which obstruct view of the gun or which will be needed at the equipment line.
- Leave the firing line and return to the equipment line.
- Nobody may touch firearms after they have been cleared and grounded.
- *Alternatively, firearms may be presented for inspection by an RSO. Once checked, the firearm may be slung or holstered once the “range is cold” command is given. This procedure is used at carbine, field rifle, and advanced pistol events where the line must be moved from point to point.
18.104.22.168 Ammunition Difficulties
These are problems that can occur with ammunition and how to deal with them. Always listen for the sound of a normal report and the feel of a normal recoil from your gun. If these are not present, stop and find out why.
22.214.171.124.1 Hangfires & Misfires
- Recognize: A misfire will sound like a dryfire but never fires. A hangfire will initially sound like a dryfire as well, followed by a normal sounding report when the round does fire. When a cartridge fails to fire immediately, it will not be known at first if the problem is a misfire or a hangfire.
- Understand: A misfire is the failure of a cartridge to ignite when the primer or case rim has been struck. A hangfire is a perceptible delay in the ignition of a cartridge. This delay may last several seconds.
- Act: Remain in position with the action closed for several seconds; the NRA suggests waiting at least 30 seconds. Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. After waiting, eject the cartridge and continue.
- Recognize: A squib will sound like a light load, or a pellet gun, and there will often be a lot of smoke. There may be a reduction in noise, muzzle flash, or recoil.
- Understand: A squib occurs when the cartridge develops less than normal pressure or velocity; a bullet can fail to exit the muzzle and become lodged in the bore.
- Act: The way to handle a squib is to stop firing, and call for an instructor to assist in determining that the barrel is clear, and removing the stuck round if not using a cleaning rod. Removing a stuck round is straightforward and safe to user and gun. Firing another round after the squib is dangerous and can hurt the user, fellow shooters, and the gun by breaking the barrel. You must clear squibs and not fire again when in doubt!
126.96.36.199.3 Out of Battery Discharges
- Recognize: If a gun is having issues cycling, or cycling abnormally, you should stop shooting and fix the problem before resuming.
- Understand: An out-of-battery discharge is when the gun fires even with the bolt being not fully closed (in battery). An out-of-battery discharge is unsafe in all guns, and potentially catastrophic in centerfires.
- Act: Check to see if the gun is fouled and in need of cleaning. Always make sure that any detachable magazine is in the receiver before firing. Resolving this issue may require the services of a qualified gunsmith or armorer.
4.1.3 Range Layout
This is the recommended layout of the firing range for rifle events. Pistol events are the same, with modified distances to targets.
188.8.131.52 Target Line and Targets
The Target Line will hold the Targets and be square to the other Lines of the Range. The Target Line must be in front of a suitable backstop berm or other earthworks or hill capable of absorbing all fire safely. Targets should be official event targets, or ad hoc targets as approved and devised by the Event Director.
- Multiple target lines addressed by one firing line shall be treated the same as a single target line in regards to construction and order.
- Target in pits are to be serviced by event personnel, scores recorded, sighters spiked and displayed, and communication observed with the firing line. Pits are to be sealed before a course of fire begins; see Line Commands section for detail.
184.108.40.206 Firing Line Layout
The firing line, with the firing positions, is the line upon which all shooters orient themselves to the target line.
- The firing line shall be square to the target line.
- Distance from target line to firing line to be 25 yards (75 ft) for the short course, or as designatedfor carbine, pistol, or other events.
- Longer courses of fire may be 100 yards or more; setup lines as appropriate for the facility andcourse of fire.
- Other distances may be necessary and may be used with appropriately scaled targets.
- Rimfire steel targets will be shot no closer than 25 yards, and centerfire rifle steel targets nocloser than 100 yards. Pistol steel targets are to be no closer than 15 yards. Inside of 50 yards,shooters must wear long sleeve shirt and pants; wraparound eye protection is suggested.
- The firing line will be a marked line, for example, with bright spray paint or taut cord.
- The firing positions will be built behind it by the shooters according to their preference. Shootingmats are encouraged. Loose materials should be secured to avoid distractions.
- Space between firing points:
- Small Bore Shooters: 5 feet per firing position
- High Power Shooters: 6 feet per firing position
- Muzzles Only
- The only thing to cross a “hot” or “in preparation” firing line is the muzzle of the guns. The muzzles should always be across the firing line.
- No hands, heads, feet, or other body parts should ever cross a hot or in preparation firing line.
- If something is dropped across the firing line, alert the Chief Range Officer, and it will beretrieved after the line is cleared.
- If someone falls across the firing line (when the firing line is “hot” or “in preparation”), call CEASE FIRE.
- Firing Line Conditions
- Hot: The firing line may be hot, which is when the command to fire has been given. Alternately,the line may be declared hot, which grants the shooters permission to fire at their discretion until told otherwise. Guns may be brought to and removed from the line while hot.
- Prep: The firing line may be in preparation, or prep, which is after the command “Your preparation period begins now” has been given. The shooters may handle guns, sling up, get into and out of position, remove flags, close bolts, turn safeties off, dry fire, cycle actions, handle magazines, and do everything BUT load the magazine into the receiver. Guns may be brought to and removed from the line while in prep, and should be brought to the line and removed from the line in cases with muzzles in a safe direction (up).
- Cold: After the line has been cleared by the Range Officers, rifles or carbines may be slung with an empty chamber indicator inserted with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction while the range is cold. At advanced pistol events, pistols may be holstered, typically with hammer down on an empty chamber with no magazine inserted. Firearms may not be handled or manipulated while the range is cold and must remain slung or holstered.
- Cold & Secured: After the line has been cleared by the Range Officers. Shooters and shoot personnel are allowed to cross the firing line to travel to the target line. No one is allowed to touch, address, or bend over to address, any gun on the firing line when the line is cold and secured. People should not stand on the firing line when cold, but be moving to or from the target line or equipment line. Guns are not to be brought to the firing line while the line is cold and secured (and obviously not removed, either.) This is typically the procedure used at basic events.
- Location of Key Personnel
- The Chief Range Officer will stand behind the firing line, at least somewhat centered, where they can clearly see the target line, and the entire firing line, and the Range Officers.
- The Range Officers shall stand on their side of the line, and move as necessary to instruct during stages of fire. The Range Officers shall stand on their end of the line during the commands leading to fire, and will return there after clearing their side of the line.
- Multiple Range Officers per side will split the distance between themselves, and report to the main Range Officer on their side, who will report to the Chief Range Officer.
- The firing line is to be under the supervision of a qualified Chief Range Officer during all courses of fire, and a Range Officer during times when the shooters are elsewhere.
- Clearing the Line
- Once the command “Unload and Make Safe” is given by the Chief Range Officer, participants will clear their firearms and step back to the equipment line. The Range Officers will meet at the designated “center gun,” clear it, and proceed towards their end of the line. The Chief Range Officer will watch the guns that have just cleared as they move.
- Once the Range Officer reaches their end of the line, they will stand and watch the Chief Range Officer, who will question “Is the Line Clear?” The Range Officer will answer with a thumbs up or thumbs down or other arranged signal (flags, paddles, verbal, etc).
- If a Range Officer needs to wait for a shooter to leave a position, he or she should do so patiently, with respect, and flag another instructor to assist if needed, then resume the clearing.
- Once the Chief Range Officer has received both thumbs up from the Range Officers, the command “The line is clear” will be given, followed by further instruction.
- Long lines with multiple Range Officers clearing will have each Range Officer report outwards to the main Range Officer on that side, who will report to the Chief Range Officer.
- A cleared gun meets the rules for a safed gun (220.127.116.11 Unloading Firearms) and has no other items present in thefiring position besides a shooting mat and any necessary shooting aids (rests). A sling is part ofthe gun and can be left, even if detached. A scope cover may be left, even if detached.
- All tools, magazines, writing implements and paper, food and drink, eye or ear protection, loose ammunition (live, dud, or dummy) and clothing should be retrieved and removed by the shooter as they leave the firing line after making their gun safe.
- Multiple guns per shooter are permitted if necessary for a good reason and space permits. Each gun is subject to being made safe at each clearing of the line.
18.104.22.168 Equipment Line
- The equipment line will be square to the rest of the lines.
- The equipment line should be ten feet, minimum, behind the firing line.
- The shooters should keep all their gear here.
- Encourage shooters to keep their ammo, mags, writing gear, water, and other items that they need readily accessible on the equipment line.
- Long Range and other events with a moving firing and equipment line will necessitate a limited amount of equipment, and shooters should be encouraged to only bring what they need.
- The shooters will return to the equipment line after a course of fire, and should be encouraged to stay behind it except when entering prep or going to the target line.
- Spectators must remain in a designated area behind the equipment line.
22.214.171.124 Other Areas
- The Admin area, where shooters are signed in and initially briefed, should be behind the equipment line at a convenient location.
- Meals and long instruction points should be given away from the firing line at some area with shelter.
4.1.3 Certain Types of Guns
126.96.36.199 Tube Fed Rifles
Tube fed rifles are encouraged to be used by shooters that bring them. Tube fed rifles require some different procedures. The Event Director in consultation with the Chief Range Officer and Chief Instructor at the event may modify these procedures so long as safety is not compromised.
- The shooter will ensure the bolt is open when the preparation command concludes.
- Shooters with tube fed rifles will load their magazines (preferably with a charging device) at the Load command on non-transition stages, and at the Stand command on transition stages.
- Non-Transitions: The shooter will then close the action and then chamber a round on non- transition stages and proceed normally.
- Transitions: On transition stages, the shooter will transition with the action open, get into position, then will close the action, then chamber a round. This “double motion” after the transition adds a safety measure to keep rounds out of the chamber during transition.
- Safeties, if present, will be used normally.
- If a tube fed rifle is a semi-automatic, the shooter, on transition stages, shall load one more round than is necessary, and eject a live round manually at the appropriate stage to serve as a simulation of the magazine change. Manual action tube rifles are not required to do this.
188.8.131.52 Other Firearms
- Magnums: Out of consideration for other shooters, it is recommended not to bring large magnum rifles or 50 BMG rifles, except in events designed for such rifles.
- Automatic: Automatic guns should be used in semi-automatic mode.
- Drop Safety: Firearms – especially pistols – should be of modern drop safe design. In general most firearms introduced or imported after 1968 are drop safe. Event Directors should inspect older firearms to ensure that they are safe for use, or ask the student to consult a qualified armorer or gunsmith.
4.1.4 Shoot Personnel
184.108.40.206 Event Director
- The Event Director is the single person in charge of the event. The final decisions on all aspects of the shoot rests with him/her, and he/she promotes the event, is the point of contact with the host range, and is responsible for all paperwork.
- The Event Director appoints the Range Director(s), if necessary, and the Chief Range Officer and other chief officers.
- The Event Director writes the Course of Fire for the event and ensures that it meets the objectives of the program for that event.
- If the Event Director is late, has an emergency, or must leave, any certified instructor will assume the duty, provided that instructor is at least 21. If the instructor is 18 to 21, the instructor may choose to decline, and the event will stop. If the senior instructor is under 18, the event will stop.
- Event Director is a job that will be held by a properly qualified individual.
220.127.116.11 Range Director
- The Range Director is over a single range at a shoot event. If there is only one range being used, the Event Director is the Range Director.
- If there is more than one range, the Event Director can be one of the Range Directors. If there are multiple ranges in use, the Event Director can oversee all and not be a Range Director.
- The Range Director has the same duties as the Event Director except for coordination between the ranges.
- Range Director is a job that will be held by a properly qualified individual.
18.104.22.168 Chief Range Officer
- The Chief Range Officer is directly in charge of the firing line and that is their top priority. Instruction and individual interaction with participants is to be kept to an amount that will not interfere with their duties as Chief Range Officer.
- The Chief Range Officer appoints Range Officers to assist him/her.
- The Chief Range Officer calls the line commands and executes the Event Director’s course of fire by running the linethrough the firing stages, and directing the shooters to an instructor for instruction periods, then resumesdirection of the shooters as that concludes.
- The Chief Range Officer must maintain attention on the line at all times and does not leave it. The Chief Range Officer may be temporarily relieved as needed, or may transition the duty to another individual with Range Director’s knowledge.
- The Chief Range Officer will communicate with the Pit or Target Officers if they are present.
- The Chief Range Officer is in charge of the line, and will direct the Range Officers and other Instructors to address their concerns as needed.
- The Chief Range Officer position should be rotated among available personnel to balance learning opportunity and fatigue over the course of the event.
- The ultimate authority is the Event Director, but the direct delegate is the Chief Range Officer.
- Certified Instructors who have completed the Chief Range Officer training can serve as Chief Range Officers. Assistant instructors whohave not completed the Chief Range Officer training and Apprentice Instructors can be the Chief Range Officer under close supervision.
22.214.171.124 Range Officer
- The Range Officer is appointed by the Chief Range Officer and is responsible for the safety of his or her portion of the line during the live fire portions of the Course of Fire.
- The Range Officer will typically be responsible for one half of the line, so there will typically be a Chief Range Officer and two Range Officers running a line. One Range Officer can handle a small line. Large lines will require more Range Officers, who will be responsible for a portion of the line, and who will report to the Range Officer on each end of the line.
- The Range Officer observes the safety of the shooters during prep and making safe. He or she will continue to be an Range Officer during the firing portion of the string of fire, but will instruct shooters as and when appropriate as well.
- The Range Officer is responsible for clearing their portion of the line as outlined previously.
- The Range Officer reports to the Chief Range Officer and follows their directions.
- Certified and Assistant Instructors who have completed RO training can serve as Range Officers. ApprenticeInstructors or Event Participants can be an Range Officer under close supervision.
126.96.36.199 Chief Pit/Target Officer
- The Chief Pit Officer or Chief Target Officer is responsible for running the target pits or lines.
- The Chief Pit Officer or Chief Target Officer will communicate via radio with the Chief Range Officer to coordinate the string of fire.
- The Chief Pit Officer/Chief Target Officer will coordinate the efforts of the Pit or Target Officers to ensure speedy and safe target service.
- The Chief Pit Officer/Chief Target Officer is the authority on targets’ scoring and operating the pit or target line and all repairs and judgments needed.
- The Chief Pit Officer/Chief Target Officer will oversee the scoring, posting of pasters to mark sighters, and repairing of targets.
- The Chief Pit Officer/Chief Target Officer will enforce the pit/target line’s status as sealed or unsealed, and make sure all pit/target personnel are safe during the string of fire.
- Certified and Assistant Instructors who have completed Chief Pit Officer/Chief Target Officer training can serve as Chief Pit Officer/Chief Target Officers. Apprentice Instructors or Event Participants can be a Chief Pit Officer/Chief Target Officer under supervision.
188.8.131.52 Pit/Target Officer
- The Pit or Target Officer is appointed by the Chief Pit Officer/Chief Target Officer to assist him or her.
- They are in charge of scoring targets, recording scores, posting pasters on sighters, and repairing and servicing targets.
- Certified and Assistant Instructors who have completed Pit Officer/Target Officer training can serve as Pit Officer/Target Officers. Apprentice Instructors or Event Participants can be a Pit Officer/Target Officer under close supervision.
4.1.5 Line Commands
Starting from a cleared line, these are the commands used and their usage. These commands are said loudly by the Chief Range Officer with authority. Words in boldface are echoed by Range Officers, Instructors, and Coordinators, and those commands are: “LOAD!” “STAND!” “FIRE!” and “CEASE FIRE! CEASE FIRE! CEASE FIRE!”
184.108.40.206 Running the Line
- “Shooters, your preparation period begins now!”
- This is the command given to begin the events of a string of fire.
- This command permits the shooters, who are behind the equipment line, permission to approach the firing line and enter preparation.
- Ideally, this command was prefaced earlier with a directive to prep magazines (example “Prepare 1 mag, 5 rounds) and some directive of what they will be doing with this string of fire.
- When shooters are in prep, the Chief Range Officer can remind them of various things, like what to work on during the string of fire, and what the string of fire is. Also remind them to close bolts, remove flags, stage magazines where they can get to them, etc.
- “Shooters, your preparation period has ended!”
- This command is given when the Chief Range Officer wishes to begin the firing of the string of fire.
- The amount of time in prep should vary based on the experience level of the shooters and whether the particular string of fire has been done before or not (is instructional or a qualifier)
- Chief Range Officer will look for shooter activity to cease and the shooters to be waiting in position.
- “With X rounds, LOAD!” or “LOAD and MAKE READY!”
- This command is given on non-transition stages. The emphasis should be placed on LOAD and LOAD will be echoed by the rest of the event staff.
- The shooters will then place the prepped mag into their receivers, and rack the actions, chambering a round.
- Give any tube rifle shooters time to complete this task.
- As an alternative, you can state “Load and Make Ready!” This is useful for events like carbine clinics where the intent is for shooters to load with a full magazine and assume a ready position. It can also be used for basic clinics prior to drills.
- “With safeties on, STAND!”
- This command is given on transition stages. The emphasis should be placed on STAND and STAND will be echoed by the rest of the event staff.
- The shooters will then activate their safety and stand from their built positions in a safe manner.
- Give shooters enough time to accomplish this safely, and watch for sweeping muzzles. Also watch for tube fed rifle shooters to complete loading the tube mag.
- “Is the line ready?”
- This is a rhetorical question asked of the line. Shooters will be instructed to wave or otherwise attract notice if they are not ready.
- Shooters that are not ready will be attended to by an instructor or RO, who will determine if it is a safety issue. The string of fire will be stopped for safety issues, and continued for non-safety issues.
- “Ready on the Right?”
- This is a question asked of the Range Officer on the right side of the line.
- The Range Officer or a shooter will signal if not ready due to a safety issue.
- “Ready on the Left?”
- Same as previous, to the Range Officer and shooters on the left side of the line.
- “Ready on the line!”
- This is said as an announcement, and the Chief Range Officer will be looking at the target line to make sure it is ready.
- Some instructors like to state “All ready on the line” or “Ready on the rifle line” due to the cadence/rhythm of the command. Minor variations such as this are acceptable so long as the previous command, or if running a number of sequential drills.
- (Stand by…) “FIRE!”
- This command is echoed by all event personnel.
- Timed stages will have their timing begun at this point.
- “Stand By” may be given as a preparatory command if there has been an unusual delay since the previous command, or if running a number of sequential drills.
- “CEASE FIRE! CEASE FIRE! CEASE FIRE!”
- This command is used to stop firing, at the end of a string of fire.
- This command is used immediately if an unsafe condition presents itself.
- This command is used when shooters are finished with their shooting that string of fire, or when time expires on a timed staged, whichever is first.
- All people on the range can use this command as a safety measure, however, make sure that children understand the scope of it, and, if used appropriately, call attention and praise to it. Inappropriate use, if occurred, should be noted and discouraged in a professional yet firm manner.
- This command is echoed by all event staff.
- Continuation of firing after the first word of the command is given is not to be tolerated. Instruction will be given for first offences and chronic offenders may be removed from the line temporarily or permanently as needed.
- The Chief Range Officer will, on fast timed stages, where shooters are expected to sometimes not finish, should hold their hand up and count down the final five seconds so that the rest of the event staff can coordinate echoing the cease fire in unison.
- “Unload and Make Safe!”
- This command is given to the shooters to make their firearms safe, to include grounding them and stepping back.
- This command cues the Range Officers to begin to clear the line.
- The shooters will make their rifles safe, collect their gear, and return to the equipment line.
- “Is the line clear?”
- Once the Range Officers have cleared the line, the Chief Range Officer uses this command.
- The Range Officers reply with a thumbs up for the affirmative, and a head shake or “NO” for negative.
- “The Line is clear! Shooters, you may proceed to [next task].”
- Once the line is clear via the Range Officers signals, this command is used to declare the line clear.
- This command will be followed by an instruction of what the shooters are to do next. Example: “Shooters, you may proceed downrange to pull and paste targets.”
220.127.116.11 Special Commands
- “Shooters, as you were.”
- This command is used to cancel a previous command in the event of an unforeseen situation ordelay.
- The shoots can resume what they were doing or relax, depending on the context.
- “Shooters, carry on.”
- This command encourages the shooters to resume the previous activity that was temporarily stopped.
- “Dry Practice.”
- This command is used in place of “FIRE!” for dry runs of strings of fire, usually the first time through a transition stage.
- If you intend the shooters to fire on the next time through, have them place their mags at the rear of the firing position out of reach for the dry practice run.
- Instructors will move their mags to them for the live fire string of fire upon direction of the Chief Range Officer.
- This command may surprise shooters, a “Quickly, Quickly” may assist them in moving promptly.
- “Shooters, police brass behind the firing line!”
- This command is used for an event with a moving firing line.
- This command will be used with “Unload and make safe” on the last string of fire before the firing line is moved.
- The shooters will ONLY police brass behind the firing line.
- Once the policing has occurred, the Range Officers will clear the line.
- “Shooters, you may proceed to police brass in front of the firing line!”
- This command is given after the line is cleared and is for a moving firing line.
- The shooters may proceed in front of safed firearms to police brass in front of the firing line.
- The shooters should be encouraged to move quickly, then return behind the equipment line.
- “Shooters, retrieve (or secure) your guns!”
- This command, being given when the shooters are behind their firing positions, allows the shooter to pick up their firearm and mat (they should already be carrying their other gear) tomove the firing line.
- The shooter will reach down from beside the firearm, move the firearm off the mat, if they have one, pick up the mat and stow it, then retrieve the firearm and stand with it, muzzle in a safe direction.
- The shooter can remove the chamber flag and carry it securely with them.
- The firearm will be carried with muzzle in a safe direction, mag out, bolt open, and safety on, or may be secured in a case or similar container.
- “Make Ready… The next string will be [x]… Stand by… Fire!”
- This command is given to the shooters to stay in position, reassume a ready position and prepare for the next drill.
- “Fire” is echoed.
- “Unload and Show Clear!”
- This command is given to the shooters to make their firearms safe, return to the ready, and present them for inspection to a Range Officer.
- This command cues the Range Officers to begin to clear the line.
- The shooters will remain in position until the line is cleared.
- This command is typically used in conjunction with the “range is cold.”
- “The Range is Cold”
- Typically, rifles must be grounded as part of line clearing procedures.
- At events where students need to move to targets at different distances, the Chief Range Officer may issue the command “The Line is Cold” in accordance with the NRA ARC Match guidebook. This command may be issued after all students have “shown clear” (magazines removed, chamber empty, chamber flag inserted, and clear chamber inspected by an Range Officer) and the line has been declared clear by the Chief Range Officer.
- Pistols may be carefully holstered with an empty chamber and no magazine inserted.
- [The Line is Cold] means that the line is safe and people may move about the range, but rifles may not be handled while anyone is forward of the firing line. Competitors may carry the rifle with the sling over the shoulder and across the back, with the muzzle down and controlled at all times. An empty chamber flag must be inserted and bolt forward to hold the flag in place.
- “Shooters, turn and move to [new location].”
- This command has the shooters face the appropriate direction, and walk abreast to the new firing line.
- Once arrived at the new firing line, it should be indicated, and the shooters put into preparation to build their firing positions.
- This command is used in conjunction with “the range is cold.”
4.2 Fundamentals of Instruction
The following primer is sourced from the NRA instructor’s manual.
PREPARING AND PRESENTING A LESSON
Planning is essential to success. With NRA training courses, a good deal of your planning work has already been done for you in the various lesson plans. The lesson plans are the instructional framework of NRA courses. By following the NRA lesson plans and studying the student handbook, you and your students can master the course materials. Each set of basic course lesson plans is accompanied by a support appendix (which includes a grading key for the basic course student course examination) and, in some cases, additional study materials for the instructor. Although the course outlines, lesson plans, and related materials provide you with a strong foundation on which to build your course, you also need to develop your instructional skills and knowledge. This chapter covers basic teaching principles, teaching methods, training aids, and the effective use of NRA lesson plans.
EIGHT REQUIREMENTS FOR EFFECTIVE TRAINING
Simply because you are presenting a lesson to your students does not mean your students will actually learn anything. You must first figure out how to motivate and stimulate their learning by understanding the eight fundamental requirements for training people:
- Desire. People must want to learn.
- People will not learn something simply because someone says they must.
- People learn best when they have a strong motivation to acquire a particular skill or increase knowledge of a particular subject.
- The desire to learn must be created by emphasizing the importance of the knowledge or skill to be learned.
- Need. People learn only what they believe they need to learn.
- Materials presented in a training program should provide an immediate aid to learning.
- Try this approach: “This is what you do. This is how you do it. This is why you do it.”
- People learn by doing.
- Get the students involved in discussions and keep them involved.
- Provide immediate and repeated opportunities to practice or use what is taught.
- Hands-on training with a skilled instructor is effective.
- Situations presented in training courses must be realistic. Use actual situations as the basis for discussion.
- Previous experience affects people’s ability to learn.
- If the new knowledge doesn’t fit with what people already know or think they know, they may reject it.
- Training materials should convince people that the methods taught are the best.
- People learn best in a relaxed, informal, comfortable environment.
- Provide opportunities for fun and fellowship.
- Encourage discussion and questions.
- Use a variety of training approaches and methods, and change the pace often.
- People want guidance and help, not grades or criticism.
BASIC TEACHING PRINCIPLES
To be an effective trainer, you must apply basic teaching principles to the subjects being taught. The four principles are absolutely critical.
Relate the Known to the Unknown
To learn is to move from the known to the unknown. Relating new materials to what is already known makes the learning process easier. When explaining new information or skills, begin with the known, or at least relate parts of the new material to the known. For example:
- Compare a two-handed pistol shooter’s standing position (unknown) to that of a boxing stance (known)
- Point a finger on the non-shooting hand (known) at a moving clay target before pointing a shotgun (unknown)
Progress from the Simple to the Complex
Remember that students must learn the simple skills before attempting more difficult ones. Beginning with the basics allows students to learn skills quickly, increasing the possibility of early success and building self-confidence. For example, beginning rifle or pistol shooters learn basic shooting skills from a stable benchrest position (simple) that controls movement and allows them to develop the shooting fundamentals before moving to a less stable shooting position (complex).
Another example of this philosophy is the NRA’s five-step method of teaching a shooting position:
- Study the position. A picture is worth a thousand words. The trainer can point out the basic structure of the position.
- Practice the position without the firearm. Students practice getting into and out of the position. This forces the students to focus on the body and not the firearm.
- Practice the position with the firearm. Once the students can get into and out of the position consistently, the firearm is added. Students practice safe gun handling while concentrating on becoming comfortable and familiar with the position.
- Align the position with the target. Students adjust the position so the firearm naturally points at the target.
- Shooting from the position. This consists of first dry firing (simple) to live firing (complex).
Some Students Learn More Quickly than Others
Evaluate each student and gauge the type and amount of instruction he or she requires. Age, mental maturity, level of physical development, attention span, interest, and many other factors affect the rate of learning. For example:
- Some young people may not have developed sufficient strength to hold a shotgun.
- Young people’s attention spans tend to be shorter than adult’s attention span.
Break Down a Skill and Teach One Part at a Time
Feed your students one piece of information at a time. Be sure they digest the information and perform the step before moving on to the next piece. This should be done in a sequential manner, placing each part in place until the entire skill can be performed. For example:
- In the skill of shooting, its “parts” are the fundamentals: (1) aiming, (2) breath control, (3) hold control, (4) trigger control, and (5) follow-through. Event these can be broken down further for teaching.
- Properly positioning the stock in relation to the face and shoulder must be learned before attempting live firing with a rifle or shotgun.
Basic Shooting Skills Must Be Learned Before They Can Be Applied to a Specific Activity
This principle combines and reinforces the first four principles. In their enthusiasm, students – and even trainers – often start with learning the specific skills required to participate in a sport rather than focusing on safety, the fundamentals, and the basic skills of that sport. This is a serious error in the learning process that often leads to frustration and failure. Be sure your students have reasonably mastered the basic skills before they attempt to apply their skills to such activities as hunting or competitions. For example:
- Teach the basic shotgunning skills before students test their skills in trap from the 16-yard line, which is a test of advanced skills.
- Teach the basic rifle skills before students hunt big or small game.
- Teach the basic pistol skills before students attempt timed or rapid-fire competition.
Developing Skills Requires Continued Opportunities for Instruction, Practice, and Encouragement
By far, the best way to learn a skill is to perform it over and over again. If shooters are to reach their full potential, they must refine their skills through continued training and study. A good trainer with a positive attitude can greatly enhance this process. Your encouragement can inspire your students. For example:
- The Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Awards Program provides a good format for shooter development, advancement, and recognition.
- NRA Hunter Clinics, NRA National Shooting Camps and Clinics, and the NRA shooting camps program provide continued training beyond the basics.
Setting Up the Classroom
The classroom setup should be complete and all trainers ready to begin at least one-half hour before the scheduled start of class. To set up the classroom properly, consider the following:
- Chairs and tables for students. If space permits, set up the room to allow trainers to move around the class. Leaving a center aisle so that trainers can get closer to the students during demonstrations is recommended. Make sure there is ample room for students’ comfort.
- Front table. A small table at the front of the class for the lesson plan and other training aids to be used by the trainers.
- Side table. One or more side tables to hold handout materials, training aids, and firearms while they are not in use.
- Trainers’ table and chairs. Trainers who are not taking part in the presentation should remain seated at the rear of the class behind the students. Keeping the training team out of sight of the students reduces distractions and allows trainers at the rear table to give hand signals and cues (such as timekeeping) to the presenter without being seen by the class.
- Registration table. A side or front table with registration cards, student packets, name tags, waivers, course itinerary, receipt book, and any other materials to be given to the participants as they arrive.
- Overhead and slide projectors. Set up the projector so it does not block the view of any students. Trainers should sit in various seats throughout the room to ensure lines of vision are clear.
- If the projector is on a wheeled cart, mark proper location on the floor with a small piece of tape. The cart can then be moved out of the way when not in use and quickly put in place to use.
- Keep spare bulbs on hand. Have a backup plan in case power is lost or a bulb burns out so you can continue with your lesson without stops or delays.
- Where possible, put the screen off to the side, at a 45-degree angle to the class. Putting a screen at the center of the room distracts from the trainer even when the screen is not in use.
- Chalkboards and flip charts. Ensure there is an ample supply of markers and an eraser. Erase or cover immediately after use to reduce distractions. Keep the board and easel off to the side of the class when not in use.
- Transparencies. Make sure transparencies are in the proper order for the presentation.
- Videos. Make sure all videos are cued to their proper starting position.
- Dummy ammunition. Inspect and verify each and every cartridge of dummy ammunition to ensure no live cartridges are present.
- Inspect and test equipment. Inspect and test every piece of equipment that will be used.
- Refreshments. If refreshments are provided, set up a refreshment table at the rear of the room.
Specific precautions are necessary to assure that there are no chances for an unintentional discharge in the classroom and that all gun safety rules are followed at all times.
- No live ammunition is permitted in the classroom at anytime a NRA firearm course is being taught. This applies to everyone including students, instructors, and visitors to the room. There are no exceptions. A sign on the classroom door may be needed, especially when the classroom is at a gun club where members may enter the room while the class is in session.
- All firearms carried into the classroom must be immediately inspected to assure they are unloaded.
- Each time a firearm is handled in the classroom the action must be opened and the firearm inspected by two persons to confirm it is unloaded. Doing this builds a good safety habit in your students.
- Establish for the class which directions are to be considered as the safe directions in the classroom.
- When demonstrating with a firearm, take precautions to prevent even the mistaken appearance that the firearm is pointed in an unsafe direction. During a rehearsal, have someone view the demonstration from various student seats to assure the demonstration does not appear to be unsafe from the students’ perspectives.
- Make sure a finger does not touch or appear to touch a trigger unless the act of firing the gun is being demonstrated.
- Firearms located in the classroom should have their actions open when not being used in a demonstration requiring the action to be closed. They must be pointed in a safe direction at all times.
- Dummy ammunition in the classroom must be clearly and easily distinguishable from live ammunition.
- During NRA reloading courses, no firearms are permitted in the classroom. This applies to everyone in the classroom without exception.
- Welcome placard. Using an overhead, flip chart, or chalkboard, place a welcome greeting in a prominent location.
- Greet students. Personally greet the students. Collect any money due for the course and hand out student packets, name tags, and any other materials.
- Instructions for forms. Using either a chalkboard or flip chart, sign, etc. tell students what they are to do before the class begins (fill out name tag, sign waiver, review safety brochure, etc.).
HOW TO TEACH A SKILL
To teach students a skill, you must break down the lesson into discrete steps. The five basic steps in teaching a skill follow.
- Preparation. The first step in teaching a skill is to obtain the necessary equipment and supplies in sufficient quantity so that the skill be demonstrated, taught, and practiced.
- Explanation. The explanation serves two purposes: (1) to introduce the subject by giving some background about its usefulness and application and (2) to describe the subject in detail, technical enough to be complete but not confusing. The explanation should create a desire to become proficient in the skill. Unusual facts or illustrations arouse interest and create an appreciation of the value of learning the skill.
- Demonstration. This is is the first step in actual teaching. The demonstration should be done so effectively and simply that the students will have confidence in their own ability to achieve success. Demonstration of a skill is not the opportunity for the trainer to show his or her proficiency, but to show the steps in performing the skill.
- Practice. Hearing and seeing aren’t enough. The learning process actually takes place when students have the opportunity to try the skill themselves under the guidance of a trainer. The coach-and-pupil technique, in which one student acts as a coach for another student, works well at this point. The “coach” instructs the other student through the skill, and then they switch roles. Nothing can beat the “learn by doing” method. Be sure the students are realistic in their performance expectations.
- Teaching others. People often learn best when they teach others. Whenever possible, each student should have the opportunity to demonstrate and practice teaching others using the coach-and-pupil technique. Occasionally a summary or review and examination are desirable. The extent to which they are used depends on the type of skill and how well the students have learned. No one can thoroughly learn a skill except by doing it; therefore, most of the time must be spent in practice. The proper time balance is:
- Explanation (hearing): 10 percent
- Demonstration (seeing): 25 percent
- Practice (doing): 65 percent
Additional tips for teaching a skill include the following:
- Know how the skill is to be performed.
- Review your own experience in learning the skill, and know the NRA-recommended steps for teaching it.
- Keep the instruction personal by working with an individual or small group. Let the students in a small group coach each other (coach-and-pupil technique).
- Know your students. Their abilities and personality traits affect how they learn a skill.
- If the students are not familiar with the skill, go slowly. Insist on accuracy first, speed second (if speed is a factor).
- Let the students try to do it on their own. Don’t interrupt their efforts unless they get bogged down or go off track – or if safety is threatened.
- Students will make mistakes. Remember to correct mistakes tactfully and positively. Never make corrections sarcastically. Always provide positive feedback to students.
- Encourage the students by complimenting their progress and pointing out the completion of each step.
- Urge students to practice and to teach someone else.
Above all, keep the atmosphere upbeat. Students may become frustrated by their mistakes, so the training team must maintain a positive attitude that encourages students to keep trying.
How you present your subject is as important as what you present. Teaching a subject does not necessarily mean it will be learned. Often, people have vast knowledge about a subject but they lack the ability to communicate that knowledge – making that knowledge useless. Because someone is a good shooter does not guarantee that he or she will be a good trainer.
There are many ways of teaching a subject, and each has its own characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses. As the trainer, you must be aware of these teaching methods and make the best use of them. Before you choose a teaching method, consider these aspects of your course:
- Purpose of the material covered
- Ability of the trainer
- Knowledge and skill of the students
- Size of the group
- Time available
- Facilities and equipment available
In most cases, learning by doing is considered the ideal for NRA training courses. Students retain only 10 percent of what they hear and 25 percent of what they see, but a whopping 65 percent of what they do. The NRA wants its students to be totally immersed in their training through experiential training, which means hands-on applications, practical exercises, and constant positive feedback – TPI. The TPI method of teaching works like an apprentice program. For instance, the apprentice machinist learns to run a lathe by actually running it while under competent instruction and supervision. Shooting is taught by having the student perform the skills (safe gun handling, fundamentals, shooting) under the watchful eye of the trainer.
An example of simulation is having a student perform all the fundamentals that lead to firing a shot, but without using live ammunition (dry firing). Simulation should be as realistic as possible.
Many shooting athletes practice dry firing on a daily basis to hone their shooting skills. By practicing the correct shooting stance and going through the entire shooting sequence (without using live ammunition), athletes train their muscles and their minds. The repetition ingrains the shot process in the subconscious, resulting in better performance during competition.
Other advantages of dry firing are:
- A range is not needed since it can be done in a safe area at home and no live ammunition is being used.
- It can be practiced in a small area.
- No ammunition costs (never use live ammunition to practice dry firing).
When the student is ready, a simulation should be immediately followed by the actual shooting experience. Remember the adage:
Practice does not make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.
A demonstration shows students the correct way to perform an activity. Always demonstrate the correct way. Demonstrating the wrong way instills an incorrect thought in the students’ minds.
Demonstrating a skill so that others can learn it is an art. The steps of a good demonstration are as follows:
- Prepare for the demonstration.
- Plan in advance the steps you will use in giving the demonstration.
- Make a written outline of the steps.
- Collect and prepare the necessary materials and/or equipment.
- Practice the demonstration from beginning to end until you can do it smoothly and easily. If you use a demonstrator, be sure to rehearse him or her. Note how much time is required.
- Know your class. Determine their present level of knowledge in relation to the subject to be taught and decide how much detail you will need to give them.
- Give the demonstration.
- Briefly tell your students the major points to watch for during the demonstration. List the major points on the chalkboard or a flip chart.
- Pace your demonstration according to the difficulty in learning the various steps. Go slowly over the most difficult steps.
- Watch for students’ reactions. Ask questions to ensure that everyone understands. If anything is unclear, based on their feedback, repeat any difficult or important steps.
- Practice the skill. Give the students a chance to practice, and coach them as needed.
- Summarize the demonstration. Briefly review the important steps in order. Use a chalkboard, flip chart, or poster as a visual aid in the summary.
An exhibit is generally a static display without either motion or explanation. It can be an effective “silent” training aid. Its effectiveness depends entirely on the viewer’s ability and willingness to comprehend; often no one is standing by to explain the content. As soon as a student walks into the exhibit and starts using one of the display objects, the effectiveness is increased. The minimum requirement for exhibit materials is that they be labeled carefully.
An exhibit, with a trainer standing by, can turn the informal time before and after a class into a productive learning period. In many cases, students will ask questions under these circumstances that they might not otherwise ask in class.
Some to consider when creating an exhibit include:
- Where should you place the exhibit? An exhibit should be placed in a high-traffic area where people will pass by it often.
- Consider the background. If possible, use more than just table surfaces. Use walls, ceilings, and other surfaces.
- Make it stimulating and challenging. Create an atmosphere with signs, streamers, and color. Use giveaways. Get the students involved in the exhibit by using attention-getting devices such as strings to pull, a flashing light, and peepholes.
- Make the material self-explanatory with clear, simple labels.
- Cover the main points. Omit details that may clutter or crowd the exhibit.
For literature exhibits, some special considerations include:
- Feature literature that relates to a particular training session or course.
- Keep it simple and attractive.
- Arrange literature in a logical, flowing order so that it tells a story.
- Don’t just lay handbooks and brochures flat on a table. Use pegboards, book trees, or easels. Use wire coat hangers to make book holders.
- Encourage people to look through the literature. Avoid “Do Not Touch” signs.
Words—Oral and Written
The least effective of all teaching methods is the use of words alone. Yet, there are times when verbal or written material is the only means of communication available.
The talking presentation is the most difficult teaching method to do well. Most firearm trainers are not accomplished public speakers, and they are more comfortable when they have something to do in addition to talking. The best trainers are almost always in motion. Their voice inflections and body movements add emphasis and color to the presentation. A short presentation is the most challenging because it takes a delicate refining process to cut away the time-consuming extra words and still get the idea across clearly.
When a talking presentation must be made, off-the-cuff speaking ability cannot be relied upon. Following a lesson plan is the best way to cover all the points in the proper sequence and within the allotted time. Take the time to write out your entire presentation, underlining key words and phrases. Then practice giving the presentation without reading it.
Instead of lectures, all training sessions are designed to immerse the students totally in the training process. Trainers lead the students from the known to the unknown, the simple to the complex, using the students’ knowledge to build upon. The purpose is to arouse the interest and curiosity of the students so that they express ideas, gain information on the topic, and learn from the other group members.
Use group discussion to:
- Create an informal atmosphere.
- Share ideas and broaden viewpoints.
- Stimulate interest in the subject.
- Help students express their ideas.
- Identify problems and explore solutions.
- Get participation from persons who hesitate to speak.
Some guidelines for participants in a discussion are to:
- Focus discussion on the learning objectives.
- Be an active part of the group.
- Listen and learn.
- Discuss completely, but do not argue.
- Respect other students and their opinions. Learn to take criticism and live with differing opinions.
- Contribute ideas related to the subject.
- Ask questions to clarify ideas.
- Work to solve common problems.
- Be clear and brief – no speeches.
- Write down good ideas.
- Adhere to the time limit.
To prepare for a discussion, you should:
- Make the room as comfortable as possible. Check the ventilation and lighting.
- Keep the group small. If you have a large class, break it into smaller groups. This encourages more participation.
- Arrange seats in a circle, semi-circle, U-shape, or hollow square so that each person in the group can easily see everyone else.
- Have paper and pencil ready to record main points.
- Go over the ground rules for participants in the a group discussion.
- Announce the time allotted. Start and end the discussion on time.
To lead a discussion, consider the following:
- Clarify the learning objectives. Explain the objectives so they mean something to each student.
- Help the group feel at ease. Make sure everyone knows everyone else.
- Develop a sensitivity to the desires of others to speak. It shouldn’t be necessary for students to raise their hands to get attention. Let the person talking remain seated. More people will participate and those speaking will feel more at ease.
- Be careful of the person who tries to monopolize the discussion. Interrupt the “speech maker” tactfully and lead the discussion to another person.
- Don’t be surprised when students express “unusual” ideas. They just might work!
- Keep the discussion on track. If it gets sidetracked, bring it back to the main subject by suggesting there are some more important points that need to be covered in the limited time.
- Capture and record main ideas as they are developed by the group on a flip chart or chalkboard.
- Keep spirits high. Encourage ease and informality. Let everyone have a good time. Don’t let the discussion drag.
- Permit friendly disagreement on the point under discussion, but not between personalities.
Stick to the time limit. If there doesn’t seem to be sufficient time to cover the subject, continue the lesson but figure out where to make up the time. Mention this lack of adequate time in your training session evaluation, and correct it before the next session.
Quickly summarize the conclusions so that everyone will realize the important facts brought out in that discussion.
Buzz groups are a means of exchanging ideas quickly. Large classes are divided into smaller groups, and each group briefly discusses solutions to a given situation. The buzz groups then arrive at a solution and present it to the entire class.
Buzz groups are effective in training trainers. They are not used very often in training beginners, especially in the basics of safety and shooting skills, because beginners don’t have the necessary knowledge and experience.
Use buzz groups when:
- The entire group is too large for all members to effectively take part.
- Exploring various areas of a subject.
- Some group members are slow to take part.
- Time is limited.
- A warm, friendly atmosphere in the group is needed.
Why buzz groups? Because buzz groups:
- Encourage the shy student.
- Allow for sharing leadership.
- Save time.
- Develop leadership skills.
- Pool ideas.
- May be used easily with other training methods.
- Provide variety in training.
- Help build small-group spirit.
Remember to keep buzz groups small. This will require participation from all group members to develop points or arrive at conclusions. Organize the groups so that a minimum of moving around is required. Keep discussion time short so only key points are brought out.
Brainstorming is another way to find a solution or generate ideas during a small group discussion. As in buzz groups, brainstorming participants learn from each other. The rules for brainstorming, however, state that no value judgement can be placed on any idea, whether good or bad. All ideas are acceptable and all ideas are written down during the brainstorming session to encourage the participants to think and speak freely. Only after the brainstorming session are the ideas evaluated.
Play acting or role playing is an excellent method of teaching. Many situations can be dramatized by the students in the classroom. For example, students can play the part of the assistant instructor demonstrating safe gun handling to the other students. You are limited in using the role playing method only by your imagination. While this is a good way to show the class what should be done, those who are actually participating get much more from the role playing than those who observe it. Allow as many students as possible to take roles in your course. Develop scenarios that reinforce the correct way of doing something, rather than showcasing the wrong way; avoid negative training.
Role playing is more appropriate for training trainers than basic students.
One of the most valuable teaching methods, the teachable moment is an unexpected situation that can be used by the trainer to teach a point outside of the written outline. A good example is when a student in the shotgun class fires a “blooper” (a shot shell mistakenly loaded without powder). When a blooper is fired, the shot usually travels 15 to 20 yards through the air, with only the primer firing. The teachable moment here is to tell the students that the wad is likely still in the barrel. Show the students the wad, demonstrate how to get it out while observing the safe gun handling rules, and explain the outcome if the wad were not removed.
Teachable moments occur in almost every class. A good trainer is constantly on the alert for teachable moments. Just be certain to use the moment in a positive way, being sensitive to the student who is being used in the example.
Training aids support the trainers, not replace them! Anything trainers can show their students to help them better understand the subject is an audiovisual aid. Training aids include still photos, charts, flannel boards, chalkboards, mechanical devices, models, transparencies, and videotapes.
Training aids are used to:
- Attract attention
- Arouse interest
- Clarify spoken explanations
- Give unity to an idea
- Make more learning possible in less time
- Aid in retention
An effective training aid, no matter which type is used, has some characteristics. It:
- Relates to the subject
- Explains an idea, shows a method, or explains a procedure
- Is large enough to be clearly visible to everyone in the audience
- Has lettering that is large and bold
- Lists only main points, not a lot of detail
- Accents important points either by bright colors or underlining
- Is sturdy enough to be used again
- Is portable and easily moved
Many mechanical devices make excellent instructional aids for firearm trainers. Few such aids are available for purchase, but you can devise or adapt mechanical devices to help you teach. For instance, a regular sliding door bolt simulates the locking action of a bolt-action rifle – and it bears the same name! Other mechanical devices are a sighting bar, triangulation equipment, and similar aids well-known to most firearm trainers.
When with electric training aids (e.g., overhead projectors and VCRs), have a backup plan in case of a power outage. This plan may include using handouts or a flip chart to help you teach the course.
For details on creating and using training aids, see Appendix K.
PRESENTING THE LESSON
A review of how to prepare for teaching:
- Prepare the presentation.
- Study and follow the appropriate NRA course outline and lesson plans. Highlight the key points and note any additional comments or reminders.
- Read the student handbook and be familiar with its contents and format.
- Expect to find a variety of shooting sports experience among the students in the class, resulting in a wide range of questions and discussion.
- Read supportive material in addition to the basic materials.
- Focus on attainment of the learning objectives.
- Practice presenting your lesson.
- Rehearse the presentation until you are comfortable with it. Some trainers like to use a tape recorder or video camera to evaluate themselves.
- Note in your lesson outline the time allotted for major points. This will help you stay within the time limits. Be sure to use open-ended questions. Allow time to conduct demonstrations and practice exercises.
- Prepare to speak extemporaneously, with an occasional glance at the lesson outline or, better, from notes on index cards. Do not memorize or read word-for-word. Free yourself from the rostrum.
- If you are prepared, you will feel at ease during the presentation.
- Take a few deep breaths before you begin.
- Personalize your lesson.
- Make each student believe you are talking to him or her. Look at the class as individuals, not as a group. If you are nervous, find a friendly face in the audience and direct your remarks to that person for the first few minutes.
- Watch the group’s reaction as you go along. Be sure you are keeping their interest.
- Use thought-provoking questions. This will help stimulate thinking, and will also generate feedback from the students. The feedback will indicate whether or not they understand what you are saying.
- Illustrate your lesson’s presentation.
- Use a chalkboard or chart to list your main points, or draw diagrams or sketches while you talk. Training aids help make the presentation more interesting and reinforce the learning process. The students both can hear and see what is being discussed.
- Balance what is said with what is shown. The training aid should be simple so that it does not distract the students from the lesson.
- Use the equipment and materials needed to conduct the presentation.
- Display related brochures and manuals.
- Illustrate important points with human interest stories. But be careful! Don’t let the class turn into a storytelling session. True stories, not necessarily funny stories, are excellent. When interest is waning, an amusing story usually helps. Tell stories that contribute to attainment of the learning objectives.
- Pace yourself.
- Take your time. Remember, the object is not to see how fast you can go or how much material you can present within the time limit, but to teach! Give the new material a chance to sink in before moving ahead.
- Look for signals. Students, through body language, often communicate whether a trainer is going too fast or too slow. Pay attention to such signals.
- Stay within the time limit. Pay attention to your watch and time the notes on your outline beforehand. Caution: don’t cut off if learning is taking place.
- Stay on the subject. Don’t get sidetracked.
- Summarize the lesson presentation.
- Give the students a chance to ask questions during and after the lesson. This enables you to determine whether learning objectives are being met and whether some points need further emphasis.
- Summarize the lesson by restating its main objectives and their importance.
- Preview the next lesson. Briefly identify the next lesson and any special requirements or information the class may need.
USING NRA LESSON PLANS EFFECTIVELY
Understanding the format of NRA lesson plans is as important as understanding their content. Each lesson has been organized in the same manner to provide continuity and standardization, and to make it easier for you to teach other courses in the program. Lesson plans will have:
- Introduction—instructions for the trainer to assist in conduct of the particular course
- Gathering period (pre-opening)—points to consider:
- Conduct and organization of course
- No ammunition in classroom
- Course goal
- Lesson plan
- Lesson titles
- Learning objectives
- Facility requirements
- Training aids
- Contents of lesson
- Instructional notes
Each lesson begins with learning objectives that state what the students should be able to do once they have completed the lesson. By listing the specific objectives, both you and your students know what you are going to accomplish during each class. The objectives enable both you and the students to determine, at the completion of the lesson, if the desired learning has taken place or certain points need additional work. Mastery of the learning objectives is paramount. Some students learn quickly, others require more time.
Each lesson has a review of the previous lesson, an introduction, the lesson itself, a summary, and a preview of the next lesson. These components ensure a smooth transition from one lesson to the next, and reinforce the learning objectives.
Safe Gun Handling
In any course, the first information to be presented is the NRA safe gun handling rules. Make sure each student receives a copy of the NRA Gun Safety Rules brochure, which is included in the student packet. In a discussion with the students, determine the safe direction to point firearms for your particular class setting. Ask a member of your training team to verify that the gun is unloaded, keeping the firearm pointed in a safe direction. With the action open and chamber empty, demonstrate safe gun handling rules when using a firearm. Identify the parts of the firearm necessary to make the rules understandable, such as the muzzle, trigger, trigger guard, and magazine.
You can then involve the students in the safe gun handling exercise, ensuring they simultaneously observe the three primary gun safety rules. They should also verify that ammunition is not present, the action is open, and the empty chamber or chambers are visible. This safe gun handling exercise allows each student to immediately apply the information just received, thus reinforcing learning.
Then, the remainder of the major components and parts names (nomenclature) can be discussed, along with their functions in the operation of the firearm.
Shooting fundamentals are limited in number to simplify learning. Once you have reviewed and demonstrated the fundamentals, move your class to the range for simulated and actual experience exercises. Before shooting begins, review the gun safety rules and appropriate range rules. The best time to teach these rules is at the time they can be applied, increasing the likelihood of retention.
Once the students have demonstrated a reasonable skill performance and a proper attitude toward safety, provide an opportunity to practice. As noted in the lesson plans, you are encouraged to repeat practice sessions as time and need permit.
The Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program (the program booklet is included in the student packet) is designed to develop shooting skills, starting from simple skills and progressing to more complex skills. You can order patches, rockers, certificates, and pins to award students who master a skill.
A basic practical rocker is included in the student packet. The basic practical rocker is intended to introduce new shooters to the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program and to interest them in practicing and improving their skills. The rocker is to be awarded to anyone who masters the four basic marksmanship skills taught as part of an NRA Basic Firearm Training Course. The four basic marksmanship skills are safe gun handling on and off the range, group shooting, zeroing the firearm, and cleaning the firearm. The rocker comes with details on the grouping and zeroing requirements.
Firearm Cleaning and Storage
Firearm cleaning and storage should be conducted as a practical exercise after range training, permitting each student to gain experience under your supervision. The materials needed and their purpose should be discussed. Make sure students understand and follow the hygienic guidelines.
As your students improve their shooting abilities, they will be eager to become involved in shooting activities. You have taught them the basic skills, so make sure you guide their development. In addition, encourage students to continue to participate in the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Shooting Program so that they can improve their shooting skills at their own pace. Training activities, hunting, general recreational shooting, and competitive activities are covered in the lesson plans. Give your students the names of local shooting clubs and associations.
Student Exams—A Teaching Tool
Have the students acquired the skills and knowledge outlined in the learning objectives? To find out, you must give a written (or oral, if necessary) exam.
An examination is a teaching tool, a means of determining whether or not your students have learned the material. All too often tests are used only to indicate which students failed a course. This is a mistake. You can use an exam to increase the students’ learning. Use the NRA basic course exam as the primary test for your students (included in the student packet). Use the examination as a tool to enhance learning, not as a pass/fail evaluation. Exam results can also be used as an indication of an instructor’s success.
Note–the most important element is the student’s attitude. As an instructor you must make a subjective judgement as to whether the student has gained the requisite knowledge, skills and attitude in order to receive a completion certificate.
Attached to each NRA student exam is a course evaluation form. This form should be completed at the end of the course by the students and returned to you for review. The form solicits information about the student, knowledge and skills learned, course organization and instruction, and general comments about the course. Take comments to heart to enhance your own teaching skills.
It is also recommended that your training staff evaluate themselves after each lesson and upon completion of the course. (See Appendix L, NRA Trainer’s Self-Assessment Checklist, and Appendix M, Training Session Evaluation Form).
Teaching Your First Course
It is recommended that newly certified instructors and newly appointed training counselors bgin teaching formal NRA courses as early as is practical following receipt of their printed credentials. That which seemed so clear and understood during your own training can fade into uncertainty and misunderstanding with the passage of time unless it is reinforced by actual training experience.
Probably the best initial experience for a new trainer is to team-teach a course with an established, experienced training team or, as an alternative, to audit the course conducted by such a team. This allows the new trainer to gain confidence and to see, first-hand, how the course progresses smoothly from start to finish.
If you have questions in preparing or presenting your course, you should first research this Trainer’s Guide and the course lesson plan. The next recourse should be to consult with the trainer who trained you; they are responsible to be your mentor. If you question or concern is still not addressed to your satisfaction, contact the NRA National Instructor Trainer.
5 HISTORY & STORYTELLING
5.1 Storyteller’s Guide
Congratulations on taking the first step on the road to sharing the history and heritage of this country with other Americans. Many people find this to be an intimidating task and it is our hope that the information in this document will make it easier for you to tackle this new skill-set.
Like marksmanship, public speaking and storytelling is a skill to be learned. Just as it is highly unlikely for someone to shoot a sharpshooter score the first time they pick up a rifle, one should not expect to be perfect at storytelling the first time. Just as any other skill, this is one that requires thought and practice.
5.1.1 The Basics of Public Speaking
- Set the Stage: Ensure that you are positioned where you can be seen and heard by the audience. Make eye-contact with everyone throughout the presentation.
- Speak Up: If you have a larger audience or are in an outdoors space with other competing noises, you may have to speak louder than you normally would to ensure that everyone can hear you. This doesn’t mean that you should shout, though!
- Slow Down: It is common for people to speak much faster in front of an audience than they usually would. Be conscious of this, slow down, and enunciate clearly. Don’t be afraid of silence, either. A brief pause to reorganize your thoughts is much more effective than filling that silence with unnecessary words such as “uh,” or overuse of “and” or “like.”
5.1.2 The Basics of Storytelling
- Find the Story: All stories have a beginning, middle and end. The story rises and builds to a climax and then tapers back down to a conclusion. Know your storyline! Additionally, you don’t want to get bogged down in extraneous details. You should have a detailed knowledge of what you are speaking about, but that doesn’t mean that your audience needs to know every little bit. They won’t remember it and it will distract from your message. Pare the story down to the essentials.
- Find Your Voice: No two people should tell a story exactly the same way. Find the parts of the story that speak to you and build your story around those parts. It will have a bigger impact on the audience because it had an impact on you. Listen to other storytellers, borrow from them when you hear something that resonates, but don’t try to copy.
- Prepare: There is no need to memorize your story ahead of time. Nor should you plan on reading word- for-word from a script. However, preparation is still necessary. Notecards or an outline can be very helpful without interfering with your presentation. Ultimately, you need to be comfortable with your knowledge of the subject. In addition to listening to other storytellers, reading the recommended source material and/or doing research on your own will help to familiarize you with the topic.
5.1.3 Learning Styles
Not everyone learns in the same way. Some people are great listeners, while others prefer to see something written down. While storytelling is inherently a spoken form of communication, there are some things you can do to help maintain the interest and attention of your audience.
Visual Aids: Maps, pictures and handouts and a host of other material can all be judiciously used to aid in the understanding of the story. For example, a common pitfall in the April 19th story is the large cast of characters. It can be difficult for a listener to keep the names and identities straight. A few pictures of important people, displayed at the appropriate times in the story, can make it easier to follow along. As in all things, though, moderation is key.
Audience Interaction: Getting people involved will keep their interest. Asking a focus question or two at the beginning gives the audience something to listen for. Involving them throughout the story can also be beneficial.
5.2 How to Get Started
Pick a story. Don’t feel that you need to jump in head first with a full hour-long presentation! Choose a shorter portion, a five minute story or a ten to twenty minute section of a larger story to start with. If you need help, ask your Event Director or anyone on the History committee for some tips or to listen to your presentation before you share it at an event.
6 REVERE’S RIDERS TRAINING PROGRESSION
6.1 General Overview
The following procedures outline how Revere’s Riders members are qualified to staff events. The intent of these procedures is to establish a baseline standard for performance in order to ensure safety and quality control. Skill levels are recognition of competence, not badges of rank or longevity.
All members go through Revere’s Riders Basic Instructor Training (RR-BIT). After completing RR-BIT, members may add endorsements for specific skill disciplines that allow them to tailor their learning to their interests and local needs.
Each discipline has four skill levels which are based on the progression used by the NRA as well as the classical skill model that would be familiar to skilled tradesmen like Paul Revere: Apprentice, Assistant, Certified, and Master. Apprentices are learning the fundamentals; Assistants have mastered the basics and can perform some tasks; Certified members are fully qualified; Masters oversee the training progression of others.
Training generally follows the “see one/do one” model. That is, members are encouraged to observe the skill under the guidance of an experienced Master and get one-on-one instruction, study the fundamentals and practice, then demonstrate proficiency. Grading is a simple “Go/No-Go;” if a candidate needs extra practice then they receive remedial instruction and try again.
The Revere’s Riders Board of Directors has ultimate say over Member skill level progression or regression. The President or Vice President may grandfather, promote or regress members based on demonstrated performance and first-hand reports from event attendees or other Revere’s Riders volunteers; members may appeal to the full Board if they feel the action is unfair.
Some events require Tests. Sample tests are included at the end of this chapter. Master instructors can require tests to be completed in writing, ask questions verbally, or supervise upgrades applying the skills. The important thing is that the upgrading member learns the skills.
6.2 Revere’s Riders Basic Instructor Training
The purpose of the Revere’s Riders BIT is to establish a fundamental baseline of knowledge, skills, and attitudes for Revere’s Riders Members to function as part of a cohesive team. The BIT process includes administrative tasks as well as activities related to the Shooting Sports, Civic Engagement, and American History.
The entire BIT process is intended to be completed over two Revere’s Riders events with a “hands on” training model. BIT takes at least eight hours of on-the-job training plus some self-study.
6.2.3 Checklist of Tasks
A printable checklist of tasks for Revere’s Riders BIT is available here (devel.reveresriders.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Basic-Instructor-Certification-Task-List-v1.pdf).
6.2.4 BIT Special Instructions and Clarification
The following provides a study guide and clarification for tasks above.
- Revere’s Riders Membership: Apprentice, Assistant, and Certified Instructors may be any class of Revere’s Riders Member. Master Instructors must be Full members.
- State Revere’s Riders Purpose. Found in our Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws. The purpose of this club shall be as follows: “To educate the public in American history, support the shooting sports, and promote civic engagement.”
- Be Familiar with Revere’s Riders Goals. Revere’s Riders goals are also found in the By-Laws. Assistant Instructors need not state them verbatim, but mentors should ensure that Assistant Instructors are familiar with them.
- Sign Up for Events. Explain how to keep tabs on events in your area.
- Range Officer Procedures. Demonstrate Range Officer procedures to standard per the SOP.
- Safety Rules. State the three safety rules verbatim per the SOP. Teach them to students.
- Pit/Target Procedures. Explain or demonstrate Pit/Target procedures per the SOP.
- Reimbursement Policy. Understand how to file for reimbursements, and what is covered.
- Event Check-In. Explain or demonstrate how to welcome guests to an Revere’s Riders event and process their waiver forms for the Event Director.
- Test—Safety Fundamentals: Pass a brief test on safety fundamentals (see Section 6.3 Test—Safety Fundamentals).
- Chief Range Officer Procedures: Demonstrate Chief Range Officer procedures to standard per the SOP.
- Short History Presentation: Demonstrate the ability to tell 10 total minutes of history to a public audience, with a focus on the colonial period, Revolutionary War, or early Republic. This presentation may consist of several shorter presentations (example, two 5 minute talks) or one longer presentation.
- Short Civic Engagement Presentation: Demonstrate the ability to discuss Civic Engagement for at least five total minutes. This presentation may consist of several shorter presentations (i.e. a few “elevator speeches”) or one longer presentation. Example topics include encouraging the general public to participate in civic life, educating the general public on civic participation, fostering an appreciation for the freedoms and liberties provided by American civic life, approaching a partner organization, or similar topics.
- Understand Next Skill Upgrades: The candidate should understand how to add additional endorsements for specific skill discipline. The Master Instructor should have a goal-setting discussion and help tailor an upgrade plan based on the individual’s interests and the needs of the local crew or area.
- Test—Instructor Fundamentals: Pass a brief test on instructor fundamentals (see Section 6.4 Test—Instructor Fundamentals).
6.3 Test—Safety Fundamentals
A score of 90% is required to pass. All answers can be found in the SOP.
A printable version of Test-Safety Fundamentals can be found here (devel.reveresriders.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/TEST-Safety-Fundamentals-and-Policies.pdf).
6.4 Test—Instructor Fundamentals
A score of 90% is required to pass. All answers can be found in the SOP.
A printable version of Test-Instructor Fundamentals can be found here (devel.reveresriders.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/TEST-Instructor-Fundamentals.pdf).
6.5 Test—Revere’s Riders Policies
Until a test is released, to complete this requirement, candidates should review policies with their mentor and ensure there are no questions.