Get acquainted with a new firearm with an introductory course

Christmas morning will bring many shiny new things that require instruction and practice to help users gain the most skill and enjoyment. Think musical instruments, bicycles, power tools and electronics. And add handguns.

Becoming a safe shooter of pistols and revolvers requires instruction and practice.

Ben Martin of Wendell, a National Rifle Association-certified instructor, encourages new owners to start out with the NRA’s First Steps Pistol and Basic Pistol courses and work up to N.C. concealed handgun carry certification or even tactical training.

“First Steps, a four-hour course, just introduces you to a handgun,” Martin said. “You go through the operation, function, cleaning. Identify parts. Learn the very basics. … Basic Pistol gets into ammunition, and you go to a range.”

Being knowledgeable of and comfortable with the firearm and able to properly aim and squeeze the trigger for an effective shot will later allow students to get the most out of a concealed carry course.

“I think states should require that before concealed carry,” Martin said, pointing out that he works with inexperienced students in concealed carry courses but that such time is best spent on the content required by state law.

“You don’t have a lot of time to work with them,” said Martin, a 10-year Army veteran whose job at a big retail store in Wake Forest includes assembling bikes, furniture and other items.

Like assembly, he prefers training to be hands-on, and he saves PowerPoint time for covering laws. For range time, he takes students to the Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center in Apex, and he works with Carolina Gunrunners in Raleigh to help students with firearms purchases. Classwork is done at his home or at restaurants, an arrangement that reduces overhead. Fees start at $30 for the four-hour First Steps course.

After a busy stretch as Santa’s bike assembly helper, Martin will resume instruction with a Jan. 9 concealed carry class and a Jan. 10 First Steps Pistol course. Youth and individual instruction are available. Call 919-214-1096 or email gunman45acp@gmail.com.

More instruction: Handgun training courses also are offered at the Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center in Apex.

NRA Basic Pistol, which costs $75, is scheduled for 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Jan. 10, and an NRA First Steps Pistol course, which costs $45, is scheduled for 1-5 p.m. Jan. 23. Concealed carry courses also are offered.

Classes are posted at http://bit.ly/WCFirearmSafety.

Find more classes: Search for other NRA training classes by zip code at http://bit.ly/NRATraining; not all Triangle classes are listed. A Google search for your city and “firearms training class” can produce good results. Gun clubs and wildlife clubs also may host classes. And posts about classes can be found on Facebook pages for communities and yard sales.

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Teri Boggess: boggess.teri@gmail.com Twitter: @BoggessT