Skip to main content
Female shooting at range
Getting the right introduction to the shooting sports ensures a quality first-time experience and the start to a lifetime of enjoyment.

In civilian training, the NRA continues to be the leader in firearms education. Over 85,000 Certified Instructors now train about 750,000 gun owners a year. Courses are available, for all skill levels, in basic rifle, pistol, shotgun, muzzleloading firearms, personal protection, and even ammunition reloading. Find an NRA Instructors Course Near You Today!

A professional shooting facility is another resource for those who are new to the shooting sports to contact about introductory courses and quality instruction. is the web’s most comprehensive directory of shooting ranges. Managed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, the site is updated frequently with range information in every state.

NSSF’s First Shots® seminars are the perfect introduction to those who are new to shooting. Acknowledging that when it comes to learning about shooting and firearms ownership, not knowing how or where to start can be an intimidating hurdle, these classes aim to break down that psychological barrier and get you involved. NSSF’s First Shots program has helped introduce thousands of newcomers to the shooting sports at local ranges nationwide. Find a First Shots seminar near you and give shooting a try.

For the youth among us, there are a number of programs available out there, including:

NSSF’s Boy Scouts of America Council Challenge Grant Program encourages shooting sports programs at local BSA Councils. The challenge grants are available to qualifying BSA Councils that plan to strengthen and increase their activities in the shooting sports. Such programs teach Scouts marksmanship skills, firearm and range safety, teamwork and fundraising.

The Community Archery Strategy, developed in 2005, was designed by the ATA as a four-pronged approach to grow archery and bowhunting participation. Community Archery Strategy promotes NASP as a key introduction to archery, works to make the sport available through the After School Archery Program (ASAP) in local community recreation programs and funds the development of shooting facilities all archers need to participate in shooting year round. The fourth leg of the initiative is a supporting role provided by local archery shops, clubs and organizations. The ATA provides funds, expertise, equipment and targets to support state wildlife agencies to lead the Community Archery Strategy initiative and for local communities to develop and manage archery parks and school and after school  programs.

AIM (Academics, Integrity, Marksmanship) is the official youth program of the Amateur Trapshooting Association. The program allows elementary through college-age shooters the chance to compete in registered competition on a level playing field either as a team or as an individual.

NSSF’s Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative provides both financial and non-financial support to assist in creating new college shooting teams and clubs and strengthening existing programs.

The focus of all 4-H programs is the development of youths as individuals and as responsible and productive citizens. The National 4-H Shooting Sports stands out as an example. Youths learn marksmanship, the safe and responsible use of firearms, the principles of hunting and archery and much more.

The Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) provides youths in grades 12 and under an opportunity to compete as a team for state and national championships in trap, skeet and sporting clays. The ultimate goal is to instill in young participants a commitment to safe firearm handling, teamwork and leadership. SCTP was developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and is managed nationally by the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation.

The Scholastic Steel Challenge (SSC) provides the opportunity for young adults aged 12 thru 20 to participate in the exciting and challenging family sport of “speed steel” in a supportive environment taught by trained and supportive adult coaches focusing on the safe handling and use of handguns.

The ATA’s Explore Bowhunting is an educational program designed to help instructors, program leaders and educators teach students ages 11-17 the basic skills of bowhunting. The Archery Trade Association has created this program to spark an interest and passion for bowhunting in today’s youth. Through these hands-on experiences students gain confidence interacting with the natural environment and strengthen their appreciation for wildlife and the woods.