Learn to Shoot Handguns…Safely & Effectively !

By on January 28, 2017
3 women and 1 man, graduates of NRA's Basic Pistol Instructor's Course.

Jan. 21-22 2017 graduates of NRA’s Basic Pistol Instructor Course. Instructor, Klint Macro, R, provided excellent training in the classroom and on the range.

Certified Basic Pistol Instructor !

Last weekend, I became a certified NRA Instructor in Basic Pistol (handguns). Soon, I’ll be assisting experienced instructors teach handgun basics–handling and shooting–to people who’ve never held a semiautomatic handgun or revolver.

In doing so, I’ll gain proficiency in helping students learn safe gun handling and safe, effective shooting skills.


In the writing of my forthcoming book, At Home In the Real World, I’ve invested over 1,500 hours studying self defense: reading, training with excellent mentors, studying self defense law, and practicing diverse techniques including: bare hand, pepper spray, improvised weapons, and handguns and shotguns. Most importantly, I’ve deeply considered what I’m willing to do. Preparing to defend one’s home from illegal break-ins and counter real and imminent threats is a grounding, empowering exercise.

Defending the Pursuit of Happiness

Here I’m trying out the Taurus Public Defender revolver. Locking one’s elbow, wrist, and gripping the handle firmly allows the whole arm to deliver more accurate shot placement, and manage recoil.

In my fifty+ years of the pursuit of happiness, I rarely thought about defending that basic right. Things changed however, when we bought a house in a neighborhood where we heard steady upticks in gunfire coming from the valley below. The first thing we did: strengthened our property boundaries, and doors and windows. Second: I turned to self defense shooting.

If you read About Calamity May, you’ll see that I’m on a quest to help other people prevent bad things from happening inside their homes, and show them ways to counter dangerous threats.

Mantras to Live By

Here are words to live by:

1) You want prevention more than you want self defense.

2) If home / self defense is necessary, you need a plan and a backup plan.

Depending on your household, your physical abilities, and based on what you’re willing to do, a handgun or shotgun can be an excellent option among a suite of possible responses in home defense.

Timed shooting match. SM shooting my S&W 9VE.

Northside Sportsmen Assoc. hosts friendly pin shooting competitions, where each shooter is timed for accurate shot placement. I’m shooting my Smith & Wesson Sigma 9VE, a 9mm semiauto. In self defense shooting, develop accuracy first, then add speed.

Introduce Yourself to Handguns

If you’re new to handguns (revolvers or semiautos), or if it’s been a long time since you shot one, consider taking NRA’s Basics of Pistol Shooting Online Course. It costs $60, takes 8 +/- hours (self paced), and ends in an exam. The course cover many aspects of pistols and is a solid introduction. If you’re interested in moving forward with hands-on firearms training, please contact me via the email button at the bottom of this page, or leave a comment. I’ll share with you upcoming classes in Western PA, where I’ll be assisting, and let you know when I begin teaching Basic Pistol classes. Or, visit to find an instructor near you.

History of Proper Training

A note on the NRA civilian firearms training: since 1871, at the end of the Civil War, the NRA has trained people in marksmanship and safe gun handling. Their political lobbying arm is a very different entity from their firearms training institute. To date, I’ve taken three of their courses–each has been excellent. I recommend NRA firearms training if you want to learn in an environment where safety is foremost, where skills are acquired, and where you’ll gain a beginner’s competence and confidence for continued success. (I write from my own experiences and receive no NRA support).


2-day  intensive training in instinctively aimed shooting, Applegate style. (Our gun sights were taped over). Hocking College. Steve Barron and Mike Taylor gave excellent instruction. I passed qualifications here for Ohio Peace Officer Training in point shooting.

Suzy Meyer, Author
Pittsburgh, PA

I'm a landscape architect, gardener, and of late, a certified NRA instructor. I enjoy practicing T’ai Chi, playing bocce, and walking through watersheds.. This blog is my journey full of learning curves to calm the chaos.


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