by Paxton Delany - Thursday, July 14, 2016
The NRA was founded on the principles of education and training in the safe and proper use of firearms. 145 years later, we continue to be the world-leader in firearms education and training with a network of over 125,000 Certified Instructors nationwide. This network is made up of men and women of all ages and backgrounds, but one commonality – they love to shoot, and love to teach others how to shoot too. NRA Certified Instructors are important because they are true ambassadors for the shooting sports and the Second Amendment. They understand the need for continued education and training in the shooting sports. To become an NRA Instructor, you must possess and demonstrate a solid background in firearm safety and shooting skills, must be intimately familiar with each action type in the discipline you wish to be certified in, and have completed all the pre-requisite courses and qualification exercises administered by an NRA appointed Training Counselor. Becoming an NRA Certified Instructor is no easy feat, but the benefits of becoming one are invaluable.
We want to thank all of our NRA Instructors for all that they do and continue to do, not just for the NRA, but for the shooting sports!!! With that being said, we want to highlight some of our most outstanding instructors, and let them tell their stories about why they continue to do what they do…
As the mother of two rowdy yellow labs, Carol Ruh is usually up before she needs to be. With Gus and Apsen by her side, they head out for puppy playtime each morning... “It's quiet that early and playing ball with them is always a funny event.” While the puppies are at play Carol takes the time to check on her garden. Living in Arizona doesn’t give her too much variety in plant options but she always waters her garden in the off chance that it might survive. With play time over, Carol gets ready and jumps in the car to make the 15 minute drive to the range to teach her private lesson.
This wasn’t always the way Carol’s mornings use to go. Carol first learned to shoot on vacation with her husband and her son; she remembers being adamantly against firearms, “[The first time] I was so scared because at that time I was an anti-gun lady.” Even though her father was a WWII veteran, Carol and her brother had never been taught about firearms. Their dad use to tell them his war stories but nothing more. “My best guess is, he served his country well, had seen enough, and never imagined me, his daughter, shooting and teaching.”
Yet that is exactly what happened after her first experience on the range. “I loved it so much, [I] was able to get a job at the range and that's where it happened. I became an NRA instructor, and have been teaching ever since.”
As a sprightly blondish, grey grandmother of two, Carol is full of life and energy. When it comes to firearms training she doesn’t waste time on the defense she plays instead, full offense. “Ladies come to me all the time with requests for a woman instructor. Those questions are always answered with a question, ‘Why don't you become an NRA instructor?’” With such gusto behind her questions Carol has many women who do end up as the instructors that she works beside.
In the afternoons when Carol is finished with teaching her private lesson, she lingers at the range for practice to keep her marksmanship up. But it’s the teaching that takes most of her time. As an NRA Training Counselor she teaches anything she can from NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting to First Steps and Women on Target. Carol is also a part of the Arizona Women’s Shooting Association, a group that focuses on Personal Protection and Concealed Carry training. “Keeping the material fresh for my group is challenging at best. But we are always growing!”
The enthusiasm for teaching firearms overflows from Carol, “I love what I do or I wouldn't do it. Watching women take in the experience of shooting and apply what we teach is so exciting.” She is equally enthusiastic about NRA’s Blended Learning program, “I firmly believe that the new program will be very successful in the future. People like the idea of going on line and taking courses. It should give folks the time they need to absorb the material at their own pace.”
Becoming an NRA Certified Instructor is not an easy task, but Carol describes it in three words: “what a joy!”