Dylan Bloomer was one of several teens carefully lining up their shot at Point Blank Range in Mooresville on Wednesday night.
His father, Spencer Bloomer, signed him up for the Teens on Target classes, which are designed to introduce young adults to firearms and allow them to progress at their own pace under the instruction of NRA-certified instructors.y
“It will be good for him to learn some of the skills. Just listening to his instructor, she had a lot of tips that were good even for me,” he said.
The safety component comes from the National Riffle Association’s FIRST Steps Pistol Orientation, which stands for Firearm Instruction, Responsibility, and Safety Training.
“Each time they come in here, all the people who are waiting to go shoot will get a portion of that class, and in about four or five session they will have completed the equivalent of the NRA FIRST Steps class,” Director of Training Mike Denney said. “That’s typically about a four hour class that you sit in on.”
The shooting component of the program follows the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program.
“It’s been around for about 80 years, so it’s a really good program. And, it’s a self-paced program, so they’re going to be here through the summer and they’ll accomplish whatever they’re going to accomplish in the time,” Denney said. “The program gets progressively more difficult. It’s meant for the absolute-beginner shooter, and it takes them through increasingly difficult courses of firing. And by the end of that, they’ll have the ability to be called Distinguished Experts according to the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship program.”
The teens will receive certificates for completion of each of the program’s six levels of certification, along with a small medal for becoming a Distinguished Expert.
Through participation in the program, teens will learn a lot of fundamentals that could apply to self-defense skills, but the course is primarily geared toward target shooting.
“They’re going to learn some advance pistol skills if they make it all the way through – we’ll eventually have them shooting with their left hand unsupported,” he said.
“They’re going to be shooting in four different positions, which are your normal, strong hand supported, then their left hand supported, their right hand unsupported and their left hand unsupported.”
Those skills and certifications would look good on the resume of someone looking to join the military or law enforcement, Denney said.
The Teens on Target program will be held every Wednesday through Aug. 28, from 7:30-9:30, for teens ages 13-17. Parents need to complete a waiver, but do not need to supervise their children. The fee for each session is $28 per student and includes gun rental, ammo, targets, achievement certificates and safety equipment.