In Scouting events and activities, the BSA’s primary consideration is the safety of its youth and adult members. To achieve that goal, the BSA, in consultation with other organizations, has created specific guidelines for the shooting sports. These organizations also provide training and instructor certification by discipline-specific subject matter experts to prepare those individuals who will serve in a leadership or supervisory role in the various shooting sports activities.
For a list of Sam Houston Area Council certified shooting sports instructors/Range Safety Officers, click here.
Shooting Merit Badge Fulfillment Class
Shooting Merit Badge Fulfillment Class is an opportunity for Scouts who have a partial merit badge in rifle or shotgun to complete the badge. Scouts typically receive a partial merit badge because they did not meet the minimum shooting score requirement, or did not clean a firearm. The cost is $30 per Scout for shotgun (50 rounds), $20 per Scout for rifle (50 rounds), $5 for rifle/shotgun cleaning. The Scout must bring documentation indicating the requirements already completed (e.g., blue card or documentation from the unit advancement or Scoutmaster). Instructors, RSOs, or other NRA members are needed to assist with the event. Please bring NRA credentials card.
Conducting Shooting Sports on Private Land
The council camp shooting ranges can be reserved for district events (reserve through the District Executive) and unit weekend programs. Units or districts who conduct shooting sports off council property must have the property inspected by the council's NRA Chief Range Safety Officer to determine if a public or private land is suitable for use as a shooting sports range. First the event's NRA range safety officer or Range Master must first evaluate the property to ensure that the meets all guidelines set forth in the Boy Scouts of America National Shooting Sports Manual and/or the NRA Range Source Book and then request a range inspection for rifle, shotgun, muzzleloading, pistol and archery ranges.
NRA instructor trainings are designed to develop NRA certified instructors who possess the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to safely teach the NRA basic firearm training courses. Through the NRA training, adults that already have subject matter expertise, learn how to conduct a firearms class the NRA way so the candidates earn the NRA Instructor certification. Learn more about becoming an NRA instructor.
NRA instructor trainings are conducted in two parts. The NRA Basic Instructor Training (BIT) is the first part of the two-step process. BIT is about how to instruct a firearm class according the NRA procedures and guidelines. Part two, the candidate completes one or more discipline-specific instructor courses, i.e., rifle, shotgun, pistol, etc. The BIT class is a pre-request for any instructor level NRA course and is only required to be taken once. BIT is not a required prerequisite for Range Safety Officer.
The SHAC shooting sports committee currently offers the following discipline-specific classes:
- NRA Rifle Instructor Training
- NRA Shotgun Instructor Training
- NRA Range Safety Officer
Other instructor level courses (i.e., pistol, muzzle loading rifle/pistol/shotgun) are occasionally offered. Other firearms training classes can be arranged if requested.
SHAC Certified Shooting Sports Instructors
NRA instructor training is two-parts. NRA instructor trainings are designed to develop NRA certified instructors who possess the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to conduct the NRA basic firearm training courses. It is the NRA class that helps people who already have subject matter expertise learn how to hold a class the NRA way so that their students earn recognized NRA certification.
NRA Basic Instructor Training (BIT) is the first part of the two-part course and covers lessons one to five of every course. NRA Basic Instructor Training (BIT) is the first part of every discipline-specific NRA instructor course and must be renewed every two years. Participants learn essential methods of conducting a formal NRA class in the use of firearms and concludes with "preparing to teach" followed by the trainers examination.
The discipline-specific class is the second part of the two-part course and begins with lesson six. The SHAC shooting sports committee currently offers the following discipline
NRA Basic Instructor Training (BIT) is the first part of the two-part process to becoming an NRA Certified Instructor. The NRA Basic Instructor Training (BIT) is taken before any (Part 2) discipline-specific NRA Instructor course. Participants learn the essential methods to safely conduct a formal NRA class in the use of firearms. BIT is a six hour course. The student must complete the entire class and pass the trainers examination before moving to an instructor course. If a previously certified instructor hasn’t taught a NRA class in the past two or more years, they must retake the BIT.
The BIT class is usually conducted at the Cockrell Scout Center. It is taught over two nights. If the shooting sports committee receives enough requests, this class can be taught at a Scout camp or district venue on a Saturday. Learn more about becoming an NRA instructor.
NRA Instructor Shotgun Shooting Course is an instructor level course that can be taken after completing the BIT class. The Instructor Shotgun Shooting Course is eleven hours of instructions on safe gun handing, gun parts and their function, ammunition, shooting positions, and teaching methods. Candidates are expected to apply their lessons learned in BIT in giving lessons and presenting demonstrations. This is a “hands on” class taught by NRA Training Counselors in “Total Participation and Involvement” method. The instructor candidates will give classroom lessons and demonstrations and concludes with teaching those lessons learned to their classmates at the range.
An NRA certified shotgun instructor is required to provide instruction for BSA shotgun shooting activities involving Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Venture Scouts, and Sea Scouts. It is essential to be a certified instructor if you want to be a Merit Badge Counselor in the BSA Shooting Sports for firearms. This is an NRA Certification, not BSA, and will be conducted according to the NRA’s requirements. (NRA Course Catalog)
*Participants must take NRA Basic Instructor Course as prerequisite
"An NRA certified shotgun instructor is required to provide instruction for BSA shotgun shooting activities involving Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Venturers, and Sea Scouts. The NRA shotgun instructor may teach the BSA 30-Minute Shotgun Briefing, the NRA FIRST Steps Shotgun Orientation, the Shotgun Shooting merit badge using the BSA Shotgun Shooting Merit Badge Teaching Guide, and the eight-hour NRA Basic Shotgun Course. The NRA shotgun instructor course is 11 hours and includes classroom and range activities with student teaching, evaluation, and testing. The course is conducted by an NRA training counselor." (National Shooting Sports Manual, No 30931, p65)
Shotgun Shooting Merit Badge Counselor: "The merit badge counselor is responsible for ensuring that all instruction or other activities involving any handling of firearms or live ammunition is consistent with state and federal law and supervised by a certified NCS shooting sports director or NRA Shotgun Instructor or Coach. Instruction or other activities involving handling muzzle-loading shotguns must be supervised by an NCS shooting sports director or NRA/NMLRA certified muzzle-loading shotgun instructor. Shooting must be supervised by an NRA-certified Range Safety Officer. If instruction and shooting are to occur at the same time, both the RSO and qualified instructor must be present. They may not be the same person. Note that commercial shooting ranges may provide RSOs." (BSA website). See the Guide to Safe Scouting: shooting sports section and the BSA National Shooting Sports Manual, for further details on shooting sports.
"The purpose of NRA Certified Range Safety Officers is to empower participants with the knowledge, skills, and attitude essential to organizing, conducting, and supervising safe shooting activities and range operations. This course is nine hours long and is conducted in a classroom and at a shooting facility. Range Safety Officer candidates will learn roles and responsibilities of an RSO; Range Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs); range inspection; range rules; range briefings; emergency procedures; and firearm stoppages and malfunctions. Each Range Safety Officer Candidate will receive an RSO Student Study Guide, a Basic Firearm Training Program brochure, an NRA Gun Safety Rules brochure, an Instructor Application/Course Evaluation form. (Lesson Plan 10-05, revised 01-10)." (NRA Course Catalog)
"An NRA range safety officer is required to provide live firing range supervision for all shooting activities involving Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Venturers, and Sea Scouts. No other certification is accepted. The NRA range safety officer is responsible for the range operation. The NRA basic range safety officer instructor course is nine hours and includes classroom and range activities with student teaching, evaluation, and testing. The course is conducted by an NRA chief range safety officer or NRA training counselor" (National Shooting Sports Manual, No 30931, p66)
Shooting Sports 101 Training is taught in February at University of Scouting. Shooting sports is a popular activity in Scouts and there are many rules and regulations involved with the activity. This course will introduce you to the world of shooting sports in the BSA and will allow you to walk away with a better idea of how to incorporate shooting sports into the unit's program in compliance with the BSA Shooting Sports Manual. PowerPoint presentation from 2015 University of Scouting.
Applying for Grants to Purchase Firearms
Grant organizations typically require that applicants have a 501c3 (tax exempt) status. If the applicant group does not have that status they will likely be denied. Units cannot apply for grant using the SHAC’s or BSA’s status since the unit is ‘owned’ by the chartered organization and if the grant was made under SHAC’s / BSA’s name the funds would be sent to SHAC or the BSA.
Archery for Boy Scouts
Archery is a fast-growing and popular shooting sport that helps attract and retain youth in the Scouting program. Archery requires concentration and effort to master, but can also be enjoyed by beginners and those with physical limitations.
Two levels of training are available for archery: Archery Range Master and USAA Basic Archery Instructor. A BSA National Camping School–trained shooting sports director may also conduct archery events. Request Boy Scout archery equipment for district or council events.
Troops, teams, crews and post can conduct archery events at the unit level. Ranges must be certified by a Range Master. Range Master training is a four-hour course that covers setting up a range, safety, handling equipment, using a bow stringer, maintaining and storing equipment, and instructing Scouts. This certification is valid for two years from the course completion date. Range Masters may also supervise Cub Scout level at district and council events. Register
The USA Basic Archery Instructor Certification course is administered by USA Archery, the official organization for Olympic archery, and the National Field Archery Association (NFAA). Candidates for the basic instructor certification are primarily camp counselors and those working with entry-level students. The eight-hour curriculum includes classroom and range activities, practice teaching, and testing. USA Archery/NFAA certified archery instructors may teach the Basic Archery course and the Archery merit badge. To serve as a merit badge counselor, he or she must hold a current BSA registration as a merit badge counselor. In addition, the certified instructor may serve as a range master for a Cub Scout archery activity." (National Shooting Sports Manual, No 30931, p67). Renewals and other requirements are set by USA Archery. Register for training through USA Archery.
"Archery activities must be supervised by a BSA National Camping School–trained shooting sports director or USA Archery or National Field Archery Association instructor, or by someone who has been trained by one of the three; or alternatively, the activities may be supervised by someone with at least Level 1 training in the operation of an archery range from USA Archery, NFAA, or an equivalent." (BSA website). See the Guide to Safe Scouting: shooting sports section and the BSA National Shooting Sports Manual, for further details on shooting sports.
Operation of BB and archery ranges for Cub Scout activities and events, including Cub Scout day camp, Cub Scout or Webelos resident camp, Mom and me, dad-n-lad, parent and pal, and council-operated family camping programs require qualified, trained range masters. BSA requires all Cub Scout shooting sports to be supervised by a BSA certified range master. Range master training covers setting up a range, safety, handling equipment, using a bow stringer, maintaining and storing equipment and instructing Scouts.
The purpose of the council shooting sports committee is to manage and provide resources to the council, the camping committee, and the council camps for all activities involving shooting sports whether during summer camps or during year-round shooting opportunities. All shooting sports activities are coordinated through the shooting sports committee to verify that a safe and responsible program is planned and conducted by properly trained and currently certified personnel.
Bob Shrewsberry, Shooting Sports Committee Chairman
Brett Lee, Program Director
SHAC List of Certified Shooting Sports Instructors (rifle, shotgun, pistol, muzzle loading, range safety officers, archery)