1959 NRA Basic Pistol Student Book

While I was attending an NRA course at the National Protective Services Institute, NRA Training Counselor Ken Lewis showed me his copies of the 1959 NRA Basic Pistol student and instructor books. After class, I found some copies for sale on eBay and purchased some for myself, which I scanned into PDF form. I was able to get permission from the NRA to share them. The archiving is related to my ongoing work writing a book on the history of handgun training. (Other posts on that topic can be explored by looking at any of the Historical Handgun tagged posts on this blog.)

The 1959 Basic Pistol student book can be downloaded here. The NRA owns the copyright to this NRA book. The content is over sixty years old, and should be used for historical purposes. The content does not reflect the NRA’s current position on any matter, and should be not be used in lieu of modern training materials.

NRA 1959 Basic Pistol book cover

The focus of the book is on one handed bullseye shooting with .22 and .38 caliber guns.

Semiauto pistol drawing from NRA 1959 book

All the uses of the handgun shown in the book use the bullseye shooting technique.

1959 NRA pistol examples

Here’s the example of proper stance from the book. The skeletal line drawing approach to teaching stance was commonly used in shooting books into the 1970’s.

1959 NRA pistol shooting stance

This 1946 NRA film was one of the two films that instructors could show. The other one “Pistol Bullseyes”,

The 1959 NRA basic pistol book was 18 pages. The 2020 edition is over 200 pages, including significantly more information. The 1959 instructor manual was only 28 pages. I’ll post a scan of the instructor manual, with discussion of the contents, in a future blog post.