“We are in the business of saving lives. Your responsibility as the department firearms instructor is to teach the skills necessary for your students to win any lethal-force encounter,” explained instructor John Mazzeo at the beginning and end of the week-long NRA Law Enforcement Select-Fire Instructor school. Mazzeo added with a growl, “And by win, I mean win big. You want your students to…have the confidence to engage any criminal who is foolish enough to try to take them on.” And so the tone was set for the course I took in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Teaching cops to win gunfights is something Mazzeo and co-instructor Mark Peters know something about. They served as tactical firearms instructors for the Easton and Allentown, Pennsylvania, Police Departments respectively, for a combined total of 26 years. Mazzeo was also a SWAT cop for 19 years.
The NRA’s Law Enforcement division has over 11,000 instructors and offers seven instructor courses: Handgun, Tactical Shotgun, Precision Rifle, Patrol Rifle, Tactical Shooting, Handgun & Shotgun and Select-Fire. Each LE course includes 44 contact hours, and they are taught throughout the country for $595.
NRA LE Instructor courses are not “how to shoot” schools. Students are expected to have a high degree of gun-handling and marksmanship ability before attending. These courses are designed for departments that want to improve their firearms training program by enhancing instructor skills and designing lesson plans based on what the instructors learned. Developing relevant lessons that “bring the street to the range” and comply with a department’s firearms-use policy are a major goal of the NRA course. The textbook gives students the roadmap they need to accomplish that, and graduates of NRA LE courses may submit lesson plans and courses of fire to the NRA LE division for review and approval, free of charge.