Professional Responsibility of Firearms Instructors include competency, integrity, respect for others, and community involvement.

Firearms Instructor Ethics – An Overview

Firearm instructors have an unspoken set of ethics they follow. Unfortunately, these vary between training organizations with no central repository. In this article, we are combining these guidelines. If you have any additional items you would like to see, email with your suggestions.


Ethics are moral principles that govern one’s behavior. They guide you in delivering certain standards within the community acceptable to others. Among these are honesty, decency, and integrity in everything you teach.


If you don’t possess the high level of competence to deliver the expectations your firearms students expect, you should not be teaching that class. By grasping for classes you have no experience teaching, you are only kidding yourself, and your students will see right through it.

To teach a more advanced class, do the right thing – learn from others by attending their class. Establish relationships with instructors you look up to and respect. Ask if you can assist them in the classes, you would like to teach yourself. Remember, you’re ethics, honesty, and integrity are at stake each time you teach a class.


Integrity means not to promise more than you can deliver. Others can trust you at your word and that your word has truth and value. You are personally guided by strong morals and a strict code of ethics. The five key components which demonstrate integrity are:

  • Dependability
  • Loyalty
  • Honesty
  • Good Judgement
  • Respect

Professional Responsibility

Professionals work with other professionals within their industry. If an assignment is beyond your experience level, it’s time to call someone more suited for the job. Working with other professionals will make you a better trainer. Ask them if you can participate in the class as an assistant instructor. Participating in the class is an invaluable experience for personal growth. You will learn additional skills to pass on to others.

Being honest with yourself and others goes a long way toward gaining the respect of your community and others. By creating goodwill in your community, you will have a network of other instructors to work with and learn from in the future. The old expression “Pay it Forward” is a great philosophy to adopt.

Respect of Others

Instructors should respect those they teach and those who compete for their business. Students can be extremely challenged if they are new to firearms. Keep in mind you don’t need to teach everything in one session. For those students that are struggling, offer additional private lessons to help them progress at their own pace.

Speak highly of other firearms instructors in your community, highlighting their strengths. If a firearm instructor is very good at teaching new skills, emphasize that strong point. By comparison, those who cannot teach but shoot well, emphasize how well they shoot and that you admire that skill. Leave your personal opinions out of the conversation.

People with integrity are respected within their communities as being trustworthy and reliable. By using your good judgment based on your training and past experiences, others will, in turn, treat you with the respect you have earned.

Community Involvement

It’s important to become actively involved with your local community. Many oppose gun ownership, and many embraces it. By becoming involved with your community, you can set an example of how responsible gun ownership and responsibility should look. Give back to your community through volunteer work, education, and training; you are demonstrating responsible gun owners are safe.