Boy Scout and Varsity Scout FAQs

Q: Can a troop or team shoot firearms and archery year-round?
A: Yes, in fact shooting sports are very popular activities for our youth. We encourage units to offer them as part of their year-round program—offering recreational shooting, not just merit badge instruction. Proper supervision is required for troops or teams to organize the event.

Q: Can troops or teams use catapults, slingshots, or air rifles?
A: Yes. Use the Shooting Sports Manual as a reference so you can safely conduct these activities.

Q: How do I find a range officer or NRA instructor for my Boy Scout troop or Varsity team? 
A: Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts can shoot at a council camp property or local public or private commercial range. If your troop wants to have a shooting sports event, please contact your local council or shooting sports committee for information on your council’s shooting sports programs and how they can support your troop.

Q: How can I get trained to run the Boy Scout range at a BSA summer camp? 
A: You should contact your local council for information on your council’s shooting sports programs. Each council selects the staff leadership for its summer camp program. Shooting sports directors must attend a National Camping School to be trained in shotgun, rifle, or muzzleloading disciplines.

Q: What type of training do I need to help my Boy Scout troop or Varsity team take youth to a shooting day at a local range or at our Scout camp? 
A: You need to be an NRA certified instructor in the discipline with which you plan to help. NRA certifications in rifle, pistol, shotgun, or muzzleloading rifle, or NRA shotgun coach or rifle coach would be necessary. You must also have an NRA range safety officer certification for the person who is running the range. There must be two separate people running your event. The trainer is an NRA certified training counselor. You can find this person in your local council or by calling the NRA. You can also find more information in the new Shooting Sports Manual in the sections regarding training.

Q: How long does the training take? 
A: The training necessary to become an NRA certified instructor is based on the discipline taken. Basic instructor training is the first requirement and is six hours long. Rifle instructor training is 14 hours long, shotgun is 12 hours, pistol is 10 hours, and muzzleloading rifle, pistol, or shotgun may be 12 hours each. For more information, contact your local council or call NRA National Youth Co-Op Coordinator Mark Belli at 703-267-1550. The training necessary to become a BSA National Camping School shooting sports director is a week long. For more information, contact your local council.

Q: Can Boy Scouts or Varsity Scouts shoot pistols or high-power rifles? 
A: Pistol shooting and high-power rifle shooting are reserved for the youth who are involved in the Venturing and Sea Scouting programs only.

Q: Can Boy Scouts or Varsity Scouts shoot paintball or airsoft guns? 
A: Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts may shoot paintball guns at targets only; they may not shoot at each other or at any form of a human silhouette target. Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts may not use airsoft guns.

Q: Are the requirements for range supervision different at Scout camp versus shooting events with my troop? 
A: Yes, resident camp standards determine the leadership needed to offer shooting sports programs. The Guide to Safe Scouting determines the leadership needed to offer shooting sports programs outside of the resident camp setting.

Q: Why does the BSA not allow members of the military, law enforcement, or 4-H to run a shooting sports event for the BSA?
A: The BSA does allow military, law enforcement, and 4-H certified instructors to help run a BSA summer camp range. The camp will be fully accredited with the proper NCS shooting sports director or NRA certified personnel running the range. The BSA has established NRA training as the national standard. Personnel from the military, law enforcement, or 4-H agencies are welcome to attend NRA training to become certified.

Q: What supervision is needed at resident camp for shooting sports?
A: A currently certified National Camping School shooting sports director is required. If more than one range is in operation at the same time, each range must have a certified NCS director or NRA instructor for the discipline (type) of range running the line. If no instruction (open shoot) is taking place, an NRA range safety officer may run the line.