National Shooting Sports Manual

The Shooting Sports Task Force in 2011 completed production on the new Boy Scouts of America National Shooting Sports Manual, No. 30931 (SKU 430029), for Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, and Venturing. Reference material for all levels was put into one publication. All councils should make this available to their shooting sports committees, camp leadership, and unit leaders. The manual will help provide a safe environment for youth participating in shooting sports activities.

For manual changes made in January 2012, click here  .

Age Appropriate Guidelines

Pictures Coming Soon

Learn more about the BSA shooting sports programs for Scouts of every age below. 

General Questions

Q: Why do we have different standards of leadership required for year-round shooting and resident camp shooting?
A:
 This is a result of the BSA managing known risks for the safety of our volunteers and Scouts. The resident camp is a more controlled and structured environment with an additional week of training for the shooting sports staff under the leadership of a National Camping School certified director. Shooting on the weekends is managed using the leadership of NRA certified instructors and range safety officers (where each of these individuals has a specific duty to either instruct or run the range). Given the short-term nature of the event, additional training is not possible, so two-deep leadership is required to conduct the program.

Cub and Webelos Scout FAQs

Q: What shooting programs can Cub Scouts participate in?
A: Cub Scouts can shoot BB-gun rifles, slingshots, and archery in a council or district event, but not at a unit event. Catapults can be used during a unit-organized event.

Q: Can Cub Scouts or Webelos shoot shotguns or .22-caliber rifles in resident camps, day camps, or unit activities?
A: No, these are activities they can look forward to participating in when they become Boy Scouts.

Q: What shooting sports programs can Webelos participate in?
A: Webelos can shoot pellet rifles, BB-gun rifles, slingshots, and archery, but it must be a council or district event, not a unit event. Catapults can be used at a unit-organized event.

Q: How do I find a range officer for my Cub Scout pack?
A: Cub Scouts are only allowed to shoot at a district or council event. If your pack wants to organize a BB-gun or archery event, please contact your local council’s shooting sports chairman or shooting sports director for information on the council’s shooting sports programs.

Q: How can I get trained to run the Cub Scouts BB-gun or archery range at a day camp or resident camp?
A: You should contact your local council shooting sports chairman or shooting sports director for more information.

Q: What type of training do I need to help in the Cub Scout day camp or resident camp programs?
A: You need to be a trained as a Cub Scout range officer by a National Camp School shooting sports director.

Q: How long does the training take?
A: The training is 90 minutes for Cub Scout archery and 150 minutes for Cub Scout BB gun. Instructors must use the training syllabus in the new Boy Scouts of America National Shooting Sports Manual –page 73 for archery and page 83 for BB guns. You may be certified in either discipline or you can be certified in both.

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.

Venturing and Sea Scout FAQs

Q: Can Venturing crews hold a hunting trip?
A: Yes. However, they must meet all state laws and regulations where the hunt is to take place.

Q: How do I find a range officer or NRA instructor for my Venturing crew or Sea Scout ship?
A: Venturers and Sea Scouts are only allowed to shoot at a council camp property or a local public or private commercial range or club. Venturers and Sea Scouts may not shoot on privately owned property (i.e., a friend’s farm or private land). If your crew wants to have a shooting sports event, please contact your local council shooting sports chairman or shooting sports director for information. If no information is available, contact the NRA National Youth Program coordinator at 703-267-1550 for assistance in finding an NRA certified instructor in your area.

Q: How can I get trained to run the council’s 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 programs. Shooting sports directors must attend a National Camping School to be trained in shotgun, rifle, or muzzleloading.

Q: What type of training do I need to help my Venturing crew or Sea Scout ship 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 NRA 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 regarding specific schedules and times, please 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 weeklong program. For more information regarding this training, contact your local council or the BSA national office at 972-580-2000 and ask for Outdoor Programs.

Q: Can Venturing crews or Sea Scouts shoot pistols or high-power rifles?
A: Yes, pistol shooting and high-power rifle shooting are reserved for youth who are involved in the Venturing and Sea Scouting programs only. Venturers and Sea Scouts may shoot any caliber of firearm except ones that are FULLY AUTOMATIC. Fully automatic firearms are prohibited in the Boy Scouts of America program. Refer to the new BSA National Shooting Sports Manual for further details.

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