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Reader John D. writes:

Looking for some free educational entertainment after hunting season, when it turns really cold outside?

The National Institute of Justice has a number of online courses which are available to the public for free. If you ever wanted to work for the ATF, you’ll probably find their Firearms Examiner Training course interesting. This self-paced online training is designed for use in conjunction with traditional hands-on mentoring. It consists of 15 modules:

NIJ Firearms Examiner Training Course

Module 01: Introduction
Module 02: History
Module 03: Propellants, Ammunition, and Firearms Development
Module 04: Modern Firearms Manufacture
Module 05: Small Arms Ammunition
Module 06: Evidence Handling Procedures
Module 07: Equipment and Instrumentation
Module 08: Examination of Firearms
Module 09: Cartridge and Shotshell Examination
Module 10: Characterization and Evaluation of Fired Projectiles
Module 11: Bullet Comparison and Identification
Module 12: Gunshot Residue and Distance Determination
Module 13: Toolmark Identification
Module 14: Communicating Results
Module 15: Safety

Most of us will have more advanced knowledge in many of these categories, but you’ll learn useful knowledge in other categories. The course won’t qualify you to walk into your local PD and start examining firearms evidence, but it will give you an appreciation for the overall range of expertise required of a Firearms Examiner and the science behind firearms forensics.

You can sign up and take the NIJ Firearms Examiner Training course here.

Who knows what secret government databases this signup will put you in, but you’re probably already in every one of them already, what with the ATF and FBI databases not being cleared under the Obama Administration.

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  1. Oooh boy! Another (realistically) useless credential. I’ve already got a stack of certificates from the FCC, EPA, etc, and a dozen state agencies. Every single one of which I knew enough to pass the test without even opening the book.

    (Not some testament to my genius, just that these tests have to be able to be passed by a moron, so if you actually know slightly more than jack-shit about the subject. Sorta like the US driver’s test…)

    • Yeah, but when they say it’s required ‘or else’, it’s time for “Thank you sir, may I have another?”

      The majority of the required ones I’ve had were in OSHA mining safety, but in the very rare chance you get a decent instructor, they’re fairly painless.

      The majority will make you wish you never gave up highly addictive hallucinogenic compounds.

      (Schadenfreude update: Waste of life Kanye West has just been checked into a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Maybe next time he’ll do the right thing and choose the tall building…)

  2. If you have a drivers license and or a social security number, you’re already on the radar. I wouldn’t worry about it.

    Remember, over paranoia can lead to debilitating self progress and eventually you will be so paranoid you wont even leave your home or trust even your closest family members.

    Now, if the class was “how to make improvised explosives and initiate a gov overthrow”
    I would be suspicious of the sign up sheet……

  3. Resume stacker….

    I’m in Law Enforcement and a certification for something like this is just icing on the cake and looks good. It is useless except for trying to out compete someone for that position in Training or moving on to a promotion.

    • They’re really the set up for the post LEO career. Some of these guys retire at 41 after 20 and out and think that they’re going to live another 40 years without working and not seriously scaling back the lifestyle. Certifications like this make is much easier to find non-leo LE work post retirement. You hear guys say “Why the hell do I want to go to accident investigation school?” You want to go because after LEO retirement you’ll find work with the insurance companies, paying very well, doing what someone else paid you to learn to do. Some of them are fools and can’t think beyond the uniform.

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