Saturday, February 6, 2010

Taking a New Shooter to the Range

Recently I took my wife and friend of hers (plus her husband) to the range for a friday night date. The range is new and was very slick - the reinforced barriers between each bay were reassuring.

So here are a few tips from my experience:

#1 If you were a jerk teaching them to use Email, a stick shift or their phone, just stop now. Hire a pro. Seriously, you'll do more damage than good. Patience and understanding is a must in this game, so if you don't have it, just move along.

#2 Work on the 4 rules of safety. Be serious - no joking around. Make sure they know them well. I did this *before* we went to the range, in my kitchen as I taught my wife how to load, unload and take down the gun. With snapcaps. NO ammo in the room.

#3 Start with something small. I like the 22, as do most people for a first time shooter. Teach them to load one round in the mag/cylinder. You don't want them sweeping you with extra rounds after shooting it. Repeat for awhile. Go over the proper grip, trigger control and sight picture.

#4 This isn't about accuracy. Not even close. Set up a target at a nice 3-5 yards at most to start with. Just shooting is the important part at first, not hitting the bullseye.

#5 Praise.

#6 After they get the feel for it, you can add rounds to the magazine and let them do multiple shots. Stay close by to supervise and remind them of the finger/trigger rule every chance you get. They may even thank you.

You may even want to end here. We didn't. They wanted to try something bigger so I changed back to the 9mm upper and we shot a box of that. They were amazed at the increase in recoil and that it was eminently controllable. They even got some Zombie targets for the last magazine or so - lots of fun.

After about an hour at the range, we were done. Time to wash up and go out for dinner where went over what we'd learned and I answered any questions. It was a very good night. We all had a ball.

Big success.

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