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Old July 15, 2012, 08:40 PM   #1
Sheriff Gotcha
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Advice for bringing a first time shooter to the range

Would you advise bringing a new shooter to the range even if you were a newer shooter yourself with little experience?

I was going to bring a friend along to the range for the first time when I got my .22. He is new to handguns, but has shot rifles and shotguns before while hunting with his family.

Would it be okay to let him join along or would you advise against it? Should I wait until I've gone solo a few times so I have time to get aquatinted with my own handgun then bring him along?

What are some points I should look to make when there?
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Old July 15, 2012, 08:43 PM   #2
chadio
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Make sure that you and your guest understand the 4 absolute rules of firearm safety, and the rules of the range you are attending.
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Old July 15, 2012, 08:58 PM   #3
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It's all about awareness and focus and maturity and common sense. If you AND your friend have all those qualities and you take things slowly, step by step, it'll probably work out fine and be a nice outing...

ALWAYS keep your muzzle straight downrange!
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Old July 15, 2012, 11:18 PM   #4
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I would recommend that you know all the relevant rules of firearms safety and operation and any range rules thoroughly enough that you feel confident you could go there yourself at any time and be completely safe before bringing anyone else with you. This might take one range trip or a few, but the other shooter may be depending on you to give them the correct advice and you want to be able to give it to them.
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Old July 15, 2012, 11:33 PM   #5
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If you feel you lack experience I would recommend some dry runs, practicing gun safety and proper firearms handling, then some drying firing-if possible-working on breath control, trigger control, proper position, etc. This will give a better of your friend's attitude and aptitude-and your own.
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Old July 16, 2012, 05:57 AM   #6
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If they're shooting , you're not going to be.

Total and complete supervision at all times.

It can really be fun though

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Old July 16, 2012, 08:28 AM   #7
Ronbert
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Two beginners together has special hazards. Kind of like 2 student pilots in the front seats of the same airplane (which isn't even legal unless there is an Instructor in charge).

If you are two mature guys who are totally safety oriented it should be fine.
If you two are still producing lots of testosterone and might be inclined to showing off a little, it might not be such a good idea.

As above, if your friend is shooting, you aren't- you're the safety monitor.
That's ALWAYS the case with new shooters. Their safety is in your hands. Your safety is in their hands. Watch those hands!

Pay very close attention to them until time and experience proves they are good on their own.

If possible, see if the person who taught you could be persuaded to teach your friend - at least for starters.
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Old July 16, 2012, 09:22 AM   #8
serf 'rett
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Are you totally comfortable with your pistol?

If you are still trying to learn to operate your pistol, then the safety concerns multiply with the addition on a second inexperienced person.
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Old July 16, 2012, 10:38 PM   #9
raimius
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It depends on if you both follow the Four Rules without even thinking about them. If not, I'd recommend against it.

Learning to shoot is great fun, as is shooting with friends, but the risks associated with new shooters are increased exponentially when both the Safety Officer AND shooter are new.

If you do go together, I HIGHLY recommend only doing basic marksmanship fundamentals at a well-defined range. Don't get fancy and start doing speed reloads, malfunction drills, movement, multiple targets, etc. The more you are tempted to show off or practice the upper end of your skills, the more likely mistakes are to occur.

"Advanced" shooting is applying the basics at a higher level. Make sure your fundamentals (including safety) are rock solid, first.
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Old July 16, 2012, 10:54 PM   #10
ScottRiqui
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The safety aspect has been covered pretty well, but here are a few techniques I use with new pistol shooters:

I don't even bother to put up a target at first - let them work on the mechanics of grip, sight picture, pulling the trigger without anticipating the recoil, etcetera.

When you do put up a target, don't be afraid to put it close - I often start off at three yards. It's a big confidence builder for a new shooter when their first shots actually land on the paper (and often, close to the bullseye!). Nothing is more frustrating and less enjoyable for a new shooter than starting off at 25 yards and ending up with only a few hits. You can always move the target further out once they've begun to get the hang of it.
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Old July 17, 2012, 12:23 PM   #11
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One rule I've learned to develop is if I'm going to a public range, no more than 5 people. After that, it gets real chaotic, too many guns around, too much socializing, not enough attention.
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Old July 18, 2012, 03:28 PM   #12
Theohazard
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ronbert
If you are two mature guys who are totally safety oriented it should be fine.
If you two are still producing lots of testosterone and might be inclined to showing off a little, it might not be such a good idea.
Bingo. Though considering you went the smart route and started with a .22, it looks like you may fit the first description.
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Old July 18, 2012, 04:26 PM   #13
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The first 150 or 200 rounds I don't care where the shots go (provided everyone is safe, of course). There's WAY too much to think about until you get the hang of it.
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Old July 18, 2012, 05:39 PM   #14
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Here's my advice in the form of a link to an article I wrote awhile back. Please forgive the brief post -- I'm pushed for time today, but wanted to be sure you had some resources that might help.

http://www.corneredcat.com/Taking_a_..._to_the_Range/

Kathy
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Old July 18, 2012, 05:45 PM   #15
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I've started meeting with a group of shooters at a heavily-supervised range, and this I've invited a girl who has never shot a gun to join us this Thursday evening.
If she shows, I will go over the 4 Rules with her (she's very mature, so she should get them quickly), then give her my M34 .22LR revolver w/J-frame grips to shoot. I plan to put up a bull-eye (NO humanoid targets--I want her to think of shooting as fun, not deadly) target as close to the bench as I can so she can see where the shots go and work on her trigger control and accuracy.
There's a LOT that can be taught, but I don't want to overload her too soon. Help her to have safe fun, then let it grow on her!
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Old July 18, 2012, 07:11 PM   #16
Azimuth315
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Over the years I have taken a number of first timers to the range, both male and female, several of whom were strong gun control advocates. One fellow was of the firm conviction that only police and military should have firearms. It took conversations over the course of almost two years before he was persuaded to give it a try.

Based on my experience I would suggest spending some time at home or someplace free of distractions that offers some degree of privacy.

I would use this time to show the neophyte how the firearm is loaded / unloaded, made safe, held and fired.

Determine the new shooters dominant eye and instruct in the fundamentals of using the sights and acquiring the target.

Encourage the new shooter to dry-fire while explaining / demonstrating what to expect - particularly in regards to an autoloader with an emphasis on keeping the weak hands thumb from behind the slide and fingers out of the path of the op-rod of the rifle. At the range the new shooters grip is one of the things that should be monitored early on and safe grip habits reinforced, hazardous ones immediately corrected.

The "to be ingrained" safety rules have already been well covered.

It shouldn't take too long for the new shooter to acquire some comfort with the firearms and this should translate to a bit of confidence at the range.

At the range be the first to fire the weapon so the new shooter can observe.
Place the target at about 10 ft./pistol about 20 ft./rifle. Increase as appropriate.

With all the shooters I have introduced I have used a BHP and an M1 carbine.
They ALL enjoyed the experience. While some went no further many went on to own their own gun and several now have their CWP. The fellow that took two years to persuade is one with a CWP.

As with all things on the internet take this for what you think it is worth. All I can say is it works well for me and I'm comfortable with it.

Respect & Regards All -- Al

Last edited by Azimuth315; July 18, 2012 at 07:22 PM.
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Old July 18, 2012, 11:28 PM   #17
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The main thing is to have fun.
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Old July 18, 2012, 11:37 PM   #18
Bob M.
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If the shooter is new to revolvers, then make sure they don't have their hands in the wrong position. This is why. I've seen to many new shooters wrapping their hands too close to the cylinder unaware of the side blast that is common on revolvers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=VFBAcz16GvU
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Old July 19, 2012, 04:47 PM   #19
pax
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Buzzcook ~

Beg to differ. The main thing is to stay safe while having fun.

Safety first, fun second. Everything else way behind that!

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Old July 20, 2012, 07:03 PM   #20
Buzzcook
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Quote:
Beg to differ. The main thing is to stay safe while having fun.
You can't have fun if you're not being safe. IMHO
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Old July 20, 2012, 07:27 PM   #21
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I took my gf shooting for the first time a few months ago. I had only been shooting a fair amount a few months myself, but I had done a lot of shooting during that time. We did a lot of talking before we even got to the range (mainly about safety). Once we got there, I reinforced what we had talked about. I got out the pistol she intended to shoot and showed her how to operate it, how to align the sights, how to load it, and did a little dry fire practice. Once she was completely comfortable with it I let her load it and she took her first shot. We enjoyed shooting that day, but probably only because of the discussions before we went and the exercises we did before any ammo went near the pistol. She felt safe shooting with me due to the amount of prep and the level of safety precautions we took.

Take your buddy shooting. Do it! Do it only if you plan on having discussions about safety before you guys get to the range and then again before the firearm is loaded, though. Don't let egos get in the way and make safety the number one priority. If you do so, I imagine you guys will have a blast.
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Old July 23, 2012, 06:13 PM   #22
Terry A
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Quote:
July 16, 2012, 11:38 PM #9
raimius
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Posts: 1,005 It depends on if you both follow the Four Rules without even thinking about them. If not, I'd recommend against it.

Learning to shoot is great fun, as is shooting with friends, but the risks associated with new shooters are increased exponentially when both the Safety Officer AND shooter are new.

If you do go together, I HIGHLY recommend only doing basic marksmanship fundamentals at a well-defined range. Don't get fancy and start doing speed reloads, malfunction drills, movement, multiple targets, etc. The more you are tempted to show off or practice the upper end of your skills, the more likely mistakes are to occur.

"Advanced" shooting is applying the basics at a higher level. Make sure your fundamentals (including safety) are rock solid, first.
This was a good post.
I'd only add "leave your ego at home." You're not going to be a Jerry Michalak or Bob Munden, or even a cowboy shooting backwards 50 yards away while galloping on his horse in a B grade western.

PS- A little off topic, but start off with loads or calibers that won't give you a case of the flinches.
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Old July 25, 2012, 11:33 AM   #23
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Go slow
keep it simple
ask them questions to confirm that they are thinking about the same things you are
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Old July 25, 2012, 12:15 PM   #24
shep854
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Also, be open to advice from other shooters The vast majority would be delighted to assist!
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Old July 25, 2012, 12:49 PM   #25
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Firstly, if your range is anything like the ones around here then I wouldn't go alone unless you never leave your gun alone. Both ranges are miles away from a house. All it takes is one criminal to ruin your day. It happened before I was even born, but a man had let a stranger look at his gun. The guy shot the man with his own gun. The shot killed him and he stole his truck. Found him in Flordia. So you have to be careful about that and be careful.

I've only took complete new person to guns with me at the range, my girlfriend (now my wife). She had never shot a gun before and was a bit scared. I brought a Circuit Judge and a 24V. That way I had 4 different callibers for her to try 45C, .410, 30-30, and 20 gauge. She absolutely loved it. She'll shoot anything from a .22 to a 12 gauge. Just won't let her try a 10 gauge or a 45-70.

If I was you, I would do it. Just got to be safe. That's more important than anything else. I've seen very very many people ignorant of gun safey. The ranges here are outdoor and when you want to check your targets, you have to ask everyone to do so. Most will go out and join you to check theirs. Do not be the guy that starts walking out into the range. And do not be the guy who just yells he's going while walking onto the range. There's so many things wrong with doing that. Make sure the business end of the gun is facing down range at all times. If people are checking their targets, have your gun with you or have it unloaded. The big thing is, be smart, always think about you are doing, , be safe, and wear hearing protection. Just because you have a .22 doesn't mean someone won't come in with a handgun chambered in a rifle cartridge. Surprisingly alot of people don't think about that.
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