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Old October 19, 2013, 04:59 AM   #1
JimmyR
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Humanoid targets for new shooters

I have some former college classmates who are of the decidedly liberal persuasion. They live in a city 2 hours from me, but the Mrs stays the weekend with my wife and I while going to classes at University of Louisville on weekends. They are not anti-gunners, but have no experience with firearms, and would probably be best considered ambivalent.


I have extended an open invitation to both of them to go shooting with me at the local indoor range. Safety would obviously be the first topic of discussion.

My question for the community is concerning the target choice. My indoor range carries a variety of targets (in a "range" of styles ), many of them humanoid silhouettes. Have any of you experienced any negative effects of using human silhouettes with new shooters that are just getting their first exposure to shooting? What style targets have you had success/failures with?

Last edited by Vanya; October 19, 2013 at 10:03 AM.
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Old October 19, 2013, 07:15 AM   #2
TRex99
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My wife and I also have friends of the liberal persuasion that were interested in shooting. We took them to the range after I first ran through the safety rules and operation of each handgun at home, then once at the range I stayed very close by.
I used the standard NRA B-29 silhouettes with them, as there was really no question that the purpose of training with handguns at close range was for self defense and that would likely mean shooting at a human. They didn't seem to have a problem with it.
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Old October 19, 2013, 07:15 AM   #3
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This is a personal thing with me, . . . and not disparaging any one else of a different persuasion.

New shooters get introduced to the old black circle bulls eye and that is all I use with them until I am MUCH better acquainted with them.

Fact is, . . . the "other" targets generally only come out when my son and I are burning ammo just for kicks and giggles, . . . and even then, we keep it at a low roar.

There are folks who like to find fault with what we do, . . . then gossip and spread all sorts of tales, . . . I just rather keep a low profile and not give them any ammo for their forays.

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Old October 19, 2013, 08:33 AM   #4
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For exactly the reasons that you cite, I wish that my range stocked circular targets, but unfortunately they only carry silhouettes.
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Old October 19, 2013, 09:12 AM   #5
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Standard bullseye targets let you see right away if someone has the fundamentals down, and then you can move to a silhouette; one of the most exasperating things I've heard too many times to count after a legitimate self-defence shooting is "why didn't they just shoot them in the leg", and showing how difficult it can be to keep one's shots simply in a bullseye target dispels that one right away.
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Old October 19, 2013, 09:58 AM   #6
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Cannot use silhouette targets at the range I am a member. Too PC for their own good, but that is just my opinion.
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Old October 19, 2013, 11:48 AM   #7
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Dude, it's nearing Halloween.

Monsters. Frankenstein, the Mummy, Wolfman, the Swamp Thing and more.

You don't even have to draw them out like my Dad did for my targets when I was growing up. Just hit the nearest doller store the day after Halloween and you should be able to stock up cheap, easy and fun targets.

They may have issues shooting at "humans", but most people can handle shooting ghosts, zombies and monsters.
Plus, I think it has a nice subtle underlying message.
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Old October 19, 2013, 11:50 AM   #8
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Most ranges in my area offer a variety of targets. It seems you have choices as well. That being the case, let them choose. They would likely feel better about the freedom of making a choice for themselves.
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Old October 19, 2013, 12:57 PM   #9
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I think Bluestarlizzard has the best idea. Zombies and monsters If you must be PC.
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Old October 19, 2013, 01:26 PM   #10
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I like Dwights idea.
I have to agree that new shooters, perhaps, should be introduced with the bullseye or circle, rather than silhouette if there is any question about their politics or political leanings.
I have not yet been lucky enough to convert any real anti gunners.
Most of the new shooters I have seen have been eager.
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Old October 19, 2013, 02:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Have any of you experienced any negative effects of using human silhouettes with new shooters that are just getting their first exposure to shooting?
Ive had more negative effects and comments from gun people than I have new shooters.

Most ranges Ive shot at the past ten years or so, have usually banned shooting at anything even remotely human. Seems this, along with any kind of realistic shooting, is frowned upon. I suppose its more an insurance issue than anything else, but fear of appearances seems to come into play as well.

Quote:
Standard bullseye targets let you see right away if someone has the fundamentals down, and then you can move to a silhouette; one of the most exasperating things I've heard too many times to count after a legitimate self-defence shooting is "why didn't they just shoot them in the leg", and showing how difficult it can be to keep one's shots simply in a bullseye target dispels that one right away.
While I agree that bullseye targets can help with assessing the fundamentals, any target that forces you to focus on a certain part, can do the same.

I think a big mistake many make is, thinking because they are good at shooting small groups at bullseye targets, they think they have everything else covered, which I dont believe is correct, and in fact, a dangerous assumption.

Photo type situational targets are much better for "realistic" practice, as they offer a more realistic target in many different positions and situations, they dont (usually) offer a specific aiming point, and force you to think about correct placement from different angles, not just COM from straight on. More importantly, they get your head in the game and used to targeting and shooting things you have been conditioned your whole life, not to.

Now, are they for beginners? That all depends on what the beginners goals and reasons for shooting are. One thing Ive found with targets that dont have a fixed aiming point, like a plain IPSC type target, is that they arent as frustrating to someone who is just learning, and hits are easier to make on a larger target, which helps with building confidence. As they get better, you can always add a dot, or shoot for a smaller target, like the head, and move on from there.
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Old October 19, 2013, 02:30 PM   #12
Bob Wright
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TailGator said:
Quote:
For exactly the reasons that you cite, I wish that my range stocked circular targets, but unfortunately they only carry silhouettes.

I buy those Birchwood-Casey "Shoot-N-See" stick on targets. I turn the silhouette target backward and stick these on as needed. They are great for beginners as hits are readily seen in the bright yellow splash.


Such as:




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Old October 19, 2013, 03:40 PM   #13
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I don't understand the idea that a person is ok with shooting a "weapon" but is sensitive about what the target is shaped like. If this is not already a known problem with the proposed shooters, the consideration is overly deep ( in my opinion). I think that some people have a natural affinity towards self preservation, defense and survival... some don't. I don't necessarily believe that you can move people in that direction if they are not "wired" for it.
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Old October 19, 2013, 04:00 PM   #14
David13
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Any type of target is available around here (Los Angeles).
However, they do not allow any target of any person, no cardboard cutouts of anyone.
Not even politicians.
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Old October 19, 2013, 04:16 PM   #15
Bob Wright
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FireForged saith:
Quote:
I don't understand the idea that a person is ok with shooting a "weapon" but is sensitive .......

There is such a thing as sport shooting. The firearm becomes a weapon when used as such.


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Old October 19, 2013, 04:41 PM   #16
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Forgedfire,

This is a bit like folks who can't understand that meat in the grocery store and meat from farming and hunting all comes from someone killing an animal.

These people arn't nessasarly opposed to shooting a gun, but can't handle the actual purpose of a handgun is usually shoot at other people, regardless of the situation.

As long as they can remain in their ignorient state, they're happy. As soon as the facts of life rear their ugly little heads, all hell breaks loose.
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Old October 19, 2013, 07:57 PM   #17
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I remember a long time ago I travelled back to my home town to visit family and friends over the Christmas holidays. One of my friends was on the local PD and the only day he had off was the day after Christmas. So we went to the indoor range to have fun.

It was very crowded, lots of dads and sons mostly with new .22 rifles. Lots of plinking sounds, no "bangs" at all. The range had a policy of bulls-eyes only except for LEO. So everyone is having a good time, my friend sends down a silhouette target and starts rapid fire with his .38 special! A lot of the folks stopped and stared, it took a few minutes to get back to normal.

Our local indoor ranges will allow any targets. I took a pic of Bin Laden from the web and made a nice target in Photoshop. Somehow my wife shoots a lot better aiming at his ugly mug than the bulls-eyes...
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Old October 20, 2013, 06:50 AM   #18
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I can't answer for the local LE's, however the SO always uses life size targets, and practice center mass and kill shots, as well as off hand and low to absolute dark shooting.
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Old October 20, 2013, 10:59 AM   #19
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Indoor pistol range petty much everyone shoots silhouette targets. Outdoor rifle range does not allow silhouettes. For IDPA, we use IDPA targets, no one has ever questioned that.

I personally prefer shoot-N-see targets for both indoor and outdoor, but that's me.
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Old October 20, 2013, 12:33 PM   #20
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There is such a thing as sport shooting. The firearm becomes a weapon when used as such.
A firearm is a weapon [period]. It can be used for all kinds of things but if it uses gunpowder and fires a projectile, its a weapon. If it is never used for anything other than a lamp stand it is still a weapon none the less. Sport shooting is the demonstration of personal prowess with a [weapon]. I am not inclined to believe that people who are ok using rifles, handguns, bow/arrow, swords, flails, foils, polearms or any other weapon are completely devoid of the concept that these are weapons. At some point if for no other reason than safety, knowledge and respect of history- a person would have to qualify that in their mind.
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Old October 20, 2013, 01:24 PM   #21
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Humanoid targets for new shooters

Quote:
Originally Posted by FireForged View Post
A firearm is a weapon [period]. It can be used for all kinds of things but if it uses gunpowder and fires a projectile, its a weapon. If it is never used for anything other than a lamp stand it is still a weapon none the less. Sport shooting is the demonstration of personal prowess with a [weapon]. I am not inclined to believe that people who are ok using rifles, handguns, bow/arrow, swords, flails, foils, polearms or any other weapon are completely devoid of the concept that these are weapons. At some point if for no other reason than safety, knowledge and respect of history- a person would have to qualify that in their mind.
So a baseball bat is a weapon? And a car? And a truck? And a pencil? I mean, all these things are dangerous when used in a dangerous way thus making them weapons all the time by your definition. Nearly anything can be a weapon. Not all things are at all times.
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Old October 20, 2013, 02:15 PM   #22
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I'd favor a circular, square, or diamond target so accuracy and corrections are obvious. Also, who wouldn't want to say "My first round hit in the center of the bullseye!"

Also, consider people's reasons for learning to shoot. If a person wants to be a hunter, having a game animal shaped target would be useful. If a person wants a gun for defense, humanoid targets are useful. If they want to "zen out" and be good at pure accuracy, targets that clearly show deviations, like bullseyes are the best.
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Old October 20, 2013, 02:30 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireForged
A firearm is a weapon [period]. It can be used for all kinds of things but if it uses gunpowder and fires a projectile, its a weapon. If it is never used for anything other than a lamp stand it is still a weapon none the less. Sport shooting is the demonstration of personal prowess with a [weapon]....
All of that is fine, but irrelevant. If the goal is to take someone with no, or minimal, experience and lay a good foundation of safety, attitude and basic skills, things that might distract from that goal are best avoided.

I'm with a group which puts on monthly NRA Basic Handgun classes. Perhaps close to 90% of students have no prior experience with guns. Over the years I've helped introduce hundreds of raw beginners to shooting. Such newbies are faced with an enormous amount of new information and can easily become overwhelmed.

The interests of the student should come first. And the student's interests are best served by the instructor introducing all the new information in small, measured, well considered steps. Let the new shooter first begin to come to grips with the basics such as safety, management of the gun, basic shooting skills (sight alignment and trigger control).
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Old October 20, 2013, 02:39 PM   #24
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So a baseball bat is a weapon? And a car? And a truck? And a pencil? I mean, all these things are dangerous when used in a dangerous way thus making them weapons all the time by your definition. Nearly anything can be a weapon. Not all things are at all times.
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Then you mis-read or mis-understood. A firearm is a weapon by conception same as a car is designed from (conception) as a mode of transport and a pencil is designed from (conception) as a writing instrument. A Pencil does not stop being a pencil simply because you decide to stir your coffee with it, its still a pencil. Can you use a pencil as a weapon, sure.. but its still a writing instrument.
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Old October 20, 2013, 02:50 PM   #25
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This is a bit like folks who can't understand that meat in the grocery store and meat from farming and hunting all comes from someone killing an animal.

These people arn't nessasarly opposed to shooting a gun, but can't handle the actual purpose of a handgun is usually shoot at other people, regardless of the situation.

As long as they can remain in their ignorient state, they're happy. As soon as the facts of life rear their ugly little heads, all hell breaks loose.


Yep, I agree that is within the same arena or processes. My point was only that the premise ( silhouette targets) is conflicted and I don't really understand how one gets there. I don't always make my points very well but I agree with you.
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