View Full Version : Brother-In-Law's First Shoot (Long)

Matt VDW
March 28, 2000, 01:26 PM
Last Saturday I took my brother in law to the range to introduce him to handgun shooting. His only other shooting experience was one session with an M16 in a Military Science class in college about five years ago.

This wasn't an attempt to convert an anti-gunner or a lesson in defensive shooting; my BIL just heard that I was a shooter and wanted to give it a try.

We began last month when I had him over for an introduction to safe gun handling, terminology and basic marksmanship. BIL learned the four rules plus how to load and unload both semiautos and revolvers. After the "classroom time", we donned eye and ear protection for a simulated range visit in my basement using a pellet revolver.

Saturday was the follow-up session of actual shooting. I met BIL at his house and reviewed the four rules, then let him dry fire each of the four handguns I'd brought:

1) Ruger 22/45
2) FEG Hi-Power clone
3) 3" Ruger SP-101 in .357 Magnum
4) 5" S&W 625 in .45 ACP

I thought that these guns represented a good variety without overwhelming complexity. Moreover, I had some miscellaneous handloads to shoot up in the 625. :) As I demonstrated the manual of arms for each one, the difficulties of a right-hander teaching a lefty how to use machines designed for righties added an extra challenge. Even so, BIL seemed to catch on quickly. The biggest challenge was getting his hands (especially the supporting hand) in place for a good grip.

For technique, I decided to offer two approaches: first, a shoulder level isosceles point, and then aiming with the sights with the same basic stance but the gun raised to eye level. Partly this was because I thought that the isosceles point would give BIL a chance to shoot tight groups while concentrating only on grip and trigger control and partly because I was curious about how well unsighted fire would work for a novice.

Although it was a sunny spring day, I elected to go to an indoor range rather than an outdoor one just to save an hour of driving time. We were lucky and got a lane at the end, away from the other shooters. I ran a big, blank piece of paper out to 12 feet, let BIL take a few more dry fire snaps, then had him shoot one shot with the 22/45.

Shot one was well-centered but low. BIL followed it up with a couple of two shot and three shot strings that brought the point of impact to center mass. Confident that he was getting the hang of things, I ran out a couple of smaller targets with bullseyes and he managed to nail them, too.

We moved on to the FEG, which BIL didn't particularly enjoy, and the SP-101 with mild .38 handloads, which didn't catch his fancy, either. Then I brought out the 625 and it quickly became his favorite. Firing double action (the only way I showed him ;)), BIL started with powder-puff bullseye loads and ended shooting 230gr hardball, putting everything into an 8" group at 12 feet. For his last target, I had him try the 22/45 again and he put all ten shots inside the black of a B3 (50' bullseye) target at the same range.

All in all, I think it was a very successful trip. I feel better prepared to teach another novice and I'm already planning to introduce BIL to skeet the next time he wants to go shooting.

March 30, 2000, 04:15 PM
It sounds like you have a very successful outing with your bro-in-law. You make safety the primary concern and let him have fun with your pistols.

You might want to hold off on the skeet if he hasn't used a shotgun before. They move pretty quickly and the double shots can be tricky. If you threw pigeons for him, you could control where they flew. You could start out with birds going straight away from him and move to more difficult shots.

When are you going to give him his diploma, a membership to the NRA?

Matt VDW
March 31, 2000, 02:06 PM
That's a good point about the difficulty of skeet. I don't do much shotgunning and the few times I've tried skeet I've been lucky to break 50% of the birds.

Still, it is a lot of fun. We'd get to shoot outdoors and he'd get the satisfaction of seeing something happen when he pulls the trigger. Also, I have a good friend who's a skeet instructor; he could get BIL off on the right foot without any bad habits.

Getting BIL to join the NRA is going to be a long term project. He's not very interested in politics and I think a discussion of "rights" with him might as well be held in French. Besides, I still have to convert my wife!