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Old April 4, 2016, 05:48 PM   #1
boondocker385
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why more people are getting into firearms and training

I have been keeping track of why my new students want training. Overwhelmingly "self defense" is the biggest reason given. When I drill down, many are worried about a societal collapse. Other reasons include tired of being afraid, inability to fight if needed, new hobby and from a lot of women, because my boyfriend /husband is a horrible teacher. Curious what others are hearing who train new shooters.
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Old April 4, 2016, 09:33 PM   #2
AL45
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I don't train shooters, but my wife got into shooting for self-defense, and as a result has fallen in love with the sport of shooting. We go shooting on a regular and have purchased several guns together.
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Old April 4, 2016, 10:02 PM   #3
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Biggest answer I have seen is: well he loves it so much so I figured I would give it a try. The training may one day save my child or grandchilds life. And it's much more enjoyable than I thought.
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Old April 5, 2016, 07:02 AM   #4
shafter
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Most guys aren't good teachers for a lot of reasons. They mean well but their own shooting skills are usually quite exaggerated in their minds.

I also see a lot of guys who spend way too much time trying to teach someone too much too soon and take the fun out of it. You don't really need to be able to name all the parts of a gun and cartridge and have memorized a bunch of safety rules first. Just go shooting one on one and let them put some rounds down range. Teach slowly as you go with enough oversight to keep them from getting hurt, but not so much that it isn't fun.

Shooting reasonably well under non-stress situations doesn't take all that much skill and training. Fighting with a weapon does however, and if that's the goal of the new shooter then they should seek professional help at some point.
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Old April 5, 2016, 07:22 AM   #5
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Most people are not good teachers. On the one hand, we tend to be unaware of our own bad habits, so we inadvertently pass them on to the person that we are "teaching." On the other hand, we don't generally know where the "student's" problems are coming from. For instance, I've noticed that teaching women who routinely wear high heels, ie greater than 1.5 inches, require a stronger need to prevent putting their weight on their heels when firing than with teaching somebody who routinely wears flats or sandals.

It's worse when teaching somebody with whom we're close. If they get it right and we praise them, there's the suspicion that we're looking down at them. If we criticize, it can be taken that we're being dominating. All of this is in addition to needing to know the basics of how to teach.

As a real life example, my father-in-law ruined skiing, golf, sailing, and driving a stick shift for my wife. He never knew how to incorporate any set of motions into a smooth action. He was always shouting the details while waving his arms (NO! Heels DOWN! Head DOWN! Shift your weight from RIGHT TO LEFT!...etc, and that was for driving a stick shift). I feel that letting somebody who is trained in how to train is usually a better bet.
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Old April 5, 2016, 08:29 AM   #6
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"Because I want to win" is why I have started using a coach. I've been shooting a long time, but last year started competing. I cannot see where I can improve as well as a second person who knows what to look for.
There is shooting, and there is serious shooting.
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Old April 5, 2016, 08:31 AM   #7
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I had to triple my classes this year over last. Women are getting concerned. Without getting political I'll leave it there.

I've been into firearm instruction for 40 years, since I took my first FBI LE Instructor Course in '76.

Also a rifle instructor, having taught Sniper Schools for Mil. & LE, and coached AK NG Rifle teams.

My wife wanted to get into Long Range Precision shooting to help with her hunting. I refused to teach her. Instead I sent her to Gunwerks Academy.

I will not instruct my wife, and I will not let husbands/boyfriends in the range during my ladies classes.

I found women make better students as they don't have pre-ego problems men do.
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Old April 5, 2016, 09:22 AM   #8
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...and have memorized a bunch of safety rules...
Uh..huh...three (3) safety rules are a bunch? Yeah, God knows we wouldn't want everyone to be safe as one of the primary principles of shooting.

Yep. Let's just let them handle and point guns however they want to without any awareness of being safe, or introduction to how to handle a gun safely.

1. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
3. Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

And then there's fourth that is often used..

4. Know your target and what is beyond the target.

IF you were an NRA certified shooting instructor of any type - you would know the emphasis on safety and student understanding the importance of safety is a paramount objective.

In fact, the shooter's packet given to your students contains a Gun Safety Rules Card (.10 cents apiece from the NRA) - and safety is constantly emphasized as part of the training.

If you don't think safety rules are important for everyone to know before shooting - YOU shouldn't be shooting - and you REALLY shouldn't be teaching other people to shoot.

Quote:
They mean well but their own shooting skills are usually quite exaggerated in their minds.
Great shooting skills don't translate to great teaching skills. You don't need to be a great shooter to be a good teacher anymore than you have to be a great athlete to be a good coach.

You have to be able to be a good communicator, understand the fundamentals of shooting, and be able to analyze students as they're shooting.

There are a whole lot of misconceptions in this thread on teaching, and it's obvious the people making the comments have little to no experience in teaching.

I've taught at a number of different levels from elementary school through college, and have presented workshops and technical seminars. I now teach shooting as an NRA certified pistol instructor.

Good teaching of introductory shooting has to do with presenting the information in a logical progression, at a level that can be easily understood, ensures the student understands how to be safe, and develops a knowledge base that gives the student confidence and a foundation to continue learning both on their own and in other classes.

To do what has been outlined requires you to have a teaching plan, teaching aids, an enthusiasm for what you're presenting, and the ability to modify your presentation methods as required during the class to ensure the students fully understand what is being presented.

This is why team teaching is so important. You need to get feedback from both the students AND other instructors so that you are constantly refining your teaching skills and presentation methods to make the class a better experience.

Quote:
It's worse when teaching somebody with whom we're close. If they get it right and we praise them, there's the suspicion that we're looking down at them. If we criticize, it can be taken that we're being dominating. All of this is in addition to needing to know the basics of how to teach.
It's really obvious you don't know how to teach and have your ego invested in what you're doing rather than putting all of that aside and just imparting information.

My wife shoots action pistol. I coach her regularly, but only when she asks for assistance. Then we work on what I see that needs improvement, and I develop a set of shooting exercises to work on specific skills.

It's very simple. She runs the shooting drill, we look at the timer, and then we break down and work on individual parts of the drill until she feels comfortable with each individual part. Then we then work on putting the parts together and finally start running the entire shooting exercise for speed.

I have NEVER finished a training session where she did not have a big smile at the end because she has gotten better - and the use of the timer proves to her she's gotten better.

Teaching isn't a contest between you and the student - it's a mutual development process. You're working on being a better teacher and the student is working on being a better shooter.

When done correctly, both of you are learning simultaneously - and it doesn't matter if you're teaching a total stranger, friend, or spouse.
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Old April 5, 2016, 09:50 AM   #9
Eazyeach
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Rule #1 is every gun is loaded, treat it as such. If you're going to pontificate on the "4" rules please don't leave out the 1st and most important rule.
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Old April 5, 2016, 12:06 PM   #10
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Teaching is an acquired skill, like any other.
What ever the subject, the best teachers are those who thoroughly know that subject and know how to teach it.
Knowing just one of the above isn't good enough.
Especially important is being able to counter all the usual excuses for why the student can't do that.
Like their grand-father didn't do it that way.
Or that's not the way they saw it done on tv.
'etc,'etc.
Where an amateur attempting to teach would get stumped, a real teacher knows how to change the student's mind instead of arguing with them.
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Old April 5, 2016, 12:13 PM   #11
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We are at a point in our society where everything is due to fear. For example, think about all of the 'when I was a kid we just had to be home at dinner' stories. Now kids aren't even safe at school let alone roaming the neighborhood. Kids in elementary school need cell phone for emergencies. We are a society of fear. Guns are a logical step in this process. I dont want to leave the house without a gun. I need to sleep next to a gun, etc. Its just where we are headed. Plus with the media publicizing mass shootings we are afraid everywhere we go so we want a gun for SD.

On the other side of this there are also more and more people against guns 100% now than ever before. I think our society is moving towards extremes on liberal/conservative ideas. You can't be in between anymore without being hated by everyone. I see this a lot because I am very in the middle. Both conservatives and liberals hate me when we talk politics.

As far as teaching goes, good teachers are hard to find. Part of my job is teaching and it takes a lot of work and dedication to be good. I find bad teachers either were just never trained properly or they just dont care.
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Old April 5, 2016, 12:39 PM   #12
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"...why new students want training..." I suspect it has more to do with, "Because they can." than anything else.
"...my boyfriend/husband is a horrible teacher..." Most of whom have no training themselves or experience teaching anything. Lot of 'em think they're 'natural shots' too. However, apparently, there is a school of thought in sport coaching that thinks yelling at the coached, a la Gordon Ramsey, has merit.
"...found women make better students..." Absolutely. They listen and do what you tell 'em. And they don't think they're 'natural shots'. Don't remember how many times I've heard guys whining about how their ladies can shoot better than they can.
Speculation has it that guys think like there is such a thing as a 'natural shot' and they are one because they think they have to live up to John Wayne.
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Old April 5, 2016, 01:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Uh..huh...three (3) safety rules are a bunch? Yeah, God knows we wouldn't want everyone to be safe as one of the primary principles of shooting.
No, three rules aren't too many and of course we all want people to be safe. Three concise rules are a great way of keeping shooters safe. However, I've seen classes where new shooters are required to memorize the "Ten Commandments of gun safety", a bunch of other information, and then take a written test. All this before even touching a gun let alone shooting one.

I've seen the same thing where a husband or boyfriend is trying to teach his lady and pontificates endlessly to the point of driving any interest at all out of the person he's trying to teach.

I'm not accusing anyone here of being that person, I'm just pointing out that I see this all the time.
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Old April 5, 2016, 03:22 PM   #14
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No, three rules aren't too many and of course we all want people to be safe. Three concise rules are a great way of keeping shooters safe
Ive seen tons of guys at the range that cant follow the three basic rules let alone more. How many accidental discharges and deaths would be prevented if we could treat all guns as if they were loaded, never point them in an unsafe direction, and keep our fingers off the trigger...
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Old April 5, 2016, 03:39 PM   #15
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My wife was never to big into guns but as soon as we had our first kid she wanted to be able to defend our boy and herself. That's when she wanted training and since then is hooked. Guess ya could say it made her feel empowered and a stronger protector of our boy. I always go over scenarios and drills for our house protection and from a vehicle.
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Old April 5, 2016, 04:09 PM   #16
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The one thing I didn't see mentioned is that shooting is just simply a lot more popular and owning a pistol doesn't have the same stigma it used. A lot of people want to know how to shoot just because they have friends that do. I have a number of guns a have had a permit to carry for many years. When my oldest son turned 21, he got his permit to carry and he has a few guns. My wife then decided she wanted her permit and she has it and a gun of her own now. She was always indifferent before. Now the kicker. My sister in-law who's whole family used to hate guns and complain that about why anyone has them .... She now has her permit too and owns her own gun. I taught them all how to shoot (helps having free range time). The whole family is now pro gun. Go figure. Just doing my part.
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Old April 5, 2016, 04:18 PM   #17
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Like pgdion said, the stigma on firearm ownership is fading.

I grew up in a very liberal area (and I still live here) Back in the late 90's, the only other people who openly had guns where the "rednecks" who hunted. Beyond that, it was often almost a secret handshake type deal. Anyone who advertised being a gun owner without having a hunting license got odd looks and attitude, and the hunters often got snide looks.

A lot of people I run into now, who back then would have been among those shocked and horrified by anything more than a deer rifle are openly interested in guns and shooting. Many express interest in learning and are curious, in a good way, about my guns.
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Old April 5, 2016, 04:25 PM   #18
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Agreed Bluestar. I expect the trend to continue up for a while. I see very few new people not leave the range with a big smile on there face. Most people when they try shooting find out they really like it.

I'm still a little slow on who I let know I own guns. Some people are very against it and quiet vocal about it. If they get to know me, they will find out in time that I shoot. By then they know me well enough and it puts quite a quandary on their position because I'm a nice guy and family man with a good job. How can I be one of those crazy gun nuts. That's a good time to start some serious discussion about the topic.
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Old April 5, 2016, 04:30 PM   #19
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when your government can't control home grown criminals, and continues to import foreign criminals.... well, what were our guns rights intended for?
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Old April 5, 2016, 06:13 PM   #20
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Never compete with your spouse !!! That always goes downhill .
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Old April 5, 2016, 08:03 PM   #21
buckhorn_cortez
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Rule #1 is every gun is loaded, treat it as such. If you're going to pontificate on the "4" rules please don't leave out the 1st and most important rule.
Yes - the "every gun is loaded" is the Internet gun forum super-meme of choice used to embarrass and beat people with safety whenever possible - as you've proven.

Specifically - and for, your reference, I was citing the NRA Safety Rules Card in my post. Perhaps you missed the connection...

Here's the link for the NRA Safety Rules Card for your reference.

Quote:
I've seen the same thing where a husband or boyfriend is trying to teach his lady and pontificates endlessly to the point of driving any interest at all out of the person he's trying to teach.
That's not a safety rule problem - that's a bad teaching problem. However, given a choice between no safety information and too much - my feeling is that it is better they get bored by safety rules than not know them at all.

If they don't know how to teach safety concisely and effectively - then they probably don't know how to teach shooting either; and probably shouldn't be attempting to teach anyone at all.

I can tell you that I've been part of concealed carry classes as a range officer / observer where the safety rules have been gone over before shooting the qualification portion of the class.

After having everyone acknowledge they fully understand the safety rules - I have had to remind shooters to take their finger off of the trigger until ready to shoot.

At one point, I had to physically tap a person on the shoulder and point at their finger ON THE TRIGGER before they were ready to shoot.

Perhaps boring him to death with a safety lecture might have helped as going over the rules and having them acknowledge them prior to even picking up their gun to shoot the qualification didn't work.
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Old April 5, 2016, 08:33 PM   #22
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Let's not turn this thread into a debate about the rules of safe gun handling. We've done that topic often enough, and the focus of this thread is entirely different.
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Old April 5, 2016, 08:49 PM   #23
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We have quite a few couples and families with older teenagers attend our Basic Handgun class together. Since this is largely an urban environment most of the men, as well as the women, are complete novices. Home defense is probably the most common reason for their interest.

Probably 80% to 90% of our students had never touched a real gun before. Our class enrollment runs 20% to 40% female. We have students of all ages from early 20s to us more seasoned types.

In addition to the core lectures, we do a lot of "hands-on" work with the students. The students handle a variety of revolvers and semi-autos under direct supervision, one-on-one, of an instructor. They use dummy rounds to load and unload the guns, dry fire and generally learn how things work and feel, and they get continual safety reinforcement.

These initial hands-on exercises help students get familiar with handling gun and lay a foundation for safe gun handling habits. Working one-on-one with an instructor in this way we can continually reinforce safe gun handling by pinting out gently, but immediately, a lapse.

Then in preparation for live fire, and after the "marksmanship" lecture, we work one-on-one with students on grip and stance using "blue" inert training guns.

Before going to live fire with .22s, the students shoot airsoft (the quality type) in the classroom so they can get a feel for sight alignment and trigger control (and reset) without the noise and intimidation factor (for beginners) of firing real ammunition.

After the students fire their 25 rounds of .22 (working one-on-one with an instructor), we put out a variety of guns from 9mm to .44 Magnum so the students can get the experience of firing the larger calibers. Shooting the centerfire guns is at each student's option. Most fire them all, but some choose not to.

When someone has gone through our program, it's not uncommon for her/him to be shooting 1.5 to 2.0 inch groups at seven yards with the heavy calibers. A few months ago, a petite young woman who had never fired any type of gun before out shot everyone, including her husband, with the .44 Magnum -- putting three rounds into about an inch at 7 yards.

This group (six rounds at seven yards) was fired during the last part of the live fire period at one of our Basic Handgun classes. It was fired by a middle aged woman who attended our class with her two adult daughters. She had never fired a handgun before our class; she had fired a rifle only a few times. It was fired with a Ruger Red Hawk -- three rounds in .44 Special and three in .44 Magnum.


And here is one of her daughters looking with an instructor at a group of six shots she had just fired at seven yards with a Colt Python (three rounds of .38 Special and three of .357 Magnum). She had never fired a gun before.

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Old April 6, 2016, 12:07 AM   #24
BigJimP
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What I hear from many new sudents/ new shooters:

1. At first -- it's curiosity about guns / they may want to own a gun & want more info...

2. They have a gun - lack experience: they want to understand how to shoot better, did they buy the right gun, maybe they want to carry - tried to improve on their own & it's not working too well / learn how to practice.../ defense comes up but they haven't read much or thought it thru much....they think they want to carry, but have no clue on how...

3. Intermediate levels - they want to get better, improve skills, some want to compete, want to compare their skills to others & get feedback on equipment, etc....

Majority get permits ( to negate waiting period on new gun purchases / only a minority end up carrying much). Home defense comes up a lot....vs carrying. I hear a lot about what they should buy next - what's better - what's new that'll help them get better - / basic stuff - they want to be part of gun community. Cost of practice comes up a lot....less than 10% go much past the basics....even though feedback is good ( they didn't see costs involved in practice ) ....interesting to see who comes to range on a regular basis....

It's an interesting dynamic to talk with them as they go thru it..../ some will come back later...intro and basic 2 day classes continue with heavy demand and range mgmnt adding classes all the time to meet demand. Less than 10% go to intermediate levels of instruction...

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Old April 6, 2016, 08:43 AM   #25
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Quote:
My wife was never to big into guns but as soon as we had our first kid she wanted to be able to defend our boy and herself. That's when she wanted training and since then is hooked. Guess ya could say it made her feel empowered and a stronger protector of our boy. I always go over scenarios and drills for our house protection and from a vehicle.
Well she should make sure she doesn't keep it somewhere that can be hazardous, such as her purse. There was a case of a careless mom being killed with her own handgun when her toddler pulled it out of her purse and shot her with it, probably not knowing what it was.
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