New shooter report

A few days ago a co-worker, Vic, told me he had someone call him up from “back home” (the Washington D.C. area). It was a young guy, Chris, who just got a job (Support Engineer) at Microsoft and didn’t know anyone in the area except Vic. So Vic has been “taking him under his wing” and helping him get settled in. Vic asked if I would take Chris to the range and teach him to shoot and prepare him to participate in the Fun Steel match at Holmes Harbor Rod and Gun Club tomorrow. Vic has been wanting to go for several months but never followed through on it. This time, with Chris needing to do something fun and different over the weekend, it looks like Vic will be following through.

Vic was in the Air Force many years ago and had mostly rifle training with a small amount of pistol training. When I took him to the range he was using a “cup and saucer” grip and I offered some coaching. He readily agreed and he picked it up really quick. His accuracy was good and his speed was great for a relatively new pistol shooter.

Chris, on the other hand, had never shot a pistol. He shot a little bit of rifle when in the Boy Scouts several years ago. We started out with the grip, stance, and dry fire. After about 20 “shots” with me chanting the mantra, “Trigger prep. Sight alignment. Squeeze. Follow through.” Chris got to the point where there were no noticeable wobbles of the gun as the hammer fell on the Ruger 22/45. I loaded the gun and told him to keep doing exactly what he had been doing. There wouldn’t be any significant recoil and the suppressed .22 would be very quiet. The target was at 3 yards and the first shots were just to the left of the bullseye. Out of the first 20 shots only one was out of the black with several in the bull (see the right target in the picture below).

We brought the target back and talked a little bit about his shots. I told him things were looking good and to add something new. Keep his focus on the front sight at all times.

He took another 20 shots. It was a much tighter group with more shots in the bull.

Here’s that new shooter smile and his target:

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I took the suppressor off and told him we were going into competition mode. I had him start with the gun pointed at the floor ahead of him, told him about the range commands for steel matches, and told him to shoot five rounds, hitting three targets once and one target twice. His first string was almost funny. He was a little too excited and only put holes in the general vicinity of the targets. I told him to calm down a bit and remember the mantra, “Trigger prep. Sight alignment. Squeeze. Follow through.” for every shot. The next strings were much better. He shot about another 60 rounds at various ranges as if they were strings of fire for the steel match and only had about a half dozen misses. I used the shot timer for about half of those and we could see his times getting better while maintaining good hits.

He is very unlikely to win the match tomorrow but I think he will do well enough to feel good about the experience. Zero to match shooting in less than 24 hours!

3 thoughts on “New shooter report

  1. Congrats to Vic, and especially Chris, and many thanks to you for undertaking the mission of introducing people to the joys of shooting and developing self-capability.

    Since you seem to do a lot of the latter, may I offer a suggestion? Take a look at Next Level Training’s SIRT pistols, particularly the 2-laser Pro version, available in either G17 or M&P versions. No matter which one gets the triggers will require some adjusting – which is easy to do, they’re designed to be adjustable – and once adjusted, it’s a terrific aid to learning trigger prep and steady press while maintaining sight alignment, which can be conducted in a quiet classroom environment. Pro tip: adjust the red laser (activates during trigger prep) downward a bit so the SIRT blocks the student’s view of it when a proper grip is established; it’ll be visible to the instructor standing alongside the student but denying it to the student prevents “laser fixation.”

    They’re not cheap, even though NLT offers discounts to instructors, but I’ve got a couple and have found them extremely useful tools when working with beginners.

  2. Pingback: Steel match results | The View From North Central Idaho

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