New shooter introduction advice

I recently received an email from Robert Z. asking three questions:

I have a couple of coworkers interested in shooting and I wanted to get your advice:

1) I have an orange gun – do you teach them the basics (grip, stance, 4 rules) before going to the range or you do it there?

2) most of the time you seem to have a private bay, is this something for VIPs only or any regular Robert can reserve? I live in Redmond, too, and I think it is well worth the money as you may end up with someone shooting some cannon next to you and the new shooter will start flinching from that.

3) how do you select what firearms you start with?

Here are my answers:

1) If I have the chance I teach them with my blue gun before going to the range. But most of the time I don’t have that opportunity.

2) I have an early Platinum membership which allows me to reserve Bay 3 at West Coast Armory (Bellevue) a couple times a month at no charge. The present day Platinum memberships don’t have that benefit. I think, with some membership types, you can still reserve it for a price. I think it’s something like $80 for two hours. Call to find out for certain.

3) I always start them out with a .22 pistol (when available, suppressed). I do this even with people that have some firearm experience. It makes it easier for the student as well as the instructor. You both have a much better chance of seeing the shooter jerk the trigger and other common beginner mistakes. And with new shooters they can concentrate on the stance, grip, sight alignment, and trigger pull without the recoil. The recoil will dominate their attention instead of the other things. Once they have the fundamentals working fairly well let them have a few shots with a centerfire to experience the recoil. Handling recoil is its own topic and should only be worked on after the student has the fundamentals as almost second nature. They can get there with dry fire or they can shoot a similar number of rounds (a few hundred) with a .22.

3 thoughts on “New shooter introduction advice

  1. Because of you, Joe, my wife actually enjoyed her first shooter day.
    I have a number of firearms but only a rifle (or two) in .22. No pistols. I have looked at a number of .22 pistols with an eye to picking one up at some point for training purposes.

    Well my wife is not anti-gun, she just doesn’t like them. So me going shooting, no problem. Me taking the kids shooting, no problem. Her coming to an event where we are shooting and her sitting at the picnic table talking with friends, no problem.

    Her handling a firearm. Not so much. Her shooting a firearm no way.

    One day she had to drive to the far side and wanted me to go along, I’m not real interested in a 1 hour there, 5 minute pick up, 1 hour drive back. She says “Well, we can go shooting.” Me, doh, “slowly picking jaw up.”
    So that day I’m at my dealer picking up a .22 pistol for shooting the day after with her.
    That silly little .22 let me run safety instructions with her. Let me show her how they are all “the same”. And at the range she went through around 150 rounds before her knees said “to much”
    She had a great time.

    Thank you for pushing the .22 as a starter. She wasn’t the least bit interested in the noisy 9mm or .45acp. But she had fun with the .22 and wants to do it again.

  2. Just like Joe said. Suppressed 22’s. are the most perfect teaching tools. My boss at the gun shop taught more people to shoot than I can count. Lots of kids. And many older woman that never really liked shooting. We found that a lot of the problem was just an aversion to noise. When noise and recoil are mostly removed from the equation it becomes pure fun. The Savage MKII bolt action in 22, with a suppressor. Is one of the only things I’ve seen that can make a group of old men giggle like little girls. Totally fun!

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