Barb’s nephew Jeff wanted to learn to shoot so Barb reserved the training bay at the local indoor range and I brought a bunch of guns and ammo.
I started him out with the safety rules, then grip, stance, sight alignment, trigger prep, squeeze, follow through, and finally dry fire. Once he had that all working pretty good he shot a .22 scoped rifle with a suppresser. Then it was the Ruger 22/45 while sitting, then while standing.
I took a former boss of mine, Marcello, to the range today. It was over two months ago that he had express an interest in going shooting for the first time but schedules hadn’t worked out until today.
Before we stepped onto the range we did the normal safety, grip, stance, and sight alignment stuff. I thing asked what he wanted to get out of this range session. His was a different story than I had ever heard before. He was a little bit scared of guns. He wanted to resolve that. He wanted to be either comfortable with guns or know for certain that it wasn’t for him. I’m sure nearly all of my readers know how this is going to resolve.
Here is just the bull’s-eye:
That is the result of firing his first 20 rounds of .22 LR from my Ruger Mark III into a target nine feet away. I verified on another target at 21 feet the sights are a little off. The gun is shooting a little bit to the right.
I would edit the picture to emphasize his smile but it is big enough to easily see in the picture above.
I put up a more difficult target (four diamonds) and moved it out to 15 feet where he continued to do extremely well. I had him put one shot on each diamond. I had him go from low ready to fire on one diamond. I had him go from low ready to fire one round on each diamond until the gun was empty. I had him go from low ready to fire two rounds on each diamond until the gun was empty.
He kept probably 80% of the shots inside the diamonds and his speed rapidly increased.
I had him shoot a .22 LR revolver in single action mode from 15 feet. First dry fire, then live fire. He did great. Then I had him shoot double action dry fire about a dozen times. It looked pretty good even though you could tell he was struggling a little to get a consistent pause between the cylinder rotation and the hammer falling. The first cylinder of live fire was not very pretty. Everything was on paper but not many were on the diamonds. The second cylinder was much better. Nearly all were in the diamonds.
He moved on to 9 mm. Dry fire followed by a single round in the gun. He was a little bit surprised at the recoil even though I told him it would be a lot more. Then I had him shoot two rounds. All the shots were great and I had him empty a magazine into the target. Again all good and his speed was picking up as well.
I had him shoot a few rounds of .40 S&W through my STI. He could tell there was more recoil and it was a bit more than he wanted. He went back to the 9mm and soon his shots were getting a bit wild. Still on paper but not the tight groups on the diamonds like before. It had been nearly two hours on the range and I was pretty sure he was getting tired and maybe developing a bit of a flinch. I suggested he might be getting tired because of the shots weren’t as good as he was doing earlier. He agreed and we packed up and left.
I told him about professional training available from Insights offered at the same range, different range options in the area, rental guns, and competition. He seemed interested and told him I would be glad to give him more lessons. He just needs to let me know when and next time he needs to buy the ammo.
I took an almost new shooter to the range on Wednesday evening. John had gone with Ry once and shot a pistol but he wanted to learn about shooting an AR so off to the range we went with an AR and some ammo.
He did well. As we went through the dry fire exercises he said he was seeing double. There were two rear sights. One was above the other and he couldn’t seem to figure out why. I tried to duplicate it by moving my head around and changing the gun position some but was unable to.
I finally just told him to choose one and see what happened. He punched a bunch of holes in the paper in the expected places so I didn’t think about it much more.
After about 20 rounds or so there was noticeably more wobble in the muzzle of the gun. He rested a bit then finished off the last 10 rounds in the 30 round magazine.
As I explained to John because of the distance of the sight above the bore at close ranges the rifle is going to shoot quite a bit low. He shouldn’t worry about it now. Just aim at the bulls-eye and be happy if most of the bullets into nearly the same place.
They did. Notice the new shooter smile?
I put a target at 40 feet and put about 20 rounds downrange fairly rapidly to see where the bullets were going for me:
It was still shooting a little bit to the left but just a little higher than where John was hitting. I probably should tweak the windage a bit and verify where it is hitting at 100 and 200 yards but I think it is looking good for my uses.
After looking at the pictures I took a little closer I think I see why he was seeing double:
I looks like he was looking through the edge of his glasses. I wear a contact lens in that eye and that explains why I was not able to duplicate his issue. I’ll have to work on that with him.
June 21, 2014
[This was after shooting a dozen or so boomers at a surprise private Boomershoot party. It was for his birthday.
Ben and three others drove from the Seattle area to the Boomershoot site. There they helped Barb and I make about 60 reactive targets and clean up Mecca. We then went to the tree-line and while Barb mounted the targets on stakes I gave them some safety and shooting instructions.
They were all essentially new shooters. I positioned them about 30 yards away and with an AR equipped with a low powered scope shot from a bench. The seven inch targets were easy pickings. There were almost zero misses.
Only one of them had ever fired an AR style rifle. Occasionally I had to remind them of one of the safety rules but they did well. And of course that new shooter smile was made all the bigger with his first shot detonating a boomer..
Update: More pictures.
Cleaning up Mecca while Barb shrink-wraps the rest of the targets.
My former apartment manager, Mila, and I used to talk about guns and stuff. She was very interested but her boyfriend was really opposed to it and so she never took me up on my offers to take her to the range. I moved last September and hadn’t had any contact with her since then. But one of the last things I told her was to let me know if she ever wanted to go shooting. She had broke up with the guy and gotten back together a few times so I wasn’t too surprised when last week she sent me a text message asking if I was still into guns and if I would take her and her new boyfriend, Tim, shooting.
Her new boyfriend is “really into guns” and even gave her son a 9mm handgun for his 13th birthday. He hasn’t had but just the most fundamental safety training and he was all for her getting some training from someone with formal training experience. So the three of us went to the range today.
I spent a few minutes with a plastic training gun to teach grip, stanch, sight picture, and the safety rules. Then we went into the range and started with a semi-auto .22. She had problems with the sight alignment and was shooting high and to the left, but with a pretty good group. I let her shoot a couple magazines and then worked with her on sight picture. On the second target things started clicking for her and she did well:
Then it was on to the .22 revolver. And then the STI Eagle in .40 S&W. She liked the .40 the best.
She was very enthusiastic and kept saying again and again how much fun this was. She said she wants to get a gun now and that she has a girl friend that has a gun and that I need to go to the range with both of them and teach her too.
Her boyfriend was in the booth next to us and was shooting his .45. He is cross-eye dominate and we talked about how to deal with that. He tried shooting weak handed, moving his head over to get better alignment, and just closing his dominate eye. Closing the dominate eye worked best for him. He also had numerous rounds that failed to fire. He showed me the cartridges and they had very light primer strikes. I suggested that the next time he cleans the gun that he clean and lubricate the firing pin and firing pin channel and then try it again.
We then went out to lunch. I invited Barb and she met us and we all had lunch together.
This is how we win the culture war. The anti-gun people don’t have anything to compete with what we have to offer.
I got it earlier. It made sense earlier. It was predictable. In the fall of ’08 when a certain someone was promising to Fundamentally Transform America, and Spread The Wealth Around, it made sense that people began buying guns and ammo in huge quantities, bracing for a new round of restrictions or worse.
That was six years ago. That’s longer than the time between the attack on Pearl Harbor and the A-bombing of Nagasaki, with all the design, procurement, tooling, production and logistics efforts involved in fighting and winning a highly mechanized, all-out war over most of the planet.
So why is there still almost no powder or 10 mm bullets on the shelves?
Yes, I’m venting, and yes I’m sitting on the sidelines complaining while doing nothing about it.
They are friends of Gang who I took to the range a few years ago. He contacted me and told me some friends wanted to learn to shoot. We met up at Wades and after they got the paperwork done I spent about 15 minutes going through safety rules, sight alignment, and grip with a plastic gun. Once inside the range we did some dry fire before going to live fire.
I started them out on a Ruger Mark III/45 followed by a S&W .22LR revolver. Then I offered them my STI Eagle in .40 S&W with the caution there was going to be a lot more recoil. They did just fine with the recoil on the .40 but the large grip of the double stack STI was a challenge for their small hands. All the targets were at about eight feet away.
I was surprised they liked the S&W revolver and STI Eagle better than the Ruger Mark III/45. In any case they did very well. I was particularly impressed with Shijing who is cross eye dominate. I suggested she try shooting left handed as well as right handed and she then stayed with left handed to produce awesome groups for a new shooter.
Sharon shooting the STI.
Shijing with the revolver and then the STI.
Shijing had the better groups and the bigger smile.
Afterward they took me to dinner at a place Gang described as the Chinese equivalent of Hooters. I have never been to Hooters before so I can’t confirm that assessment but the waitresses were very nice looking and somewhat scantly dressed. The food was good and I plan to take Barb there sometime soon.
We talked quite a bit about gun laws and why I carry a gun. They seemed to get it and expressed interest in getting their own guns.
Winning the cultural war one (or two) new shooter(s) at a time.
I took the boy sprout to the range for the first time today. It was beautiful, warm and sunny, the other sprout was off with a friend, the spousal unit was wanting some alone time, and it’s near the end of summer vacation, so it seemed like a good day for it. In some ways, he’s a totally typical boy – anything with water or dirt is great, and every stick is a sword, everything else it a gun, a tank, a bomber, or something that makes explody sounds for some reason. He’s always been interested in guns, and we have gone over the basic safety rules any number of times. So, off to the range it was.
My brother was in town with his lady-friend. She’s from Chile, and had never shot a handgun before because guns are VERY strictly regulated there. As far I know, she’d never even held one in her hands, which are tiny. Her hands are even smaller than my ten year old daughter’s. So I offered to take them to the range, of course, as part of her “experience” of America. But what to shoot? Well, .22 LR, of course, but what else that would fit those tiny hands? The S&W 629 and other large revolvers seemed right out. So I grabbed a selection for the range bag and a few hundred round of ammo, and we headed for the range.
She tries the little S&W 22 AirLite first – fits her hand well, low recoil, but a long, heavy, rough trigger. She struggles a bit with the dry-firing as she gets the feel for it. I put the target at 7 yards, and she puts first round in the black. OK, good start. I load another round, and she puts it in the ring just outside the black. The next eight rounds all are inside the rings, and generally centered. Off to a good start!
We try the Ruger 22/22WinMag interchangeable cylinder next, but it doesn’t fit her hands well when dry-firing, so we skip it and go to the Ruger GP100 with 6″ barrel, shooting 38 Special. Dry fire for a bit, load one, shoot one in the black. All righty, then. Looking good. Try some more, all inside the rings. I do some coaching on stance and grip throughout, but she is starting to get the hang of it. She try some more 38s, does well.
We move up to 9mm, trying a Sig and a Glock. She likes the Sig more, but does fine with both. She doesn’t like the Glock trigger much, but the doesn’t like the Sig single-action double-action change of pull feel, either. Eh, pretty typical, I think.
So I got out the 1911 in 45 ACP, and her first three shots were all on the bottom edge of the paper… Hmmm? Night sights, maybe? We explained lining them up properly, and the next three hit much closer to the middle.
I demonstrate some heavy .357 loads (125gr hp with 16 grains of 2400 – they do about 2150 fps in a lever action, and produce a serious THUMP and flame in a revolver), and she says she’s like to try them, so she does, and again they are all in the rings.
She said she’d like to try “bigger,” but I didn’t have any because I didn’t even think the 1911 would fit her hands, so we just tried whatever she liked the most. She mostly moved back and forth between the .45 ACP and the heavy 357 Mag loads, which surprised both me and my brother. But, as I keep telling people, I don’t care how it looks on paper, or what it feels like at the gun-store counter, until you actually try it, you just really don’t know what’s going to float your boat when it comes to shooting handguns. Try a bunch, buy a couple, practice. All in all, another good day at the range introducing a person to the realities of shooting a gun.
Last weekend Barb L. and I went to Orofino Idaho for my high school reunion. Friday night I spent a lot of time talking to one of my best buddies in high school, Bruce C. He said he reads my blog and has long been interested in Boomershoot. I told him we could have a private party the next morning if he wanted.
Bruce’s wife Cyndi was there with us and even helped fold boxes and weigh chemicals for the Boomerite. When it was time to shoot the reactive targets she and Barb just watched for a while:
Bruce posed for the camera with his rifle that he had brought with him. He hadn’t fired it in 20 years but he brought it and 200 rounds of ammo to our reunion. I can’t help but wonder if he hoped to get a chance to shoot some reactive targets.
Bruce shot a few targets and thought it was a real blast:
It turns out Cyndi had never fired a gun of any type. So, of course, now was the time to take her first shots. I gave her a quick lesson, discovered she was cross-eye dominate and had her shoot left handed. She got her boomer on her first EVER shot. I thought there was a chance the new shooter smile was going to be permanent (photos by Barb L.):
Bruce shot a bunch more boomers and two of them created “smoke” (mostly water vapor with some dust) rings:
The second “smoke” ring:
I shot a few targets, Barb shot the last one, and then we went back to Orofino to continue with the class reunion.
Got a gun question: What’s the best and most readily available .22 LR pistol that comes with a threaded barrel as a standard item? It seems like there should be a lot of options, as suppressors and various barrel do-dads become more common, but I don’t see a lot of models out there. The Ruger 22/45 and Ruger Mk III both have that as an option, as does the Sig Mosquito (but I’ve not heard a lot of good things about that one). Any other options I should be looking into?
Then we mixed them. Yes, she was a little apprehensive at first. This whole Kitchen Aid mixer making Boomerite is a little “different”. Six weeks ago had you told her she was going to be traveling to Idaho, making explosives to “carve” pumpkins, and shooting a rifle before Halloween she would have said, “No way!”
Here are some sample pictures of the pumpkins being “carved” (thanks to Barron for bringing them to the party):
The picture below was taken a fraction of a second after the picture above. Notice that the pumpkin pieces have slowed and are further from the origin. I wonder what the BC of a pumpkin seed is. The picture above almost duplicates a picture Ry took a few years ago. Here is a cropped version of the same picture:
There are hazards to pumpkin “carving” with Boomerite. Max wasn’t really “entertainingly close” by some peoples standards but it was close enough that he sometimes turned away to avoid getting hit in the face with pieces of pumpkin. I was extremely pleased that his finger came off the trigger and he kept the gun pointed in a safe direction:
I’m sure Ms. Peterson will be pleased to know we didn’t use guns as our primary tool for carving the pumpkins. It was just the remote detonator for the explosives. And these new shooters will share their experience and pictures with friends and family which will add to the set of people who recognize modern sporting rifles in common use are not “assault weapons” which should be banned. But instead many of them will desire their own and to share in the fun of the gun and Boomershoot culture. And what does Ms. Peterson and the Brady Campaign have to counter this?
Late last month Max and Barb had watched part of a USPSA match I participated in. I introduced them to Anette and Charles but had not been able get to the range with them for their own trigger time.
Today I took Barb and her son Max to the range. Max had done some shooting before but not a lot. Barb said she might have shot a gun once when she was about 12 years old but couldn’t remember for certain.
Max’s previous experience showed. This was with the Ruger Mark II from about 10 feet away.
This is Barb’s first target. Again with the Ruger Mark II. I would include the picture of her smile but she had her eyes closed.
This was good for a first time shooter. She was having some problems with the follow through and pulling the gun low for a bit and after we got that corrected the group moved up and got a lot tighter.
One of the first things she said after shooting the first target was, “This was more fun that I thought it would be.”
This is Max with his revolver target. He shot it single action for a couple cylinders then shot it double action. All from about 8 feet away. I was impressed. My little S&W Air-Lite only has a 3″ barrel.
This is Barb with her revolver target. All single action. Very nice! Excellent for a new shooter.
We left a little early because the people in the next bay were shooting a .44 Magnum. It was a little unpleasant for us.
As we were driving away for lunch Max invoked Markley’s Law over the guy with the .44 Magnum. I gave them the history of Markley’s Law. They had not heard of it before which isn’t at all surprising. They hadn’t heard of Godwin’s Law either so I briefly brought them up to speed on that as well.
The next planned shooting excursion for Max and Barb is a trip to Idaho for a private Boomershoot party on the 20th of this month.
The usual happened. Big smiles and almost uncontrolled glee:
Yes Kim, that is your bullet hole nearly dead center in the bull.
It’s nice to enable someone to accomplish something that gives them great happiness.
Can the Brady Campaign enable individual accomplishments that will provide a lifetime of pleasure? Despite their stated best of intentions the achievement of their goals would actually block such pleasures as well as the defense of innocent life and enable violent crime that will cause sorrow to the end of your days.
Take a non-shooter to the range, make Sarah and Jim Brady cry, and make the world a better place.
New shooter Maggie had been to the range only once before. On Saturday daughter Kim, her boyfriend Jacob, Barron and I showed her how we make Boomerite and then let her shoot about 15 or 20 seven inch targets.
Her very first shot with a rifle was at a Boomerite target. It was a hit:
Try getting a smile like that at an “anti-gun range”.
Today I took son James and daughter-in-law Kelsey shooting. This was the first time for Kelsey. James and I had told her it was an option for her if she was ever interested. But I never pushed her on it. To the best of my knowledge James has not either. A few weeks ago they informed me that Kelsey had decided she would like to learn to shoot because it would help her feel safer when James wasn’t home.
This was a really big deal for Kelsey. Her family is somewhat anti-gun. When she told them she was going to learn to shoot a gun they “sort of freaked out”.
This morning I went over to do the “classroom” portion of the lesson. I had done a tiny bit previously in the weeks previously when I would go over for dinner on Monday nights. I wanted to refresh those lessons and get her ready for actually pulling the trigger on a live round.
I reviewed the sight picture with her and immediately noticed that she was cross-eye dominate. She is right handed but her left eye is dominate. We reviewed her options and she tried various things with my plastic gun. She decided she probably would be shooting left handed.
I asked her if she remembered the three safety rules (I teach the NRA rules, not the Jeff Cooper’s). She hesitated just a bit but told me:
Never point the the gun in an unsafe direction.
Never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
Never load the gun until you are ready to use it.
Wow! That was interesting! She got the essence of the rules correct but she turned them all into negatives. The NRA rules are positive statements of what you should do. I explained that it was, to exaggerate the point some, like telling someone not to thing of pink elephants. The actual NRA three gun safety rules are:
ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
I showed her the proper grip and stance then went over the mantra “trigger prep, sight alignment, squeeze, follow through”. I had her use one of my plastic guns to practice going from a high ready position to a fire position simultaneous with using the mantra.
I told her that eventually she would be able to look at something close her eyes then point the gun at what she had just seen without needing the sights. Just like pointing at something with her finger.
It was at this point that she said, “I’m not sure I ever want to be able to do that.”
She explained that when she held a gun in her hand she was very aware that she was holding “Life in her hands.” Interesting choice of words I thought but didn’t tell her that. Most people, in particular anti-gun people, would say, “Death in their hands.” She did not want to be so comfortable with a gun that she took it causally. She even expressed concern that she might become a sociopath. I tried to explain that wasn’t something that was going to happen at her age but she interrupted and said that she had been concerned that she might give birth to a sociopath since the age of 13 and no one had been able to dissuade of that in the intervening years and I wasn’t going to be able to talk her out of that concern in the next few minutes. I let that drop but asked, “What about using a gun to stop an attack against you?” She wasn’t sure, “It depends on what their situation was. What if they were just at a really bad point in their life?” “What about defending the life of your child?”, I asked and got a similar answer. The same for someone stomping on her puppy or cat.
I went on to the next lesson and showed her how to determine if a gun was unloaded–verify the source of ammunition has been removed and the chamber is empty.
I had her dry fire my STI. I repeatedly manually racked the slide and she “got” the reason for leaning into the shot and having the elbows slightly bent to absorb the recoil.
We went to the range and the public bay was crowed. Very crowded. The members bay was less crowded but we had to go through the public bay to get to the member’s bay. A shot went off as we entered the public bay and even with my best electronic muffs on Kelsey jumped and cowered. James and I hurried her into the members bay. But even there the shots from next door caused her to jump and nearly curl into a fetal position while still standing.
“It’s so loud!”, she said. After a brief consultation, James asked if I had any foam plugs she could use. I didn’t but the gun store was open and we left to get them.
She put them in and we returned. I can’t say that I could see it improved her demeanor any. And each shot made it worse. She was curled up, shaking, sweating, and crying. I told James that we should take her home. If she still wanted to learn we could go again sometime out in the woods with Ry and his suppressed .22. James started talking to Kelsey and I packing up our stuff. I shouldered my backpack and was ready to walk out but James said she still wanted to try it. I asked why. Kelsey said because she had said she would do it. “That doesn’t matter,” I told her. If you really want to do this we can do this another time when and where it’s much quieter. She insisted and I relented.
I had her dry fire the Ruger Mark II. She still jumped every time another gun went off some place. But the crying and shaking had stopped.
I put a single round in a magazine, racked the slide, and let her pick up the gun to shoot at the target about eight feet away. She brought the gun up and pointed it at the target. She hesitated and then quickly put the gun down. “I can’t do it!”, she said. “Okay, you don’t have to,” I told her. “You don’t have to do this. I don’t think you are ready and I think we should go home so we can talk about this.”
I started to pack up again. But she said, “How about I just hold the gun and you pull the trigger?” “I’m fine with that”, I said.
She picked up the gun and pointed it at the target. I repeated the mantra as I put my finger over hers in the trigger guard. I just barely touched her finger and was starting to say “squeeze” when the gun went off.
She put the gun down and started jumping up and down. “I did it!” she exclaimed. The guns booming on either side no longer mattered. From then on she didn’t stop smiling until we left the range except to pout when she had emptied a magazine. I started taking pictures and then a video:
I showed her where first shot ever hit. It was about 5:30, just inside the black.
She asked to do it again. I started to put in a half-full magazine. “Not that many. Just one. Maybe two,” she said.
I loaded the gun with two rounds.
Those went quickly and she asked for three rounds.
Then a full magazine.
And then another, and another, and another.
James shot for a while then Kelsey returned to the bench. I had her hold my partial brick of .22 ammo. She didn’t understand the joke but held it for me anyway:
I merely said the boxes had gotten a little bit wet, then dried, and were sticking together. I’ll have to explain it to her tomorrow when we go sailing.
She burned through magazine after magazine with fire blazing from the barrel. She emptied the magazines faster than I could reload.
She moved the target out to nearly 30 feet and could still keep them in the black at will. It was only when she pushed the speed that the rounds strayed a bit. But only one was outside the rings and all were on the paper:
When we brought the last target in she pointed to the big hole in the paper and with almost a growl said, “I killed it!”
Anti-gun for 25+ years then turned into a budding sociopath in just over an hour. Sarah Brady’s worst nightmare just came true. Damn! I’m good.
Friday we went to the shooting range and taught my roommate Shannon how to shoot (she had never shot a gun before in her life). Mike did most of the “training” since he’s in the Army. We shot a .22 pistol, my .357 magnum revolver, and… a full-auto AR-15. It was fun to introduce someone new to shooting. Shannon loved it and wants to go shooting again! Luckily we found out that Thursday nights are “date night” and two people shoot for the price of one… can you say roommate date?
Alan Gura September 10, 2011 Gun Blogger Rendezvous In response to the question he posed, “What can you do to help?” [SAF is the main funding source for the lawsuits Gura has been engaged in. Taking people to the range, particularly new shooters, decreases the odds they will vote for an anti-gun politician or donate money to anti-gun organizations. And, most importantly, it makes Sarah Brady, Josh Sugarmann, and Michael Beard cry.—Joe]