One of the most revealing bits of left-wing racism is how they think they can scare 2nd Amendment advocates with pictures of black people exercising their gun rights, i.e., they think the right will be as scared of minorities with guns as they are.
Frank J. Fleming @IMAO_ Tweeted on July 2, 2020 [I suspect another fear is that if black people realize they need to own a gun to protect themselves and their property from rioters and looters and it is leftist politicians who are blocking them from doing so they will become “woke” in a manner which is not favorable to the left.
A reminder; I provide free ammo and gun use for new shooters of any color and sexual orientation when they go to the range with me for the first time. Examples include:
A few weeks ago I received an email from a blog reader in California:
Subject: Recommended Firearms Trainer in Olympia
Students would be Son plus Future Daughter-in-law. He has a shot a gun a few time at the range with me but she never has. Both now want to conceal carry. The own no guns. They need basic training and purchase advice. Any recommendations for trainers in their area?
I didn’t know anyone in the Olympia area but was ready to research things and recommend someone. I also offered to give them their first lesson if they could travel to my local range. They accepted my offer for some free training and last Friday we took over the training bay at West Coast Armory in Bellevue.
We did the usual safety briefing and eye dominance testing. Chris is left handed and left eye dominant. Marion is mostly right handed and right eye dominant.
Chris has shot a little more than described with the boy scouts and other random trips to the range. Very little pistol shooting but a fair amount of rifle shooting. So, I started with Marion to get her up mostly up to level.
I put a suppressor on a Ruger Mark III 22/45 Lite and showed her stance, grip, and sight picture. She did dry fire about a dozen times but complained the grip was too small. She was correct. She has large hands for a woman so I switch to an STI Edge for dry fire and then a different .22 pistol for live fire.
I repeated the mantra, “Trigger prep, sight alignment, squeeze, follow through” again and again as she dry fired. I watched the bobble of the muzzle as it happened less and less frequently. After she had many excellent dry fires in a row we went live from 10 feet away. She was tense and said she was nervous. She did just fine.
These are her first six shots ever and the associated smile:
After she emptied a couple magazines I brought Chris to the line and evaluated his skill level. He did well. I corrected his grip and found little else to do but let him empty a couple magazines as well.
Back to Marion. She had a tendency to have her elbows bent to much and the usual failure to lean forward. But she did well:
Chris was shooting well without much input from me:
I had to correct their grips a few times and encourage Marion to lean forward and straighten her elbows more. Chris had to be reminded several times to keep his finger off the trigger when he brought the gun down. That’s an extremely common problem with experienced shooters who didn’t get fairly disciplined instruction early on.
I switched back and forth between them increasing the difficulty by having them switch between targets for every shot. It was the drill I use for practicing Steel Challenge matches. I encouraged them to shoot as fast as they could while getting all their shots inside the rings. They went through about 150 rounds of .22 dumped into multiple targets. They did great. For a new shooter Marion’s speed was impressive.
I switch to them to unsuppressed:
When I asked Marion if she was okay with the increased noise I got a look that indicated she thought that was an incredible stupid question. Okay. Time to change calibers then.
They both did great. I put up two targets and had them put two rounds on one target then put two rounds on the other. Again, when asked about recoil and noise Marion’s facial expression told me far more about her tolerance than her verbal response of a couple dismissive words.
With their good shooting I moved them to more difficult targets. Two shots on one target then two on the other:
Again they both did great. Here is Marion’s first set of shots on the partial targets from 10 feet. Zero misses and only three D-zone hits:
After they had finished off the two hundred rounds of the light recoil .40 S&W I brought I switched to 75 rounds or so of Major Power Factor USPSA loads I brought. Never have I had new shooters go through more than a couple magazines of even the low power .40 S&W.
After shooting a magazine of the USPSA loads I again asked Marion about the recoil. Her eyes didn’t roll, but I’m pretty sure that was her irritated with the stupid questions look.
With the higher recoil, my encouragement to shoot as fast as they could get shots on the paper, and some fatigue showing up the shots started getting a little less precise:
It was pretty amazing. I didn’t get out the timer but I’m certain she was doing less than one second splits on both double taps and transitions.
Here is a sample of Chris’s shooting:
Great grouping for the speed at which he was shooting but the placement could be better.
As our time ran out we cleaned up the range and went outside to review. I pointed out Chris had to work on keeping his finger off the trigger and Marion had a tendency to point the gun too far to the left. It wasn’t breaking the 180 but it didn’t need to drift that far. I told them they did really well and I didn’t have any problem recommending they were ready, skill wise, for Insights General Defensive Handgun class. I don’t think I have ever told a new shooter that after just one lesson. They really did do great.
On June 10, with the goal of building consensus and designating leadership for the movement, protesters organized the first CHAZ People’s Assembly. After setting up a stage and PA system, one of the initial speakers raised the question of legitimate authority, asking the audience: “What’s the structure, how are we going to achieve some sort of communal hierarchy that we all feel comfortable with?” The audience booed and insisted that the movement should remain “horizontal” and leaderless. At the end of the People’s Assembly, racial-justice activist Julie Chang Shulman conceded that no leadership had been established but that the group had settled on the ideological principles of an “abolitionist framework” and “commitment to solidarity and accountability to Black and Indigenous communities.”
I’ve known Julie since she was a toddler when I worked at the same company with her parents. Julie is within a few months of being the same age as my oldest child. We are Facebook “friends”. We occasionally message each other back and forth on Facebook.
Ruger P89 (9mm with lightly loaded 147 grain bullets)
STI Edge (.40 S&W with lightly loaded 180 grain bullets)
The Gun Blog 45 (.45 Auto with lightly loaded 230 grain bullets)
I had to correct her stance and give her some hints on the grip but after that she did really well. There were a few flyers but most were good solid A-Zone hits.
The stock was too long and she ended up putting it on top of her shoulder to get the proper eye relief and get it close enough she could hold it up. Still, she had great hits.
I had her shoot the Ruger P89 only in single action mode. My goal was to see how she handled the 9mm recoil in a fairly heavy gun. If that worked out okay I would have guided her to Glock or S&W M&P style gun.
Great hits (smaller holes are from the .22 rifle):
Then the STI Edge in .40 S&W:
There was one flyer:
She said she liked that gun the best so far.
On to the Gun Blog 45. Even though these were light loads with a MV of just under 775 fps (PF of about 178) she fired one shot and said that was enough.
I rented a Sig 238 (.380 Auto) and she liked it before she even touched it. We did a little dry firing, then actual shooting. She really liked it. She had great hits and after shooting about a half dozen magazines said she was done. She really liked the .380.
She had three flyers. But she shot a lot more good solid hits.
We put away the guns, washed up, and went to the store where her husband ordered and paid for a Sig Sauer 238 and two extra magazines.
Sunday before last, on the 19th, I had an interesting student. Susan was born and raised in communist China. She is currently a Canadian citizen, recently married my brother-in-law, a U.S. citizen, and is in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen herself.
One of the interesting stories she told Barb and I was that growing up the schools in China taught that in the U.S. there was lots of food but only the rich could afford it. And rather than let the poor people have food for an affordable price the rich would dump the excess food in the ocean. The fact that food is so plentiful and cheap that poor people in this country are obese apparently didn’t make it through the censors.
Susan wanted to learn to shoot a gun because there are times when she is home alone. Barb reserved the indoor training bay at the local gun range and Susan, her husband Mark, Barb, and I went to the range for a couple hours.
At the range one of the first things she told me was that she had never touched a gun before. <shrug> Not a problem. That’s what we are here to fix.
She filled out the paperwork for the range and after we were in the training bay she again told me, “I’ve never touched a gun before.” I assured her that was fine. I will start at the basics and she will do just fine.
After reviewing the safety rules I used a plastic gun to show Susan and Mark the proper grip (photo by Barb):
I had taught Mark to shoot a couple years ago but I don’t think he had been to the range since and he was following along with the instructions I was giving Susan.
It might be said that Susan is left handed but she uses her right hand for a lot of things. I tested her eye dominance and found she was left eye dominate. I had her first try dry firing left handed but she insisted that shooting right handed felt better. Okay, let’s see how that works out and maybe try left handed shooting later. It turned out that shooting right handed worked for her. She closes her left eye when shooting.
After she practiced gripping the plastic gun and taking a stance that was approximately correct I showed her what the sight picture looks like with the rear, front, and target all lined up.
We then moved on to dry firing a .22 with a suppressor. The first couple of “shot’s” had significant gun movement. I pointed this out and asked her to concentrate on the following through. No movement of the gun until significantly after the click. Again and again I repeated, “Trigger prep, sight alignment, squeeze, follow through”. After just two or three dry fire clicks the gun was remarkable solid.
I loaded the gun and she fired a live round for the first time. I didn’t see any flinch or movement except that caused by the recoil of the gun but the shot was way high. Odd, try again. Again it was high but a little closer. Again and still high. I looked over her shoulder and could see she was aiming high. I stopped her and went to the target with her and the plastic gun again. I pointed out the front and rear sights and how they should align on the target. I told her to keep the front sight in focus and the target and rear sight would be slightly out of focus.
Still she was shooting high. I encouraged her get the sights lined up on the target but she still kept pointing it way high. At the end of the first magazine she finally got two rounds on the target from about 10 feet away.
After putting in the second magazine she started getting all the shots on the target. She told me she had just been using the front sight at first. Oh! That was the problem. Somehow I hadn’t connected with her on the two sights. She went through several magazines and the groups kept improving. Here is her first target with her new shooter smile:
I put up a fresh set of targets and had her shoot at one target, move to the next, shoot it, and continue until she shot five times. One shot on each of three targets and two shots on the target which was the first and the last shot. Then repeat which would empty the magazine. Repeat with another magazine. She got really good hits and I encouraged her to shoot faster and faster as long as she was getting all the shots inside the rings.
I took off the suppressor to reduce the weight and let her experience more muzzle blast. She shot still faster and never had a miss. Here is her target after several magazines:
I moved on to self-defense shooting. I told her about what I call the four Bs. There are only four ways you can get a bad guy to stop their attack:
Brains—You get a central nervous system hit and shut them down. This includes the upper spine as well as the brain.
Bone—You shoot and break their pelvis or other major mechanical supporting structure allowing you to escape.
Blood—You shoot them in a vital circulatory system causing them to lose sufficient blood pressure to remain conscious. Typically this is accomplished with shots to the heart and lungs.
Balls—They loose courage and stop the attack because they don’t want to get shot or want to stop getting shot.
Although number 1 is the quickest end to the attack it is a very difficult shot because the head is easy to move rapidly and it’s almost a reflexive move when a gun is pointed at your head. Plus, with pistol calibers the only dependable way to get into the cranial cavity is through the eye sockets. The curved and angled skull can deflect the bullet such that it doesn’t penetrate. Getting a bullet into the eye socket is an extremely difficult shot on a moving target.
Number 2 is a little easier if you are shooting a reasonably large caliber at the pelvis. They can’t get their pelvis out of the way as quickly and reflexively as their head. But the hips, which are most easily broken are still a small target compared to number 3.
The first target should be number 3, the upper chest. It’s difficult to move the chest area rapidly because it’s near the center of gravity. The heart and lungs are a much larger target. These are what should be shot first. If that doesn’t get the desired results after a few shots then start targeting number 2 or 1 (photo by Barb):
How many times do you shoot? You shoot until the attack is stopped. If they turn and run you are done unless they are putting another innocent life in imminent danger of permanent injury or death.
I explained you can’t shoot someone just because you don’t want them in your yard. You can only justifiably use lethal force to defend yourself or other innocent people from imminent danger of permanent injury or death. Washington state does generally consider someone who has broken into your house, knowing that people are present, as sufficient justification to use lethal force. There are some situations where this is not going to be true. A healthy adult male shooting a 10-year old who broke a window and came into the house is probably going to jail. The resident has to use reasonable judgement.
Susan first used the .22 pistol with good results:
After several magazines with her shots doing well I had her try my .40 with some powder puff loads. They wouldn’t cycle the gun when Susan was shooting it. I tried to get her to lock her wrists and hold it firmly but she just didn’t have the strength to keep the gun solid enough to cycle. I switched out the ammo to my major Power Factor loads. It cycled with the two shots she took but she was uncomfortable with it and I moved her to a different gun for her defending herself in the inside the home scenario:
This is a suppressed AR with a red-dot sight. I explained the bullet, even though it is the same diameter as used by the .22 she had been shooting, is moving about three times the velocity. This additional velocity will cause much more damage to an attacker and one or two solid hits will have as much “persuasion power” as a whole magazine out of the .22. Plus it is easier to get good hits. Even from the top of her stairs to the front door of her home she could easily get hits that would be difficult with a handgun.
She fired a few shots with it then I moved her back to about eight yards from the original three or four yards. She continued to get good results but the gun was too heavy for her to be comfortable with it. I took off the suppressor since it’s actually a .30 caliber suppressor and much heavier than it needs to be. I should get one sized for 223.
With the much louder muzzle blast she still did fine and even said she liked that, “Because it will scare them away!” I told her that especially if she is indoors it will require she be wearing hearing protection because it would cause permanent hearing damage to shoot it without ear protection.
Here is her final target:
Our range time was up so we cleaned up and made plans for the next stage of her firearm skills development. I gave them a link to Insights Training for the General Defensive Handgun class. She will need to have her own gun and she needs a little more preparation to be ready for the class. We will go to the range again soon and they will try out various guns to see what works best for them at this stage of development.
As we were leaving Susan again told me, “I had never touched a gun before.” She went on to say, “I thought we would just look at guns today. I didn’t think I was ready to shoot one!”
She did fine. Guns aren’t so difficult that you can’t be safe and functional within a couple hours. You can spend years becoming an expert but you can successfully defend yourself with a few hours of training and practice. Just look at the last target for the proof.
But, I did my best and got them through the basics with a .22 pistol (both suppressed and unsuppressed), .22 revolver (both single and double action), and we had just enough time left for each to take make a single shot with the .40 S&W.
The wife and two daughters had never shot a real gun before. One of the daughters had shot a pellet gun once.
I did the usual explanation of grip, stance, sight alignment, and sight picture, then had them dryfire until things looked solid. I added live ammo and they started punching holes in the paper from 10 feet away.
They all did well after some minor adjustments. The primary adjustment was in which hand to shoot with. All are right handed but Vic’s wife and one daughter are cross eyed dominate. They tried shooting both right handed and left handed and ended up sticking with left handed shooting. I’ve found that when new shooters are cross eyed dominate the majority end up shooting with their weak hand.
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.
On August 2ndRy brought Henry, his nephew from Illinois, to the range. Henry had shot a fair amount with Airsoft guns but never a real gun. As usual, I started him out with safety rules, grip, stance, and sight alignment on a suppressed .22 from about 10 feet away. This was his first shot (from a video by Ry):
Most of the time he was able to keep them on the target. He tended to have a bimodal distribution of his shots. They were either good or way off. I gave him the gun with an empty chamber when he expected the gun to be loaded. The bobble of the gun showed both of us he was not holding the gun steady as he squeezed the trigger. More dry fire helped.
I moved him on to shooting multiple targets. One shot per target. After he seemed have that down fairly well I removed the suppressor and brought out the timer. The pressure of the timer showed and on nearly every run of five shots he would miss one of the targets.
I told him each miss was a three second penalty, as it is in Steel Challenge matches and told him to remember the mantra, “Trigger prep, sight alignment, squeeze, follow-through”. The hits got better and then his times improved with some strings being in the mid fours.
I moved him on to low powered .40 S&W loads. At first he did almost as well as with the .22. Then there were more and more wild shots. More dry fire was required. After he seemed back in control I turned him over to Ry as I prepared to leave (Barb and I were headed to Mount Rainier that evening). Ry had his own set of toys and Henry started out with a fully equipped 9mm:
I picked up my brass and gear and left while Ry and Henry finished out the last 20 minutes or so we had the bay reserved. Ry later send me video and a picture he had taken of Henry with an AR:
The next day, while Barb and I were hiking nearly over 6500 feet above sea level on Mount Rainier, I got a message from Ry, “Thank you for yesterday. Henry can’t stop talking about it.”
Last month daughter Kim and her husband Jacob had some friends visit Idaho from Utah. Most of them had never shot a gun and wanted to learn. Kim was thrilled I was going to be working on Boomershoot stuff that weekend and brought them to me to learn to shoot.
A couple locals had more gun experience and also showed up to participate. I originally expect people would arrive around 4:00 and maybe leave by 6:00. They arrived about 1:30, but, whatever. That worked for me as well.
It was a hot day and we put up a small shelter to give us some relieve from the sun:
I did the usual by starting them out with safety rules, grip, stanch, and a suppressed .22.
As you might expect, one of the more experience people needed a little more coaching to unlearn bad habits. The only pistol she had ever shot was a 9mm. She confess that when she pulled the trigger she always closed her eyes. Her hits on the target reflected this. With a little extra dry fire and coaching we got most of that cleared up and her targets looked much better.
Yesterday Dana and Chris from Barb’s Book Club went to the Bellevue Gun Club with Barb and I. Neither had even touched a gun before.
It went well. As usual I taught them how to shoot a pistol since it’s an indoor range with only 25 yards available. I did the usual stuff regarding safety, then stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture, dry fire, and finally had them take their first shots with a suppressed .22 from 10 feet away from the target.
The following three pictures are by Barb. Yes, there is something wrong with the stance and grip in each of the pictures. They were still working on getting everything correct at the same time. It got better latter on before it deteriorate as they got tired at the end.
I also talked them a little about ammunition. The bullet, the shell casing, powder, and primers. After I showed them rimfire and center cartridges Barb spoke up, “I didn’t know that! So that’s what you meant by that all this time.” Whoops! I thought she knew.
Dana had some problems at first. The shots were going all over the place. Chris’s first two shots were several inches high but close to each other. I asked if the top of the front and rear sights were level with each other and without a word put the next several shots into the bulls-eye. Okay, that’s an acceptable answer.
Dana shot again and after asking a few questions all of a sudden many of her shots started going into the bulls-eye. She had only been using the front sight. Once she used the rear sight in combination with the front sight things worked much better. Imagine that.
I had them shoot a .22 revolver in single action mode. Then had them dry fire in double action mode and advised them that in general they would probably be happier shooting semi-auto handguns.
Near the end of our reserved time we put up two USPSA targets and I talked to them about self defense shooting. This included where to shoot, what to expect in terms of the threat response to hits in various locations, and when it was legal to shoot.
After a couple of magazines through the Ruger 22/45 Mark IIIs I had them start from a close ready position and then push out to fire first one shot at a time then two shots at a time. They did very well with all shots in the lower A-Zone (except the two Chris tried in the upper A-zone). I was very pleased with all the progress they had made and they thanked me multiple times.
At the end of the month another new shooter from the book club is scheduled to go to the range with us.
After suggesting, for years, that Maddy learn to shoot she agreed and yesterday we went to the range. On the way to the range I quizzed her on the gun safety rules. At first she struggled with rule one but had them down by the time we arrived. She had never touched a gun before yesterday but did awesome! You could see her improve, literally, from one string of five shots to the next. It was incredible to watch.
I started her out, as usual, with a suppressed .22 at about 10 feet from a simple paper target. I first taught her the proper stance, then grip, dry fire, then one round in the gun, then two rounds, then more…
This is her first, approximately, 10 shots. The first round is in the white six-ring at about 6:00. The second as in the 9-ring at about 4:00. With only one other “wild” (for moderate definitions of “wild”) shot the rest all stayed in a tight group in the black around 6:00.
She is cross eye dominate and after shooting right handed for about 20 shots I had her shoot left handed to see how that would work out.
She was more accurate:
She said it felt more stable but a bit awkward and went back to shooting right handed.
As she improved I changed the game to make it more interesting. I had her put five shots on four targets with no two shots sequentially on the same target and no concern for accuracy beyond touching the target. I was trying to emulate a steel challenge stage. At first I just let her shoot at her own pace with no encouragement for speed. She was nailing it:
I then asked her to speed things up. She continued to do well and I got out the timer and switched her to unsuppressed.
Her times for the five shots were in the sixes and I told her I was guessing she could be under five and still get all the shots on target. A couple strings later and she had a 5.00. Then she blew it away with a 4.48:
Then a 4.41:
A few strings later it was 4.25:
It was amazing to watch. Nearly every string was more consistent and the splits tighter without a single miss. The hits were nearly all in the black.
I could detect some fatigue, which she verified, so before going home, I moved her on to try a few shots with a centerfire pistol. I gave her some low power 180 grain loads in .40 S&W and had her shoot my STI Eagle:
She fired about five shots, all in the black, then we cleaned up and went home where her mom marveled at how well she did and I announced she was “competition ready”.
Sheryl isn’t a first time shooter. But she didn’t have much experience. She recently moved here from the Philippines and Calvin, her former Marine husband, did teach her to shoot. Calvin likes to drive up in the mountains on Forest Service and even unmarked dirt roads and yesterday they showed Barb and I a wonderful viewpoint east of Snoqualmie Pass:
After getting off the mountain we went to the range where both of them shot a .22 with a suppressor. I gave Calvin a couple of suggestions and let him shoot by himself. I spent a lot more time with Sheryl and here is the result of her first target from about 10 feet away with 10 shots per bullseye:
I then had them shooting five shots with the requirement that each shot be on a different bullseye from the previous to simulate a Steel Challenge type stage. Then I put them on the shot timer. I told Sheryl that I thought with a little practice she could do it in about five seconds—one second per shot. “No way!”, she said. I told her at first I expected something on the order of seven or eight seconds but we could get her somewhere in the range of five today.
It took a little bit for them to settle down and not get misses but when we were done Sheryl did better than Calvin with one string at 4.44 (IIRC). Calvin’s best was 5.15 (IIRC).
I moved them back to about 20 feet and Calvin did better. Sheryl kept trying to shoot the same speed as at the shorter range and had misses. A another trip or two to the range is going to be required before I take them to a match.
They both did well but Sheryl, in particular, had problems with the gun not fully cycling. I gave her a few major power factor loads. She did just fine with them but with the heavier gun, large grip, and her small hands I could tell she was getting tired. It was time to clean up and called it quits for the day anyway so that’s what we did.
We have a relatively new intern on my team at work, Nashwa. She grew up in Texas and speaks fondly of it so I figured she was at least comfortable around gun owners. I had taken everyone else on the team, except my boss Jodie, to the range but not Nashwa.
I have invited Jodie many times. While she expresses great interest she has not found a time slot that works. I give her a pass because she recently finished up training with the FBI where she learned to shoot everything from handguns to sniper rifles. I’ll get her to the range someday but today was Nashwa’s day.
I had the training bay reserved just for the two of us from 4:00 –> 6:00. It turns out she had never fired a gun before. I asked if she was right handed or left handed. “Right”. Which eye is dominant? “Right”. I was a little surprised she knew. My surprise must have shown because she then said she wasn’t sure. I did a quick test and found she was left eye dominant. I first taught her shooting left handed and then part way through switched to right handed for a while. She decided to stay with left handed shooting.
I started her out with dry firing of a Ruger 22/45 Light with a suppressor. She looked like she had it down. But her first half dozen real shots were all high. Nice group. But they were about three inches high at 10 feet. I went over sighting again. Still the same problem.
I fired a few shots. It was maybe a quarter inch low at that range.
We went over the sighting again. “Oh, I wasn’t really looking at what was going on with the rear sight.” Hmm… I’ll have to work on how I explain sights.
I gave her a clean target and she was putting them just below the bulls-eye:
Ahhh… Yes. The new shooter smile.
I moved her to shooting a simulated steel match with four targets on one piece of paper and removed the suppressor.
She was getting all five hits in under ten seconds.
Next I gave her Major Power Factor loads in my STI DVC Limited. With essentially the same results. But after a few strings the misses started increasing and getting more and more wild. It was time to go back to the .22.
She still had some misses. Back to dry fire. We needed to end the day on a positive note.
The dry fire looked good. I pretended to put in a loaded magazine and she “fired” again. There was some serious movement of the gun when she pulled the trigger. More dry fire. And then, finally, live fire. She was back to consistent, solid, hits I shouldn’t have let her fire so many rounds through the .40. She was starting to develop a flinch.
After we cleaned up and packed things up we talked a little bit. She had two questions:
Q: How much do I owe you?
A: Nothing. The first time is free for new shooters.
Q: How often do you come here? I would like to go again.
A: Two or three times a week. But you don’t need for me come with you. You can come here by yourself if you want or bring a friend anytime they are open.
We now have a new member in the gun community and a team member at work that fits right in.
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:
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!
Barb’s son Max, his friend Mikel, and I went to an Airsoft range last Sunday. It was the first time for Mikel and I. I was a little uncomfortable aiming and shooting what looked very much like a real gun at real people. That uncomfortable feeling went away when people started shooting at me. It’s strange how that works. I returned fire and got my share of “kills” and was on the winning side about 70% of the time. It’s not something I would do again on my own, but if someone wanted me to go with them I probably would agree just to be social.
On the way home Mikel asked how the rental Airsoft guns compared to real guns in terms of weight. Max and I told him a little lighter on average and the magazines were much lighter. I followed up with an offer to take him to the range and shoot some real guns if he wanted. He agreed and I was able to get a complete bay to ourselves for Tuesday evening.
I started him out on a .22 pistol with a suppressor. I taught him grip, stance, sight alignment, trigger prep, trigger squeeze, and follow through. Then I had him do dry fire to practice what I had just taught him. Then it was live fire with subsonic ammo. He did well. This is Mikel (with fogged up safety glasses) and his first target after 20 rounds at about five yards:
Next, no suppressor with high velocity ammo. He continued to do well and we moved the target out to about seven yards. His groups opened up some but they were still inside the rings.
I then at five yards had him shoot five rounds as fast as he could shoot while keeping them inside the rings as he rotating around the four targets while on the shot timer. He continued to keep his cool and keep them within the rings even as he shot faster and faster.
Next I got out a .22 revolver and told him this was the lightest gun I owned. And I put my STI Eagle on the bench and told him that was my heaviest handgun. He compared the two and expressed some surprise.
He fired the revolver single action, then double action, and expressed, both verbally and with his group size, a preference for single action.
Next he did some dry fire with the STI Eagle. To my surprise there was a jerk of the gun when he pulled the trigger on an empty gun. I mentioned this and he said he was anticipating what he expected would happen when it was loaded. Max had told him it would have a lot more recoil. Okay then! We’re going to have fun with this!
I had him dry fire until long past the time the flinch was completely gone. Then I put in a loaded magazine (with very low powered .40 S&W loads) and pretended to put a round in the chamber. “Now, shoot just like with the dry fire”, I told him. There was a click and a big flinch. Gotcha!
I again pretended to put a round in the chamber and reminded him, “Trigger prep, sight alignment, squeeze, follow through. Just like with the empty gun.” No flinch. Again an empty chamber. No flinch. Then a loaded chamber. The bullet went into the bottom of the bullseye at five yards. Again and again he shot. 18 rounds and all near the bottom of the bull into about a 1.5 inch group. Nice. Another 18 rounds in the next target. And again, good shooting. I asked him to remember what his target looked like and I took him to another bay where people were shooting and showed him the targets people were shooting as well as the targets in the garbage cans. Most of them had such a wide pattern there wasn’t even a hint of a group near the rings.
Then I gave him Major Power Factor loads with two of the light loads on the top of the magazine so he could compare the easily. I could hear a significant difference as well as see the increased recoil from the heavier loads. He still kept the rounds on target with only an occasional stray out of the black.
“Okay, now what do you want to do?” I asked. “You can do more handgun shooting of whatever gun you want or you can shoot the AR-15s”, I told him. He was unsure. I then offered to set up multiple targets where he could move and shoot with the handgun. He lit up at this and so we put out five USPSA targets at various distances. I started him about five yards from the closest target, the second to the right at about 10 yards, and the remaining three to the right of that at about 15 yards from his starting position. I told him to start at the low ready, go slow, be safe, put two rounds on each target, move and shoot however he thought would be best to get almost all A-zone hits. He did great on the safety issue and I told him to go a little faster if he wanted. I think he shot the stage four times getting his time down into the 17 second range with reasonable hits most of the time.
Max then shot the stage a few times. Good hits with times in the 15 second range.
They asked if I wanted to shoot it so I shot it two different ways. The first was without moving. Just shooting all the targets from the start position. Something over seven seconds with five A-zone hits and five C-zone hits. The second attempt was while moving and shooting with me ending up about three feet from the last few targets. My time was in the fives with seven A-zone hits and three C-zone hits. They seemed to be impressed.
We cleaned up the range, packed up, washed up, and went outside to talk for a while. I told Mikel the five shots on five targets was practice for steel challenge events and that if he wanted he could shoot that type of match now with his skill set and not be embarrassed. I explained that it is difficult to do extremely well, but it’s easy to “Not suck”. I then told him about a couple flavors of action shooting. I described the problem solving and difficult shooting positions. And to just let me know if he wanted to go shooting again or shoot in a match.
He seemed very enthusiastic and thanked me. In my mind, I was thanking him for giving me an opportunity to bring another person onto our team.
Kelsey recently joined my team at work. Like Caity, when she first joined the team full time, there was a minor flaw. Everyone else on our team knows how to shoot and enjoys guns. Kelsey is very quiet and difficult for me to read. I wasn’t sure whether to discuss this issue with her or not. Over the course of a few weeks it came out that she was interested in learning to shoot so I reserved the training bay for 12:00 –> 2:00 (they only do two hour blocks) today. It turned out our boss gave us all the afternoon off since we have to work part of Sunday this weekend so Kelsey and I weren’t rushed when we visited the range.
I started her out with a suppressed Ruger Mark III 22/45 with subsonic ammo at five yards.
That went well. I didn’t take a picture of the target after the first eight shots, but here you can see the target after 18 rounds:
The first eight shots were the three at the bottom, and then a vertical hole of five shots you could cover with a nickel. The one wild shot at the top was near the end of the second magazine.
I had forgotten to tell her to keep the front sight in focus. We talked about that a bit and then she went on to a .22 revolver. I had her fire it single action with CCI CBs:
That went well:
Okay, now a challenge, and the reason I seldom recommend revolvers. Shooting a revolver in double action mode:
Again, a couple wild shots near the end of the string. But the rest of the shots are really rocking it for a new shooter with any handgun, let alone a double action revolver. She learns fast!
I gave her a choice, learning to shoot faster, move to a larger caliber gun, or more precision shooting with the Ruger. She choose more precision shooting with the semi-auto.
I was amazed. This is 10 rounds at five yards:
These were shots 37 through 46 in her entire life. She only once even held a gun in her hands before (so she says).
This is after 20 rounds:
Okay. She’s a pro. There is nothing I can teach her about this type of shooting. We have to move on to something else. She is going to get bored putting so many bullets through a single hole.
I put up a paper with four bull’s-eye targets and told her to put one round on each bullseye. Keep it in the black or smaller, but shoot faster. She did a couple strings of five shots each. She shot quite a bit faster, but about half the bullets were in the 10 ring.
I told her she can go faster still, “Just keep them in the black. As soon as the sights are lined up somewhere within the black, squeeze off the last 20% of the trigger pull”. “Oh”, she replied, “I can do that.” And she did. Hmm… I need to push her more.
I pulled out the shot timer and went through the range commands with her: “1) Make ready. 2) Are you ready? 3) Standby…BEEP!” Got that? Good. Let’s try it.
And I finally pushed her into failure. With four shots, one bullet barely nicked the bottom of the paper, and one missed on the right side of the paper entirely. Ah! Now we have something I can teach her!
Shooting fast, particularly in competition, is a mind game. A little bit of stress can make everything fall apart. Don’t let the timer or the shooter next to you, with their own set of plates competing for the first to complete, affect how you shoot. You shoot your targets your way, just like you did in practice. Let’s try it again.
She got it. From the low ready she was able to get five shots into five targets (one of the targets twice) in six point something seconds. All her splits were less than a second.
We had used up all our range time so we cleaned up the range and as we returned to the lobby to wash up I asked her to walk slowly past the shooters in the next bay and look at the targets the other shooters were producing. I told her, “There won’t be any targets even close to what you did today”. I was right. There wasn’t a pattern on any of the targets I could have completely covered with both of my hands spread wide.
We went on to the lobby and I finished washing first. I grabbed her 20 round target and showed it to the range officer behind the counter. She was as amazed as I was and pulled up Kelsey’s profile in their database and made a note of something about “A legend has been reborn.”
Kelsey earned her new shooter smile and she is now a complete member of our team:
Paul and Louise visited us from Canada this weekend. Paul was in the U.K. military and had a fair amount of experience with rifles but very little experience with handguns. Recently they purchased handguns and took some classes. Then Paul decided he would like to get into reloading. I showed them my reloading set up and talked quite a bit about it with them. Why I reload, some tips on reloading he probably won’t find in the YouTube videos, and why I have some of the equipment.
Barb and I took them to the range and Paul had his first experience shooting an AR and Louise shot a rifle for the first time. Among other firsts were shooting a gun with a suppressor.
I did a little coaching with Louise but Paul was doing very well without much input from me. We probably went through about 400 rounds total of .22LR and .40 S&W. It was a good day and you can see the indicator of that with the new shooter smile on Louise’s face.
I took the son to the range today. Not the first time, but we have not been there very many times yet. It was the first time he has fired a center-fire semi-auto handgun. A generic 1911, using standard white-box 230 gr hardball. He had a pretty shot-up target already from the .22 and the 38 special, and we couldn’t tell where he was hitting, so we put out a new target.
This is the result of his next ten shots at 7 yards, loading the magazine one to two rounds at a time, being very safety conscious and paying attention to stance and grip.
Not bad… for an 11 year old.
Very nice. Even if it had been a adult it would have been good for that level of experience.
I did a little coaching for a friend I bumped into at the range today. He was shooting a Smith & Wesson M&P 45 at about 7 yards at what looks to be the same size target and only about half of the bullets were within the rings. His grip and stance both needed some help. I then had him doing some dry fire to make sure his trigger control was good. I spent about 20 minutes with him and he was shooting much better when we left but it still wasn’t up to the level of our 11 year-old star above.