Taking 1st Timers to the Range


Tin Gizel
August 7, 2007, 08:15 AM
I'm taking a friend of mine and his son the the NRAHQ range tomorrow. I'm excited to take out some first time shooters.

They've commented that they want to shoot the rifles "that the liberals are trying to ban" so I'm loading up the M4, M14 and AK47 and my G19.

Any pointers on how to make it a positive experience that'll make them want to run out and buy some rifles without momma bears permission?

Also, the NRA is going to make them take a 'safety test' and I plan on hovering closely to make sure they're safe. Anyone notice any common safety violations I should watch for? or just stress the 4 rules?

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August 7, 2007, 09:38 AM
I would start with only loading 1 round at a time. That way should the barrel be pointed in an unsafe direction, you know you only gave them 1 and it's spent. I just took a newbie this past Saturday and that's what I did with her until I was comfortable loading up more.

August 7, 2007, 09:45 AM
Start with a .22. I've said it a million times. New shooters enjoy not being punched in the shoulder the first time because they never get the stock tight enough in.

I always tell them if you are uncomfortable then stop immediately. Nothing more dangerous than a person with a gun who is scared or afraid of it.

August 7, 2007, 09:49 AM
a .22 at 50 yards.
If they can't hit something they're going to lose interest.
And make it FUN!!!


Tin Gizel
August 7, 2007, 10:36 AM
I never thought of the 1 round at a time thing....but that's a VERY good idea....just until I get comfortable with them then I can let them have at it.

August 7, 2007, 10:48 AM
Definitely teach them the four rules, and make sure they can repeat them. If they're not familiar with shooting, just let them shoot one at a time so you can keep a close eye for technique/safety reasons.

Like everyone else said, start off easy. Some reactive targets (bottles of water or somesuch) would be a ton of fun.

August 7, 2007, 10:56 AM
They have to take the range test before heading out. Get there early and get the test done. I usually give folks some instruction while they are taking the test and use the test itself as a teaching opportunity (which is what the NRA sees it as).

Ask the range officer to pull out the gun diagrams too (since you can't take guns into the test room). Teach them about different actions, etc.

When you get to the range, start off with a .22lr.

And put the target at .25 yards. Something close they can hit. Shoot 50 rounds through it or something. Make it fun. When they get done, work up to the bigger rounds.

August 7, 2007, 11:13 AM
The NRA-HQ range is STRICT on the rules. Let the newbie know that ahead of time and let them know it's a safety thing not a personal thing so they don't get flustered if an RO says something to them. The test itself is "instructional" and open book. It's mostly to make sure people have the safety basics.

The load-one and shoot-one technique is a good one but I tend to take it even one step further for the first few shots and I have the new shooter...
-Pick up the firearm
-Load one
-Make the firearm safe (Magazine out, chamber open)
-Put the firearm down
-Relax for a few seconds

Sounds like a pain in the butt, but it gives you a chance to teach safe handling from start to finish, repeatedly, until the shooter is comfortable with the process. The "relax for a few seconds" is really important as well, especially for nervous new shooters.

BIG targets UP CLOSE to start with and if they make that one awesome shot on a target then pull the target immediately and set it aside for them to take home. That does tons for ego and the will to shoot more later.

And of course make sure they understand the safety rules.

Generally the biggest newbie mistakes I see at NRA-HQ are carelessness with regards to keeping the gun pointed downrange and with having the finger on the trigger at the wrong times, so you want to keep a close eye on that and make the new shooter very "muzzle and trigger aware".

August 7, 2007, 12:12 PM
Your job is teacher and safety officer,so no shooting for you that day.Four 'students' at a time is a handful of newbies,so be very very vigilant.(sp)

I agree with starting with a .22 at 25 yards.Spend a few bucks and get Shoot 'n See targets.Newbies LOVE seeing the things 'light up' when they hit it.

Black Majik
August 7, 2007, 12:23 PM
Good job for doing this. You'll have to go slow with first time shooters. Enforce and have them remember the four rules. Start off slow, start small with a .22. Make sure they get basic fundamentals down such as sight picture, safety and squeezing the trigger. Once they show competency, move them up to larger calibers. Let them have fun, but watch them closely.

I've done a few range reports for new shooters on the General Discussion forum. They might help on how to introduce new shooters to the sport.

Good on you though... that's excellent.

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