NEED TIPS! Taking my wife to the range today! YAY!


December 21, 2007, 02:44 PM
Ok. had part of a day off! Taking my wife to shoot for the first time!
What are a few tips I can give her to help her have the best time possible?
I want to not ruin her first experience and I don't want to be overbearing on her fun! I just wanna be able to give her a few safety tips, and some advice to help her, and let her go!
Leaving in a few minutes. if you have anything to offer, let me know now!

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December 21, 2007, 02:47 PM
No shooting coaching. No "use this grip, lean forward, this foot forward, your aim is too low." Be sure the 4 rules aren't broken and her thumb isn't behind the slide. Let the new shooter get comfortable with just shooting a gun and you can worry about grouping later. A .22 is always nice to start.

December 21, 2007, 02:49 PM
one big one i use with all new shooters... "if you feel someone tap on your shoulder... immediately set the gun down" that way you arent trying to yell at someone that has ear plugs in, and the tendency is for them to turn around when you yell... thats a bad thing with a gun in the persons hand

December 21, 2007, 02:50 PM
Go over the four rules and do a bit of dryfiring at home where you can actually hear each other easily. I'd give a few quick tips on stance and grip, mention the muzzle and trigger safety stuff again, then go have fun!

Safety is number one. And making sure she is familiar enough with the weapons to be comfortable will let her have more fun. That's why I think it's best to go over this stuff before you get to the range. Make sure you explain to her that if you give a curt, "Finger," or, "Muzzle," at the range it is just for everybody's safety and you aren't yelling at her. :-)

Have fun!

December 21, 2007, 02:52 PM
Keep it safe, keep it light hearted, keep it fun, pay attention to when SHE's done and leave then (even if you want to keep shooting).

Most important; never at any point say anything that can be in any way twisted to be criticism (unless safety ABSOLUTELY demands it).

December 21, 2007, 02:54 PM
Here's what has worked for me with noobs before.

Don't dump her on the range and have her start blasting. Get her familiar with the equipment beforehand.

Ask her to wear a hat, long sleeves, shoes (not sandals), and nothing that can't get burned. Warn her about hot brass.

Don't give her a 10mm to shoot first, use a .22.

Try to go when the lanes aren't completely packed, and warn her about the noise. Tell her beforehand that it's not like TV. Tell her that there's concussion, and that she's going to feel the guns going off.

Tell her that she will probably be completely freaked the *^&$# out for the first five minutes. Tell her this is normal. Tell her it happens to everyone. Tell her that it's ok if she's shaking for a while, but that she should get used to it.

If she doesn't get used to it, don't push. Leave. Try again some other time.

Don't have her use big stuff until she's happy putting .22 holes in paper.

Work on grip and stance while she's shooting .22. Don't let her develop bad habits and then give her a hand cannon.

If she doesn't take correction well from you normally, work on that before you go to the range.

Oh, here's the problem I have with my wife: she gets upset with herself when she doesn't shoot as well as everyone else. Make sure your wife knows that hitting the paper at all is more than some people can do.

And read that cornered cat article again.

December 21, 2007, 02:55 PM
Take her out for lunch, dinner, Starbucks, or whatever afterwards.

December 21, 2007, 03:00 PM
In addition to the aboven mentioned start her on a .22, safety first, etc etc. I would recommend taking her to a range (if at all possible) where you don't have to shoot just paper and get some sort of reactive target, this can be cans of soda, bowling pins, or even phone books or computer parts (ask first about computer parts....some ranges that allow other stuff don't like computer parts) and get her to shoot those ....infact if you can avoid shooting any kind of paper or target on the first outting I would highly recommend it.

There is nothing greater to see than an ENORMOUS grin from someone that just splattered a shookup can of soda or knocked over a bowling pin. Even now for me I prefer (and have more fun) to have SOMETHING besides paper to shoot if at all possible (again even if its just some bowling pins that the range provides).

December 21, 2007, 03:01 PM
Buy her a pink Glock.

...and have fun!

December 21, 2007, 03:03 PM
^going to see a local band and get dinner afterwards.

what kind of stance should I teach her?
I'm not an expert myself. Don't want the blind leading the blind.

I am renting a reuger 22 target pistol for her. Definitely not gonna put a 9mm or a .40cal in her hands yet.

December 21, 2007, 03:04 PM
Stop and ask for directions on the way to the range if you get lost... :evil:

December 21, 2007, 03:08 PM
for stance on a first range trip, honestly all I tell people is stand comfortably and don't lean away from guns, I teach them the "Nose Over Toes" mantra.....stance, perfect grip, etc etc all this is secondary to getting people to have SAFE FUN first....worry about the details on the third or so trip.

December 21, 2007, 03:08 PM

No Charlie's Angel's style!!!

December 21, 2007, 03:10 PM

Focus on the 4 rules. Do not feed her more information than she can process. Use reactive targets if possible. Be supportive. Be responsive to her particular wants/needs. Provide proper personal protective equipment. Make sure she is properly prepared for the weather/shooting conditions: proper eyewear (shaded?); hat; gloves; footwear (mud, cement, etc); insect repellant; sunscreen; etc. Do not subject her to recoil that will discourage her. Let her know this trip is for her, so she should feel free to be open about what she wants out of the trip. When she has had enough, pack it up.

December 21, 2007, 03:11 PM
I think the "pick up the child" stance works well.
Tell her to pretend like she's going to pick up a small child, with legs bent-
then, without standing up straight, have her tilt her head up and point her arms forward.

It makes less of a difference with .22. I was thinking more along the lines of getting her grip right, so if you go to something bigger it's not going to jump right out of her hand.

December 21, 2007, 03:14 PM
Is there anyone else who can do the "teaching" portion of the trip? Anyone?

My last choice of a teacher is my spouse, and my last choice of a student is my spouse. For some things it works well, for shooting it works less well. My teachers have been guys I've run into at the range, my cousins, and an old friend. My husband and I enjoy shooting together when we can, but I don't think I would've reacted well to him teaching me the basics. And we both like guns--they aren't a source of conflict for us. Get a friend to go along to show her a few things.

And actually, I think it's fine to bring the 9 and the .40 along for her to try once to she gets comfortable with the .22--if she wants to. But have them available. My first day handgunning I shot a .22, but then shot a 9 and a .357. The variety was the most fun part. When you're just starting out, you don't have anything really to work on--you haven't starting working on stance or grip or anything yet. Trying several guns made it much more fun the first time out.

December 21, 2007, 03:14 PM
Single ear protection is OK for .22s on a first timer. Double up (muffs and plugs) for anything bigger than .22 on a first timer, child, or anyone thats particularly recoil sensitive.

Also, keep in mind this trip is about HER so regardless of it being a good idea, if she wants to shoot something besides a .22 this trip LET HER but don't push her to it or even try and discourage it if she asks.

edit: Delta9 my first time shooting EVER was a full bore .357, second time 00buck in a 12guage....I didn't get to experience a .22 until my third time ever.....sometimes I wish it had been the other way around (sometimes got flinchy when I first started really shooting handguns) but most of the time not b/c man one of the most fun times I've ever had shooting was ripping up soda cans with that .357

December 21, 2007, 03:29 PM
"Ground school" first. 4 rules, name parts of gun, safe handling, un-loaded handling for familiarization, disassemble/assemble, what to expect on the range. Familiarization with the round, explain the science behind what happens when pulling the trigger on a loaded chamber. discuss sight picture, dominant eye, target alignment, safe handling when "hot". Dry run through commands, and what actions you expect.
Use buzz words and phrases, like "Keep the muzzle up, and pointed down range (Up and down range), "Safety on, clear and ground your weapon".

for you: Watch the gun hand, not the target. Stand just behind and to the right of the shooter. Speak calmly and only loud enough to be heard over the hearing pro. Shoot only the 22, and work through first a mag with only one round until she has it down, then go to two rounds, and when she is confident move up to a full mag.
eventually move to double taps, and rapid fire, etc. In between visits to the range, keep drilling on 4 rules, handling, etc.

Black Adder LXX
December 21, 2007, 03:35 PM
1. Always be nice to the wife...
2. Always be nice to the wife...
3. Always... you know...

My wife was pretty intimidated at first. I explained the rules thoroughly before we went, and then just encouraged her once we were there.

December 21, 2007, 03:54 PM
"Ground school" first. 4 rules, name parts of gun, safe handling, un-loaded handling for familiarization, disassemble/assemble, what to expect on the range. Familiarization with the round, explain the science behind what happens when pulling the trigger on a loaded chamber. discuss sight picture, dominant eye, target alignment, safe handling when "hot". Dry run through commands, and what actions you expect.

I respectfully disagree. This is very good advice for the willing and eager student of an expert instructor, when the student is planning on learning advanced skills and spending a lot of time on it. It's also very mechanistic and focuses on the gun and the round rather than on the shooter.

It is not suited to someone who does not like guns, such as Nightwing's wife; she needs to have her concerns about guns addressed and hopefully replaced with things like fun and excitement. It is not suited to someone who may not make a second trip if she doesn't enjoy the first one, such as Nightwing's wife.

It is not suited to someone who is a little nervous around guns, like Nightwing's wife. For that kind of student, simplicity is the most important thing. She needs to know, as the other posters have emphasized, that she will likely be dealing with body-rattling levels of adrenalin. She needs to know that it's ok to screw up, as long as she does it safely--by obeying the four rules. She needs to know that someone will be right behind her to help with any problems as they occur.

People only remember a few things at a time, and her retention capacity will be limited by the stress of her first time shooting. It is much more important that she remember to keep the muzzle pointed downrange than which part is the slide and which part is the mag release. Therefore, it is not, imho, important to do more on naming parts than simply demonstrating function. The rest will come with time.

Extensive pre-shooting lecturing, and demanding that she demonstrate a level of proficiency before shooting will likely result in her not bothering with the shooting part. Especially with her husband teaching her, he *absolutely* should place an absolute *minimum* number of requirements on her and let her call as many of the shots as possible--she decides how many rounds in a mad, she decides what calibers. She decides if/when she wants to know about alignment, sight picture, stance etc. The four rules and enough on grip that she won't get hit in the face is just about perfect.

December 21, 2007, 03:59 PM
Single ear protection is OK for .22s on a first timer. Double up (muffs and plugs) for anything bigger than .22 on a first timer, child, or anyone thats particularly recoil sensitive.

If you go to a public range (especially an indoor one), double up no matter what you shoot! Chances are someone will show up with .500 or some other loudenboomer
I have had someone shooting 5 lanes over and the concussion from one of these caused me to flinch while wearing double protection.

If outdoors and permitted take reactive targets (empty cans, clay pigeons, spinner targets etc) punching holes in paper can get boring .

December 21, 2007, 04:03 PM
Or even just paper reactive targets--those stick-on ones that get a big splash of neon. Much easier to see where she is hitting, and more fun.

Bazooka Joe71
December 21, 2007, 04:12 PM
NEED TIPS! Taking my wife to the range today! YAY!

Congrats on getting your wife to go shooting with you!
(Weren't you two the couple who had some issues not to long ago?)

December 21, 2007, 04:16 PM
Congradulations. This answers some of the questions that are going on in your thread in non-firearms. Since yoy have already left, I have nothing to offer, except I hope things went well. Let us know how it went.

December 21, 2007, 04:17 PM
If you go to a public range (especially an indoor one), double up no matter what you shoot! Chances are someone will show up with .500 or some other loudenboomer

Good point, I hadn't considered this (probably b/c I hate indoor ranges and try to avoid them if I can).

Charles Foxtrot
December 21, 2007, 04:18 PM
Oh, Jeebus. Buy an hour of the range instructor's time. You go have a hamburger.

She'll respect him. You? Well, she married you, didn't she? No respect.


December 21, 2007, 04:56 PM
I've taught several women to shoot. Would never DREAM of teaching my wife though. That my friend is a marital minefield. Paying for a half hour of an instructor's time would be well worth while.

I have used the "ground school technique". I find it puts someone at ease and makes them feel like they have a clue what they are doing before they hold the power of life and death, literally, in their hands. If I took someone who had never handled a gun before and put a loaded one in their hands and told them "now SHOOT!" I would expect them to have a meltdown. When you say "watch the slide!" will they be confused trying to remember what the slide is or what to watch for? They should have all this down pat before you get anywhere near the range. You don't have to spend all day droning on and on... but cover a few basics like "a bullet is not going to explode if you drop it" and "if the gun falls, don't try to catch it" and things like that. Give her an idea how hard it will kick - so she won't be afraid of landing on her butt looking ridiculous but also so she will know "oh, so that's what it feels like" - I usually have them take a stance and push suddenly and abruptly on their clasped hands about as hard as the gun kicks. They are usually surprised it is so mild after having seen cartoons. You can manage this in an hour or less and really put them at ease about holding a weapon. The only difference at the range, is that there are now real bullets in the firearm. Everyone I've taught this way has gone on to become an enthusiastic shooter.

A revolver is a kind way to start a novice out. You pull the trigger, a bullet comes out the end, there is a bit of a kick - nothing else happens. No problems with limp-wrist, poorly seated magazines, no slide to watch out for, just the 4 rules and aim at the bullseye. Simple. When you are starting from ZERO, it's a lot less to remember. I haven't met anyone who had trouble managing the recoil of .38 special after having started on a .22 revolver, not even a sub-100 lb twigg gal who had hand-strength issues. This gal could not rack the slide on any of the guns we tried... but she could wield a revolver up to .38 just fine.

December 21, 2007, 05:22 PM
Oh I almost forget, 1 round in the gun the first time firing. If the recoil is unexpected and they try to drop the gun or start to turn around with it to look for your reaction the slide will be locked open and safe.

December 21, 2007, 05:47 PM
++++1 on using a .22 first. My big mistake with my wife was taking her to an indoor range with the 9mm. It didn't seem like much to me but the combination of being indoors with a pretty loud (even with ear protection) gun and a visible muzzle blast (indoor ranges are not that well lit under the best of conditions) scared her and put her off for a looooong time.

.22 caliber, outdoors, relaxed atmosphere is the way to go.

December 21, 2007, 06:55 PM
new thread coming

December 21, 2007, 07:02 PM
When you can, financially, why don't you both take a basic handgun class? The NRA offers them around the country, and while they're not real cheap, they would probably be good for you both. That way both of you can get some good foundations and avoid starting off with bad habits (as most of us do, lol)

Congratulations on a good day together. Awesome!


Charles Foxtrot
December 22, 2007, 02:07 PM
I plan on introducing my nephew to the shooting sports using a lever action 22lr.

After a ground-schooling in the 4 Commandments.

When he gets comfortable spraying lead down-range, I'll slowly introduce sight picture, squeezing, breathing, etc...

If I know the little bastard, he'll soon be demanding a go with the 10mm. ;-)'

December 22, 2007, 02:18 PM
Just to chime in on get an instructor. No matter how good a shot you are doesn't make you a good teacher. Even if you are a good teacher your spouse most likely doesn't look to you as an authority. Soooo get a third party. Hey you might even find out that your technique is a little off too :)

Remember behind every successful man is a surprised woman :D


December 22, 2007, 03:22 PM
^^^As above.

And I don't know if someone's mentioned this before because I've got to get out the door for soemthing, but make sure she wear plugs under the muffs.

Gotts run.

December 22, 2007, 04:17 PM
Too late for the original post, but.....
One thing I always do with all first timers. Make a quick sketch of what the sights are supposed to look like. I thought it self evident, but after the 2nd person had problems, I just do it to everyone now.

December 22, 2007, 10:06 PM
Much of the good stuff has already been said:

- Teach and preach the Four Rules
- Spend time to familiarize her with the equipment before going to the range
- Start with a .22 and do not pressure her into anything bigger
- Attempt to go when few others are at the range

One more suggestion is to double-up on hearing protection with foam plugs and electronic muffs. Electronic muffs are dangerous if used without earplugs, due to their low noise reduction ratings, but when used with plugs, safely allows the wearer to hear conversations very clearly between blasts! I've found them to be a tremendous asset when assisting a new shooter at the range.

December 22, 2007, 10:23 PM
This is probably WAY too late: some really good kevlar for you. . . .:evil:

December 22, 2007, 10:48 PM
Double up is right. My first time indoors was crappy because of the noise. It also was extremely warm in there, close to 10 degrees warmer than the store portion of the range. If going indoors, be prepared and dress in layers. Sure it might waste a minute, but at least then you can remove a layer if it gets too warm. Tomorrow when I shoot outside, I might be wearing three layers and will probably lose my winter coat once I get into the pace of things.

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