I'm challenging everyone here...recruit a new shooter


September 26, 2009, 09:50 AM
The recent thread in general discussion lamenting the increasing age of shooters got me kind of fired up. We're worried that new blood isn't being introduced, but worrying about it won't do anything to fix the problem. So much of our time is spent on preventing negative outcomes fighting against things like ammo serialization, one gun a month limits, etc, but this is something positive that each of us can do. I'm challenging everyone on THR to introduce at least one new person to shooting.

I know a lot of you already do this, but let's get everyone on here involved. Take your wife, your coworker, your best friend, etc to the range. The best way to ensure our rights don't get taken away is to have as many people as possible exercising them.

So, I pledge that I will introduce at least one new person to shooting in the next 12 months. Anyone else with me?

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September 26, 2009, 10:07 AM
I'm with you.

If people stop being shooters, we will lose our rights in the long run regardless of how many court battles we may win. and beyond that, shooting generally will die out. i recently got one of my friends into it and am working on more, it really isn't hard.

September 26, 2009, 11:14 AM
I had a lot of soft converts in college, maybe a couple who actually got enthusiastic. By soft converts, I mean people who aren't going to be lifelong shooters, but I got them to agree that guns aren't evil and gun owners aren't stupid.

Right now my main focus is my four boys. It's possible that not all of them will grow up to be enthusiastic about shooting, but they will all know how to do it.

I've actually had a lot of success in the army. I work in a support element, and I meet a lot of young soldiers who are disgruntled that they shoot 52 rounds a year if they are lucky. That's how you tell the ones who really want to learn, they want to know all the things the army doesn't teach them. (Because most soldiers have no idea.)

I started a thread about a year ago, I suggested the idea of posting an ad at the college boards, something to the effect of; "I want to teach you to shoot. If you have always been curious, but never had the chance, or even if you don't like guns, I will take some time to show you." I haven't been back to college since, but I will contribute a range fee and a box of ammo to give someone a try.

September 26, 2009, 02:27 PM
I just got involved in guns as a hobby about 6 months ago and I've already got the wife involved in shooting and introduced one of her friends to guns (she came to the range with us twice). I've invited the mother-in-law to the range with us, but she lives a little ways away and hasn't had a chance to go with us yet.

Plenty of my co-workers are already gun owners and many have CCPs. I only know one guy who is even halfway anti-gun, come to think of it.

September 26, 2009, 07:38 PM
Great job guys...wives and kids definitely count! Who else is willing to make the committment?

September 26, 2009, 09:19 PM
My family owned firearms 100+ years ago on my father's side and 40+ on my mother's side in the old country (rural Italy) and after coming to the states, no one on either side of my family had a gun or knew anything about them at all. Here in suburban/urban NJ there is little knowledge of guns in general. After getting into guns, though my family was a little hesitant at first due to me being pretty young (22), I turned my mother, father, sister, brother, and 2 friends into shooters of some sort. Granted they may not be as into it as me but they all had no idea at first or were against it, and ended up loving it after a trip to the range each. Taking people to the range is definitely the best thing we can do for gun ownership.

Some tips:

- Don't be a know it all. Go easy. Most people will have a lot of ideas about guns that may seem silly to us ("thats the kinda bullet that makes a head explode right?" "is that the one from XX TV show?") EASE THEM OUT OF IT. Don't go crash course. If you overload with information you just make guns look too complex and they will probably not enjoy it as much. Show them how to use a particular gun, teach them safety, basic shooting tips, and the rest comes with time. When you hear something silly like that, just correct it mildly. "no, that bullet does not make a head explode, that's just the movies" "yes, this gun was in XX TV show but it doesn't quite do that in real life"

- Don't be overly political! All things aside, simply cause most people don't consider listening to four hours of political ranting an enjoyable Saturday afternoon. You're here to show them how to shoot and introduce them to guns, not simply debate gun control. Sure, a little bit is good, "see, criminals have guns and commit crimes anyway, so us good people ought to have the ability to train and practice with our own, just incase" but don't go into detail about why you think 922(r) is a load of bull, you'll probably just annoy your guest.

- Be positive. A lot of people have preconceived notions about gun owners. Some people think we're dumb toothless hillbillies who just like to kill stuff for no reason. Some people think we're introverted weirdos planning a murder spree. Sad to say, but true. Remember that as someone's first trip to the range and maybe their only contact to the gun owning community, you represent everyone! Follow safety, don't be a fool, don't come off as paranoid, just be normal.

- And I'm not sure if this last one is common elsewhere, but so far everyone I've taken to the NJ gun shop has seen the AR-15's, etc. on the wall and said OH MAN LOOK THATS A MACHINE GUN. Make sure you explain to them that those are semi-automatic, one bullet fired per shot, and just bear cosmetic resemblance to the military ones.

September 26, 2009, 09:38 PM
ive found that taking new or potential shooters to a firearms store usually has a negative effect, either from bad comments from the guys behind the counter or just the sticker shock that most of the people seem to focus them on. an easier way always seems to be starting people on 22's. easy and fun to shoot, the 22 has started more people shooting than any other caliber. ive seen many people frightened off by 12 gauges, 44 mags and the likes. i love those calibers but the arent what you start your 12 year old sister on.
you can find it all the time, just look on youtube for videos of a child, woman or any other new shooter who has just been handed a desert eagle, 12 gauge, or any other higher powered piece. after being scared and laughed at, how many of those people wanted to get into shooting after that.

September 26, 2009, 11:33 PM
Good point, Broken11b.......I'm in...heck, I've been in..I love taking "newbs" and teaching
'em...Lectures aside, just be sure to spend adequate time answering their questions. Make
it fun and educational...

September 26, 2009, 11:35 PM
Count me in. I have a hand full of friends that keep asking questions regarding
Guns and shooting. Sounds like a excellent idea

September 27, 2009, 12:02 AM
"Take at least one person a year shooting" isn't exactly a plan.

How do you accomplish this? How do you find the new person (family ain't exactly "new" people) to take shooting? Do you provide any equipment? Do you provide the ammunition? Do you provide the firearms?

Here's what I do.

I provide all the supplies and materials, from ammo to ear muffs to firearms. I look for new shooters amongst my daughter's friends and their parents. I look for them amongst my wife's friends and coworkers. In every casual group I actively listen for any concern about safety or crime or personal rights and use that as an opportunity to offer to take everyone that is interested in learning to shoot out to teach them to handle a firearm safely. I have a pistol range at home and invite these folks over to visit and learn to shoot and I make sure the targets are fun for them to shoot (whether it's eggs or crackers or clay pigeons or paper targets). I don't rant or rave or talk politics. I just offer to teach them how to safely enjoy the sport of shooting and if the opportunity presents itself (and I almost always create the opportunity) I touch on the fact that the person who is enjoying busting cookies or crackers or spinning targets isn't any more the lunatic than the antis paint the average shooter to be.

I've been averaging 6 new shooters a year who enjoy shooting enough to keep it up casually.

September 27, 2009, 12:14 AM
my question here though is, what can be done to break the stigma associated with firearms? It seems a difficult subject to bring up, seriously. I have converted a few non shooters, but on the most part, people just seem to shy away. when did excersicing a constitutional right become not polite conversation. i can talk about newspapers, voting, or any other items in the bill of rights and nobody shys away. mention guns and everybody thinks youre an extremist

September 27, 2009, 12:16 AM
I got a newb into shooting this year. It felt awesome to take somebody who'd never shot a gun in her life out to the range, start her out with a nice .22 rifle, and have her making hits right away on an 11x8.5" piece of paper at 25 yards. Normally, I'd use a larger target and move it closer, but I knew this new shooter would do well. Second range trip I had her hitting a 3x3" target at 25 yards, all with an open sighted CZ 452.

September 27, 2009, 01:56 PM
I just posted this on craigslist http://fortcollins.craigslist.org/zip/1394943098.html

September 27, 2009, 04:25 PM
Very good point, HSO, and it's one I should have included in my original post.

September 27, 2009, 05:58 PM
been flagged down twice already since I posted up that I would take people to shoot for free, but I also have two people that want me to take the to the range already. Well worth having to post it 3 times within 2 hours. I am not in violation of craigslist term of agreement, but I keep getting flagged by the gun control group. It is kinda sad.

September 27, 2009, 06:56 PM
great idea you got there! I will do the same for my area once I get more free time. We need more gun owners like yourself!

September 27, 2009, 11:42 PM
I have made plans with 3 people and their significant others, 5 of which have never shot a gun before ever. I wish I had a .22 pistol s this would be cheaper, but hey I don't mind spreading the wealth a little.

Turns out when I ask the flaggers on craigslist why I was being flagged they weren't gun control advocates, but they were saying I posted in the wrong section because I wasn't offering a tangible asset. I countered this with the fact that I was offering a firearm rental and range fees which cost money that are both tangible things. I just haven't re-posted it for the 4th time yet because I want to deal with the ones that already responded.

September 28, 2009, 12:12 AM
This last saturday, I took three young folks to the f.i.t.s. shooting range in Slidell, LA.

A young man from the Netherlands, a young lady from Germany, and a quiet kid from South Korea. It was the first time shooting for all of them and I think they really enjoyed the experience.

They were all in New Orleans on a exchange student program working for habitat for humanity - helping to rebuild the lower ninth ward.

The little german girl was the best natural shooter out of the bunch and her favorite pistol to shoot out of everything they got to try was my Ruger .44 magnum blackhawk. She was a hoot.

I hope I did a good job exposing them to the american shooting culture.

September 28, 2009, 01:19 AM
Great thread. I agree with everything Dark Knight said--be non-political and make the experience fun. As a new and proud gun owner I have encountered the political crazies (normally gun shop owners) and they really shun the average person away because they are seen as having negative and hostile attitudes. Everything said to gun newbies is amplified because they all come into the situation with preconceptions about guns and gun owners (thanks Hollywood).

I just got into guns this year. My oldest uncle taught me firearms safety and respect at a young age and I have fond memories of spending time with him shooting shotguns and all calibers of hanguns out in the desert and in the mountains on family vacations. Sixteen years later I asked my uncle to take me to a gun store and help me pick out my first gun. Funny thing is I had absolutely no interest whatsoever in shooting or owning a firearm until now.

Today I already own three firearms. I don't think I would have gotten into shooting if it weren't for my uncle because otherwise I would probably be too intimidated.

Recently, I introduced my best friend into shooting on a camping trip. He had never shot a gun in his life. I think he's a better shot than I am already. He hasn't gone out and bought a gun yet, but now he is confident with firearms which is very important.

I think the lesson here is that introducing people to shooting is great, not to mention a rewarding experience, but don't expect people to instantly become "regular shooters". In my case, it took me about 16 years before I got into it. So keep in mind that you need to have patience, and don't get discouraged if those you introduce to the sport don't get into it right away. Maybe they will 16 years from now!

September 28, 2009, 10:33 AM
I'll ask for even less than the OP: just for patience and forbearance. Not just for the kids and cute co-eds new to the line, but also for that whippersnapper 40-year old who is just now trying to figure it out.

When you see a new shooter at your gun club or range, if he isn't endangering you, try to let it go (it being whatever is driving you crazy).

If you think the instructor is loud and full of crap and teaching it all wrong, try to let it go.

If the new shooter is holding up your trap game, or constantly distracting you - try to be gracious and welcoming.

If the new shooter wants to run down to the line every 60 seconds to check his paper, while you're trying to practice your bullseye 10 shots in 10 minutes - forbearance.

September 28, 2009, 12:54 PM
I took my wife to the range yesterday. Got my mother interested in it as well,she bought a Sig Mosquito. The wife shoots an LCP.

September 28, 2009, 01:24 PM
Its a great feeling for sure when you can change an anti-gunner's mind. It usually simply involves just taking them out, showing them proper gun safety, and letting them shoot the crap out your .22. They'll be hooked after they see that guns are not so scary after all. Ive had good success with several of my "liberal" friends.

si vis pacem
September 28, 2009, 01:38 PM
I'll be working on introducing my third friend to the shooting sports this weekend. I provide all the equipment and bear all the cost. It's well worth it.

September 28, 2009, 01:44 PM
I would like to change an anti -gunners mind, but they are few and far between in my area, thankfully. Most of what you could call an "anti" here is just a woman that is scared of them.

September 28, 2009, 05:28 PM
Ive taken 2 new people out to the range so far in the last 3 months but getting one to become a consistent visitor sounds like a good challenge. Who says the only good time to make resolutions is new years?

October 7, 2009, 04:57 PM
I found what I had referenced in that last post.


October 7, 2009, 05:03 PM
I brought one coworker named Steve to the NRA range three weeks ago and I am bringing another one tomorrow night! This one will be fun as Kellie is a very petite girl who is going to try my Tok!

October 7, 2009, 05:49 PM
I've been converting many of my anti-gun friends and acquaintances :)

October 7, 2009, 07:25 PM
So, I pledge that I will introduce at least one new person to shooting in the next 12 months.

I introduced three friends to shooting in the past year. Two of them now own firearms. :D

The third one, my best friend since we were 6 is looking into a lever action rifle now :evil:

I forgot I also made a friend that was already acquainted with shooting a gun owner, sold him one of my guns!

October 7, 2009, 07:37 PM
Your friend shot a gun owner?!

October 18, 2009, 09:01 PM
He meant, the fellow who was already acquiainted with shooting, took the next step and bought a firearm...

October 18, 2009, 09:07 PM
You guys have great ideas here.
The last election recruited us. Seven firearms in a family that never owned one before.

Took a co-worker (a runner who had a bad situation once before) and let her try out several firearms.

Took several students from high school (with their parents' permission) to a range and let them try a .22LR and .223.

Learned how to reload and just taught another person how to do it.

Taught all my kids. Oldest will turn 21 and go for the concealed permit soon.

Incidentally, about 15 years ago we were driving home from church and saw a sign advertising a NRA safety program....we stopped and the kids learned some little sayings and we all got to try out some firearm. Nothing else happened in our family for 15 years -- but then the seed bore fruit big time!

October 19, 2009, 12:35 AM
i have only converted 2 this year but talked 4 or 5 to get cwfl this year.. 3 ccw constantly. does this qualify?

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
October 19, 2009, 09:29 AM
Good idea, and I accept your challenge!

October 19, 2009, 10:27 AM
Count me in! I already have a list of soon to be new shooters forming in my head.

I recruited 2 new shooters in the last year. My best friend now owns a gun and comes with me occasionally. My mom has stopped rolling her eyes when I ask her to come with me, now she runs downstairs and grabs the buckmark out of my dad's safe.

I'm going to try branching out to people I don't know as well.

October 19, 2009, 05:06 PM
That is going to be hard.

Maybe one of the California transplants ... he never fired a weapon before.

I have toys for him to play with ... heck! I'll even throw the ammo for free.

October 19, 2009, 07:45 PM
I talked 2 people into shooting for the first time this weekend, both were attending a Fall Party / Skeet shoot.
I just can't fathom these young adults never ever having fired a gun. But I'm one of the one's who cut teeth chewing on 410 hulls.

October 19, 2009, 09:38 PM
I have taken several first-timers shooting, with varying levels of success. Right now my main focus is on my four boys. It is possible that not all of them will be as enthusiastic about it as I am now. But ALL of them will know how to handle guns.

October 19, 2009, 10:15 PM
I just posted in the "general forum", I should have posted here but I forgot this thread and I am seldom in this forum.

In the past 5 months I have taken two new guys to the range with me that have never before fired a gun. The first guy five months ago bought a S&W Model 64 and has already taken classes and has received his CCW. The guy today (a business owner), after time on the firing line, also expressed interest in purchasing a CZ like mine, taking a class and getting his CCW.

I just mention this to show how easy it is, with very little effort, to introduce new people to shooting and have them accept that guns are not evil but just the opposite.

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