Best way to introduce co-workers to the shooting sports?


September 27, 2010, 07:18 PM
I've finally got a new job (was unemployed/underemployed for about a year :( ) and I'm really liking it, great place to work, great people, it feels good to be gainfully employed again, it's a big computer repair/recycler warehouse, so my co-workers are all tech-heads like me, and if there's anything we techies like, it's gadgets, especially ones that go *bang*....

I'm still on the standard 90 day trial run, but things look good and I expect to be here for a long time

Thing is, I'd like to introduce some of my co-workers to the shooting sports, as I think they'd enjoy it, but I don't want to come across as a "Gun Nut", and there's no way in hades I'd even bring the subject up during my test run period, I want them to see that I'm just another boring, mundane techie without a real social life anyway (which is sadly true :( ) and that on the Boring Scale of 1-10, I'm at least a 15...

the job is headquartered in seacoastal New Hampshire, and NH is a reasonably gun-freindly environment, even if we do have the evil influence of Nannychusets nipping on our heels...

What I'd love to do at some point, is reserve my local rod and gun club for a day and have a "range day" for the company, have trap games, pistol and rifle shoots, instruction for the newbs, you know, make a day of it, doing something people may actually *enjoy* for a change

so far, I've been keeping quiet about my range trips, not because of embarrassment, no, not even close, just because I don't think anyone really cares either way, except for one other guy in the production warehouse who is a shooter himself

if anyone asks what I did over the weekend, the answer is typically, "worked my Saturday part time job, then played a few games of trap at the range on Sunday", like it's a no big deal kinda' thing, it's just something I do, I don't talk about guns at work, don't browse THR at work, when I'm at work, I'm there to work

So, what would be the best way to "test the waters" so to speak, to see if anyone would be interested, but without coming off as a "Gun Nut"?

I figure once I'm more established there, I can mention in passing conversation that if anyone wants to go shooting, they have an open invite at my local range, and leave it at that, if they're interested, they can check with me after work

Ideally, what I'd really like to have happen is to be able to introduce a couple of the Lab staffers to the shooting sports, they're a mother and daughter, they originally hail from Thailand, and are going through their American Naturalization process, and I figure what better way to celebrate their new Citizenship then by helping them excersise one of their most fundamental rights...

I did some research on the Thai gun laws, and let's just say that they make Massachusets/California/Chicago look lenient by comparison, have to have 10,000 Baht in a checking account, have to be *approved* by the local law enforcement department, restrictions on types of firearms, ammo quantity, etc..., any single "irresponsible" use of firearms ("irresponsible" as determined by Law Enforcement) results in permanent permit revocation and the inability to own firearms ever again

Basically, it's entirely possible that these two ladies may never have had the opportunity, or desire, due to red tape, to use a firearm, and I want to offer them the opportunity to at least try, who knows, they may get hooked on the sport....

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September 27, 2010, 07:21 PM
I like the range day idea. Make a picnic or BBQ out of it too. I'm sure many will enjoy it, and it will give the family members something to eat too. GROG

September 27, 2010, 07:45 PM
You might see if anyone hunts (even if you don't). That brings up the outdoors and a roundabout way into guns

September 27, 2010, 08:07 PM
Personally, I leave work at work, home at home and shooting where I shoot. Too many people are touchy, or become touchy. The job market is so iffy, that if it were me, I would be 100% focused on being the best employee I could be.

Old krow
September 27, 2010, 10:06 PM
I'm with mcdonl, I'd exercise caution, but it sounds like you have your priorities pretty well laid out.

I agree with you, stay away from the "gun nut" perception.

Here's a couple of things that we have learned, and by "we" I mean my girlfriend, myself, and one of my colleagues, trust is paramount if you're dealing with people who have no experience with firearms. I certainly don't mean to say that you are or aren't trustworthy, have safe or unsafe gun practices, merely telling my experiences.

Choose your battles carefully. It has been my experience that people with a preconceived notion about firearms take a little more time and a little more finesse to deal with, but you can win some of them over. Not all, just some.

What we have tried to do was to epitomize safety and responsibility. We follow the 4 basic rules, we don't horse around or showboat, and generally try our hardest to affirm to those people that firearms can be handled in a safe manner all the while having a little fun. Typically we avoid any conversation that includes "that round could blow a hole in a guy you could stick your fist thru." If we do talk about anything like that it's typically ballistics and avoid euphemisms. Not that I have anything against them, just that it doesn't help if said person is or was from an anti-gun household. Not everyone is sensitive to stuff like that, but overall the goal was to be as professional as possible and introduce people to shooting and that seemed to have a positive effect in a couple cases. In general, I try to be everything that gun grabbers and holophobics say that I am not.

We, mostly me, avoid high recoil and "scary" looking weapons if it's someone's first time out with us and they have no firearms experience. I have yet to take someone that hasn't come back and asked specifically to shoot the .357 and the 1911 (not that the recoil on an 1911 is all that bad).

I stay away from politics. There are a number of reasons for it, and it is possible that I am wrong about it, but the goal was to introduce someone to shooting. I leave it at, odds are their views might change a little bit anyway.

We go out of our way to not be elitists. I don't know if this applies everywhere, but we have our share of "if it ain't an xxx it ain't worth shootin'" where I'm at. So far it has worked pretty well. We've introduced a few people to the sport.

IMHO what you do after you have presented the invitation is more important than how you presented (within reason of course).

September 27, 2010, 10:51 PM
Pretty much what I expected to hear, thanks, I think the best way to handle it is let it come up (or not) in conversation naturally, and when I end up taking a newb to the range, it's a given that their first experience will be with a .22 rifle, single shot break barrel or bolt action, depending on how apprehensive/adventuresome they are would depend on what I started them with, apprehensive newbs i'd start off with CB caps, to keep the noise and "recoil" to a minimum, more adventuresome newbs would start off with standard velocity .22 and work their way up to high/hyper velocities

I would have either my Kimber C-II 1911 or Ruger Blackhawk .45 Convertible in the car, as well as my 20 gauge shotgun, in case they wanted to try bigger, but only if they felt they were ready

Since I now have a shotshell loading press, I may even load up some primer-only popcorn rounds in case the timid shooter wants to try the shotgun

September 28, 2010, 12:18 AM
I would try a soft sale, is there a place to throw a flyer up at work? break room? Place a pin shooting flyer up(or trap whatever you shoot) and see who bites on it, let the fish come to you first. Remember its a two way street on gun nuts. You might end up with bigger gun nut than what you wanted in the first place.

Like One said hunting is a ice breaker too, even if you only shoot the Clay birds. It will let you feel out the waters.

September 28, 2010, 10:58 AM
I've invited a few co-workers to the range in the year and 1/2 I've been a gun owner, plus one of the wife's friends. I'm not sure I'd count bringing the mother in law and the wife's friend's boyfriend to the range since they were already gun owners and I was just letting them shoot something new.

2 of the 3 co-workers I've bothered inviting have taken me up on it. The only one who's mildly anti-gun gets it from being a bit of a statist, at least that's my impression. For example, he seems to think it's a good idea that the state here has a monopoly on selling liquor ... except he tried to insist this morning that it's not really a monopoly since you can go to a bar. Next time I see him the question is, "ok so tell me, where else besides the state owned liquor store can I buy a bottle of brandy?".

September 28, 2010, 12:08 PM
To get them out to the range, I'd slowly ease it in to general conversation. The what you did for the weekend works, if they say something like thats cool or seem interested after mentioning that, bring up you'd love some company and they're definitely invited sometime. If they decline, DON'T push them, just let it go, maybe mention it again next week or so. If they say they might be interested, push a bit but not too much.

We, mostly me, avoid high recoil and "scary" looking weapons if it's someone's first time out with us and they have no firearms experience. I have yet to take someone that hasn't come back and asked specifically to shoot the .357 and the 1911 (not that the recoil on an 1911 is all that bad).

THIS!!! Especially if its someone who has preconceived notions AGAINST firearms, you need to start them off with .22s especially. Do NOT bring your .50AE to show off. Especially if they're women. (Nothing against them, but women tend to like 'bang' much less, and it'll scare them off much quicker.) You'll want something small, light, and quiet. If you have .22lr rifles, I think thats the best thing for someone's first time. You'll have a decently sized firearm thats still 'small', light, easy to use/control, and not scary at all. And I think its better than a handgun since there's more 'feel' to it. They can hold it in both hands, push against the shoulder, see down the length of the firearm, and so on. Muzzle sweep is much easier to control with a rifle, and easier to tech safety on.

Once they're pretty set and enjoying the .22 rifle, I'd move towards either a .22 handgun or a lighter centerfire rifle, unless they specifically want something louder. But you need to go off them, they're the ones learning and you need to let them progress at their own pace.

Anyways, good luck and hopefully you'll be able to get a bunch of people out there with you and interested in the shooting sports!

September 28, 2010, 12:37 PM
I've yet to come across anyone who objects to guns if you portray them in a 'sporting' light. By sporting I mean non hunting target shooting, action shooting, clays, etc. Sounds like you are well into that, so I don't think you'll have any problems.

What a lot of people are most likely to take offense to is talk of concealed carry, home defense, self defense, shtf, how damaging particular ammo is to either animals or humans, hunting, rkba rants, gun related politics, the NRA etc. Keep all of that out of the conversation (at least, until you figure out who is who), and you'll be fine.

September 28, 2010, 01:27 PM
So far I've shot with 2 co-workers, my boss, a co-worker of my wifes and her husband, and a couple we know from worship. Living in Florida, most folks have had at least some exposure, either themselves or family, so it's not a knee-jerk anti-gun environment like when we lived in NYC. The fact that my range is 2 minutes down the road from my job makes lunch-hour shooting convienient. And like the above poster, I try to avoid talk of exit wounds, etc., and mention the anti-stress and mind-clearing effects of breath control, focus and concentration.

December 10, 2010, 02:06 PM
Just a quick update, turns out there are more shooters and gun owers here than I expected, at lunch today, one of the women up front was talking about the air rifle she was going to get her son for christmas, a real 1,000 FPS airgun, not a Red Ryder

So the whole lunchroom sort of segued into talking about guns, target shooting, varminting and hunting, even the warehouse production manager

I'm amongst like minded shooters here :)

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