Advice needed for anti family member's first range trip


September 28, 2010, 07:21 PM
I have an older sister who while not completely anti-gun, holds typical Hollywood and media misconceptions about gun ownership and defensive carry. Strange seeing as we both were brought up in the same household, in a family of military and LEO's, with firearms always present. She is also a doctor, I guess that's what 8 years of higher education will get you.

Strangely enough, she has never fired a gun and expressed interest to me the other day when I mentioned I had just come from the range. We made plans for an upcoming weekend to hit the range with her and my future brother-in-law.

Now I have been to a number of firearms instructor schools, both military and civilian, and I have taught many new shooters, so the actual mechanics of teaching are not an issue. However, all of the new shooters I have ever taught have been chomping at the bit to learn and as far as I know politically pro-gun.

Her fiance wants to buy a shotgun for HD, but she is standing in the way with her attitude towards guns, so this could also be a big help to him.

I am unsure as to the best approach for someone who is afraid of guns, and simply is approaching it as a check the box for the bucket list. She has expressed to me that she wants to shoot a gun, but doesn't think she'll ever want to go to the range after this time. My goal is to make her feel confident, safe, and above all, have fun.

What types of firearms should I bring? I have a number of .22s, single shot, lever, and semi-auto, both pistol and rifle, that I will be bringing. I am wondering what sort of other guns I should bring? Would black rifles and other "scary" guns just intimidate her or can I show her they are no more deadly than granpa's hunting rifle? Handguns only, rifles only? I feel like this is my only opportunity, and I know she doesn't want to spend all day at the range, so I have limited time and don't want to throw too much at her at once.

I usually start out new shooters with a .22 rifle and 25yard easy reactive targets. Both a confidence builder and fun. Anyone have any other suggestions for fun and easy shooting games for a new shooter?

The other issue is that while I have taught other new shooters, they always viewed me as a (hopefully) knowledgeable instructor. Regardless of our age, my sister still views me as her little brother, and remembers the dumb and irresponsible activities of my youth. Any advice on being a safe and effective instructor in the face of this attitude?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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September 28, 2010, 07:39 PM
Personally, I would stick with the .22's entirely. Let her learn the basics on them, get comfortable around the guns and shooting, and get a bit of excitement built up over punching holes in paper. Then after a few trips, maybe you step up and shoot one or two of the larger calibers with her watching. I would never force her to shoot anything, but be readily available if SHE asks "Can I try that one?" I wouldn't even start with a shotgun for a bit.

September 28, 2010, 07:42 PM
I wouldn't even start with a shotgun for a bit.

Definitely not. All my shotguns are lightweight 12ga's.

One thing I forgot to mention in my OP, I have very little experience instructing females. Any special considerations to keep in mind?

September 28, 2010, 07:43 PM
>22 rifle for sure and targets or cans. .22 pistol after or if she/he wants to. After getting comfortable you know the guy will want to shoot your blacky.

Think I would mention enroute how women (do to fine motor skills) can usually naturally shoot better than their male counter parts. Kinda gets a competition going very low key.

They will both focus better if something is on the line. Just an opinion but bet you guys will have fun....better motor skills=estrogen; shakes, darting eyes for hunting/situational awareness and strutting your stuff=testosterone. ....Humor?

September 28, 2010, 07:48 PM
A .22 rifle and .22 pistol. Shoot a bunch of rounds and make certain to teach safety first!

The rest can come later.


September 28, 2010, 07:53 PM
Make sure she wears a closed-front shirt aka no cleavage. Last month I took my friends' girlfriend who was also a first time shooter. She was shooting my 357 sig (lol I dont own a 22) and on two separate occasions the hot casings were ricocheting off the wall to her immediate right and went down her shirt. Of course, as she reacted to the searing pain in her cleavage she was unaware of exactly what she was doing with a loaded weapon.


September 28, 2010, 09:26 PM
Good point. Always make sure the bombs are kept safely secured in their holsters during all live fire demonstrations. ;)

I also second the "no big bores" during her first time out. Once chicks get afraid of the big guns, they won't want to come back to the range. Work your way up, let her get comfortable with the 22, then go for the 9mm... and so on, until she gets the idea that the noise won't hurt her. Same thing I did with my old lady, and she can out shoot me now. (when I let her...) Good luck. It's always a good thing to see new people being brought into the shooting sports.

September 28, 2010, 09:33 PM
As has been mentioned - stick to the .22's....and keep the guns as simple to operate as possible - keep the comfort level easy.......go're on the right track.......good luck!

September 28, 2010, 09:40 PM
--Make sure everyone is well equipped with safety gear, ears, eyes, hat, etc.
--Give a professional safety briefing before beginning. Four Rules, etc.
--.22s only, first time out. Make sure it is fun, challenging, and rewarding, and she will likely want to do it again.

When I instruct a first time shooter, I explain the mechanics and then have them acquire a good grip, then aim at the target. First round is a dry fire, just to get a feel for the trigger. Second round is a single round in the cylinder or magazine. I always try to start out with a revolver, then move to the semi auto a little later. (I have an S&W M18 and a Ruger MkII).

Let us know how it works out.

September 28, 2010, 09:40 PM
But isn't an EBR a .22 caliber...

September 28, 2010, 09:43 PM
I have a .22 conversion for my AR, when set-up with a 4x scope is the gun I have the most fun shooting. Easy to shoot and simple to operate. However, its a big scary black rifle.

I'm going to start her with a Stevens single-shot, the next option is a Marlin 39A or the AR conversion. Which do you think would be best?

September 28, 2010, 10:13 PM
i would say a ruger 10/22 if you have one. lots of good advice already here, so best of luck to all of you & i hope she has fun.

September 28, 2010, 10:22 PM
I second the people saying start with the .22 with her and make sure she wears a high collar top and covered legs and feet. So as not to single her out, maybe do a little "this is a how a gun works and how to operate it safely" with both of them before entering the shooting area. Don't single her out. Even with people who say they know how to shoot, if they're shooting with me at a range, I do the talk so we're all on the same page. I start with "you might know this already but it will make it a safe and fun trip to start here...." If she shows any interest in trying something bigger, give her a 9 mm. I didn't go through your list but something with manageable recoil. Maybe shoot it first and ask if she'd like to try if she looks interested. You're her brother, so that's a bad place to start :uhoh: Or a good place, depending on how it goes. Good luck!

September 28, 2010, 10:58 PM
An AR probably doesn't have enough recoil to cause problems. The only thing I'd add is to use reactive targets if at all possible, so she can see what she's hitting. It might make the experience more fun for her

September 28, 2010, 11:16 PM
Not to hijack, but try getting your sister to an NRA-sanctioned Women on Target program. My wife (though not anti-gun) went to the recent one at my club and loved it (so much so, that I myself might go next year in drag).

September 28, 2010, 11:35 PM
If your worried about the Anti- popping up show her that it is normal people at the range having a good time. I know my local range has a "laides night" where women shoot for free. She might not enjoy shooting but if she can see that other Lawabiding people enjoy it might ease her stance. I recomend "Fun" targets. i.e. Chalk discs, colored plates, ballons, ect. I've found out that shooting at real life hostage targets for people who dont like guns dont enjoy the shoot.
2nd advice is GREAT hearing protecting, a DR isnt going to be use to the loud noise's that another profession might be. Take the Bang out of gun also lessens the scare.
As in what to shoot? a 12g is gonna kick just as hard on day two as it is in day one. Once saftey and shooting basic are learned you cannot teach recoil it just has to be felt. The women shooters i know get offend if anyone brings up male / female size diff and pain tolerance.

September 28, 2010, 11:54 PM
Before going to the range, send her a link to Corneredcat(dot)com.

It might be a good idea to have another, perhaps female, instructor on hand. The sibling thing might bring unnecessary overtones to your instructing her. (Then again, maybe not. I have no idea of your family dynamics and history. Just offering another point of view).

Sebastian the Ibis
September 28, 2010, 11:56 PM
I agree with the .22's for your sister. But take a shotgun and EBR for your future brother in law to try out once your sister decides she has had enough.

As the former poster stated, be careful about the hot brass. Don't shoot prone with a plumbers crack showing next to a guy doing rifle drills.

September 29, 2010, 12:03 AM
essayons21 - you have gotten a lot of good advice from the earlier posts. Start with going over the safety rules BEFORE you load anything and hand the gun to her. Even in the revolver, LOAD ONY ONE ROUND the first few times and set the gun up so that her first shot is on an EMPTY CYLINDER. This way, you can watch to see if (and how much) she flinches. This way she learns to SQUEEZE the trigger slowly and steadily.
One thing many first-time shooters of both genders have a tendency to do is to hole a rifle a bit away from them as if they are afraid it might bite. Make sure that your sister keeps the .22 rifle tucked securely in her shoulder! Depending on how well she aclimates to the .22's, you might be able to move her to something a bit larger the same day - but NO shotguns or BP! *LOL*

September 29, 2010, 03:23 AM
It would be nice to take that AR to the range with you, since she might get the bug. Another thing that popped up to my mind right now, why not do the selection with her? To see which gun she can handle comfortably? With pistols there might be preferences in grip angles etc.

A rifle is always useful, but not only .22 rimfire. Also something better/bigger might come handy. Most important is to let her try and learn, safely of course, but by herself still, not tell her every step or doing something for her.

Well, guns are just tools, and they have to be taken care of, to be sure they work properly next time. Just like surgery tools. You can use a scalpel to kill someone, or remove a harmful tumour to better the organism. Just like guns.

My times with interested_but_unsure_first_timers females were different, I did not start with .22LR, though I had one at that time.

A cousin-in-law (
A friend of the family (

Maybe these might give some fun ideas.

September 29, 2010, 06:19 AM
My advice is to make sure that she has fun.

If she hits the paper...give her a high five.

If she hits the scoring ring....give her a high five.

If she hits the 10....give her a high five.

Be supportive and encouraging. She doesn't need to become a Bullseye High Master in a day, just having some fun will go a long way.

In terms of strategy, I would give her most of the attention and coaching. If she enjoys the shooting, you brother in law may get that shotgun he wants for Christmas.

September 29, 2010, 07:20 AM
Good posts already. I find that the person that is unsure or afraid of a firearm needs the "this is only a tool, this how to be safe with this tool" first then range and firearms safety in general BEFORE arriving. How to handle,aim, insert mags/ammo, and recoil/what to expect--at home before the range trip and explain that it is "so you look intelligent at the range". Do ask if they have any questions/no question is dumb and answer any that they have. Then a quick "I have to review the range rules with all new shooters here" at the range before the actual live fire. Ask them to repeat the safety briefing (4rules) if it is a home range as the range rules thing is more relaxed. Stressing safety first is the best way to show respect and proper use of firearms to a new shooter. I like the scalpel analogy for someone in the medical field. And don't forget to have FUN.:D

Even if she is your big sister showing that you are all business and safety oriented at first will show her that you have knowledge and respect for firearms and that she should also learn that.

September 29, 2010, 07:28 AM
Darn internet connection!!! REPOST

September 29, 2010, 07:34 AM
Bring everything you got. Inform her of the pros and cons of each weapon and then let her decide what she wants to shoot.

September 29, 2010, 08:13 AM
.22 rifle on a rest would be ideal, first time shooters IMO get discouraged really quick when they can't seem to hit the target.

September 29, 2010, 09:38 AM
Stress safety. Keep it fun. Stick to .22's. Don't preach (other than safety) or bring up politics. Stay away from the topic of SD or HD. Mindset: Punching paper is a game and fun. Any questions that come up from her regarding gun control, politics, Hollywood, television, SD, crime or whatever-give a short, complete, factual answer and then be quiet. If she wants more info she will ask for it. Encourage her to mingle with and ask questions of other shooters.

In short, don't allow a battle of ideologies to get started. It's just a day to have fun and learn about a new sport. You're far more likely to get her to want to go again. . .and again. . .and again. . .

Old krow
September 29, 2010, 06:06 PM
Start with going over the safety rules BEFORE you load anything and hand the gun to her.

I couldn't agree more. Establish the rules beforehand and show her the safe side of firearms.

I also second the "no big bores" during her first time out. Once chicks get afraid of the big guns, they won't want to come back to the range.

Also very true from what I have seen. I have also noticed that females sometimes tend to be less afraid of pistols. The first gun that my girlfriend shot on the range was a pistol, she has since bought a few of her own. Even though she has shot an M16 she still associates big guns with a big bang.

It sounds like you've thought it though pretty and I'd be interested to know how it all works out for you.

September 29, 2010, 06:45 PM
1) do the safety rules bit before you get to the range. Maybe have her come to your house and do that there.

2) .22's for sure. If you have a choice between one that's quite accurate and one that's minute-of-barn-door, pick the accurate one. Nothing says FUN like hitting the bullseye.

3) Unlike all the guys here, I'm going to say, take one bigger-bore gun with you. Just have it there as an option. Do not encourage her, do not push her, just have it there. If she asks about it, tell her about it. If she asks to shoot it, let her shoot it after you give her the directions on sufficient grip and how to keep your finger from slide bite and such. I went to the range my first time and the guy whose guns I was using thought I'd start with the .22's and maybe work up. I started with his .40 Glock and wouldn't put it down. Except for his .357. That was ok too. Everybody's different about this, and she might surprise you.

Hope she has a ton of fun!


The Lone Haranguer
September 29, 2010, 07:33 PM
Leave the politics out of the actual range trip and concentrate on just having fun. :) There will be plenty of time for that later.

September 29, 2010, 07:49 PM
I 45th the using only .22's. Plus, if she likes it enough to go through a box, you're only out $15 rather than a car payment :)

October 4, 2010, 07:17 PM
I don't necessarily agree with the only .22 suggestion. I have .22s and .45s

I, for what ever reason, seem to take to the range women, and after the M41 gets a good familiarization, the 1911 comes into play. Almost all are interested, and some even take a shine and a preference of the 1911 to the .22.

So, I would play along and see how things go. If they are doing great and would like to try something else, go for it; just impress that sight alignment and trigger control is exactly, yes exactly, the same thing.

I continue to be amazed at how well I can make a good shooter out of a girl and seem to have a much higher failure rate with guys. I am getting convinced that it is not me but the women.

October 5, 2010, 10:55 AM
I'm with jthunter all the way on this one. If she would request to try something larger, be sure and explain the added recoil so as not to be surprised by it.

The one thing I would add is take some cans along and after hole punching, suggest shooting at cans, it can add some fun.

October 5, 2010, 11:14 AM
Very good hearing protection. Plugs and muffs. Even with .22 LRs. The noise, more than anything else, seems to disturb new female shooters. Don't know why, but in my experience, women seem to have better, more acute, hearing than men (ever notice that, guys?). Or maybe loud noises just scare them more. So, what you might think is no-big-deal, would be, to her, a very loud and uncomfortable sound.

October 5, 2010, 11:14 AM
The first time I took my wife shooting, I noticed that she was holding her breath as she was aiming the pistol. Be aware that a lot of new shooters do this. It makes it very difficult for them to relax when they are holding their breath. Be certain that for the first few shots that you are standing right there up against her, helping her with her form, and then check to make sure she is breathing. Once I corrected my wife a few times, she began breathing normally, and she out shot me the rest of the day!

Also, as mentioned previously, if shooting a semi-auto be sure to load ONLY one round! For some reason, people tend to squeeze the trigger a second time at the surprise of the first round going off. With an empty chamber, there is no danger, and not having the 2nd shot go off accidentally insures you don't wreck their confidence..

Also, give her double ear protection-give her the foam ear plugs, and then put muffs on over that... The noise alone is enough to scare some people such that they don't want to shoot anymore.

Since she is a doctor, I would make the analogy between a gun & a hyperdermic needle, or a scalpel. They can all be very dangerous if mishandled, but likewise they can be used to SAVE LIFE if used in the proper way.

Just One Shot
October 5, 2010, 04:52 PM
Use the .22 and don't use anything else. Let them become comfortable shooting it and make sure you compliment and encourage them as they improve.

Invite them to other range trips and continue using the .22 to shoot. After multiple trips take a slightly larger caliber to shoot for your self.

Don't offer it to them to shoot. After they become comfortable with the .22 eventually they will get up the courage to ask you to let them shoot it.

Don't force anything on them, use baby steps since they have the anti mentality. Before you know it they'll become confident in thier abilities to shoot and you'll be on here complaining that they are using up all your ammo.

Arkansas Paul
October 5, 2010, 10:51 PM
Heavily emphasize safety.
I wouldn't treat her any differently because she's a lady. Most will pick up on that and will not like it. Show her the ins and outs and have a good time.

Rusty Shackleford
October 5, 2010, 10:59 PM
I'm interested in how it goes. Please make sure to follow up.

October 6, 2010, 12:37 AM
I too would like to hear about how this goes. Personally I would (after going over safety as #1 priority) have her hold some .22 rifles and pistols. Figure out what feels the best and is most comfortable to her. This way its not awkward when she is at the range.

I always have my wife hold a few different rifles when we are out and I am "checking out the new models". It gives me a good idea on her comfort level. If its not fun and comfortable for her than she wont enjoy it, if she doesnt enjoy it, then all I hear is "are you done yet?" and she loses interest.

October 6, 2010, 05:43 AM
Keep it simple. Don't throw too much at her, too soon.

Have a print out of basic safety rules for her to read. Either the NRA "Big 3" or Cooper's "Four Rules." Print it out yourself if you don't have an appropriate handout.

BEFORE you leave the house, hand her the sheet and go over the rules with her. Don't just read them, discuss them, so she understands what is considered safe and what things are unsafe. Stress keeping the muzzle pointed in safe direction and keeping her finger off the trigger until she's lined up on the target.

Once at the range, plan on only shooting one or two guns. I'd bring a .22 pistol, one larger pistol, like a 9mm or .38 revolver, and one or maybe two rifles that are fun to shoot.

If you have a light weight AR with a red dot, that can be fun, if she's up for it.

After that, just stress safety, be patient, start with the .22, and see how she does. She may not be interested in shooting anything else or may get too fatigued before she gets to try a second gun. Don't push it, just let her know they are there if she wants to try them.

Also, don't talk about self-defense and "shooting people" to her. Yeah, if she brings it up, acknowledge it, but instead focus on taking about what she's doing right now. The basics of shooting, how the guns works, etc.

Also leave politics out of it for the range trip itself. That can be a discussion for the way home or another day. If she does try an AR or similiar semi-auto, and goes off about "assault weapons" sometime later, you can always mention, "You, that rifle you liked so much, with the red dot, that was an AR and that would be banned..."

October 10, 2010, 11:49 PM
There is a lot of good advice here. My addition would be: Keep the range time short.

With the loud noises, smell of gunpowder and such, and her training as an MD, she is likely to be thinking of hearing damage and exposure to lead dust.

What is fun to us, may not be so much fun to a gal trying to be a good sport.

Take her husband back to the range in a few weeks for shotgun exposure.

October 11, 2010, 12:12 AM
I'll echo Cavman... make it enjoyable, lots of praise, small calibers. Take all the .22's you have or can borrow. When I have taken friends to shoot part of the fun is the variety of things to shoot. If your range allows... reactive targets are more fun than paper targets. I've instructed several women and they all did extremely well on their first outing. They had fun and were surprised at how well they did. If you don't bring the heavies the first time, it will be an excuse for another visit to the range.

My bet is she will enjoy shooting.

October 11, 2010, 12:14 AM
Thanks for all the advice.

Still trying to find a weekend where we are both free, I'm trying to get her out sooner rather than later, range trips are always more fun when your extremities aren't numb.

I will be taking:

-An old Stevens/Savage falling-block .22lr. This was actually my mother's rifle, my dad taught her to shoot with it.

-Marlin 39A, this is what I plan to have her shoot most as it is fun and accurate.

-AR w/ .22lr conversion and red dot. Not sure if she will want to shoot it as my AR is pretty heavy, but it is also a ton of fun.

-1911 w/ .22lr conversion, in case she wants to try out pistols. I don't own any standalone .22lr pistols.

I'm also considering bringing my Savage 93 .17HMR. I have a ton of fun shooting golf balls out to 125 yards with this thing and it is laser beam accurate with no recoil. All the other rifles are iron-sighted, I thought she may enjoy a scoped rifle. What do you guys think?

Leaving the shotguns and the long range stuff at home.

We'll be keeping it simple, shooting stationary clays and steel targets. The range frowns upon cans, etc. 25-50 yards only. I have a couple fun shooting games in mind. I don't think I will even be putting up paper targets unless she asks.

And safety will be covered ad nauseum. I use a 5-rule system when teaching in the military. Rules 2-5 are Cooper's 4 Rules, rule #1 is "Don't shoot the instructor."

I'll be sure to post an update, hopefully with some pictures, when I finally get her out to the range.

A and O
October 11, 2010, 12:46 AM
jthunter touched on what I would advise regarding only one bullet. Barney Fife style if you will. I've seen first time shooters bring the gun down firing into the ground and almost hitting their feet. Safety can not be over emphasized, and first time shooters can't be predicted as to how they will react to shooting semi autos. I would explain it to them in loving terms of course.

December 1, 2011, 03:48 PM
The weekend we had planned as of my last post (over a year ago!) was rained out. If I remember right it was the remnants of a tropical storm.

However, after a year of attempts, I finally managed to find another weekend we both are free! So I will be taking her out this Sunday. Needless to say our schedules are pretty hectic and we live far away so scheduling is difficult. Hopefully I will remember my camera and post some pictures, at the very least I will come back with a range report.

Over the past year I have had more opportunities to teach new female shooters and a few other family members, and attended 2 more intructor courses, so I feel much more confident that everyone will have a good time. Also picked up a Mossberg plinkster to have a fun autoloading .22.

The fiance is now the brother-in-law, and he still wants that shotgun. Hopefully I can help.

December 1, 2011, 04:01 PM
I have an older sister who while not completely anti-gun, holds typical Hollywood and media misconceptions about gun ownership and defensive carry. Strange seeing as we both were brought up in the same household, in a family of military and LEO's, with firearms always present. She is also a doctor, I guess that's what 8 years of higher education will get you.

I would probably keep the AM radio rhetoric about media bias and anit-inellectualism to yourself because when many educated people here stuff like that its hard not to ignore everything else you say.

December 1, 2011, 04:22 PM
You might want to peruse this website before going to the range just to get a very interesting and very well written perspective on firearms for self defense:

I found the content outstanding.


December 1, 2011, 04:34 PM
Don't be surprised if she shoots better than some of the guys. Many females I have coached took to shooting very naturally. Make it fun, make it safe, and by all means be sure to fully include the soon-to-be. If you show genuine family hospitality to him, that only makes you, and shooting in general, look that much better. if you have range friends, they might also bring their female shooters; this puts many ladies at ease especially.

December 1, 2011, 04:46 PM
I don't usually bring this up, but this thread is old and they probably already went by now.

But since it is resurrected, I'll throw in something. The best thing to take to the range with the anti's is not your biggest cannon. The best thing is a .22 rifle. I like the 10/22, kind of partial to it, but any of them will suffice.

I think that is THE answer for any anti, first time shooter, kid, wife, introduction to shooting, etc. The lack of recoil, blast, flash, noise, everything about it makes it a great choice for working on fundamentals.

When folks on here say "I'm getting my first rifle" and they want an AK or SKS or whatever, or a 9mm or .45ACP pistol, it makes me cringe. They will be much worse shooters in the long run for it, or at least be held back. Everyone's first firearm purchase should be a .22. Even a cheap .22 will be more accurate than a similar priced anything else, and is much more suited for new shooters that need to focus on fundamentals.

But some folks think it is all in the gear, like basketball was all in the shoes, remember that? Ludicrous. Walk before you run, and if you take an anti, you actually want the least violent weapon you have that is fun to shoot. I also recommend going on a day when there isn't anyone else at the range or it isn't busy.

December 1, 2011, 05:07 PM
Ugh I hate Zombie threads... You can't see the awesome pictures that go along with these informative replies!

December 1, 2011, 05:33 PM
I don't usually bring this up, but this thread is old and they probably already went by now.

Read post #44.

December 1, 2011, 05:37 PM
So I will be taking her out this Sunday.

Well just don't make it TOO easy. Part of the fun is the challenge. Reactive targets like cans are best. My wife isn't really "anti-gun" but she is skittish around them. First time she shot I put a pop can at about 7 yards. Not too far, but not so close to be patronizing! Loaded 5 rounds of 9mm in the mag and she hit the can with her third, fourth, and fifth shot. She was thrilled to see that thing shoot up in the air. I was proud, but the key was that SHE was proud....and having fun.

Other things I have found is that a full-size frame 9mm is a pretty soft shooter, and also if you expand on the "this is only a tool" topic by explaining the safety mechanisms, firing pin blocks, etc. it can really help, especially if she is scientifically inclined, she will really begin to appreciate the engineering that goes into firearms, and see that they aren't just evil black things that spew death.

I also really like the idea to sort of make it a competition between her and your BIL, and to massage her ego by acknowledging that women are often better shots. And if you bring up finer motor skills due to women having more slow twitch muscle fibers in their hands, it might pique her doctor's interest. (I don't really know if that is true but it would be a good conversation with her!)

It is hard because whenever I take someone shooting for the first time I treat them differently based on who they are, our history, etc. Of course safety is always first. Beyond that, all people are different. You know your sister the best and I am sure she'll have a great time!

December 1, 2011, 07:17 PM
Go to Walmart and pick up some cheap shaving cream and let her make a mess. She'll have a blast.

December 4, 2011, 12:31 PM
Having twice been in very similar situations, I offer this:

Make a day out of it with a nice lunch and dinner. Treat it as a "couples" thing, a double-date with light fun, good conversation and nice food. If you make the actual shooting part less philosophically weighty and share all of that .22 fun, followed by a great meal somewhere nice, she'll probably be cool with it. Reactive targets are perfect. Give her the most-deadening ear protection, too. Bring only .22s and make it fun, fun, fun. I mean, you want her to stop objecting to a shotgun in the house, right?

She probably won't want to be the sole wet blanket for another reason as well. because, on this issue, there are three of you and one of her. In numbers there is strength, even if no one says a word, you know?

I got three non-shooters to try and then enjoy shooting by the above. Everyone grins a big one when they hit their first soda can; I don't care who they are.

December 4, 2011, 02:33 PM
Can't wait to see the "After Trip Report"!

My $.02, though I recognize the trip to the range has happened, or likely will before you read this:

I'm a brand new shooter. Speaking for myself, my introduction came through .22lr rifles and handguns with safety first, second, third, and constantly. The person was smart enough to bring one, slightly larger bang-bang toy (an AR). That was a cherry on top of the day - firing two or three rounds from the big gun (at my prompting) at the end of the day.

December 4, 2011, 05:54 PM
I have an older sister who while not completely anti-gun, holds typical Hollywood and media misconceptions about gun ownership and defensive carry. Strange seeing as we both were brought up in the same household, in a family of military and LEO's, with firearms always present. She is also a doctor, I guess that's what 8 years of higher education will get you.
Well,I hope things went well for you and that your range day was educationally-productive for her.Here is a very anti-gun young lady,whose day at the skeet range didn't go down to well,because of her high emotions.Its one where we don't know whether to laugh or cry at all.
some of you other guys on this thread might of seen this before as its over a year old&might be old news to you.

December 4, 2011, 06:14 PM
I disagree with those who recommend using a .22 for her first trip out.

I think your first lesson should be at home, with a toy gun that shoots suction cup darts, or a watergun, or maybe, MAYBE a Daisy BB gun.

If she is a strong anti, she will experience an emotional reaction the first time you uncase a real gun in her presence. She will be looking at the gun, and she won't hear a damn thing you say. I have been though this before.

Your first lesson is strictly how to handle a gun safely. Coach her on muzzle control, finger off the trigger, etc. Make her case and uncase the toy gun until she is controling muzzle direction 100% of the time.

Use a water gun to teach sight alignment. Get her used to aiming at a target and coordinating sight alignment and trigger pull.

Graduate to a BB gun on the second home session. Don't be in such a darn hurry to go to the range. Repeat your lessons on muzzle control, sight alignment, etc. Shoot at tin cans until she gets bored with it.

Then you ask her if she still wants to go to go the range and shoot a .22. Let HER see that SHE is in control. Only take her when she says she wants to go. And then take ONLY the .22.

Going slow, with respect for the student gives you the best chance of success. Again, I hope you will learn from the mistakes I made by going too fast with an anti.

Good luck.

I guess I posted this after you made your range trip. Hope my apprehensions were unfounded and you all had a fun day. But perhaps my thoughts can provide discussion points for others, anyway.

December 4, 2011, 06:31 PM
Sorry, I don't spend one minute trying to convert an "Anti" to my way of thinking. Anti's are so secure in their misinformation that they just go shooting to reinforce their prejudice. I just tell them to go know and it isn't shooting.

If I DID take her to the range, I would take a bolt action .22 rifle with a scope and place clay pigeons on the back berm. Get her to pick off the targets then slay the pieces as they get smaller and smaller. That is a hoot and she's bound to love it! Later, a 10-22 scoped rifle can be substituted if you see that she's safe in her handling of the rifle.

A second choice is reactive "clingers" that make noise and swing when hit. I try to keep new shooters off paper targets until they get "hooked." Reactive targets reinforce doing their trigger, sight picture and breathing and give immediate "atta boys."


December 4, 2011, 08:39 PM
Your never going to change her opinion on guns so if you really must do it at all make it comfortable on yourself. Make damn sure she understands safety, let her shoot some and take her home and forget about the day and her. Frank

December 5, 2011, 01:30 AM
edit wrong thread

December 5, 2011, 03:22 AM
I like biodegradable reactive targets. They hold peoples interest, nothin says ya got that thing like a cantalope that has been dipped in liquid nitrogen when it gets hit. My daughter, who is 9, loves my Ruger 77/22 Mk II in .22 WMR and asks to go with me to the range. She likes being able to draw smiley faces with it.

December 5, 2011, 11:57 AM
Sorry, I don't spend one minute trying to convert an "Anti" to my way of thinking. Anti's are so secure in their misinformation that they just go shooting to reinforce their prejudice. I just tell them to go well................

Your never going to change her opinion on guns so if you really must do it at all make it comfortable on yourself. Make damn sure she understands safety, let her shoot some and take her home and forget about the day and her. Frank

Guys, assuming all people of a certain view are too close minded to reconsider their position is, well...close minded.

Rori, are you seriously saying he should forget his sister because she disagrees with him on gun rights?

December 5, 2011, 12:38 PM
All right, the long anticipated range report. It was a huge success!

First I want to clear something up. I described her as an "anti" which was probably a bit harsh. She certainly wasn't actively anti-gun, and holds generally conservative political views. Her fear of guns and family members owning them stems more from fear of losing a loved one in an accident rather than any sort of political opposition to the RKBA. After all, she did express initial interest is going to the range and learning how to safely shoot a gun.

Before going to the range I sent her an e-mail with the 4 rules and some other general tips for a range trip. I asked her and her husband to read them and try to remember them. Then while over at her house, I let her handle and dry fire a pistol, and covered some of the mechanics and safety aspects of guns.

I noticed then and throughout the range day on Sunday that the majority of her and her husband's misconceptions about guns didn't come from the Brady Campaign, but from Hollywood.

We arrived at the range bright and early, it was cold, but the sun was shining and it was comfortable in the high 50s and low 60s later in the day.

I brought about a dozen firearms, most of them .22lr. I apologize for the lack of pictures, I was focused entirely on teaching and safety until later in the day when I remember to snap some photos.

We started by going over the safety rules again, then after laying out most of the guns I gave a brief description of their function. Everyone put ear pro on, and I had her double up.

She seemed more interested in pistols so I scrapped my plans to start out on a single-shot Stevens .22 rifle and we started with a .22lr conversion on a 1911. I don't have a dedicated .22lr pistol, which is something I need to fix.

After explaining sight picture, grip, stance, trigger squeeze, etc. I had her dry fire a few times before loading one round. Her first shot was about 3 inches low of the bull from ~7yds... pretty good considering she had her eyes firmly clenched shut as she squeezed the trigger. After she realized the gun wasn't going to bite her, everything improved from there.

I had her shoot a few more rounds on paper to improve her groupings and get more comfortable, and then had her break a few clays that I glued to the target backer. Of course reactive targets were a big hit. After that she took a break and I repeated the process with her husband.

Next I set up a bunch of clays and had them compete, 3 rounds at a time, to see who could hit the most. She won, with the help of some creative scoring by her brother :)

After putting a few hundred rounds through the .22, they were ready to try new things and we stepped up to a S&W 686 shooting lightweight .38 spcl wadcutters. This is about the most accurate gun I own and is a good transition from .22

After that we moved to a Stoeger Cougar in 9mm. The noise and recoil startled her on the first shot, but she got comfortable pretty quickly. When she swapped it out with her husband, his second shot was a squib load! Winchester White Box ammo, appeared that there was no powder at all in the case. The first factory squib I've ever experienced. Fortunately I was watching him closely and after making sure it wasn't a hangfire, I had him clear the weapon. I didn't want to spend 15 mins trying to hammer it out of the barrel on the range, so the 9mm was packed away for the day.

Next we went to a 1911 in .45, shooting fairly light loads. She shot it a few times, then decided she didn't like it that much, which wasn't suprising. Her husband however shot quite a few rounds and really liked it.

I had a few leftover pumpkins, which we proceeded to blow up with some old Speer Gold Dots. After seeing how much fun this was, my sister decided she wanted to shoot the .45 some more after all, and proceeded to put a magazine of Gold Dots through my lightweight commander 1911.

We then backed up to 25 yds or so and started with my Mossberg Plinkster, breaking clays and shooting at a steel spinning target. Tons of fun.

The big hit of the day was my Savage 93R17, with a 3-9x scope on it. She couldn't get enough of this gun. Nailing full ginger ale cans with a .17HMR is quite spectacular.

Also shot was my AR with a .22 conversion, which was pretty popular, and a Mossberg 500 with birdshot. Everyone liked the AR, even though it was heavy for her, its a 18" heavy barrel middy with a rifle length rail. She wanted to shoot the 12ga, and did once. Brother-in-law really liked the Mossberg, and enjoyed blowing pumpkins to bits with 3 inch slugs.

We shot some other stuff but those were the highlights.

By the end of the day, she was talking about how much she liked the .17HMR and she wanted one like that. Brother-in-law was asking me about pricing and good brands for handguns, ARs, and shotguns. We also talked about setting up a time for me to give them a better class on safety for guns in the home and for self-defense. We also are setting up another range day to go out to the long-range rifle range and shoot some bigger rifles.

We all went over to our parents house later that evening for our annual Christmas tree decorating, grand illumination, and dinner. The conversation was centered on our range trip, and our father remarked how she went in one day from "guns are evil" to wanting an arsenal.

Some lessons learned:

-Accurate guns. A misconception I have seen among many new shooters is that guns are laser beams, like they are depicted in movies and video games. It is difficult to explain to a new shooter that they are doing great when not every round is hitting the bullseye.

-Shooting all .22s gets boring for a new shooter quickly. I can shoot .22 all day and have fun, but for their first experience they want to try new and bigger things.

-Mix of paper and reactive targets. Always start with paper, as it gives better downrange feedback. Reactive because they are fun!

-Bring more ammo. When a new shooter really likes a particular gun, they will shoot that gun for the rest of the day.

Thanks to everyone here for their advice and their help in making this a successful day!

A new member of the shooting community shooting her evil black rifle

P.S. I thought I had some great video to post of the 12ga induced pumpkin showers, but apparently I can't work my camera :(

December 5, 2011, 12:57 PM
Great range report!

Owen Sparks
December 5, 2011, 01:13 PM
I am glad to see that she was wearing proper hearing protection. A lot of people fear guns because they make loud scary noises. Here is something related that I posted a while back.

I read an interesting theory the other day that has real political implications. We all are aware that some people have knee jerk emotional reactions that can be used like handles to manipulate them. How many times have you heard "for the children" used by an unscrupulous politician? This reason this form of manipulation works is because it totally bypasses critical thinking and goes straight for the emotions.

How else can people be manipulated?


People are born with a natural fear of only two things, falling and loud noises.
All else is learned behavior. If there were a sudden loud BANG behind you right now, you would jump. No matter how many years you have been shooting, if you did not know it was coming you would revert to natures reaction to loud noise with fear. In fact, as shooters we constantly have to suppress this natural urge to flinch even when we know it is going to happen. Gunfire is loud. It is scary on a subconscious level even to a seasoned shooter. How much more so is it to a person who is unfamiliar with firearms? Guns can have a very negative connotation to people who don't understand them, as they associate guns with loud frightening noises.

Interestingly enough, the type of person who is scared of guns and would not allow one in their home would probably be totally comfortable around archery equipment. Even though being run through with a broad head can be just about as deadly as being shot, it does not make that loud scary noise therefore it does not elicit that strong primordial urge to avoid it.

It is important that we as gun owners promote shooting in a positive way as we are dealing with peoples deep seeded subconscious fears and the only way to conquer that fear is with knowledge. (and proper ear protection).

Just an observation, OS

December 5, 2011, 06:03 PM
Interestingly enough, the type of person who is scared of guns and would not allow one in their home would probably be totally comfortable around archery equipment.

No offense but that analogy is quite poor and will not be convincing. For example, a small child with a bow and arrow will probably not be able to even pull the string and even if they couldis not likely to shoot himself on accident. Also, there are no statistics to support archery as a social danger and almost no, if any, crimes committed with them. I think the loud noise of guns has very little to do with the political issues surrounding them as many who oppose them have probably never heard one in person.

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