which basics to work on first?


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TenMillimaster
November 28, 2011, 05:39 AM
Hello THR friends! I'm back in Atlanta after a relaxing break in Florence, SC with my girlfriend's parents and my 22 Pistol and her father's Marlin 336 (SO COOL). Her father suggested we go out for a bit of practice at a friend's property.

Anyways, it was tons of fun, but I realized that as far as my abilities as an instructor go (I am the biggest gun nut they know), I am extremely lacking. I tried to start my girlfriend and her mom off with the most basic of basics- the sacred 4 golden rules. Then I tried to show them the important bits of anatomy of the guns we had on had (specifically the safety, the trigger, the chamber). A couple of shots were then fired to demonstrate that the guns aren't scary at all. Using the sights next, and after that, stances.

I also tried to tell her father that no, I don't appreciate him muzzle sweeping me with a 30-30 levergun or a 22 bolt action , or my own pistol, but that man is extremely stubborn.

How do you usually start off new shooters? Am I doing alright? For someone who is VERY new to shooting, I hate being looked up to firearms advice; For example, I think my antiquated shooting grip (weak hand index finger on the trigger guard) has rubbed off on my girlfriend.

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Nushif
November 28, 2011, 05:51 AM
I start shooters off with enough safety to not hurt anyone, give them at least fifty rounds of ammo and let them have fun before I start lecturing.
On the first range trip the only instruction they rceive from me is to not flag people with the muzzle, to not have their finger on the trigger unless they are shooting, how to work the gun and how the sights ought to look, then I go somewhere, have a seat and only step in when things get dicey.
The first thing I like establishing is comfort. Because the moment shooting becomes a chore, I find people stop doing it.

Sky
November 28, 2011, 08:35 AM
I start shooters off with enough safety to not hurt anyone, give them at least fifty rounds of ammo and let them have fun before I start lecturing.
On the first range trip the only instruction they rceive from me is to not flag people with the muzzle, to not have their finger on the trigger unless they are shooting, how to work the gun and how the sights ought to look, then I go somewhere, have a seat and only step in when things get dicey.
The first thing I like establishing is comfort. Because the moment shooting becomes a chore, I find people stop doing it.

Same Same here

ball3006
November 28, 2011, 09:12 AM
Yeah, safety rules first and foremost. If they break them, shooting session is over. chris3

mgmorden
November 28, 2011, 10:22 AM
Gonna sound like an echo, but stress safety first. If you're shooting primarily recreationally, then safety is the only really important one there is. Bad form, terribly accuracy, etc, really don't hurt anyone in a recreational setting, so long as they obey the 4 rules and keep the shots downrange.

Once you're sure they're safe, then start on the rest - IF they're interested in taking their shooting to the next level. If not and they're having fun just shooting safely (even shooting poorly but safely) might be fun enough for them in and of itself. Some people like to golf - some just like putt-putt - neither are wrong :).

For handguns, grip and stance is something most people get wrong - even many people who have been shooting for ages will get it wrong in the absence of instruction.

Also work on trigger control. Explain to them what flinching is so that they can mentally try to avoid it. Setup a magazine with a snap cap inserted randomly in it - they can know its in there, just not know WHERE. That will instantly show someone if/when they're flinching.

Practice reloads. If you've got a nice collection of magazines, give them a whole set holding 2 rounds each. They fire through and must reload every 2 rounds.

Also, try having them shoot some smaller targets after a while. I've noticed that with a big silhouette target some people are satisfied if they just hit it - and those are HUGE targets. Try sitting out paper plates at 12-15 yards and let them shoot those. It's a little harder to keep all your shots on target there, which may frustrate them at first, but eventually it should drive them to tighten things up.

Loosedhorse
November 28, 2011, 12:03 PM
demonstrate that the guns aren't scary at allGuns are very scary. The recoil of .22s isn't much, and the report is easily controlled with basic ear plugs.

But they will kill you just as dead as any other gun. They are scary, and should be, IMHO.
I don't appreciate him muzzle sweeping me with a 30-30 levergun or a 22 bolt action , or my own pistol, but that man is extremely stubborn.
How stubborn would he be with a broken arm? Just kidding.

Now not kidding: the first time someone muzzle sweeps me, I physically control the muzzle and (politely) give the person what for. The second time I will relieve them of the firearm, and whether they remain standing is up to them. And after that's accomplished, one of us will leave the area. Guaranteed.

A person can be stubborn about sweeping me. I can be stubborn about staying alive. I'm committed to winning this one.I hate being looked up to firearms adviceThe NRA holds courses on pistol shooting, and on becoming a pistol-shooting instructor. My best advice (to anyone) is take both if you can.

Matthew Courtney
November 28, 2011, 12:25 PM
Most people learn more quickly when given instruction about what to do, instead of what not to do. For example, defining a down range safe direction with left, right, up, and down limits so that a shooter knows where to keep their muzzle pointed is more effective than telling them not to point it at things that they are not willing to destroy. The safety objective remains the same, we just get there with positive instructions instead of focus on what not to do. A new shooter cannot "flag" others if he keeps the muzzle pointed downrange.

TenMillimaster
November 28, 2011, 02:24 PM
For example, defining a down range safe direction with left, right, up, and down limits so that a shooter knows where to keep their muzzle pointed is more effective than telling them not to point it at things that they are not willing to destroy.

I got that across for the most part. All guns were pointed down range at the backstop until in use, preferably with the action left open. Girlfriend's father left his 30-30 with the action closed more than once and I cracked it open more than once to make sure it was clear when someone decided to change the target, or inspect their groupings.

Yeah, safety rules first and foremost.
That was the first thing I did. Girlfriend and her mom took to the rules with flying colors. Her dad, like I said, swept me a few times. It was hard to speak up about it, but y'all are right. I should, and will do so next time we shoot together.

Guns are very scary. The recoil of .22s isn't much, and the report is easily controlled with basic ear plugs.
I hoped to distill GF's mom's fear into respect for a firearm, while removing her fears that her bad luck would cause it to malfunction or something. She took some convincing, but I think she had fun shooting.

give them at least fifty rounds of ammo and let them have fun before I start lecturing. That is an excellent idea, but is unfortunately the opposite of what I did. I will definitely try to hover less next time. I'll also try to buy way more ammo than her father brought (100 rounds of 22, 20 rounds of 30-30).

Also work on trigger control. Explain to them what flinching is so that they can mentally try to avoid it. Setup a magazine with a snap cap inserted randomly in it - they can know its in there, just not know WHERE. That will instantly show someone if/when they're flinching.


Is the surprise trigger break a good way to explain anticipation and flinching? I had my girlfriend do some dry fire drills to show how her pull affects her accuracy. I then tried to have her surprise herself while pulling evenly with her finger where it is fattest ( not the tip) while maintaining a good sight picture.

The NRA holds courses on pistol shooting, and on becoming a pistol-shooting instructor. My best advice (to anyone) is take both if you can.


Money's tight. That is what it is. I would love to take both, but my time and money are limited by my school work.

mgmorden
November 28, 2011, 02:39 PM
Is the surprise trigger break a good way to explain anticipation and flinching? I had my girlfriend do some dry fire drills to show how her pull affects her accuracy. I then tried to have her surprise herself while pulling evenly with her finger where it is fattest ( not the tip) while maintaining a good sight picture.

I've found that the snap cap mixed in works well for me. If the gun goes bang then usually the persception of the flinch, tightening of grip, etc, is often lost in the recoil. If you KNOW the gun isn't going to go bang though (as is the case with dry fire), then you filter out the flinch response because there's no recoil to really anticipate.

The random snap cap means that for every shot that mag they're expecting a bang, but at least once they'll get a click, and they can immediately notice the amount of upset they get in their sight picture. With no recoil their sights should barely move on a trigger pull.

loper
November 28, 2011, 04:18 PM
First thing get safety ingrained in their heads. This has to be an absolute.
In terms of marksmanship, sight alignment/sight picture. Bullets go where the weapon is pointed when the primer fires.
Stance, position, grip, trigger squeeze, breathing, balance, these are just ways to ensure and maintain proper sight alignment and sight picture in the instant the primer fires and the bullet goes thru the bore.

Now I'm NOT saying skip all the fundamentals, they need to be muscle memory. But concentrate on sight alignment and sight picture.

This has worked for me, and for everyone I've taught to shoot.

USAF_Vet
November 28, 2011, 07:19 PM
I also tried to tell her father that no, I don't appreciate him muzzle sweeping me with a 30-30 levergun or a 22 bolt action , or my own pistol, but that man is extremely stubborn.

When I'm teaching new shooters, only one gun is out at any time, regardless of the number of people. It's enough to watch one person who isn't accustomed to guns, don't need one or two or several more guns to keep track of.

9mmepiphany
November 28, 2011, 07:50 PM
Stance, position, grip, trigger squeeze, breathing, balance, these are just ways to ensure and maintain proper sight alignment and sight picture in the instant the primer fires and the bullet goes thru the bore.
...But concentrate on sight alignment and sight picture.

This has worked for me, and for everyone I've taught to shoot.
Not to disagree with your experience, but I think I should clarify three points:

1. In the bolded portion above; when the primer ignites and when the bullet goes through the bore are different instants in time and, unless you are much stronger than most folks I've ever met, the sights will be pointed in different places at each point.

2. While it is important that the sights be clearly aligned and on target (two different things). The expectation that you will be able to hold them that way tends to lead to flinching. The belief that you can press the trigger when your sight picture is perfect is the illusion the that leads to a miss.

3. The most important skill in accurate shooting is trigger control. You can have the most unbalanced stance, weird grip, ragged breathing and wobbly sight picture, but with good trigger control you'll still be able to place good hits on target

holdencm9
November 28, 2011, 07:54 PM
I am not super experienced either but have taught a bunch of friends to shoot, as well as my parents, and just generally enjoy bringing friends and family to the range and introducing people to shooting. It is also a good learning experience to teach!

Of course safety is first and foremost. Stance, trigger squeeze (not pull), sight picture, basic operations and functions of the particular pistol and its parts, all good stuff.

Beyond that, I always try to emphasize GRIP, especially with handguns. If someone has a bad grip then it will snap up more on them, and really freak them out. With a proper grip they can see that, "yes, you can feel it, but it ain't a big deal." A bad grip with too large of a caliber and it can really startle them! Getting slide bite would be even worse. Girls seem to have a tendency to put their weak hand thumb right there behind the slide. Guys with no experience tend to teacup-grip. YMMV

Interestingly, girls always seem to pick it up faster! Probably because they don't have preconceived notions of how they THINK they oughta do it, like most guys. They just listen better.

Just make sure they wear proper attire:
http://www.youtube.com/user/ChelseaVictoria1010#p/a/u/0/WfGczM7y7BA

Strykervet
November 28, 2011, 08:29 PM
As a former SDM instructor, I feel a little classroom time helps, but lacking that, a new shooter needs to know the basic safety rules, and should preferably start out shooting a .22 rifle (or even an air rifle). Why? All the basics can be taught much easier using a simple .22. When you go up to centerfire, you add recoil and a bunch of other stuff into the mix (the worst of which is flinching). Rifles are also easier than pistols to start with. They'll also see the fruits of their labors faster with a .22 rifle and "get hooked" as it were. And you can have a LOT of fun with a .22 rifle. With new shooters, I set 'em up with that and show them how to use it and show them how to get a sight picture and tell them keep breathing and fire on the bottom of an exhale. Then I tell them to enjoy themselves and if they have any problems to set it down and come get me. If they get into it and we go out more often, then we can add some more things into the mix, but for the new shooter, it is important to let them discover and learn on their own too.

But start with a rimfire rifle and a lot of ammo and a basic set of rules and let them discover the very first time. They'll have questions later and you'll see things to point out as well over time. If they really get into it, then you can strip 'em down to basics and build 'em up yourself if you know how to do that, or you can recommend they get into competitive shooting matches. Rimfire ain't a bad place to start, then NRA, NM, or stock pistol to begin with.

The biggest thing with instruction though is that you have an idea of what you are going to teach and when. Since this isn't the army, you don't have all day 7 days a week to teach in a classroom and on ranges for a full month or more. But you still need to have the same kind of flow to the material presented so that it makes sense and is absorbed and used properly. Long story short, you need a detailed syllabus, if for nobody but yourself as an instructor (this can be quite useful and make you a better instructor in fact).

If they break the safety rules, get on to the them. They need to understand this isn't play hour and that bad things can happen when firearms are mishandled. If they keep breaking them, then they should be asked to sit it out, and if you suspect they are incapable of following the rules, then you should leave them behind to begin with.

Hope that helps.

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