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Advice for a new shooter

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Confirmedkill, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. Confirmedkill

    Confirmedkill Active Member

    Hello everyone,

    I am relatively new to firearms having had little experience with it. I have shot a M16 twice before in high school but I haven't touched any firearms since then. My friend recently took me to a local pistol range and I jumped when people started shooting. How can I get over the fear of the report of the firearm and keep myself from flinching? If I don't overcome this I will never be good at shooting. I would like to stay in this hobby as I just purchased a Glock 17 not too long ago. Thank you
  2. Stickjockey

    Stickjockey Well-Known Member

    Start yourself out with a .22LR. Take it slow and easy, and concentrate on the basics of sighting, trigger control, and follow through. IIRC, the military teaches the acronym BRASS:


    Go here: http://www.army.com/articles/item/1958 for a more complete description.
  3. mustanger98

    mustanger98 Well-Known Member

    Okay, first off, did you have hearing protection? You need to at least be using ear plugs if not muffs. If it's an indoor range, the noise is a lot bigger problem in the confined space. In that case, you need to double up and use plugs and muffs. This will seriously cut down on the decibels and deaden the sharpness of the report.

    I recall the first time I fired a .30-30 when I was 15 years old (and I'm 32 now and have been shooting high power rifles pretty often for several years). I remember with the muzzle blast, about 5rds and I was done. My nerves were so shot I couldn't hold steady and keep from jerking the trigger. That makes felt recoil a lot worse too. Pistols are about the same in that respect, but the shorter barrel makes them seem a lot louder. However, next time I shot a .30-30 as well as calibers considered more powerful and certainly louder, I had hearing protection and I didn't have the nervous reaction.

    I hope this helps.

    BTW, why the "Confirmedkill" handle?

    Editted to add: Stickjockey's right about getting a .22, too. You get to practice like he said and for cheap without all the buck and boom.
  4. Confirmedkill

    Confirmedkill Active Member

    Mustanger98 I was wearing hearing protection at the time that I was at the range but it was indoors so it was confined like you said. I have used Confirmedkill as my online name for several years now so I have been using it for the forums I have registered on. If this offends anyone I can have it changed. The next time I go to the range I will probably use two sets of hearing protection. I am currently using an electronic hearing protector from Peltor but I will probably use a foam one that goes in my ear too.

    Thank you for your links and advice Stickjockey.
  5. mustanger98

    mustanger98 Well-Known Member

    Confirmedkill, No offense here. I just wondered out of curiosity.
  6. pax

    pax Well-Known Member

    Good advice about putting ear plugs underneath electronic muffs, especially for indoor ranges.

    Hate to sound like a shill, but ... take a look at my site (link in sig line). Although the site is written primarily for women, you'll find a lot of really basic advice for new shooters -- stuff like how to hold the gun, how to find a gun that fits you well, how to conquer a flinch, and how to figure out which stance is best for you.

  7. Stickjockey

    Stickjockey Well-Known Member

    No prob, CK. Also +1 for doubling up on hearing protection and on checking out PAX's site.
  8. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Welcome to THR, CK. Wearing Plugs and Muffs is a great way for new shooters to avoid the startle response to loud noises. Go for the most protection that you can get out of both. Starting out with low noise/recoil handguns will help also.

    I'll shill for you Pax. ;) Look at Pax's site for good advice.

    P.S. You'll want to change that handle as you get older.
  9. WayneConrad

    WayneConrad Well-Known Member

    I guess I'm a sink-or-swim kind of guy.

    When I started shooting, any report caused me to jump. About a mile high. I jumped when I shot, I jumped when someone nearby shot. I jumped when someone in the next county shot. Ok, maybe I wasn't *that* jumpy, but you get the idea.

    So, here's the sink-or-swim of what I did. Whenever I went to the range, I set up next to the biggest, meanest looking rifle I could find. Extra points if it had a muzzle brake. Even more extra points if I could put one on each side of me. My idea was that I'd jump so much that my brain would tire of it and stop commanding me to jump a mile. That worked, to a point, but I was still jumpier than I liked.

    What *really* did the trick was when I got my first pair of electronic ears. While they muffled nearby shots just fine, they actually let far-away shots through much better. The constant din of shots going off up and down the line (Ben Avery has about 50 benches!) made my brain tired of commanding my feet to jump. It finally gave up in frustration. I am now free of jumpiness. Thank goodness!
  10. akodo

    akodo Well-Known Member

    i'd recommend not trying to shoot at the range right away. Go in and hang out for 20 minutes, and get used to the shooting
  11. Ryder

    Ryder Well-Known Member

    Dry firing will teach you how to drop the hammer (figuratively speaking since you have a Glock) while keeping your sights aligned. That's the same technique you need to use shooting a live round. But you can't keep the sights aligned when you flinch or jerk the trigger, eh?

    The method I use to break others from flinching is the same I used on myself when I was learning. The gun is loaded so that a random dry shot comes up. Leave a few chambers on a revolver empty and rotate the cylinder or have someone else load the chamber and hand it off to you. The trick is to not know when it will fire a round. You'll only have to shame yourself flinching on a few dry fires (especially if others are watching) before you'll catch on. Improvement comes fast.

    I can still sense the urge to flinch with a brand new firearm or when using a new load for the first time. It doesn't take many shots to prove otherwise but hey, the thing can blow up, can't it? :D With a familiar firearm/load combination I focus so hard on my technique that inappropriate distractions such as blast and recoil simply don't exist on a conscious level. Realizing it isn't going to bite is what really opens the door to accurracy for me.

    Hope that helps.
  12. ronto

    ronto Well-Known Member

    Very good advice so far. ALWAYS wear ear potection because if you don't, eventually the noise won't bother you anymore... You will be DEAF!
    A friend of mine is deaf in his right ear because he thought wearing muffs and/or plugs was not neccesary.
    BTW ditto on pax's site for the flinch problem and other aspects of successful firearm useage.
    P.S. Don't forget the eye protection also.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2006
  13. Stickjockey

    Stickjockey Well-Known Member

    Just don't do it with your shiny new .22. It's kinda hard on rimfire guns.

    Out of curiosity, where are you? Maybe one of us could get with you and help you out.
  14. dfaugh

    dfaugh Well-Known Member

    Well, the way we train dogs to ignore gunfire:rolleyes: is to slowly acclimate them to it (if need be, some don't care at all.). We'll start them with a .22 blank gun (shooting crimps) at a distance of several hundred feet, and slowy move in, and eventually move to louder (.22 blanks, then 9mm, which is as far as we go). So start out (but still with hearing protection), away from the shooting area, and slowly move closer., at whatever speed is comfortable for you.

    For yourself, start with a .22 OUTDOORS, with good hearing protection. I usually start people with a .22 rifle, with subsonic (standard velocity) rounds, then a 9mm carbine, then, if they want, something like a 7.62x39 and beyond. Even though I do alot of shooting I can still be startled by a big, loud gun nearby at the range, but it's usually because I'm concentrating on anticipating the sound of MY shot, not theirs.

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