Which Guns to Take to the Range with Brand New Shooters

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by HetchHetchy, Oct 3, 2016.

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  1. HetchHetchy

    HetchHetchy Member

    Jun 21, 2016
    This morning at church after Mass, someone asked me if I would consider taking them shooting? He's in his mid 30's and I said I would be happy to. Four more guys chimed in asking to go and I agreed.

    Of the 5, 2 have never fired a gun, 2 have fired .22s over the years and 1 has shot both .22s and a shotgun. They all want "full exposure" to rifles and handguns. We'll end up spending the day at the range. I've been thinking about what to take from my collection and I've come up with:


    * Remington 514 single shot .22
    * Ruger 10/22
    * Colt AR15
    * Norinco MAC10 in 7.63x39
    * M1 Garand
    * Winchester 1886 in 45/70


    * Ruger MK II .22
    * S&W 617 22 revolver
    * Colt 1911 Gold Cup in .45 ACP
    * Glock 17L
    * S&W Model 29 .44 magnum

    Should I take more .22s? More manually operated guns? Any input from someone who has done something like this before would be really appreciated.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
  2. LocoGringo

    LocoGringo Member

    Feb 9, 2013
    Knoxville, TN
    I'm not sure I'd expose them to the bigger calibers/increased recoil so soon for their first time out. Test them with a 12 guage shotgun first is my counsel. I'd skip the 45-70 and .44 magnum for the first trip to the range. Do you have a .357 in place of the .44 and maybe a .308 in place of the 45-70?

    Reactive targets are much more fun than just punching holes in paper. Store brand full soda cans are really cheap and explosive when shaken and hot. Who's providing all of that ammo and at what cost?
  3. HetchHetchy

    HetchHetchy Member

    Jun 21, 2016
    Good input. The range we're going to isn't all that great for shotguns -- but down the road I might take them to a trap/skeet range.

    No .357, but I do have some .44 Special rounds we could shoot in the Model 29? I have an AR10 in .308, but I thought the Garand would be a bit cooler?

    We will be shooting both steel and some paper. They have to bring all their .22 ammo, 9mm and 45. I have quite a bit of 30-06, 45/70 and 44 which I will help with.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
  4. DoubleMag

    DoubleMag Member

    Sep 4, 2011
    From those I would say the single shot 22 and AR as rifles
    Pistols from your fine selection would be the 22 revolver and Glock 9mm

    Nice pieces all!

    Something perhaps you've already thought of and if so I agree, I would suggest simply loading one round at a time until the shooter ''gets'' it, for safety purposes. An added benefit is they would learn how the firearm functions quicker

    Good luck, eye & ear protection, let us know how it worked out:)
  5. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

    May 10, 2005
    Kingsport Tennessee
    Which Guns to Take to the Range with Brand New Shooters ... "full exposure" to rifles and handguns

    In rifles, I would take examples of
    single shot, box magazine and tube magazine feeding systems;
    bolt, lever, pump and semi-auto actions.

    In handguns, I would take my
    Ruger MkII
    AO 1911A1 .45 replica
    Ruger Security Six

    Don't have a Glock but since Glock has become the Ford/Chevy of handguns, everyone should be familiar with it and it makes an excellant training point for "finger off the trigger unless sights are on intended target" which should be drilled home to users of all guns but is critical for the Glock and handguns that follow its design.

    A beginner's introduction should be fun and keep their attention and enthusiasm up.

    kinda what not to take

    anthing overly complicated Beginner guns should be simple, user friendly and ergonomic.

    anything startling to be around Sept I finished a season of military matches. .223/5.56mm is piercingly loud through plugs and muffs and I feel the conclusion from .30-06 when fired next to me. I've had years to get accustomed to the crack and thump, but I wonder about beginners. Some may find it exciting come to think about it.

    anything painful to shoot I remember being introduced as a child to shotgun with a light singlebarrel 12ga that hurt. It was years before I shot a shotgun again. Do you have light loads for that .45/70? Or am I over estimating the recoil of an 1886 with standard .45/70?
  6. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Leavenworth, KS
    Also with new shooters I'd take a look at "what" you're going to shoot as in targets.

    To me at least an entire day spent punching holes in paper is....meh, regardless of the platform.

    I also try to take stuff that you don't often see, or will they likely get the chance to shoot again, in my case: 1921 Luger, 1st generation Colt SAA, Sharps 1874 in .45-100, Thompson M1 etc.

  7. WelshShooter

    WelshShooter Member

    Jun 10, 2014
    Whenever I've introduced new shooters to rifle shooting I started out with either a .22 or a .223 bolt gun (Britain - lol no semi auto centrefire). Once they are comfortable and I am happy they have adopted good shooting posture/positioning I will move up to higher calibres. Following this, I've had newcomers shooting 8mm Mauser with no significant injury, and they actually thanked me for showing them good positioning of the rifle butt to absorb the recoil.

    I'd recommend taking a few extra .22's if possible that way you could have a couple of guys shooting simultaneously rather than waiting their turn (if you're comfortable with this). You could have a newcomer and one of the more experienced shooters side by side.

    I wouldn't overwhelm them with too many guns at once since they'll need to be familiar with loading the magazine (where relevant), loading the firearm and checking the safety for when you move forward to change targets etc.
  8. rugerman

    rugerman Member

    Aug 7, 2004
    Auburn, Alabama
    Take a little bit of everything, but make sure everybody has eye and ear protection. Several years ago I had a similar experience. My boss and his father in law used to go shooting together. The bosses wife who was pretty athletic was scared of guns. I kept picking at her til I got her to go with us. We started off with shotguns, I had a past shoulder pad so I got it on her, I showed her how to work my Ruger 20ga o/u and started her out with a frisbee and straight away shots. After she mastered that I gradually increased the angle til she was hitting crossing shots. Then I hand tossed a few clays which she smoked, so we went to the mechanical trap with straight away targets, I told her husband to back her up and if she missed the clay to break it, nope she smoked it. Next we went to pistols, I started her out with 22, then 38 and .357. Then while she shot 22 rifle I shot my Ruger super Blackhawk 44 mag. After a few minutes she came over and asked to try it, her husband tried to talk her out of it (he flinched really bad with it) but she said she wanted to try it so I told her it kicked a bit more than the .357 but to squeeze the trigger and roll with the recoil. The first shot sort of shocked her but she shot it dry with a big grin. That's when her husband said "now you've created a monster". From then on any time we went shooting she was the first one in the truck. Have a good time, be safe.
  9. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

    Jun 5, 2007
    Central Fla
    With all the in-experience I`d make "SAFETY" my top priority !! Period.
  10. guyfromohio

    guyfromohio Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    I'd take the 10/22, AR 15, and all of the handguns except the.44.
  11. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

    Apr 24, 2007
    I would go with the 10/22 and the AR with the rifles, the Ruger Mk.II and S&W Model 617, and the Glock 17L and Colt Gold Cup. Pretty much what I use to bring along when I took new shooters to the range.
  12. drband

    drband Member

    Jul 2, 2014
    That selection of guns looks great. I would second the recommendation of using only .44special or light magnum loads in the SBH. Full-on 44mag loads are a real handful for anybody (at least the way I load them [emoji41])!
    Everything else should be pretty manageable.
    Is one of the shooters competent enough to be your assistant? I think you might also want to enlist a gun savvy friend if not. It would make the day easier if there was another set of experienced eyes on hand.
  13. sota

    sota Member

    Dec 19, 2012
    I usually take a variety of types and calibers.
    Since I only get 1 (maybe 2) opportunities to introduce someone to shooting, I like to make sure I can adapt to their learning and comfort curve. If they're perfectly happy with (or unwilling to try anything other than) .22lr then that's fine. If they're feeling the excitement and want to step it up a notch or two, I find it useful to have 9, .45, .38, .357 all with me just in case. Sometimes they just want to just be in the room with bigger things going off. To me it's all about reading your guest and adapting your day around them.

    Regarding ammo flavors, I do tend to bring mostly loads that i've vetted as being "soft" shooting for the various firearms (and reliable! I'm looking at you .22LR,) but I will bring my normal practice rounds and even some full house defensive. Again it all comes down to the person. I've had one lady who had a good time shooting my Ruger SR22 for an hour, but was not at all interested in anything else. That's fine; getting her in the door of the range was a massive accomplishment. Another lady (sense a trend?) shot EVERYTHING I brought and LOVED the thrill of popping of a couple Federal 230gr +P .45 rounds through my HK45. It's all about the person and how they feel. (yes, I repeat myself.)

    I will say though, almost no one has gone to AR-15's on the first trip. Henry's in .22LR a few times, sure. Part of that is my range isn't conducive to AR activities (underground concrete tubes 100yds long, fixed target distance.)

    My only major recommendation would be, be thoroughly familiar with whatever you're showing them or letting them shoot. Your confidence is important.
  14. John G C 1

    John G C 1 Member

    Apr 9, 2013
    Give em good ear plugs too! If the noise is totally muffled, they are likely to feel more comfortable than they will if the noise level is high. Maybe less flinch too?
  15. straightshooterjake

    straightshooterjake Member

    Sep 7, 2016
    I have written some articles about helping new shooters get started. The articles are here:

    Taking New Shooters to the Range

    In your specific case, you have listed several firearms which are appropriate for new shooters, but I wonder if you are planning much for one range day. If there are five inexperienced shooters, you would want at least one or two experienced assistants to help you. And having too many different firearms can be information overload for new people trying to soak everything up.

    I might suggest bringing the two shooters who have never fired a gun to the range with the firearms below. These guns are very well suited for working with beginners.

    Ruger .22 auto pistol
    Smith .22 revolver
    Glock 9mm

    Ruger 10/22 rifle

    After the first range day with the two who have never shot before, then you might have another range day with all five shooters and a few more guns.

    The articles I linked to have lots more advice about working with beginners. The key themes of the articles are teach safety first and make sure everyone has a positive experience.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
  16. dmoserwy

    dmoserwy Member

    Mar 14, 2016
    One thing I have done to make punching holes in targets more fun is have a little competition. Once I am comfortable with their safety I have everyone pay a dollar for a target and 5 shots. They shoot 1 at a time and I score the targets. The high score wins the pot. Seems to go over big with the newer shooters I have taken shooting.
  17. Jeff H

    Jeff H Member

    Sep 14, 2009
    I always bring lighter recoiling guns for new shooters. I don't own any 22LR guns so my choices would be:
    Full size 9mm pistol
    Full size 357 shooting 28 spl.
  18. woerm

    woerm Member

    Feb 27, 2004
    Glitter Gulch, LSR
    .22 single shot first get them on target
    so with that list
    Remmington then after they are on paper the Ruger MK*whatever* is an excellent training pistol
  19. HetchHetchy

    HetchHetchy Member

    Jun 21, 2016
    That's axiomatic. "Period."
  20. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

    Feb 6, 2007
    You seem to like that word.......:D

    While it's nice to introduce new shooters to a variety of firearms, sometimes one needs to remember the KISS method. Keep It Simple Stupid. Overwhelming 5 new shooters in one afternoon with a dozen or more different firearms can mean each person gets one or two mags/cylinders worth of shooting. Not really enough to familiarize oneself with. One also wants to make the experience pleasant to new shooters. A 45-70 in a carbine is not a pleasant experience for even many experienced shooters....myself included. I'd leave that one at home for now. Five new shooters and a dozen or more firearms can be overwhelming to the person trying to instruct them also. BTDT.

    I help teach new shooters in hunter safety classes. On those days where we take them to the range we try and limit ourselves to working with fewer than 5 students and we take only a limited amount of firearms. This means we can pay attention not only to those actively shooting, but those who are behind us waiting to shoot. It means those student can also get familiar with a firearm instead of moving on to another platform before having that chance. Kudos for wanting to introduce folks to the shooting sports. But I would suggest less firearms than you have listed and not more.
  21. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

    Aug 30, 2011
    I try to take a completely new shooter to the range once a year. What I bring depends a little on the person, but here's my typical mix, and the order I usually have them shoot them:

    1. A .22lr rifle. No reason to move on until they are reasonably comfortable with this.
    2. A .22lr semi-automatic. No reason to move on until they are reasonably comfortable with this.
    3A. A .38/.357 revolver loaded with SOFT wadcutters or SWC rounds. Some love the wheelie, some don't.
    3B. A 9mm semi-auto. Some top out here.
    No reason to move beyond 3 unless/until they are comfortable with either 3A and/or 3B.
    4A. Bigger bore revolver.
    4B. Bigger bore semi-auto.
    5. (Sometimes) My USPSA limited-class race gun.
    6. A .223 semi-auto rifle.
    7. A bigger bore bolt-action rifle.

    I don't fool with shotguns at a square range... that's what the skeet/trap field is for!

    And I would never try to introduce more than 2 new shooters at once. 1-on-1 is best.
  22. Shaq

    Shaq Member

    Jan 19, 2016
    First, stress finger off trigger when not shooting.
    Revolvers are safer for beginners. A 22 is ideal, a light-loaded 38 Special is OK in a medium to heavy revolver. Rifles are even safer; they're less likely to be carelessly pointed than handguns.

    When they want to try an auto, I'd load only one round until I see how they react to recoil & the moving slide.
  23. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

    Nov 16, 2015
    Salem, AR
    I would suggest taking the .22 rimfire rifles only; any if any have any other bolt action or lever action .22s in your collection, I would suggest taking them in preference to the Ruger 10-22.

    On an introductory trip, you are going to be trying to teach fundamentals and the need to work the bolt or the lever between shots eliminates the temptation to shoot rapidly.

    My grandfather taught me how to shoot. He had been a marksmanship instructor at the Infantry School at Ft. Benning throughout the 1930's and into World War II. He worked with me for days on handling an unloaded rifle, shouldering it, acquiring a sight picture, field stripping it, immediate action, and the like. Once handling the rifle had become well-drilled in me, we went to the "range" which he had set up in the backyard against an earthen berm. Even though my father had bought a Marlin rifle with a tubular magazine, my grandfather would only give me one cartridge at a time. So, each round, I had to stop, pull the plunger, drop in a new cartridge, replace the plunger and shoulder the rifle. It seemed to me at the time that it was almost like shooting a muzzle loader.

    The first few rounds he left me fire were just so I could get used to the recoil and learn where the trigger broke. Once he was satisfied with that, I started shooting at a target. He used each round to diagnose what I was doing wrong (i.e. snatching the trigger, inconsistent cheek weld, etc) and get them corrected. Once I could get all of the rounds to cluster together, we adjusted the sights to bring the group onto the bullseye. From there it was just moving me from 25 feet out to 100 feet where he started letting me have five cartridges so that I could shoot a string for evaluation.

    That was 40+ years ago and I still remember those lessons ever time I go to pick up a gun. Having to learn my lessons and get them right between being allowed to fire each round merely heightened the overall excitement for me.
  24. lobo9er

    lobo9er Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Earth, Currently
    I'd leave the 44 magnum home as well the 45-70. As probably stated by others.

    The AR and 22 are probably your best bet. Soft shooting. The Ar looks scary but shooting it will help relieve a lot of the anxiety about "scary" looking guns. I wouldn't bring an arsenal, let them get comfortable with one or two. Trying to cram in shooting a bunch of guns may just make the 1st timers over whelmed. Save some for round two. Just my opinions, other wise Have fun and good luck.
  25. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 20, 2006
    Nothing with heavy recoil the first time out.

    .22 LR

    .32 Long

    .32 Mag

    Light .38 Spl in a full sized revolver.

    9MM pistol if they are doing well and having fun. (Everyone likes the 9MM AR)

    Make the first outing fun and successful.
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