There's a bit of it going around right now, I think it got started by somebody complaining about suggesting women buy .38spc revolvers this time... (we all know my feelings on that crap...)
Anywho, I've had my fair share of first timers out at the range, and I think I've got a pretty good system down. The pre-planning almost always involves the question "well, what do you want to shoot?(No, really, anything. If I don't have it I probably know somebody who does.)" The range trip referenced above for example was strongly based on that question since there were a couple new/newish shooters in the bunch. (The answers, if you're interested, were "...something cool!" and "an AK, who doesn't like stereotypes?" (Adam is of loosely middle-east decent and has a good sense of humor about it)) Of course things always start with .22lr of some shape or form to get the basics down, plus I don't care how much .22lr people shoot up. It's cheap enough that I'm cool donating it to the cause.
In my opinion, the most important thing with a new shooter is to make sure they have a good time. The basics are important, because hitting your target is 3,000 times more fun than just making noise (which is still fun as hell by itself), but like with any habit, you need to hook 'em early. Standing around lecturing and nitpicking every small detail of their technique can come later. On the other hand, give a young dance major raised in a strongly liberal household an AK and a bunch of balloons... (ah memories...)(eta: Adam's not the dance major. She's much cuter.)
That brings up another good point, targets. Paper's great for honing technique, but instant feedback is much more pleasurable. Not everyone gets pleasure out of punching tiny little groups in the 10 ring, but I have yet to meet the shooter who doesn't love that "PING!" of a steel target. Pick up a couple party packs of 100 balloons from Box-mart and you're set for some great first time targets. Less walking too, there's no doubt if you hit it. (Can be a nice change for us regular shooters too, put a couple small ones out at 100 and see who can pop theirs first... off hand... with 22's. And some 8" steel at 300 with .22lr pistols is downright hilarious, especially when you hit. Pop........................................................................ping!)
And don't push your first timer either. If they don't want to shoot the Earschplitten-Shoulderbreaker, that's fine. Of course they very well could change their mind after you fire off a couple shots and show them it's not going to hurt them (in the BSA Climbing/COPE world we call it "Challenge by Choice.") I'm sure we can all agree that guy who gives the 90lb girlfriend the .500mag and laughs as it bounces off her forehead should be punched, so don't be that guy. But if they're perfectly happy popping balloons at 50 yards with the 10/22 all afternoon, just make sure you've got enough balloons.
Whatever happens, just make sure they have fun. If you take out a first timer and they actually enjoy it, they're gonna be shooters for life, and that's why we win.
1 month ago