Monday, September 28, 2015

How many of you have taken someone's "gun virginity"?

One of the things I enjoy most is taking a non-shooter to the range and introducing them to the joys of shooting. That first-time shooter grin, the gleam in the eyes, you can actually FEEL the other person's adrenaline rush. But that's not enough, that's like giving a baby a taste of chocolate and then leaving them in the candy aisle alone. You need to follow through. Make sure they get the training they need (if indeed they are as addicted as you think they are). Make sure you keep at 'em to get to a point of safety and comfort with their weapon of choice. You may not always be RIGHT THERE to walk them through it; but if you are, lucky you! There is such joy in birthing a new shooter and raising them up right. But if you can't be hands on, keep the lines of communication, support and encouragement open.

Tell me your stories.


drjim said...

Ony one so far is my sweet little wife.

She'd never even held a gun before she met me. Now she's banging them into the 8 or 9 ring at 10 yards with her own 357 Magnum!

J Bogan said...

I have a pretty well set up single shot 22 rifle, with a scope. They can see they hit the target, little noise and recoil...But what I love is the smile when the dots connect inside their heads, "Hey, this is FUN, and not intimidating..."

Stackz O Magz said...

Did a post on this exact thing back in July. Great time for all of us.

I love these opportunities. For one, it gives me a chance to pass along the education and skills that are required with handling and using firearms. Secondly, it's my neighbor of all people. I never thought he'd ask me to go with him in a million years. He's just not a gun guy. He goes deer hunting, but that's once a year and he uses a borrowed .243 that is only shot during deer season. When he asked me to go with him last night, I had to contain my excitement when I answered him back. He's taking his dad's Taurus .40 with him on a trip to Colorado beginning tomorrow and has never shot it one time. He doesn't know shit about it. The last time we all went to CO, I was the one who was in charge of our security. He's on his own this time.

Jim22 said...

I have had a few. As an NRA pistol instructor my absolute favorite is Women On Target. Women only, no men allowed. We actually set up four ranges, pistol, rifle, shotgun and muzzle loader. It's one day, morning in the classroom for familiarization, afternoon on the range. Targets are white paper plates and milk jugs set close enough to be easy.

About half the women are afraid of guns and take the class to get over the fear. The other half are familiar with guns and take the class for other reasons.

The smiles that come from mastering fear and hitting the target are worth it all.

Women are easier to train than men and they become good shots because of it.

B said...

It is the smile that they have that is the reason I volunteer my time at the range as an instructor.....and why I use my own money to pay for my certification every year, and my insurance...

The cost of these is more than offset by the smile, and the fact that I have brought a new shooter into the world, and taught them how to shoot safely...

East Of The Pecos said...

My Sister In Law is a dyed in the wool liberal college professor. Philosophy, no less.
She came up from the Valley to visit a while back. It was November and the weather was cool enough to have the windows open. After dark, I caught a whiff of skunk in the air. Not good. Both the dogs have had more than a few run-ins with the striped kitties and even though I've gotten real good at deodorizing them, it's not a task I enjoy. But I also have another dilemma, the liberal animal loving, tree hugging, vegetarian in the room.
What to do, what to do?
Well, she sees me going out the door with the flashlight in one hand, and my XD that I thought was concealed pretty well behind my back. "Oh is that an air gun?" she asks. I know I'm busted, so as long as I'm on thin ice, I may as well dance. So I say "Yea. A 40 caliber air gun."
So I go outside, sweep the property, and the skunk has beat feet for other places.
Now I have to face the music. This is going to be interesting. I'm convinced that both my patience and my blood pressure meds are about to be seriously tested.
I come inside and the first thing she asks is "how many guns do you have?". Oh boy, this is going to be good. "Not sure, let me think.... about XX"
15 minutes later, she's sitting at my desk listening intently to the 4 rules and the difference between single action, double action, revolver and semi-automatic and anxiously awaiting the chance to hold one, then all of them.
Next morning we went out to the front yard and she shot all but a couple of the handguns and most of the long guns. She only shied away from shooting a shotgun because she's only 4'10". Interestingly, she loved both the Makarov and the AK the most out of all the ones she fired. I told her that proves she's a Commie.
I don't think she'll ever be joining the NRA or or a local range. But it was clear she had a lot of fun.
A few weeks ago she called me to ask about the Campus Carry bill that just became law. She was looking for a reason to hate it. She got educated on the requirements of getting and keeping a carry permit in Texas. Now she actually thinks it's not that bad of an idea.
Now if I could just get her to like Ted Cruz.....

pigpen51 said...

I live in MI, my son was living in San Luis Obisbo,CA. He and his wife, a CA girl, moved back in June. She had never held a gun. I took them both out and let her shoot my .22 cal Phoenix, cheap gun, and also my .22 cal rifles, and then my 9mm pistols. She shied away from my 9mm pistols, but loved the .22 cal. rifles and pistol.

She ended up taking a hunters safety class just so she could learn to handle firearms safely, and was able to fire all kinds of guns, from Ar15s, to muzzle loaders, to 357 magnums, to center fire deer rifles, even 12 ga. shotguns.

She has no plans to become a hunter, but she has bought my cheap little Phoenix .22 cal. to use as a fun little target plinker, which is what I had it for.

I have taken a couple of other people shooting in the past for their first time, but it has been years ago. This has been the most rewarding experience for me as my daughter in law learned the right way and I didn't spoil it for her. Often, men do just that.

Anonymous said...

One time, we brought a friend up to our range so my husband could help him sight in his rifle. His wife came along, too. She had never been shooting. She did not really expect to shoot and had brought a book to pass the time.

Her husband had brought a .357magnum short barrel revolver for her to shoot.

While it was a nice gesture to bring something along for her to shoot, that's a bit much. It is not an appropriate tool for learning the basics.

I brought a 22 pistol & revolver and rifle. With a little instruction on how to use the sights and a few things like that, I had her shooting and smiling and shooting more targets. She proudly showed her husband the little bitty groups she made on the targets.

I will always remember her beaming smile. She took the targets home as a memento.


RabidAlien said...

I've had the opportunity to introduce my wife, my sister, brother-n-law, and nephew, Mom, and sister-in-law (on wife's side), as well as several friends, to the sport. Most of them live a ways away from us, so we don't get to go shooting as much as we'd all like. With the exception of my sister-n-law, ALL of them have been from die-hard Southern Baptist backgrounds (the true S.Baptists where drinking is evil, gambling a sin, and guns will send you straight to hell 'cuz they're so inherently evil). And one and all have had that new-shooter grin. Honestly, I don't give a flying squirrel fart if I get to pull the trigger on a range trip, as long as someone new gets to experience that grin.

Anonymous said...

Not a woman but my son-in-law. Liberally educated at UCLA but wanted a gun to protect his family after an incident in their neighborhood. Took him shooting and got him a GREAT deal on a lifetime membership at Front Sight where we now go on a regular basis.

Now in five short years he has a gun collection that rivals my lifetime accumulation of things that go boom.

Hbbill Somewhere behind enemy lines,
Peoples Republik of Kommiefornia

Get your booger hook off the bang switch unless you're lined up on the target and intend to put a hole in it.

Anonymous said...

note to RabidAlien....I am a pre-natal SOUTHERN Baptist,and where I came from, guns, shooting and hunting were damn near a requirement for baptism! All the deacons and the preachers shot and hunted and I don't know where in Hell you got the idea that Southern Baptists don't like guns... I think you were messing with the northern variety......

vaquero viejo

Historian said...

A number of years ago, my department of a large national non-profit was visited by a group of three engineers from England. They had come across the Atlantic to see how we did things. (specifics don't matter here) My boss, knowing my penchant for bluntness, cautioned me against any sort of offensive commentary. At lunch, one of the three Englishmen said that he was really looking forward to visiting America, especially the DC area, and one of my coworkers said something like, "Well, we are really glad to have you visit, as long as you people don't burn the city again!" (Oooooooh, I was SO glad I didn't say that!)

At any rate, in the awkward aftermath of THAT comment, one of our guests looked over at me, noticed I was reading a reloading catalog, (MidSouth Shooters Supply) and said "Oh! Shooting supplies; would that be archery?" "No," quoth I, "that would be supplies for firearms, mostly, although they do have archery supplies too." "Well," commented our guest, "We really haven't much to do with guns in England, you know, I don't know much about them."

"Well," said I, "I would be happy to show you; I'm an NRA Certified instructor, and I'd be happy to take you to a range whenever you have time." The three of them looked at each other, and one said, "Well, don't we have to get licences or permits or something?" "No," I said, "We'll be in Virginia, which is still a free state, and you don't need any sort of permit. You will have to pass an open book safety exam to use the range, but I'm sure that none of you gentlemen will have any trouble passing it." Discussion ensued, and they agreed that they'd go to the range on Sunday and shoot handguns. Sunday rolled around, I picked up our guests, and we spent an enjoyable couple of hours at the NRA range at NHQ just off I-66. They had a BALL. I had explained the situation to my friends and managed to assemble a decent collection of guns for them to try; I had a .22 rimfire and a major caliber for single action revolver, double action revolver, and self-loading pistols. What was curious was that nobody wanted to shoot the modern self-loading weapons; 2 of them shot the single action revolvers, and one tried the double action revolver.

We all had a marvelous time; all three left with some decent looking targets, some samples of spent brass, photographs of them with guns in hand, and huge smiles. They spent several weeks in the US, traveling to look at our various operations, and incidentally checking out all sorts of places, including the Grand Canyon, but I was told by a mutual acquaintance years later that when they got back to England, that their trip to the range was the one thing that they all mentioned as being the most memorable part of their trip to America.

I took the time while going and coming to explain not only the 4 rules of safe gun handling, but also why firearms were such an important part of American culture, and reviewed the history of individual disarmament and the link between gun prohibition and genocide. (thank you, Aaron Zelman!) I can't speak for the rest of England, but I do know there are three Englishman who know a bit more than average about the 'rights of Englishmen.'

favill said...

Since nobody's asked. Who's the cute girl in the pic?

Stretch said...

One of my students blogged on the experience. I'll let here tell the tale.

Anonymous said...

My 11 yo had a birthday couple weeks ago. Got him a junior sized .423. Last year it was a .410 auto, a.22 years before. His friends, 13 and 11 were over. Their father was a deadbeat and left them 6 years ago. They had never fired a rifle. We shot the .22 with them until they got the hang of it. They both wanted to shoot the "big gun". Both got 2-3 shots until they rang a milk jug at 20 yds. I've never felt more proud to bring two more into the fold!