I have recently reconnected with an old acquaintance from school. We’ve known each other since 4th grade but never really hung out or had an interlocking circle of friends. However, I live in Alaska and she comes here regularly so she reached out to me and now we talk on occasion. A recent Facebook discussion has led to us both agreeing to do something outside of our comfort zone. I am going to attempt Hot Yoga. This should be interesting because I don’t do yoga to be gin with. I have tried it before, but it is not something do regularly, and I have not done in the past year. She has agreed to go to the range with me. We briefly discussed politics when we were out last time, and I was surprised to learn that she is libertarian. I guess I do have prejudices about people from the Seattle Area. And just as I have agreed to do Yoga, she has agreed to go to the range with me, on the grounds that her husband will love it. I don’t know his background with firearms, but I know hers is zilch. Her response to it was ”(Husband) will love it. I’ll probably shoot myself in the foot. LOL.”
Tonight, I had the realization that as much as I shoot between the military and my hobbies, I have never had to instruct anyone how to shoot. I never rose above the rank of Lance Corporal in the Marines, and cadets and officers would never be responsible for Primary Marksmanship Instruction in the Army. And everyone I have shot with before is either military or shoots for a hobby. I have never been solely responsible for teaching someone firearms safety and marksmanship. So that being the case, how do I put together a morning that is fun and safe to make her enjoy her time, since I can assume he will, so that they take it up, or encourage others to do so?
It is doubtful that I will be able to attend the Army’s Marksmanship Master Trainers or become a certified NRA instructor in that time, so I will need to devise my own program that meets the safe and fun criteria for about 2-2 ½ hours of shooting.
So before I continue, I encourage all of my readers, which is nobody to recommend anything that will help in the comments section of this blog.
I will obviously begin with the five basic rules of firearms safety, skipping rule 1 since they are my age, and I am serving in the adult capacity
- if you see a firearm, tell a grownup immediately.
- Treat Every firearm as if it was loaded.
- Never point a firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
- Always know that is behind and beyond your target.
I know everyone says there are 4 rules to firearms safety, but I am saying rule 1 is most important because of my son. I will always teach it as rule 1 and discount it if it does not apply to the specific individual.
Next, I need to work with marksmanship. I know from experience that it is mentally defeating to know you are constantly missing the target. So, I intent to start them off on paper and see where they are hitting, then walk them onto target based on their point of aim. I’ll work on sight picture to help the, understand basics of aiming
I do not intend to Zero them on my sights. But after figuring out where they shoot on paper, I’m going to transition to steel. Steel is more fun for novice shooters since it provide a immediate gratification. More so than splatter targets.
My personal opinion for first time shooters is that they are going to be scared of the anticipated shot. So I’m going to start them (or her at least in case he has shot before) on a .22. I gifted away my SR22 and my Ruger Mark II is not the easiest to reload (though it is fun) so I might have to replace it. Also, I may be able to pick up a Ruger 10/22 by then. Both of which would be a great way to start. Either that or an M&P 15-22. I need a better .22 LR rifle and pistol before then. Once they have basic shooting down, well transition to larger calibers.
So after basic rifle and pistol marksmanship with a 22, I’ll let them shot whatever they want. I just hope they range is fairly open that day. I’d prefer to have a range where I can shoot rifle and pistol without having to change constantly; probably about 50 meters should be good.
National Rifle Association (https://gunsafetyrules.nra.org/
National Shooting Sports Foundation https://www.nssf.org/safety/