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View Full Version : How to take first time shooters out and not get killed - opinions needed



Foxer
04-07-2014, 10:49 AM
In another thread we were discussing the merits of taking out new shooters for their first time, and amongst the suggestions was that there should be a simple guide to help licensed shooters do that.

I promised i'd throw one together and as a man of my word, I did. I have no idea what will come of this or if anyone will find it of any value, but there you go.

I'd appreciate it if you guys would give it a quick read over (it's not very long) and give me your two bits. If you've never taken a newbie shooting, did it have info you found at all useful? If you have taken newbies shooting, did I miss anything important? Was it easy to read? Too dry, too short, too long?

This is a very first draft (haven't even done a second pass yet) so i'm completely open to any suggestions or critiques. If it turns out decent, we can give it to various orgs to help them encourage people to take out new shooters and do a good job of it.

Thanks - here's the link:

http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=93336247455149179573

Edenchef
04-07-2014, 11:25 AM
Very good start, Foxer! I especially agree with the "Special place in Hell" comment; unfortunately so true.

Cheers!

DOA
04-07-2014, 11:37 AM
I skimmed it, looks good. All the points I use to take someone out are there.

Strewth
04-07-2014, 11:38 AM
Wow Foxer, that's excellent! Nice presentation.

One thing I'd ask for is eye protection in all the pics on the cover?

I really like the "Your Goal" message, I've been guilty of going off on trivia until people's eyes glaze over, and inadvertent political rants are too easy to slip into as well.
The "Planning" section is great, it's hard enough to remember everything when I'm by myself, let alone anticipating the basic needs of another.
The "Safety" section is pretty perfect, as far as I can see? Dry runs, one shot at a time, one type of cartridge at a time, lead by example, all very relevant and ...sensical? is that a word? It should be.
The "Pre-Shoot" makes good sense as well, although I like teaching stance to people, as it allows me to compare the shooting sports to any other sports. For pistol I often ask them to show me a boxing/karate/basketball/etc. stance.
The "Firearm" choices are good, and it's probably smart to reiterate that you want them to enjoy their time instead of being unable to work the next day because of a giant bruise. I've seen people "play a trick" on their friends and girlfriends, not funny.

For the "Target" section, in the fourth paragraph maybe lose the word "damn" and maybe add at the bottom another blurb about clean up, packing everything out that you brought in, respect for the land, reactive targets on a tarp, etc.? It would appear from the state of my local shooting spots this cannot be hammered home enough.

"What They're Going To Do Wrong" includes all the common mistakes, I think?
I really like the ""Now What" and "Final Thought" sections.

That looks very professional Foxer, well thought out and in a logical order. Thank you for doing this.

Canuck
04-07-2014, 12:27 PM
Foxer
I read it and it looks good. It parallels what I do with new shooters. It is greatly needed in our sport. Some notes as I read it.


a) emphasizing safety and having fun at the same time. Perfect. Limiting what you tell them makes a big difference. I am always impressed when new shooters tell me, at subsequent shooting sessions, "I always remember what you said about unloading, or not sweeping people, checking the chamber, etc." Too much info and they remember nothing.

b) details such as proper clothing, sunscreen, insect repellant, etc., while important in their own right, always seems to impress new shooters. "Wow, you take this seriously. I never would have thought of this and now I can shoot longer. Thanks!"

c) I have not had a new shooter yet who didn't like reactive targets. They like the ring of steel, that puff of water or flour, etc.; the pop of a balloon. Be careful of human shaped targets (including zombies). I have had new shooters refuse to shoot at them and that's ok. As mentioned, ensure the target size and distance is appropriate for a first time shooter. You want their first session to be successful. You may shoot 5 shots into a 2 inch bull at 25 yds. but it is highly unlikely your new shooter will.

d) Food and drink are really important. Many shooters can't imagine being at the range for an hour or two at most. They have no idea of the fun they will be having and rarely want to leave until all the ammo and targets are used up. Food and drink makes for a great day. Food breaks are also a great time to answer questions, make suggestions, etc.

e) choosing the right firearm for a first session: As you mention, this is really important. You aren't there to impress them with your firepower collection. I usually start with a .22 rifle or handgun, maybe a 9mm if they have some shooting experience. You don't want to turn them off on the first session. (I hate those Youtube videos of people shooting a 12 gauge or .44 mag for the first time and losing the shotgun or getting unnecessarily whacked by recoil from an improper hold.)

f) Snap caps and loading/reloading sequences. I don't let shooters take that first shot until we have done loading and unloading enough times that they are comfortable/confident with it. Snap caps give them an extra margin of safety and confidence which they appreciate.

g) One thing that wasn't mentioned that might prove helpful. Avoid telling everything. By that I mean I have noticed that many new shooters will leave it to you to remind them to rack the slide, take off the safety, hit the slide release, etc. What I am suggesting, of course, takes place after some successful shooting sessions. A typical sequence: Shooter: "OK, can I shoot now?"
RO: "Have you followed all the steps?"
Shooter: "Yes."
RO: "Then you may shoot."
Shooter: Pause. Puzzled look. "Hey, I pulled the trigger and nothing happened!" Long pause. Stares at me. Light comes on. "Oh, wait, I didn't rack the slide!" Duh. (Racks slide.) "OK, I am going to shoot now." They never forget that whereas if you always tell them they will count on you too much. Just my thoughts but it happens a lot.

I think what you have done is great and would be an excellent guide for someone who wants to introduce people to the shooting sports. Thanks for doing this.

bettercallsaul
04-07-2014, 05:52 PM
Great guide.

I plan on taking some people out to the range & this was a good read. Thank you.

blacksmithden
04-07-2014, 07:41 PM
Very well done sir ! The first thing that came to my mind was weather, but you've got that covered. I've had to put off range days and buy coffee, rather than take out a new shooter for a miserable freezing cold day at our outdoor range.

blacksmithden
04-07-2014, 10:52 PM
Very well done sir ! The first thing that came to my mind was weather, but you've got that covered. I've had to put off range days and buy coffee, rather than take out a new shooter for a miserable freezing cold day at our outdoor range.

Edit: All first timers that I've ever taken out are taught the 3 golden rules first.

Rule 1: Don't shoot ME !
Rule 2: Don't shoot yourself or anyone else
Rule 3. See rule 1 and review it at least a dozen times ! :)

That always gets a laugh and lightens the mood while giving a reminder to be safe. I then usually start in with the "don't point a gun at anything you don't want to put a big hole in" and "the muzzle points in one of two directions. At the bench, it's pointed down range. When moving from the shooting bench to a table, they're pointed straight up. That's it, no exceptions. Different ranges will obviously have different rules...some make you uncase your rifle at the bench...which can be a bit of a pain if you plan on shooting 3 or 4 rifles, one after the other to allow for cooling down time. Anyway...haven't had any close calls yet following those rules.

Foxer
04-07-2014, 11:16 PM
some excellent feedback folks - and thanks to those who sent PM's. I'll start incorporating those into the draft. Keep 'em coming!

Foxer
04-08-2014, 01:43 AM
One thing I'd ask for is eye protection in all the pics on the cover?
I'd love to - but being pressed for time I had to use all 'stock' photos - free to use for non commercial purposes. Maybe as we move forward I could get some folks here to send me pic's they've taken to replace them, with eyewear and such? That'd be great, but until then it took me over an hour just to find those ones :)

awndray
04-08-2014, 05:29 AM
Well done, Foxer.

Wendell
04-08-2014, 06:11 AM
The title. I understand the "...and not get killed" part is witty and all that, but I also believe that the humour would be lost on most people. Most people, I suspect, do not know how safe range shooting really is, and - instead of recognizing irony - would be more likely to see the "...and not get killed" as some kind of dark premonition that would actually discourage them from reading any further.

A corrupted individual
04-08-2014, 06:23 AM
Great job foxer!

awndray
04-08-2014, 06:30 AM
The title. I understand the "...and not get killed" part is witty and all that, but I also believe that the humour would be lost on most people. Most people, I suspect, do not know how safe range shooting really is, and - instead of recognizing irony - would be more likely to see the "...and not get killed" as some kind of dark premonition that would actually discourage them from reading any further.

I think you're looking at it from the non-shooter's perspective, whereas this document is aimed (no pun intended) at shooters wanting to introduce non-shooters to the sport.

Big Galoot
04-08-2014, 08:02 AM
I see Wendells' point on how some may not see the humour in the title, and as well, in my opinion, if someone supervising or instructing an ab initio shooter gets shot - it is the instructors fault - not the students.

One of the instructors ratings I held was for a large federal agency and we had no choice but to train new shooters on the 870 and AR as well as sidearms. We were taught a stance where we were standing on the shooters weapons side, one arm ready to "stabilize" the shooter, and the other arm ready to control the weapon. I have used this stance ever since and have had to protect myself on more than a few occasions when a student panicked or didn't understand instructions.

I know you touched on this in your guide Foxer, I guess I would just stress that it is the instructor who controls the level of safety and is responsible for any injury - not the student.

Very well done little guide.

Foxer
04-08-2014, 08:35 AM
The title. I understand the "...and not get killed" part is witty and all that, but I also believe that the humour would be lost on most people. Most people, I suspect, do not know how safe range shooting really is, and - instead of recognizing irony - would be more likely to see the "...and not get killed" as some kind of dark premonition that would actually discourage them from reading any further.

Well you might be right (tho the actual title is 'and not get shot I now realize :) ). That was just a working title i threw in from the thread that spawned the idea, and i'm not married to it. Maybe we'll throw some other titles around. I had wanted to inject a little humour into it to make it a little less dry to read :) We'll see what people think and kick it around before the final draft.

Foxer
04-08-2014, 08:38 AM
I know you touched on this in your guide Foxer, I guess I would just stress that it is the instructor who controls the level of safety and is responsible for any injury - not the student.

Well that might indeed be worth 'beefing up'. As you say, based on my own experiences I did mention that their safety is in the trainer's hands and they should stand at the strong side ready to stop the firearm from swinging around, but I could probably highlight that a little more and really hit on how their safety is in the instructor's hands.

Strewth
04-08-2014, 08:45 AM
I'd love to - but being pressed for time I had to use all 'stock' photos - free to use for non commercial purposes. Maybe as we move forward I could get some folks here to send me pic's they've taken to replace them, with eyewear and such? That'd be great, but until then it took me over an hour just to find those ones :)

PM people in the "Kids and Guns" and the..."Real Women with Guns"? (I think that's not right) thread?
Stickies in the Photo section?

Foxer
04-08-2014, 08:47 AM
PM people in the "Kids and Guns" and the..."Real Women with Guns"? (I think that's not right) thread?
Stickies in the Photo section?

Good idea - it'd be nice to have all canadian pictures.

Candychikita
04-08-2014, 01:22 PM
Good idea - it'd be nice to have all canadian pictures.

I have a whole collection at home Foxer. Let me know what specifically you are looking for and I'll see if I can find something to match.

speedloader
04-08-2014, 01:58 PM
Thanks Foxer ,for taking the time to put this all down
and furthering our cause great Job!

Big Galoot
04-08-2014, 04:34 PM
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/afghan-police-find-weapons-cache/article4283437/

I did a little searching and this is the closest I found to how I was trained. I would prefer to be a little closer.

Foxer
04-08-2014, 05:35 PM
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/afghan-police-find-weapons-cache/article4283437/

I did a little searching and this is the closest I found to how I was trained. I would prefer to be a little closer.

Afghan police find weapons cache ?

Big Galoot
04-08-2014, 05:44 PM
the photo. thats how pros protect themselves while training individuals of unknown competence.

killer kane
04-08-2014, 06:05 PM
So you have them grab on to you while you're demonstrating? I'd probably do it the other way myself.

Strewth
04-08-2014, 07:29 PM
^Oh, you.
I think the way Big Galoot is describing is a solid way to do it as well, especially for pistol. I usually hover pretty close, with a slight lean to their strong side. Don't let them break the one-eighty.
But we're generally starting new people on a static range, often benched, so the technique in the picture is a little more advanced.

Foxer
04-08-2014, 07:29 PM
the photo. thats how pros protect themselves while training individuals of unknown competence.

Well THAT makes a hell of a lot more sense :) I was reading the story looking for training techniques and thinking "he can't have meant this"

Foxer
04-08-2014, 10:09 PM
I'm going to do the second draft pretty quick here but a thought occurred to me ... anyone have any idea how we should distribute this and get it out there? i guess i could ask the orgs or do a web page up or something?

3MTA3
04-09-2014, 04:38 AM
Great Job!-Thank you-
Permission to print and post at range?

3MTA3
04-09-2014, 04:39 AM
^Oh, you.
I think the way Big Galoot is describing is a solid way to do it as well, especially for pistol. I usually hover pretty close, with a slight lean to their strong side. Don't let them break the one-eighty.
But we're generally starting new people on a static range, often benched, so the technique in the picture is a little more advanced.

180?!

Foxer
04-09-2014, 07:40 AM
Great Job!-Thank you-
Permission to print and post at range?

Absolutely, that's exactly why I did it :) But give me a little bit to get draft 2 up, probably get it done tonight.

Strewth
04-09-2014, 08:57 AM
180?!

Generally yes, IDPA term, maybe? That's where I first heard it in real life? Generic term for pointing up-range?
I guess it deserves your exclamation point in a thread about new shooters; realistically as soon as there's a hint of the firearm swinging 10 degrees off target it's time to get hyper cautious as the RO.
I subtract my 180. Maybe a 45 instead.

3MTA3
04-09-2014, 11:44 AM
I guess I was thinking that the individual arc of fire is the assigned target, but yeah competition is a little different- for ipsc "breaking 90" so yeah I see your 180 total Arc.
For a new shooter with me, arc of fire is the target.

Big Galoot
04-09-2014, 02:48 PM
Apologies Foxer ! Not much of a techie and now further hindered by having to type on this little pisser cell phone.
I wish I could find a photograph that shows what his right hand is doing.

Strewth
04-10-2014, 11:03 AM
Here's a blurb from the States on responsible outdoor shooting? I like the part about not shooting into caves.

http://treadlightly.org/quick-tips-for-responsible-shooting-sports/

Foxer
04-10-2014, 11:15 AM
Here's a blurb from the States on responsible outdoor shooting? I like the part about not shooting into caves.

http://treadlightly.org/quick-tips-for-responsible-shooting-sports/ almost worth a different guide altogether for newly licensed shooters - "How to shoot on public land responsibly". (and not get eaten by a cave bear)

RangeBob
07-15-2014, 08:29 PM
Here's another one from back in 2011.
http://www.rangebob.com/Newbie/FirearmIntroductionNewbie.htm

bearhunter
07-24-2014, 01:39 PM
The biggest mistake made when taking out new shooters is to take out more shooters than the mentor can reliably keep track of.

A very close second, is not familiarizing the new enthusiasts with how the firearms they are going to shoot operate or how much damage they can cause if mishandled because the newbie isn't aware of where the muzzle is pointing or proper trigger finger control.

Of course there is a list of dos and don'ts.

Third on the list is NOMENCLATURE. Most newbies haven't got a clue what the different parts of a rifle are called and when you start to give them instructions, they quickly get confused because they can't relate to what you are talking about.

That is a good place to start with reducing problems on a certified range or in the field.

3MTA3
06-29-2015, 12:36 PM
I sent a friend a link to the document and found it was no longer working- Any chance for a new link?

Foxer
06-29-2015, 01:24 PM
Do you mean the link to mine? I can put a new one up if you like.

3MTA3
06-29-2015, 01:40 PM
That would be really great, Thank you very much- A friend mine was telling me that he was asked to take a couple of people out out shooting ,who had never even seen a firearm "in the steel" so to speak. I told him about your doc and he was very interested.

RangeBob
06-29-2015, 03:22 PM
That would be really great, Thank you very much- A friend mine was telling me that he was asked to take a couple of people out out shooting ,who had never even seen a firearm "in the steel" so to speak. I told him about your doc and he was very interested.

You can get it here
http://www.rangebob.com/Newbie/Foxer/HowToTrainFirstTimeShootersWithoutGettingShot.pdf

Foxer
06-29-2015, 04:40 PM
Thanks for putting that up Rangebob, (Repository of all knowledge in the known gun-verse) :)

Hope you find it helpful 3MTA3

ESnel
06-29-2015, 06:34 PM
Thanks for the article...a great read and a helpful reminder of things/knowledge we take for granted but forget that others(non shooters) might not know.

3MTA3
06-29-2015, 07:43 PM
Got it -Thanks very much to you both.

Kenwp
06-30-2015, 01:27 PM
Dry firing before you give them ammo. Taught a daughter to shoot with no problem. The boys hated her as she showed them up all the time.