First Time Shooters Don’t Have to be Young!

Normally when a first-time
shooter asks to shoot one of your guns, they are kids.  This is not always the case.  There are more first time shooters buying
guns, learning to shoot, and getting their concealed license, than ever before.  Gun sales in America are through the roof!  If you are in the gun business then you are busy.  Sales are not just to men and the everyday
hunter.  Women are buying more guns than
ever before.  Twenty years ago, women made
up less than 5% of the shooting and hunting community.  Now day’s women make up more than 30% of all
gun related sales.  In my custom business
about 30 % of the hunting rifles I build are for women or kids. 
The other day my daughter in-law
was over for the weekend and after watching a segment on the news about a robbery
and murder, she said to me “I think I need to get a handgun and my license”. “Can
you take me shooting and let me try some of your pistols”.  I told her (with a smile on my face) we can
go shooting in the morning and I would have several hand guns for her to shoot
and have fun with.  I put together a
group of handguns which would make great carry guns and would also be fun to
shoot.  I had 2- 380 ACP pistols, 1- 22 caliber
pistol, 1-38 Special revolver, a 17 HMR revolver and a 32 ACP pistol, along
with plenty of light target ammunition to shoot.   I asked my daughter and wife to join us to
make it fun and easier for Christine to get comfortable with shooting the
Make it fun:  Shooting should be fun, too much time can be
spent on how powerful a gun is, how far it can shoot, or how accurate it
is.  Most shooters don’t care about these
things at first.  They just want to learn
how to shoot safely and have fun doing it. 
Set up several different targets so the shooter doesn’t have to look for
the holes as they shoot.  Make a game out
of your shooting experience.  Tell the
shooter to shoot two shots into the left target, two in the right target and
one in the center target.  It gets boring
just shooting at the same bulls-eye, change it up and keep it exciting and
Shoot close:  If you are shooting handguns it is best to
shoot at close range, about 7 to 10 yards is good.  The most important is that new shooters hit
the target.  They want to see the hole in
the target so they know where they hit. 
The marker target is a good way to make it more fun and easier to see
your hits.  You might be able to make shots
at 25 or 50 yards but this is not about showing off how good you are, it is
about having a good time with a first-time shooter. 
Low recoil:  I have been told hundreds of stories about
how the father or boyfriend put a 12-gauge shotgun in the hands of a girl and
watched her fall on her butt when she shot it. 
Then, they tell the story over and over and laugh about it, like it is
real funny.  Well, that is something the
shooter will never forget!  And what
could have been a positive experience has turned into a negative and left that
first-time shooter never wanting to be around guns again.  Start with a small gun, a 22 is perfect.  Prepare them for the recoil; let them know
what is going to happen and how much recoil to expect. Move the shooter up
slowly in caliber size as they want to try bigger guns.  Most women can handle the recoil of a 45 ACP
or 44 Mag if they know what it is going to feel like.  In fact, my wife shoots a 454 Casull better
than I do. 
Watch the noise:  The noise is the worst thing about
shooting.  Guns are loud and many times,
the first-time shooter will have problems with the noise of the gun and not the
recoil.  Wear good hearing protection; try
the foam earplugs and ear muffs together. 
You might want to wear noise cancelling headsets so you can hear the
shooter ask a question yet not hurt your ears from the crack of the gun.  Talk loud enough so the shooter can hear you
tell them what to do.  It’s not a good
idea for them to take the hearing protection off when guns are going off around
Keep it safe:  Safety is the first, second and final rule!  Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction at
all times.  Never point the gun at any
thing you don’t intend on shooting or killing. 
Don’t pick up or play with the guns during the cease fire.  These are just a few of the safety things
that you need to go over before you get to the range.  Don’t be afraid to teach the shooter about
the gun and the safeties on the gun, as well as, how it works and how to clean
it. If it is interesting then they will be interested in how the gun works.  Don’t get over technical, keep it simple.


Christine and the girls shot
every gun I brought and went through 5 boxes of ammunition, and had hits all
over the targets.  They all had fun and
learned a little about all the different handguns they shot.  In the end, they all liked the Beretta 380
ACP the best.  It fit their hand better,
it weighed more so it had less recoil, and it holds 13 rounds of
ammunition.  None of the girls liked to
reload the clips (fingernails got in the way) so I did lots of loading for them.  Christine came away with a feeling that she
can now shoot a pistol and hit the target, and that she could actually shoot a
bigger gun than she first thought.  Most
important she had fun!  My wife and daughter,
who both shoot often, had fun shooting at the closer range and showing off a
little.  It was a good day for the entire
family and a new beginning for a new shooter.