How do we secure the firearm sports that we all love and enjoy? By introducing new people to shooting sports.
How do you get someone who has never fired a handgun before to go to the range with you? Ask and encourage your friends from work or take someone in your family that has not been to the range to go with you. This can be a fun and exciting experience and is a great way to introduce and teach people about firearms, and the proper way to use them.
I like to use the KISS method: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
It's important to use laymen terms, so that you don't come across as arrogant or too technical. People who are new to firearms, especially handguns probably don't know all of the technical terms, and we don't want them to feel intimidated or afraid to ask questions.
The first thing we need to do when we get to the range is to go over the four firearm safety rules with the first time shooter. All seasoned shooters should know these and stress their importance to those who are new to the sport. Rule 1: Treat all firearms as if they are loaded, no matter what! Rule 2: Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target. Rule 3: Beware of the muzzle and where it is pointed at all times. Rule 4, Beware of what is between you, the target, and beyond the target. It's important not to overlook this is five-minute safety lesson.
Next, start by going over the different parts of the handgun pointing out the simple parts of the handgun like the barrel, grip, slide or cylinder, sights, trigger and trigger guard. Show them how to load and unload the handgun. This should only take one or two minutes.
Now demonstrate the proper way of to grip the handgun. Start by handing them an unloaded handgun, have them place their strong hand first around the grip with the trigger finger index on the side of the handgun, not on the trigger. Have them wrap their weak hand around their strong hand with their thumbs lined up and on top of each other. Have them hold the handgun with a firm grip with their wrist locked. Explain this is to control the recoil of the handgun.
Next, demonstrate the stance. Have them stand square to the target with their feet shoulder width apart with their weight slightly forward by bending the knees and leaning forwards from the hips.
Show them how to align the sights of the handgun. Get them to place the front sight in the middle of the rear sight and to keep them level. Have them focus on the front sight only, and tell them to press the trigger to the rear until they hear a click. Watch them to see if they flinch, and if they do, just have them repeat dry firing until the flinch is gone.
Now it is time for them to shoot live fire. Hand them a loaded magazine or speedloader, and have them load the handgun themselves. Make sure they are being safe during the loading phase and place the target down range about 5 to 7 yards. Let them fire the handgun when they are ready to; don’t rush them. Remember, you want them to have a good time. Let them go at their own pace at what they feel comfortable doing.
Their confidence will build when they begin hitting the target. They should feel proud if they hit the target 75% of the time. As their confidence goes up, so will their accuracy and speed.
As they get more comfortable with handguns and their abilities increase, you can make a game to increase their accuracy and trigger control. I like shooting poker. Use a target with playing cards on it. The person who shoots the highest hand wins. This is a fun confidence builder that teaches handgun control, sight alignment, and trigger control.
Make a resolution to introduce someone to shooting this year. This is a fun way to ensure the survival of shooting sports. Nothing beats the look on a person’s face who has never fired a handgun before and having the time of their life while doing it.
A Second Amendment Advocate