Saturday, April 21, 2007

FIRST-TIME SHOOTERS


One of the reasons some people have an aversion to firearms is merely a lack of proper exposure to them. They've seen them in movies, television, and music videos but haven't ever actually fired a weapon. The depiction of guns in film is often tightly married to feelings of fear, domination, and gratuitous violence... emotions which are quite rightly something that people don't feel comfortable with.

Those of us that actually own firearms know that the real experience of going to the range has nothing to do with fear nor violence. Learning to shoot is a very fun-filled experience. It can give you a feeling of accomplishment as you improve, and at the same time give you a skill that may someday save your life.

The best way I've found to get someone over their fear and dislike of guns is to invite them to the range and let them experience what firing a gun is really all about. A few months ago, I took The Bethy out to shoot a gun for the first time. She was worried that she might not do well, and as a result not enjoy the experience. We started off with the Ruger MKII, and after she got comfortable she tried the Glock 19. We had a lot of fun, and she did great.

Today, it was my co-worker Aaron's turn. I'd casually asked him at one point a few weeks ago if he'd like to try shooting. He said he'd never shot a gun before (except an air pistol), but would like to try it. Today was the day, and we hit the range with plenty of .22 and 9mm ammunition.

Aaron is the type of guy that likes to know all the details of what he's doing... how everything works as it does, and why it was designed that way. We had to wait about 20 minutes for a lane, but that gave me plenty of time to completely explain the mechanical workings of the guns... and most importantly, discuss ALL the aspects of gun safety.

When we finally hit the range, I could tell he had taken all of that talk to heart. His muzzle and trigger discipline were outstanding. Though his stance and grip are something we'll continue to work on, he certainly had the fundamentals down. It showed in his targets. We started with the Ruger, and once I felt he was comfortable we moved onto the Glock. For a first time shooter, Aaron was a great student.

As we packed up for the day, I could tell he had enjoyed it - especially when he mentioned that the next time I go shooting, he'd like to come along again. I'll be taking him up on that... range trips are always more fun if you have someone to shoot with.

Find a co-worker, a friend, or a neighbor that's hasn't shot a gun before. Invite them on your next range trip, and show them what firearms are really about. At the very least, you can mitigate some of the fears they have about guns. Even better: you may even introduce them to something they'll enjoy for a lifetime.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So who shot better? Me or him? You know that's all I'm concerned about... I love to beat the boys. :)