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canebrake 02-03-2010 07:55 PM

What can just one person do?
Meanwhile, on the West Coast.....

The Shooting Wire for Wednesday, February 3

Over the past couple of weeks, I've had the pleasure of taking my oldest daughter and her friends (most of whom had never fired any sort of gun before) - to the shooting range. It's been one of the most interesting experiences I can remember.

They are in their mid-twenties, athletic, and accustomed to both taking and giving instruction. In other words, dream pupils. Former college athletes, now either coaching, teaching or involved in sports medicine.

It's one of the first times I can remember telling anyone they had "too much pre-lateral supination" to get a proper grip on a handgun and having them look back and say simply "OK, I'll straighten my wrist."

Problem solved.

They're also immune to any hot-shot attitude from me. They've known me since they were fresh out of high school. I'm the typical doting sports father, not a shooting coach.

But I had a significant teaching advantage: initially, they were afraid of the handguns I'd brought.

To me, they're tools.

They acted as if each one of them was a coiled snake, just waiting to strike.

Until, that is, they screwed up their courage and hesitantly touched off their first rounds.

OK, one of them squealed and ran backwards, but all in all, they did a good job of solidly holding a single-action revolver and gently squeezing off their first shots.

None of them hit their 10-inch targets, but none of them fired rounds into the air or the ground - to me, that's a victory with new shooters.

At that point, it became very easy to let their athletic abilities take over.

"Roll your shoulders forward. Lock your arms. Find the front sight. Cock the hammer. Squeeze off one round," was all it took from that point.

In no time, they were starting to instinctively align the sights, tighten up the groups and, as we all know is the case, start enjoying themselves.

Shooting Ruger single and double-action revolvers chambered for .327 Federal Magnum but loaded .32 Smith & Wesson wadcutters guaranteed the weight and feel of a full-sized, centerfire gun - without the recoil associated with larger calibers.

They'd already told me they weren't interested in .22 rimfire as their fathers, boyfriends, acquaintances and various police officers from sporting events had told them to start with centerfire.

At that point, I felt they were ready to move to high-capacity semiautos. But moving into 9mm meant they were going to get more recoil and the different recoil sensations of a semiautomatic pistol.

So, I used something that allowed me to move them up in power without giving them the opportunity to concentrate on the different sensation.

The secret weapon: steel.

From dirty-bird paper targets that let them see where their shots were going while they learned about sight picture and breaking a trigger, I moved them to ten yards and steel silhouettes.

When they squeezed off their first rounds, the immediate feedback of ringing steel completely distracted them from the added recoil and different sensations.

It also got them through one of the major objections I've noticed with other shooters - shooting at something with a humanoid shape.

Misdirection - the same tool used by magicians and pickpockets - plain and simple moved these brand-new shooters from paper to a human-shaped silhouette. Once again, they quickly acclimated to the semiauto, even asking about - and using - safeties while stopping shooting to take breaks when their arms got tired or they needed a drink.

They were a joy to behold.

Instinctively, they were more cautious, situationally aware, and courteous than, well, guys. And in nearly no time, they were moving across five and six target layouts of various distances and target sizes, working on footwork and lateral movement.

But the reactive targets hooked them on shooting - and quickly exhausted the 300+ rounds of 9mm I'd brought along. They quickly snatched up the .327 Magnum revolvers until they, too, were dry.

At that point, they spotted my Wilson Combat 1911. I'd put it to the side, planning on doing a little practice myself.

No such chance.

In about 15 minutes, it, too was out of ammo.

What's the point of sharing this?

If we want to grow-and preserve- shooting sports and are at a loss as to what "just one person" can do, here's the answer: take someone shooting.

Since taking these young ladies shooting for the first time, two of them have applied for - and gotten- concealed carry permits. Another has taken the pistol her father bought her and traded it for something that fit her hand, and the last holdout has asked to go to the range again "just to see what fits my hand best" - before she buys her first gun.

If each one of us managed to get one more person involved in shooting, we wouldn't have to worry about firearms for the future.

The future would be secured by an entire new generation of shooters.

It's expensive on the front side, but preserving our sport is worth it to me.

--Jim Shepherd

CA357 02-03-2010 08:03 PM

That's exactly the right attitude. I love teaching folks how to shoot.

cpttango30 02-03-2010 09:20 PM

I know why your teaching them.

I bet you require them to wear tight fitting tops so hot brass doesn't go between the Happy Pillows. Sure Cane Sure..........

I want pics please or it never happened.

bigbad-ratman 02-03-2010 09:26 PM

awesome story! cant wait till my daughters friends are 20 something and i can teach them all to shoot!!! seriously though, great job on keeping the tradition alive!!!

canebrake 02-03-2010 09:47 PM


Originally Posted by cpttango30 (Post 224058)
I know why your teaching them.

I bet you require them to wear tight fitting tops so hot brass doesn't go between the Happy Pillows. Sure Cane Sure..........

I want pics please or it never happened.

My range is clothing optional.

bigbad-ratman 02-04-2010 01:27 AM

i think this is fastest a thread i have posted on went downhill...

CA357 02-04-2010 04:57 AM

Just a little creative thread drift, that's all. ;)

The_Kid 02-04-2010 05:50 AM

You're comment about being, "immune to any hot-shot attitude" reminded me of when I had friends and family down for some shooting this summer.

We were all at the 40' range taking turns shooting pistols. Every time one of the women had her turn, 3 or 4 guys would coach her on how it was done. Even though she hit everything she shot at and they couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Every time she took a turn at least 3 "experts" were there to help.

She is actually in the reserves so I would think she has had instruction 1000 times better than any instruction she had that day.

Gojubrian 02-05-2010 10:10 AM

Great Post!! :cool:

gorknoids 02-06-2010 04:16 AM

I'll be there Friday.

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