Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Range Day

As I mentioned Tuesday, I've had a relative staying for a visit and I took her to the airport this morning. She really wanted to learn how to shoot while she was here and with my help she accomplished it. She’s a 20-year old college student with a good head on her shoulders, but her immediate family is mildly anti-gun.

I think I had a good approach to the shooting session and plan on using the same model the next time I teach marksmanship to someone. On Monday night, I went over the safety rules and emphasized the top three. We gunnies know them, but repetition is our friend:

1) Never point a gun in the direction of anything you don’t want to destroy;
2) Keep your booger hook off the bang switch (and yes I used that expression but repeated it in less colorful terms);
3) Don’t load the gun until you’re ready to shoot.

I laid out the guns we'd be shooting the next day. As I mentioned these were a .22 Beretta Neos, a Smith & Wesson 9mm, and a Springfield Armory 1911 in .45acp. As I laid them out, I ensured that each action was open. Then I explained how each gun worked, where it’s controls were located, and what to expect in terms of noise and recoil when she fired the gun.

I had her grip the gun and taught her sight alignment. While ensuring the guns and area in front of us was safe, I had her dry-fire each pistol while teaching her about trigger control. I mentioned that when the moment the hammer fell should come as a complete surprise to her.

On range day, I lectured her again about safety, sight alignment, and trigger control. We checked into the range and began shooting. It was a major success. Her face lit up as she hit the target time after time. In fact, her very first shot ever hit the orange bullseye. We shot at five yards and then at ten primarily as confidence builders and for her to learn fundamentals.
She proved an excellent shot and her favorite gun was the 9mm.

She told me she wants a pistol for her 21st birthday (oh, what have I wrought?). I think it helped her to hear two sets of similar instructions on two different days. I also coached her while she was shooting. The most important thing though was she had fun and will continue to shoot.

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