I’m the designated teacher for my husband’s buddies’ wives… a lot of guys have wives that don’t shoot, in part, because even though their hubby can shoot just fine, he can’t teach his way out of a bag
Besides, sometimes it’s just better to let someone else teach your spouse and keep the couple-telling-each-other-what-to-do dynamics off the range.
Some people come to the range and just take to it, but for those that don’t, you have to consider the cause. They’re not having fun. They’re Not Comfortable. And often they’re getting LESS comfortable instead of more. So figure out why.
If someone’s not having fun, and not progressing, or especially if they’re losing ground, they’re probably working past their skill set. they’re nervous, or outright scared. They don’t feel safe. the gun they’re shooting hurts them, or doesn’t feel secure. They can’t get any holes to appear in the paper. It’s discouraging, embarrassing, and scary. Definitely un-fun.
So back it up and slow it down.
As far as helping build confidence - mostly I find it’s about slowing it WAAAAAAY down. Knowledge builds courage, courage builds the willingness to try which leads to successes, competence, and then confidence.
Make sure they are comfortable with the most basic of basics. It’s not enough to make sure they’re being safe, they need to KNOW that they KNOW what safe is, and they need to FEEL confident that they ARE safe. Go to a smaller caliber. Bring the target in closer. Load just one round at a time till that’s comfortable and they FEEL confident. When they’re feeling really solid with that, THEN tap their courage to go to two rounds at a time. Build their skill set one step by one step, and make sure you fill in any gaps in what they know. Make sure that THEY know what they KNOW.
When their confidence is fragile and new, you want to always build success on success. Stack a failure on a success and you loose both the new skill and the old one.
Success and fun both build the desire to return to the range again - building their skills carefully and not exceeding THEIR pace is the thing I think works best for new shooters.
As to revolvers … small caliber and good gun fit. If it’s too small, too big, too heavy, too snappy, too whatever… change guns. Find the one that fits, shoot that. When you’re new, not having to adapt skills you don’t-yet-have to accommodate the gun matters.
As to do I stand down my skills? Mostly I don’t think it’s about comparing themselves to others that does newbies in… I think it’s mostly too much, too fast, with not enough attention to what they individually need. If it’s someone who’s supper competitive and has to win to want to play, well maybe I might, the first time. But if that’s the kind of competitive they are, they may outshoot me soon enough anyway. Mostly I just want to provide the kind of rock-solid confidence, patience, and attentiveness that a new shooter can lean on until they’ve got that rock-solid confidence of their own.