A little off that day?

Have you ever been at the range with someone new or newer to shooting and tell they are getting a little discouraged/intimidated because you shoot so much better then they do? Have you shot a little off to boost their ego/confidence? Just because you are hitting around the outside of the small black circle doesn’t mean that isn’t what you were arming for and you dont have to tell them.

I have done this and I know for a fact it kept one new shooter coming back to the range. It boosted her confidence to see someone she looked up to (as a good shot) was not a great shot all the time. She eventually took and passed her concealed carry class and we still try to go to the range together when we can.

What about you, have you had an off day at the range like I have?

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For Christmas this last year I took my brother, his wife, and their two teenage boys to the range. The boys had shot once before. My brother is retired Air Force and his wife is a General in the Air Force - so they don’t shoot often. I’ll let you guys make the Air Force jokes.

I walked through the correct way to grip a gun, i.e. not the way my brother was showing them. And let them loose on the range. I gave the boys pointers and they had a great time.

At the end, my brother and I each put up a new target and shot 5 shots. I may have been a little off that day… :rofl:


No. Instead of making my own performance look , not as good, I point out when the new shooter does well. When I take new shooters to the range, I hand them my 6 inch Ruger loaded with .38 specials. The perception that they shot thst “big gun” is a great confidence builder.


No, I don’t shoot badly to build confidence in people. I don’t think I’m a becon of firearms or shooting knowledge, but I know enough about most platforms to shoot decently when basic skills and drills are involved.

I want people to know my skill level, so if they have a question they can ask me stuff. I don’t want them to think I’m a bad shot, because they won’t listen to what I have to say, and rightfully so. I don’t listen to people that teacup the grip, have bad groups, or handle the gun in an unsafe or unconfident manner.

I don’t discourage anyone. I’m not out to destroy somebody’s confidence level, and make them feel inadequate. I also don’t allow anybody to make me feel that way. I will give praise where it’s due to build and motivate, I give it to people better than me too. Shoot well, motivate yourself and others, and stay humble.


I agree with that. Just like anything it takes practice and discipline to improve a skill. I always encourage new shooters what they do well instead of focusing on what can be improved.

For example first time I took my wife shooting she was shooting good groups but it was all low and left. She was disappointed but I told her most people look like they were shooting a shotgun. The grouping is the hard part. Moving the group is actually easy.


I remember the first time I shot a pistol. It wasn’t good. There’s a lot of error shooting a gun with almost zero support compared to a rifle.

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 :wink:

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.


Several times I have gone to the range and shot the best that I could at that point in time. Other days I purposely do not do good. The range that I typically go to knows me and how I shoot with the high standards I have for myself since I am my biggest critic. While I am there I tend to offer advice for discouraged or intimidated shooters. Being able to help them better themselves shooting for me is better than me actually shooting.


^^^ Yes. This. Absolutely.

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