Introducing Guns to Inexperienced People

Curious about other peoples take on introducing people to firearms. Key things/basics that inexperienced people must know. Getting them comfortable around firearms, tips on handling firearms, etc etc

This could be for kids, inexperienced adults, or even just expanding one’s knowledge.

Thank you for your time.

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Start simple. Single shot, revolvers etc.

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Not meaning to be snarky, but leave first introductions to the professionals. NRA Basic Pistol or similar classes are good. It puts the novice in a peer environment with other inexperienced folks under supervision, so the dynamic is much less tense and more conducive to learning.

No matter what, I believe it is crucial to reaffirm the Four Rules. We do that with anyone we shoot with, regardless of their level of experience. If they are offended, then it’s my feeling that they can go shoot someone else they find less offensive.

Had a guy in an NRA Basic class tell me he had finally taken the class after about a decade after his first experience of going to the range with a guy who was going to introduce him to firearms. I guess that experience was so rattling to him that he never wanted to have anything to do with firearms ever again. A bad teacher can do a lot of damage. That pretty much goes for every discipline, I guess.

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Use the same techniques as how you were taught, either informally or a training class. The important part is don’t make it intimidating and make sure they understand the rules of firearm safety well - before they touch one, then reinforce those rules right before they do touch an unloaded firearm.

I start by going over the basics of firearm safety, then the basic parts, names, and mechanics of a firearm and the components of the cartridge (case, bullet, powder, primer). I will have them recite back to me the safety rules and name the basic parts of the firearm and cartridge.

Before getting to the firing line, I will have them show me how to safely handle the unloaded firearm, and again go over the safety rules and range rules. I also explain that if they are having an issue at the line - put the firearm down, muzzle pointed down range. I will also ask when at the line what direction is safe to point the firearm. I will often get a blank stare, as they are new, and tell them, always down range.

I always start them on a .22 cal pistol. When they get comfortable shooting and want to try something else, I will explain the different actions of handguns and have an example of each one, showing how they operate. Then after they again recite the basic safety rules and show me which direction is safe to point the firearm, I let them handle the unloaded firearm so they can feel it in their hands to help decide which to try.

The employees at the range have told me that everyone I bring always leaves with a smile. That’s because shooting is fun!

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When letting someone handle a firearm for the first time, make double sure it’s unloaded. :wink:
You can work your way up from there.

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I learned as a young kid from my father. Not everyone gets that experience nor can everyone afford to be taught firearm safety and how to shoot by a “professional”. The people I have taught have all been thankful and happy to have had me teach them.

I have taught a number of family, friends and co-workers. They have always left the range happy, as shooting is fun. The methods I use are similar to how the NRA teaches. I know that as I have gotten the NRA Pistol Instructor certification, but I have taught people firearm safety and how to shoot well before getting that certification. I do not charge to teach. I believe everyone should at least know firearm safety.

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I’ve introduced a few to shooting. Got my RSO training through my club which was invaluable imo. Anyways, first contact with a gun, no ammo, not even near the range, but at my house. It’s quieter, no shooting going on, no interruption. I familiarize the student to the guns, hammer/striker/safety-no safety etc…also show them how to clear a stovepipe and stuck case, and let them know about squib loads. Constant emphasis on gun being aimed downrange at all times,trigger finger straight until ready to shoot, grip etc…run a empty mag drill a few times, load, unload, rack etc…then we go to the club. First couple mags, single round, go through the motions, muzzle downrange etc…then full mags and work on accuracy.All my students were co-workers, and it was nice watching a few who were anti gun when I first met them get their permits anywhere from 6 months to 5 years later. I preach enjoyment of the sport first, then understanding of the 2A later…after they’re “hooked” :wink:…the self defense stuff, I’ve never worried or preached about that, but am sure it’s why a few co-workers approached me.

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I see both @Mr.Plastic and @Dave17’s points. If there is a quality, inexpensive introduction to firearms class in your area, it is definitely worth it.

I think we can all agree on one thing - no matter who is teaching, the first thing to teach is safety. The four rules of firearm safety are imperative for everyone ALL of the time, no matter the context or experience level.

Online education can be helpful as well to help lay the groundwork for any live-fire training. Check out USCCA’s videos (Youtube) or in your member dashboard.

There is no substitute for safe firearm handling.

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I will take it one step further, Make sure it is unloaded and safe and teach them to check it for themselves to make sure it is empty and keep your fingers off of the trigger.

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Start with safety. I coach 4H kids with rifles, lesson number 1 is the 4 rules. After that, every range trip we reiterate these rules. Second is firearm function. Show them how the specific firearm operates. After they get their feet wet, I introduced firearms with a different manual of arms. All of this cross-applies to any weapon platform. I take multiple firearm, of different operation and let the “student” try the different styles when they feel comfortable.

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Simple gun, .22 caliber, and 4 safety rules.

My most recent, I taught my gun-hating daughter how to shoot. Used a .22 GSG Firefly, because it has zero recoil and is easy to shoot. As the gun sat on the table, action-open, we reviewed the 4 rules. Every gun is loaded. Never point at anything you aren’t willing to destroy. Finger off trigger until sights are on target. Know what’s behind your target.

Once she became comfortable with the operation, she quickly learned to load her own magazines. At the end of our 1-hour session, Clorox bleach couldn’t wipe the smile off her face. She’s still not a gun fan, nor a fan of the fact I carry everywhere. But she now respects the tool and my decision to carry it. If she comes across a loaded gun she can safely interface with it. Mission accomplished.

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This sounds odd, but I know people who aren’t gun nuts like we are, yet still carry. They might even support gun control. I guess a fair way to say it is, they wish they didn’t have to; they’re obliged to carry, but they do so reluctantly. I liken it to taking medicine that tastes horrible.

That’s a good feeling.

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@Ouade5 , unfortunately college got to her. 4 years in a liberal arts setting eroded 18 years of conservative parenting. That being said, a good kid, I respect her decision. And I did finally get her to carry pepper spray in lieu of a gun.

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@Dave17 Amen. Shooting is a LOT of fun. The benefit of personal security is almost secondary!

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I would first go over the 4 rules of handgun safety. I would definitely let them handle the gun with no ammunition present and show them how the controls work. I would also explain to them about the responsibilities of gun ownership and being a responsibly armed citizen. Also take them to the range shooting if ammo is available.

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Common story, I’m afraid. The pressure on new college students is immense. They leave home for the first time, so they’re disoriented. Then they’re immersed in this protective bubble detached from all reality, and told that everyone outside the bubble is stupid.

The good news is that as adults mature and live their life, they soon realize how detached their college experience was from real life. I’m not saying your daughter will become “conservative” again, but I’ll wager that she’ll eventually find her own way and veer off the path her professors set her on.

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Ruger Single Six Convertible

Start with 22LR.

Then, tell them you’re switching to magnum cylinder.

Make sure you catch on camera their reaction when they shoot their first magnum round.
I know it’s not 357 but for a beginner, that’s pure joy.

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My first question to someone who asks me to help them with a firearm for personal protection is this…" Can you put a human being in your sights, pull the trigger and kill them"? If the answer is " Welllll, um, probably, I’m not sure"…I then say , " OK, let’s talk about pepper spray".

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I did not come into ownership of pistols with the intent of personal protection. At that time, I would never have considered using a firearm, nor anything else, to harm anything else (human nor non-human). I enjoyed target shooting, and where I moved to, there was an indoor range, so I learned to shoot a handgun (.22LR). It wasn’t until after numerous conversations with a relative that was a LEO, that my perspective changed. It took a huge amount of introspection to change my ideas on what protecting my wife and daughter means and what I would be willing and able to do to protect the most important parts of my life.

So, today, yes, I will hurt you, and if that results in your death while having to defend my wife, child, or myself, that is on you. That is the conversation to have with that person, not oh, well, you should not own a firearm. It was my relative making the clear case of black and white that it is your responsibility, not that of LE, to protect your wife - my sister, and your daughter, and that your life is just as important to them as theirs is to you, that made me reconsider my values.

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Safety, Safety, Safety, Safety.

Make sure they have good eye/ear protection. Maybe even double-up on hearing, or give them the choice. For folks who aren’t used to the concussion at a range (there’s always that one person firing a muzzle brake) it might be unpleasant.

Explain as much as you can at every step “why” you do whatever your doing.

Safety, Safety, Safety, Safety.

Go through the explanations of working the firearm (loading mags, racking slides, safetyies, trigger, sight alignment, trigger), etc. Some folks care more about this than others, so don’t inundate with tons of information they won’t remember in 5mins.

Safety, Safety, Safety, Safety.

Start with a small caliber like a .22LR in either pistol or rifle. A 10/22 is super soft recoil and helps showcase things like sight alignment.

Just load one round at a time at first, and have them load and unload the magazine after each firing. Then move up to 2 rounds, etc.

Positive reinforcement is crucial.

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