Here is one very simple way - take a non-shooter shooting. I recently took two guys from work to the range to teach them how to shoot Highpower and now both of them are shopping for ARs. It doesn’t have to be something as formal as Highpower – plinking would be just as good. As I described in another post recently, I took two teenagers shooting who were never allowed to shoot before, and they both loved it. They key is to make it fun and enjoyable for the new people.
Just think of the effect we could have if every member of this board took 6 new potential shooters to the range each year, and even if only 1/3 of the new people developed an interest in shooting. I don’t know how many members we have here, but say it was 10,000 just to keep it simple. Doing the math, 10,000 members x 6 new shooters = 60,000 potential new shooters. If only 1/3 decided that they liked it, that still means 20,000 new shooters to buy guns, ammo, shooting suppliers, and most importantly – to VOTE! (if they are old enough). Let’s take it a step further. Say the interested 20,000 new shooters did the same thing. We would then have 20,000 x 6 = 120,000 potentials x 1/3 = 40,000 additional new shooters. Our ranks would increase exponentially. I realize that this all hypothetical and might not be practical for everyone to do, but every little bit helps.
Here are some tips when taking new people to the range for the first time:
First and foremost – BE SAFE! It would be disastrous to take a new person to the range and either allow them to get hurt or for them to hurt someone else. This is definitely not the time to be a show-off or for one of those “Watch this, hold my beer” moments. Explain all of the basic safety rules before you even step up to the line. Make sure they understand everything and that they don’t have any questions. Help them determine which is their dominant eye. Get them familiar with the firearm they will be using BEFORE you load it. Let them dry fire a few times when practical.
Be sure not to give them too much gun. A 12 GA with 1 oz slugs is not the best thing to give a young or slightly built shooter. A real life example: My wife took a pistol permit class with me when I first developed an interest in shooting. The course was taught by an ex-police officer and he took us to a range as part of the qualification. My wife weighs about 110 lbs on a heavy day, and this “experienced instructor” gave her a .44 mag to shoot. He stood behind her “ready to catch her”. When I asked her why she lost interest, her response was, “That gun scared me”. I haven’t been able to get her back to the range since. Start everyone with something low recoil like a bolt action .22LR. You can always work up from there once they get used to things.
Before they fire a shot, take the time to explain sight alignment, trigger control, how to breathe properly, natural point of aim, and if using iron sights, to focus on the front sight instead of the target. Please be patient when instructing. For people who have never picked up a firearm before, some of the above concepts may be completely foreign. Once they have learned the basics and don’t have any questions, set them up on the line, give them a box of ammo, and let them go. Don’t plan on doing much shooting yourself that day, especially if you are with younger shooters. It’s best to hang back and observe them to make sure they are following all safety rules and to answer any of their questions.
As far as targets go, shooting at paper is OK for a while, but clay birds scattered on the berm make much more fun reactive targets. Milk jugs filled with water, soda cans, and spinning targets are fun too. I feel one side benefit to reactive targets, especially with young shooters who are used to shooting at bad guys in 2 dimensional video games, is that they can see first hand the power of what a supersonic piece of lead can do and how serious firearm safety must be taken.
The more people we can get on our side, the more power we will have to fight the gun grabbers and to educate people who are indifferent to the shooting sports. Not only that, but you may be passing along a life long & family friendly hobby that people of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds can enjoy for years to come.
It's always a good idea to take non shooters out and show them what
Edit: I'm my own grammar nazi.
i've taken a few antis out shooting before. every single one has changed their postion on guns, at least to some degree.
you're 100% correct. our best defense against the antis is to get them to join our side by bringing them into the sport.
It's when you take them and they are even more anti gun that pisses a guy off.
Happened to me not long ago.
Total anti, told him i'd take him shooting and maybe convince him that guns are not icky.
Well, we shot the 10\22 and then put him on an AR with a 10 rd mag...
After a few shots he turned to me and said " people shouldn't have this kind of power"
It wasn't long after that that we packed up and left.
It was dissapointing that i took someone shooting on my dime and they take a further anti stance than he was at before. ETA: It was kinda expected. Black inner city Chicagonite(Sp?), hugely democrat lib with family in politics somewhere in the burbs.
I did learn that the guy was a total tool. So did learn something.
It's too bad things worked out the way they did for you. Don't give up though. Other people will thank you for introducing them to the shooting world.