This is a discussion on Questions Range Noobs should ask? within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; My wife and I have permits, but little shooting time. Our 18 y/o daughter has even less shooting time. We're off to the range tomorrow, ...
My wife and I have permits, but little shooting time. Our 18 y/o daughter has even less shooting time. We're off to the range tomorrow, and plan to hire one of their instructors to work with us for an hour or two to ensure that we aren't building bad shooting habits.
We're pretty secure in our understanding of safety and law (avoidance beats running; running beats confrontation; no aggression permitted; pull only if in legitimate fear of life; no warning or wounding shots; stop when threat goes away). Rather, it is more the technique that I'm concerned about. Key point: we don't want to injure bystanders, and we want to be effective if (God forbid) we ever DO need to shoot.
Advice requested: what questions should we ask? Or should we just follow the instructor's lead?
I'd say follow their lead for the first time out. Master the basics. Don't forget that, like almost every user here, you instructor will be very opinionated about the only or best way to stop an attacker. His title "instructor" does not mean he has the best answer. Listen to his answer, and then listen to a hundred more. Then figure out your own answer. Have some fun tomorrow.
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Yes - follow RSO's lead pretty much to the letter and ask questions if unsure. This is assuming you have a fair minded guy with a balanced approach.
Let safety be paramount and then progress in increments that seem logical and sensible. Do not try and run before walking and use otherwise that simple expedient .... good ol' common sense
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If I were your RSO/Instructor I would brief you on the facility. Assess your knowledge, skills and attitude. Discuss your goals, answer any questions and work from there.
If your instructor doesn't do any of these things then you may want to ask them questions to ensure that you will make progress towards your goals. Different instructors have different techniques(styles). If they are experienced they have usually developed a technique that works for them.
Be safe and have fun.
Procrastinators are the leaders of tomorrow.
Follow his/her lead. Ask about rules specific to that range. Ask questions as things come up. I assume you are familiar with basic pistol marksmanship? Check out the guide at this website. It is near the top of the page next to the red ”New”:
Just skimming it over may trigger some potential questions.
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I'm not a big fan of sight aids for new shooters. A personal "style" if you will. No substitute for learning to use the sights in my opinion. I'm not a fan of lasers for a slightly different reason. If you can borrow one, point it at the wall or a target at 7-12 yds. I don't know about you, but I find that really distracting. Maybe I just have to much caffeine in my system.
Practice is up to you. It depends on costs, time and enjoyment factor. Some people really enjoy shooting so they accept the costs and time requirements. Some folks are on a tight budget so the costs drive their practice (ammo isn't cheap). Others are really busy ( I worked two weeks last week) so that drives their practice. So there is no "right" answer, but a right for you answer. I would say the more you practice the better you will get and the more you will likely enjoy shooting.
Be safe and have fun. I'm off to the range myself today attending the NRA PPOTH (Personal Protection Outside The Home) course.
Procrastinators are the leaders of tomorrow.
Red dot sights have their place, but I would practice without one until you get the basics down.
The laser sight can help on a carry gun but I wouldn't get to where I rely on it exclusively.
AFTER you get the basics down, practice both with and without the laser. Then, while it can help you, you won't be screwed if you have to shoot and find the batteries dead.
fortiter in re, suaviter in modo (resolutely in action, gently in manner).
Some thoughts ...
Get the fundamentals down, so they're ingrained and something you will know without thinking. An hour or two won't get you much, but it can point you in the direction of the path to take.
If you've got a good-sized police or sheriff's department in your area, it might be worth hiring a couple/three different folks over a couple of months' time, to get a variety of help. This sort of training can be very cost effective.
In the long run, expanding your training to include at least one core session at a top-notch school can work wonders. In such courses you will begin to learn specific techniques that make the difference in your ability to defend yourself in difficult situations. These will generally go way, way beyond something that's tossed together for an hour's session at the local range with the rangemaster.
If your family takes a vacation every year or two, it might be well worth it to consider a special "vacation" that's wrapped around a quality course or two at a top notch school. If done as a family, you could learn a tremendous amount. A couple days of training and a week to think about it could do wonders for your family's entire defensive posture, confidence in what you do (and don't) know. Such top schools include Gunsite, Thunder Ranch and others. Ask around at your police and sheriff's depts for ideas, if you're interested.
How frequently to shoot? Depends on the person, the gun, the goal. I spent two years of 10Krds/yr+, to familiarize myself with my strengths and weaknesses. Still have a few weaknesses, but I learned what I could do. Got my carry license, then spent a few years with regional training sessions to hone what skills made sense for defensive pistol use. Every couple of weeks, I'm back on the range, and I'll have a very specific goal in mind for that session. Usually, I shoot 10-20 magazines or more, focusing on the goal of the day (whatever scenario[s] I am trying to understand). If at the outdoor range with moveable targets, I will set up situations that I can then play out. If at the indoor range, I will ensure to include lots of close-quarters work. If in the field, it can vary a lot. The variety helps, as does the frequency.
One final thing: carry, always. Can't defend with what you don't have on hand.
Every range is differnt in their rules, sometimes just taking your time to set up, gives you time to see how they do stuff. Also pull one the employees/ range officals aside and tell them your new and don't want to do anything embarassing. Most people will be happy to help.
Follow the lead, questions will pop up in time all by themselves. Forget about the red dot or laser... they breed lazy habits and poor technique. Learn the basics first, then worry about the tacticool stuff.
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Thanks for the input - I sure appreciate everone's willingness to help (and the kindness shown to the new guy).
The three of us visited the range today, and after hearing what I thought we needed, our instructor spend the first part of our time in the classroom giving us what HE thought we needed first (a lecture/demo on safety and the short version of liability and other CCW issues). Then to the range: he worked 1:1 with my dear wife, ensuring that she was holding and firing the rental correctly (a Sig .380, as we were looking at that caliber). While she's practicing, he then spent similar time working with our 18 y/o daughter, who was using our Beretta U22 Neos (a 22LR pistol). I spent some time using our SP101, too. My groupings were good, but I've had a little bit of practice. The ladies did quite well, especially considering that they were essentially new to shooting.
As a bonus, our instructor then brought out his own Glock 19 for her to try, pitching the 9mm caliber. Surprisingly, my wife was able to handle the Glock quite well - she has small hands, and I had not even considered that a double stack would be in the running. (Cost also takes the Glock out of the running somewhat, but that's another issue.) She also handled the Glock 26, and thought it would work, too. And we're a lot more interested in the 9mm now that she knows there's at least one model she can handle.
All in all, a thoroughly delightful afternoon - and highly profitable, both from a training standpoint per se, and from the way my wife and daughter enjoyed it. Now the only hard part will be to keep them from taking their close-group target to show off at church tomorrow. Wouldn't want folks to feel jealous, you understand...
Sounds like everyone had a great time, and really after the "everyone be safe" issue, that is the most important thing as it will keep you coming back. Afraid I am with some of the other poster's regarding the red dot or laser sighting aids. I spend most of my range time shooting my carry gun which is also my competition gun. In my poor old feeble brain, I want to have this specific weapon so ingrained I don't have to think about it. The only other pistol I may shoot with any regularity, yes a .22 to save money and practice more, is a Ruger Mark III 22/45 which has the same grip angle, and basic controls in the same places as my carry/practice/competition 1911. YMMV
shoot safe, shoot well, and have fun.
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Blessed are they who, faced with danger, think only of the front sight. J. Cooper