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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 21 yr old nephew is visiting my family this week from Illinois. Been here a few days and my wife asked him he would like for me to take him shooting tonight after work. I asked if he wanted to shoot rifles or handguns and he replied he has never shot a hand gun and wanted to learn. I plan on just shooting my XD 9 service modle only just to keep it simple. I am a CHL holder for about 7 yrs with the XD as my carry weapon and I am a pretty good shot, but I am not an instructor by no means. We went of the safety rules last night for about an hour and then I walked him through the basic function of the XD, the loading of the magazines, the lockng of the (unloaded) magazine into the hangun then releasing the magazine, some dry firing, etc.. I told him we would do the safety trianing one more time at the range, and then we will start shooting. I am not planning on shooting with him so I can observe and supervise without any distractions. This is the first time I will be teaching a complete novice, so I am looking for a little advice and insights for things to watch out for.

So, for any of you more experience in teaching hand gun shooting or are instructors, do you have any thing you would like to share to help me make sure this is a fun and SAFE experience. If he shows more interest, I will recommend he take a course in basic hand gun use. He is a very bright kid and followed all of my instructions so far.
 

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Just stick to basics, do some dry firing so he is used to the trigger, proper grip, the rest should be fun.
 

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If you have a .22 available, start with that. He can learn basics without the distraction of more serious recoil and noise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If you have a .22 available, start with that. He can learn basics without the distraction of more serious recoil and noise.
I don't have a 22 and he is a pretty big kid and has shot shotguns hunting quail in Ill, so I don't think the noise or recoil will be a problem, but I am starting him with a 9mm instead of my 45 cal.
 

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Safety, safety, safety keep your eyes on him at all times when he is handling the firearm. The safety rules that are second nature to you are new to him so be polite but assertive that they are followed without exception. That being said start with the target fairly close to build up confidence and have fun.
 

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The obvious safety rules, but Lay down the safety ground rules like they were the ten commandments. Ie this is the firing line, the weapon is not loaded until you reach the firing line. Once on the firing line, under no circumstances do you turn around pointing the weapon in any direction but down range.

I also believe in having one shooter on the firing line at a time, instead of a free for all. Seems obvious, but I have seen that violated pretty often lately.

From what I have seen, if you start a person out with the rules firmly in place, they have no problem with it. However, you get some guy there that either you think knows what hes doing, or they think they know what they are doing, and dont put the rules in place, you got a problem waiting to happen
 

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Keep it fun, but keep it slow since he's a beginner. Start off with him loading a single round in a mag for a couple of shots. Then load 2 or 3. Get hm focused on hitting where he aims, rather than just smelling the gunsmoke. Hold off on the double taps and the Hollywood stuff. If he does well, then as a 'reward' let him finish up with a full mag, shooting controlled pairs or double taps.
 

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here's my advice, have fun. I'm packed and ready to leave for the range in just a few minutes!
 

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Have a camera ready to get a picture of the grin on his face the first time he fires it.

XD9 is a good choice to start him on.

As for process, go over the basics, the 1 round only in the mag. Do this 4 or 5 times, then 5 round loads. Take it slow.
 

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If he has experience shooting long guns you aren't starting from scratch. When you get to the range go over the safety rules one more time. Ensure the gun is empty and have him dry fire a couple of times while on the firing line. Then ensure he doesn't have any questions and let him shoot.

If he is a responsible young adult, not mentally impaired in some way, and knows what is expected of him the rest is gravy. Have fun and don't make a fun outing with a family member into a stressful situation. With the new CCW laws in IL this could be the first step into him becoming one of us.
 
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Advice: Don't shoot him.
 
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Don't forget the ear plugs and muffs. Some folks don't like stuffing cigarette butts in their ears:blink:
 

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Keep the target close (5-7m). Take it slow. Focus on the process (safety), not results.

+1 for loading one round until he has proven he can control himself and the muzzle and his trigger finger after the shot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the thoughts. Yep, safety will be my number 1 priority. Good ideas on the 1 round at a time until the "feel" is there. I am not going to worry about accuracy at this point and will start him at 5-7 yrds. I want it to be fun for him so he gets hooked on shooting. He did mentioned that he is interested in buying a handgun, but first things first. I do want it to be something he enjoys. So my main 3 objectives are: safety, form, and enjoyment.

Thanks again for the advice. It is always a pleasure to post something here and get sound and friendly feedback.

So, off to the range I go with a new shooter to bring into the family.

PS, when my daughter found out we were going, now she want to go to. Luckliy for me, she has been shooting since she was nine (14 now). Should be interesting to see some cousin rivalry.
 

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When I take my friends out shooting for the first time I keep in mind two things:

1) Pointy end faces the bulls eye

2) Bring out all the guns, give em the medium one for starters and make sure the elbows are bent :image035:
 

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I am taking out another new shooter this weekend too, so thanks for a good timely reminder. This won't be the first new guy I've taught, but I hadn't put much thought into it yet.

It is amazing how many times you can tell people to keep the gun pointed downrange, or keep your finger off the trigger, and they can still unthinkingly violate it when they get distracted. Be more concerned with safety than with him being offended that you think he is a moron for continuing to repeat the safety rules.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Range Report New Shooter:

OK, so we went to the range and the first thing we did was go over the 4 main safety rules yet again, this time have the target 7yrds out in front so we had some relevance to what is "down range". Did some dry fire exercises and we were ready to go. I loaded 2 rds of 9mm into the first mag so he could get the "feel" of the recoil and bang, put on our eyes and ears and I told him (Ben) not to worry about accuracy "yet". He fires the first round and he was shocked by the bang and recoil. Started turning towards me to express his excitment and he still had his finger on the trigger and was sweeping the muzzle from down range towards me. I calmly stopped his swing and instructed the finger of trigger one more time. But, the smile on his face was HUGE!! I reminded him of the 4 rules again and set him off to fire the next round, which he did with even greater enthusiasm. With the slide locked back, I intructed him to release the mag with muzzle down range and set the hand gun down. Then we talked about the first 2 rds, what he experienced and what I observe. His first shot hit the 7 ring to the right and the second shot was off the silhouette. I told him to load up a full mag (16rds) and switch my attention to my daughter (Annabelle). Gave her a reminder of the 4 safety features and she loaded up her full mag and fired away. Hitting all rds within the 8 ring. This really gave my 21 yr old nephew some jealous to have his 14 yrs old "girl" cousin out shooting him. I talked more to Ben about trigger control, more safety, and did a couple more dry fires to see if the muzzle moved and then he loaded up the 16 rd mag. Instructed him to sight align, smooth trigger pull and to make sure at least 3 seconds between shots to "reset". All of his rds struck within the 7 ring and he had a smile on his face as big as the Cheshire Cat. From that point forward, I sat back and observed for safety and instruction as the two of them went toe to toe on shooting.

After about 75 rds each, they both wanted to do a head shot ( I intructed center mass only). Annabelle nails 7 of 16 rds for head shot and the misses were just barely off target. Ben, not to be out done, shot 10 very rushed rounds that were no where near the haed all pulling way off to the right. I stopped him , stressed trigger control and sight alignment again and his next 3 rds were on target head shots.

The drive home: As we were driving home there was some serious laughing and teasing as both Annabelle and Ben were reviewing there targets for the hits. Both told me that was the most fun they have had in a long time. I could not believe how big their smiles were and how much laughing they were doing recalling their disappointmets of missing and triumphs of hitting the target. Ben walked into our house showing his target to miy wife and my other daughter and proudly said he was going to hang his target up in his dorm room when he heads back to college. We declared Annabelle the winner as most of her shots were within the silholette, but that did not deter Ben at all. Ben then started asking me all kinds of questions about caliber, gun size, recoil managment, and the purchasing of a firearm of his own, for the next hour or so while I was cleaning the hand gun.

Lessons Learned: Strictly observe new shooters while they are shooting. In their excitement, safety rules some times get forgotten. Shooting is fun!! Bring more ammo than you think you should. After 100rds each, they still wanted to keep shooting. Cost me an arm and a leg buying another 100rds from the range store.
 

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Sounds like you did a great job. I am not a formal instructor or anything but have introduced many new shooters to different sorts of firearms shooting, some of which have never even handled a real gun and are grown adults. One thing that I like to do when going hot with an auto, (no matter what the caliber) is to only load one round at first for a new shooter. That way I know that no matter what happens after the gun goes bang and the bullet is downrange, nothing else bad can come of the shooter's reaction.

Another thing that I try to accomplish is getting that person to realize from the very beginning that I am not yelling at them or disappointed with them if I catch them doing something wrong as far as safety goes but to just be prepared for some stern safety observation. I explain to them that good habits all take time and not to be discouraged or take my firm and/or repeated request to keep the muzzle downrange or finger off the trigger to be nothing more than helping them develop that habit. And I add in there that I'm not going to let anything slide because if something bad were to happen I would feel (be) 100% responsible. So I let them know that what may seem to be "yelling" at them is only my way of making sure that they can clearly hear what I am saying through the hearing protection and for it not to make them any more nervous or uneasy than they may already be. I want to make it as fun for them as possible and I think that if they know all of this in advance, it will help them focus more on what they are learning rather than feeling bad for what they are doing wrong.

In the end though, this right here is what it's all about...

The drive home: As we were driving home there was some serious laughing and teasing as both Annabelle and Ben were reviewing there targets for the hits. Both told me that was the most fun they have had in a long time. I could not believe how big their smiles were and how much laughing they were doing recalling their disappointmets of missing and triumphs of hitting the target. Ben walked into our house showing his target to miy wife and my other daughter and proudly said he was going to hang his target up in his dorm room when he heads back to college. We declared Annabelle the winner as most of her shots were within the silholette, but that did not deter Ben at all. Ben then started asking me all kinds of questions about caliber, gun size, recoil managment, and the purchasing of a firearm of his own, for the next hour or so while I was cleaning the hand gun.
:king:
 
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