Best Gun to Teach a New Shooter

Seems the topic among many of my customers is that of introducing people to the sport of target shooting.  A subject that always comes up is the type of pistol to take the first time.  Small gun, small caliber; big gun, small caliber; small gun, big caliber, … you get the idea.

We talk about things that worked and things that did not.  In almost every conversation, through successes and some epic fails (“I’ll never go shooting again”), several common new shooter fears and success factors for that first time on the range have emerged.

Most first-time shooters are concerned about the noise and the recoil.  This is generally followed by the concern not to embarrass themselves or the desire to do well.  So, here’s what I and many of my customers have found that works…

  1. Buy good ear protection.  Inserts, “ear muffs,” or both.  The won’t go to waste.  Hey, you could always use them!
  2. Outdoor ranges are ideal.  Lots of room so as not to feel cramped.  Indoor is OK, too.  Just make sure they know the range rules to avoid the ugly looks of fellow shooters and potential finger wagging of a range officer.
  3. Bring a bigger gun, not a smaller one.  Think a full-size 1911 versus a pocket pistol.  The heavier gun reduces the feel of recoil, probably has better sights, and is big enough that it will take a good, two-handed grip to control.  Big guns enable a great opportunity to teach lots of things (sighting, grip, safety) that may be tougher with a smaller gun.
  4. The bigger gun does seem to offer overall better control.  Better control means better groups and a feeling of success,

That sums up the experience we’ve all had at one time or another.  Good luck you bring a “newbie” to the range.  Make it a great experience for them!