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gianmarco

GunGuys -- Help with first time shooting

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Was thinking of taking the wife to a shooting range for a birthday gift. Neither of us have ever shot a gun.

Bad idea? What to look for? How much should I expect to spend and what kind of gun and/or ammo would be good to start with or ask for?

 

Edited by gianmarco

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Women are usually good shooters because they don't show up with preconceived Rambo ideas about weapons.

I'd start out easy like a .22 pistol and a .22 rifle. Should be relatively cheap. Have fun

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38 minutes ago, tommyboy said:

Women are usually good shooters because they don't show up with preconceived Rambo ideas about weapons.

I'd start out easy like a .22 pistol and a .22 rifle. Should be relatively cheap. Have fun

Yup. 

I'm assuming you're going to an indoor range and looking for pistols?  A .22 is super easy to shoot and not intimidating.  If you guys enjoy that, a 9mm is a nice step up and a blast to shoot. 

Most indoor ranges will be more than willing to show you the ropes. They don't want to hand over a firearm to a n00b without any instruction for obvious reasons. 

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7 minutes ago, Ned said:

Yup. 

I'm assuming you're going to an indoor range and looking for pistols?  A .22 is super easy to shoot and not intimidating.  If you guys enjoy that, a 9mm is a nice step up and a blast to shoot. 

Most indoor ranges will be more than willing to show you the ropes. They don't want to hand over a firearm to a n00b without any instruction for obvious reasons. 

Should I ask for these things or let them choose?

How long should a session take? What am I usually paying for? Anything to make sure I do or definitely avoid? 

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Just now, gianmarco said:

Should I ask for these things or let them choose?

How long should a session take? What am I usually paying for? Anything to make sure I do or definitely avoid? 

Tell them you're first timers. They'll take it from there. You'll pay to rent the gun(s) and ammo. Prices are going to vary a lot, IME. 

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Please familiarize yourself (and your wife) with basic gun safety rules.

Treat all guns as though they are loaded.

Never let the muzzle cover/point at anything you are not willing to destroy.

Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target.

Be sure of your target, what is beyond the target, and what is between you and your target.

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3 hours ago, gianmarco said:

Was thinking of taking the wife to a shooting range for a birthday gift.

Sounds like a great birthday gift most women would love.

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5 minutes ago, Otis said:

Sounds like a great birthday gift most women would love.

Bag of potatoes instead?

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Just tell them you have no idea what you're doing and listen to everything they say.  If you're not sure about something, step back and ask.  Most gun guys are pretty chill as long as you respect the rules.  You guy's will have a blast!

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8 hours ago, hooter311 said:

Just tell them you have no idea what you're doing and listen to everything they say.  If you're not sure about something, step back and ask.  Most gun guys are pretty chill as long as you respect the rules.  You guy's will have a blast!

Otis doesn't think so.

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12 hours ago, Otis said:

Sounds like a great birthday gift most women would love.

My wife once asked for throwing knives.  She's pretty good with them.  At 30 feet she is never more than an inch or two at the most off center.  It's weird given her personality.  She just found out she has a gift for it many years ago and she likes it.  I cannot get her to shoot a gun or a bow.  She refuses to come to Aikido with me. but damn she is good with those things.  When I try I hit the target, but I do not stick it in the target more than 1 out of 20 times.  She never fails to stick it in the target, never.

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Some good advice in here.... I'll throw my spin on it: 

• Women generally tend to be better shots than men. 
• .22 is a great platform to start with. Generally accurate and minimal noise/recoil. Agreed 9mm pistol is nice second step. 
• Agreed on being hyper careful to keep muzzle downrange at all times... always treat as if loaded. No finger near trigger until on target. 

HOW IT WILL GO: 
You'll walk in and there will be guys behind a counter. Walk up to one and explain that you'd like to rent a pistol and a lane, but are first timers. They'll be very helpful.

You'll pay for the lane (by the hour.. 1 hour will be plenty... prices range but $20-30 is likely a good guess). You'll also pay to rent the pistol (usually $10ish), and often includes the right to change out the pistol during your session (ie can switch to 9mm after a half hour if you'd like).

Next, you'll want to buy ammunition from the range. Prices vary widely based on quality and caliber. If you buy too much you can take the leftovers home for next time. I'd suggest starting with 1 box of 50rds each - $10ish, or a "bulk" pack of 250 or 500 - $20-30). Those are .22 prices. 9mm or other calibers will be double or more. 

Finally, you'll need some paper targets (a buck or three each). The fancy zombie ones are tempting but hard to see where you've hit. I generally prefer large sheets with 6 "bulls-eye" targets on each. When one has a lot of holes in it, move on to the next. If going for the multi-target sheets, 1 each should be plenty. 

All in all I'd say you're budgeting about $50-75 for the session. 

Next you'll get eye and ear protection. Most ranges have free clear glasses to borrow, and over-ear muffs. Some will have in-ear ones for sale as well. Your choice. Keep them BOTH on at all times when inside the range area. No exceptions. 

Finally you'll take your pistol (not loaded), targets, and ammo back to the lane they assign you. You'll have your eye/ear protection on. You'll also want to take care to avoid overly baggy or low-cut clothing that could trap hot brass shells against your skin (or down your wife's shirt. Hot brass HURTS. Here's a solid basic video on grip/stance.

Next you'll likely place a target on the cable system and send it out to a good distance. I'd start with 5-7yds (15-21ft). Build comfort and confidence. You're not there to play sniper with a pistol :) Place your pistol on the shelf at your lane (muzzle downrange), and load the magazine(s). Insert magazine, chamber a round, take aim, place finger on trigger, and gently squeeze the trigger with the pad (not crook) of your finger. Do not rapid fire.. this isn't a race. 

If you have a misfire set the pistol down (muzzle downrange) and wait 30 seconds or so to be safe. Next, if you're comfortable: remove magazine, and attempt to pull slide back to clear the pistol. If you're not comfortable or that doesn't work, then go ask for help (leaving the pistol on the shelf!). 

Once the pistol is empty, drop the mag, set the pistol on the shelf, reload the magazine, and repeat. 

When you're done: Remove the magazine, be sure there is no round in the chamber. I like to lock the slide in the open postion with the magazine empty and separate from the gun before taking it back to the counter. Don't remove your eye/ear protection until you're safely out of the range area. 

Anytime there is a round in the pistol, it stays on the shelf or in your hand pointing downrange. 
Anytime you're walking to/from that area, the pistol is empty but still pointing downward with your finger outside the trigger guard. 

Edited by [icon]
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So much good advice here. @icon's particularly. If the gun doesn't go bang when you pull the trigger or it locks open after you fire it, set it down, barrel down range. Take a breath and then trouble shoot. Don't hold it there trying to fix it as you will likely turn around and at some point have a gun that has malfunctioned pointed at something other than paper targets. Set it on the rest and take a breath. Once you are more adept with them, then you can troubleshoot with it still in your hand. In fact, that won't take long at all to learn. 

I would suggest you hit Southside's indoor range called Sharp Shooters off Gravois. Practically brand new. You pay a $10 fee to use any gun you want. So you could shoot a couple mags through 20 guns if you wanted to, all for just $10. This is invaluable when you are looking to make a purchase, particularly hand guns. Never buy a handgun without firing that same model first. 

I would try to limit it to a couple different calibers so you don't come home with 20 .22 rounds, 36 9mm, 12 .45 and 16 .357. After you shoot the .22 you can try the .380 as a shorter step up from the .22 or jump to the 9mm. I suggest trying a steel framed 9 first before going to the polymer frame guns so popular now because they can have more kick than a steel framed 9. Try more than one 9mm. Get a feel for what you prefer whether compact or full framed or something in between. Most of all relax. It's not like you're holding a deadly weapon for the first time. 

If you, I could take you to the range and you could sample from my .22, .380. 9mm pistol, 9mm carbine as well as the big iron - AR15. Then when you go with your wife you will look like a pro. 

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Just don't tell the gun range guy the thing about "this is my pistol, this is my gun, this is for shooting, this is for fun (pointing to penis)". 

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I would suggest not looking down the barrel to see if it's jammed.

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12 minutes ago, Weebs210 said:

I would suggest not looking down the barrel to see if it's jammed.

This. Never this!

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Go to a bar first.

You'll then be on equal terms with the weapons; they'll be loaded and you'll...never mind.

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17 hours ago, opensourcebeer said:

Please familiarize yourself (and your wife) with basic gun safety rules.

Treat all guns as though they are loaded.

Never let the muzzle cover/point at anything you are not willing to destroy.

Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target.

Be sure of your target, what is beyond the target, and what is between you and your target.

memorize this!

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2 hours ago, arrow1 said:

ask if they have a bazooka.

I needed that-LOL-thanx

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17 hours ago, gianmarco said:

Should I ask for these things or let them choose?

How long should a session take? What am I usually paying for? Anything to make sure I do or definitely avoid? 

whatever you do, don't shoot yourself in the foot!

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To add on to Icon's post, which was perfect:

 

If you have a round that does not go off as planned after pulling the trigger wait at least 30 seconds with the gun pointed down range and still secured with both hands.  In a hang fire situation like this that round can, rarely, still go off.  Get someone from the range to clear that round the first time it happens, if it happens at all which is unlikely.  Watch how he or she treats the weapon during that time and the round after it has been cleared.

 

Folks like to shoot semi autos.  That means the slide is going to be coming back.  If you do not have good thumb position the slide might hit it.  Make certain to understand the grip and your proper thumb location.

 

15 feet is plenty far at first.  Everyone presumes they are going to be a better shot than they are.  That presumption comes from dart guns, squirt guns and video games.  You are likely t find that the real thing is a bit more challenging than you presume.

 

Your wife, she will either be scared or super horny after.  I've never seen middle ground on this.

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When it's your turn to shoot wave the gun around at everyone so they know you mean business.

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13 minutes ago, Ditkaless Wonders said:

Your wife, she will either be scared or super horny after.  I've never seen middle ground on this.

Finally. Some advise we can really use. 

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Outstanding advice so far, and I would just add another recommendation for starting with a .22.

For beginners, one of the main things I have seen scare them off (particularly the women and young kids) is recoil, and a .22 usually has minimal/none depending on the weapon being fired.  Learning to shoot with that, and realizing that it is both fun and challenging, then progressing to a larger caliber can be quite thrilling for beginners. Even then, I've often seen them go back to the old .22 just to put more rounds down range, because it was the most fun for them to shoot. 

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2 hours ago, The Iguana said:

whatever you do, don't shoot yourself in the foot!

Like this?  

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One problem my wife has with a .22 handgun is that there is very little recoil to eject the brass, and unless she concentrates on holding the gun tightly, she sees a lot of jams.  Something to watch for.

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You should start with a .50 calibre Desert Eagle.  Then move up.

Just kidding...seriously, you'd throw out your shoulder.  Go w a .22 like said above.  Keep it pointed downrange.  Always.  No reason to be intimidated by it.   It isn't that hard.  

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Thanks for some great posts here.  Last question after reading these:

Will they give us some sort of "lesson" or do I really need to learn this stuff on my own? 

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On 9/18/2017 at 7:03 PM, gianmarco said:

Was thinking of taking the wife to a shooting range for a birthday gift. Neither of us have ever shot a gun.

Bad idea? What to look for? How much should I expect to spend and what kind of gun and/or ammo would be good to start with or ask for?

Serious question (sorry Otis). How did you chose this particular gift?

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28 minutes ago, DallasDMac said:

Serious question (sorry Otis). How did you chose this particular gift?

She had once mentioned wanting to try it out sometime while we were talking with some friends. Made a mental note of it and figured might as well give it a shot (no pun intended). This was a few years ago and was trying to come up with something different for a gift.

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7 hours ago, Ditkaless Wonders said:

Your wife, she will either be scared or super horny after.  I've never seen middle ground on this.

So you're saying there's a chance!

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12 hours ago, gianmarco said:

Thanks for some great posts here.  Last question after reading these:

Will they give us some sort of "lesson" or do I really need to learn this stuff on my own? 

There is usually someone patrolling the lanes at each range. They are more than happy to give a lesson most of the time. If the place is packed, s/he might not be able to give as much attention, but if you were to go on a weekday you could probably have someone working with you pretty extensively. 

Also, most of the ranges have some sort of class you can take. It's usually some basic safety info and then you get to go shoot. 

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12 hours ago, gianmarco said:

Thanks for some great posts here.  Last question after reading these:

Will they give us some sort of "lesson" or do I really need to learn this stuff on my own? 

They will give you a lesson, just ask.

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12 hours ago, gianmarco said:

Thanks for some great posts here.  Last question after reading these:

Will they give us some sort of "lesson" or do I really need to learn this stuff on my own? 

Just get them to show you if there's anything you're not comfortable with, such as how to load the magazine, chamber a round, etc. The main thing you will need to "learn" is how to stand properly. You want to be comfortable yet stable in your stance. You'll figure out what feels the best for you. 

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11 hours ago, gianmarco said:

She had once mentioned wanting to try it out sometime while we were talking with some friends. Made a mental note of it and figured might as well give it a shot (no pun intended). This was a few years ago and was trying to come up with something different for a gift.

My wife once gave me a certificate for a trapeze lesson.  That was different, and fun.

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15 hours ago, BrutalPenguin said:

One problem my wife has with a .22 handgun is that there is very little recoil to eject the brass, and unless she concentrates on holding the gun tightly, she sees a lot of jams.  Something to watch for.

Good call on women limpwristing a pistol. My GF's nieces wanted to go shooting so I took them (with their father) to the range. They were 9 and 12 (were familiar with rifles)... and one of them kept having brass ejection issues with my Glock 26 (9mm). This is something I had never seen before in thousands of rounds fired through this pistol. I was convinced it was a bad box of ammo... got another... still issues. Finally figured out they were relaxing their grip once their father or I would make sure to stress it was important.

Look into youtube videos, and/or ask the staff on proper grip. Inner/Trigger hand should be looser (like holding an egg firmly but not crushing it). Outer hand should have a firmer grip. Squeezing too tight, or not tight enough can cause issues. 

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16 hours ago, Nathan R. Jessep said:

Outstanding advice so far, and I would just add another recommendation for starting with a .22.

For beginners, one of the main things I have seen scare them off (particularly the women and young kids) is recoil, and a .22 usually has minimal/none depending on the weapon being fired.  Learning to shoot with that, and realizing that it is both fun and challenging, then progressing to a larger caliber can be quite thrilling for beginners. Even then, I've often seen them go back to the old .22 just to put more rounds down range, because it was the most fun for them to shoot. 

Was just at the range yesterday with my .22 target pistol, and a few other calibers. Besides shooting a bit with my carry gun (.380) just to stay familiar, I shot the .22 almost exclusively - definitely the most fun to shoot.   

Great advice here, Gian - nothing to really add. Just stay safe, and the "always treat the gun as if it's loaded" is the rule of rules with guns. 

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