Author Topic: Bringing a new shooter into the fold: priorities of training?  (Read 368 times)

xsquidgator

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A thread over in the cafe about whether new-to-the-field folks should acquire a kit AR made me think of this, and this might be a better place to toss ideas around.
I'm sure most or all of us who are seen as "gun people" by others have been approached by family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances etc recently to either provide some gun instruction or to help a new person with purchasing their first firearm.
What do you think is important to teach or impart to them?  Are there things that are really important that are maybe beyond your abilities or knowledge to teach, but this person should perhaps take a class or some training from someone who is an expert in X area?

Already I've made some assumptions that I should back up and state.  In the last 2-3 months, I've been approached by and am working with at least four sets of folks amounting to about a dozen people (a couple are families, one is a local Tea Party kind of group, it's not just individuals) and the motivation was the same for every one of these folks: getting a gun and some training for self-protection because of all the 2020 stuff going on.
So I suppose we could phrase this conversation starter with the understanding that the training/skills etc you're recommending are for someone with this interest.  I'm trying to make sure I haven't missed anything in the thought process though, so please chime in even if this isn't quite what you're thinking of.

I have a couple of proposed ideas to kick around along these lines.
The overall goal, even if the person asking hasn't thought it through in every direction, is to be safer and more in control of your own life so that includes eventually prepper kinds of things like food security, medical/first aid, supplies etc.
Most people probably see the sense of that better now in June 2020 than they did a few months ago.
There's some overlap with the skills and gear we'd like to teach with this, since if you  go extend the horizon out to there you need more than just concealed carry skills, you need rifles and other stuff for neighborhood protection teams. 
I would doubt I'll weird out anyone here with that kind of talk but it probably would be counter-productive to blow a new person's mind with all that upfront and at once. 

I say that but I am always fighting the tendency to bring all this other stuff up when I hear someone say "I just want to get my carry permit and then I'll be ready for X."  Must. Bite. My. Tongue!

The stuff I've settled on, combining things from "general gun knowledge" and various classes, experiences etc is as follows.

#1) The armed defender should learn:
How to shoot (including firearms safety)
How to fight/defend with a gun
When to fight (the legal stuff)

#2) For most folks in suburban/urban areas, I'd propose starting with the above in handgun, getting a concealed carry permit, and get experience carrying after enough instruction to do it safely.

It may make more sense for your locale to start with rifle/long gun, but in central Florida and the 'burbs I think most people will get the most utility quickly from handgun and CCW type skills.

#3) For rifle, I'd propose as a minimum someone take an NRA Basic Rifle Class (if you can find one).
Better would be to just go through a 2 day Appleseed event- it will cover some things they won't yet care about but it will provide 2 days of quality experience in the basics.  Or, some kind of class that would cover basic rifle marksmanship and field shooting techniques?
After the basics, something like a (tactical) carbine class.
After that, if you can get them to, some kind of team tactics class.  These classes are a rare bird and you have to be careful since not everyone teaching them is what you'd want...


Back to #1, how/what would you cover, more specifically?
I was thinking/would propose something like
-a basic pistol class akin to the NRA Basic Pistol class (for someone coming in with no background).  That covers gun safety and very basic gun operation, and basic marksmanship.
-something akin to a 2 day or more defensive pistol class.
It might not be ideal but the NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home class (1 day) and the NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home class (1.5 days) together.
This covers introduction to defensive shooting skills, and also one way (the NRA way) of drawing from a holster and getting a couple hundred rounds of experience doing various drills.
I've seen some defensive pistol classes (usually taught by ex LEO or ex MIL) that get more advanced in the techniques maybe and maybe more reps, but have less legal stuff or less intro to self-defense maybe.

"When to fight" - the NRA PPITH/PPOTH classes scratch the surface with this, and per their rules are supposed to be taught by either an LEO or a licensed attorney.
Perhaps add to this by adding reading or extra class stuff for those who might be up to it, such as Mas Ayoob's MAG-40 class or Andrew Branca's online class.

"Good Enough, Part A"
Related to whatever gun class content might be in there, I'd like to throw out another idea I've been using with the folks I'm working with.  I'm glad to go over all this stuff with them and give them the best equivalent of a class that I can, but, I think they really need to pass an independent test at the end to really have a bit of confidence that they can deliver "performance on demand".
Some classes (like Ayoob's MAG classes, but many others too I'm sure) have you take a standard LE or MIL shooting qualification.  Appleseed has their "AQT" which is similar to a mil rifle qualification, and I always tell people who shoot say Sharpshooter or better that if they were in the .mil, they'd have earned an extra ribbon award to put on the uniform for doing that.
So, some kind of shooting test with a defined passing score.  Passing that doesn't mean you've hit the top of the mountain, but at least by some measures you're "good enough".

"Good Enough, Part B"
The second test I'd like to use (am using with the folks I'm working with) is for them to shoot a match successfully.  Steel, IDPA, IPSC, whatever, the particulars aren't important but I propose that being able to go somewhere, gear up and shoot a few stages with people watching you, and finish without being told to "STOP!!" or getting DQ'd is a worthwhile test of safe gun handling under a little bit of pressure.  Of course it's fun, and good stress inoculation, and many other things too.  But it's an experience that I hope will not only get folks to grow their abilities and confidence some, but also understand the whole "performance on demand" thing for defensive shooting skills better too.

Any thoughts, comments, stuff you'd not bother with or stuff you think is important that you'd add?
Having thought about this for awhile and then some more while I was typing this out, I'm (we?) are trying to get folks up to at least a basic level of safe gun operation, and hopefully more so that as they learn new things and new skills, they get better at knowing what questions they should be asking and will maybe guide themselves beyond where they were when they first said "All I want to do is to get my concealed carry permit and I'm good for X"

What are your all thoughts and experiences with this kind of thing?

xsquidgator

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Related idea(s)...
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2020, 07:34:28 pm »
A year or so ago I had another idea kind of in the same vein of "what can we do to bring in new folks/shooters and properly bring them into the Gun Culture?"

My previous post was meant to stimulate discussion re "If you are helping bring a new shooter into this world, what would be most important for them to learn and be able to do?"

The idea I'm trying to articulate in this post is complementary to that.  One of the things I can envision or imagine would be a group of people, a club, a place maybe where you could bring people who were "gun curious" to show them people using guns in a safe, responsible, fun, and competent manner.
This could be bringing someone to watch part of a match maybe, but I read somewhere about Swiss "shooting festivals" and maybe something along those lines.  Something where there's a good-natured but by-the-rules shooting competition maybe.  You don't have to come in first, but the person who does come in first is congratulated and admired, and everyone else will work and practice a bit harder until the next event to make a go at it next time.
And then once the guns are put away, then we can bring out the beer and wings or whatever and BS for awhile.
The overall idea is for the people who are trained properly to show a good, interesting, and fun example of it to people coming in, and for everyone to enjoy a social aspect afterwards.
Some friends and I did a couple of these last year, and I'm thinking of trying to make a go of it again this year.

Some things we learned from last year were
- people really do need firearms training to do even pretty basic things, if you're going to be running a line safely and even if you only do one shooter at a time with an SO running the line. 
Many of our friends "grew up with guns" and are kind of interested, but honestly, almost all of those folks need some instruction or refresher training before going up to the line and following range commands.

- our first event  was held at a mutual friend's backyard range.  We had what turned out to be an overly ambitious goal, which was to have everyone shoot an Appleseed 25m AQT, and then set up and do a standard LE handgun test from 5-15 yards and 60 rounds after everyone had shot the rifle AQT.
It turned out that "yeah yeah I know how to shoot" doesn't mean that, and it took all afternoon to get people through just the AQT.

Everyone still had a good time though, and we did enjoy beer/chips etc afterwards so that was still all right.

Set more modest goals shooting-wise if it's a structured thing that not everyone has done.


- our 2nd event was limited to the handgun LE test, having learned from our first event.
We learned from the 2nd event:

Still need to provide some instruction beforehand if the shooter's only experience is at a typical indoor range.
Particularly with drawing from a holster and reholstering.

Everyone still had a good time and we went to a local place after for beer/wings etc.



I'd like to try this again, but to make it run more smoothly especially with people who don't have the experience or training yet.
Not sure how to do that... probably start by doing just the LE handgun qual or maybe a simplified version of it that doesn't require a holster.
Maybe make something up that's more like a GSSF Glock match than like an IDPA/IPSC match, where everything's done from behind a range table and you don't need a holster?

The idea was everyone could shoot a standard test with a number score, with the good natured competitive aspect.
But, serious enough that everyone would have a little bit of an edge and would want to push to do well in with everyone else watching.
Still trying to hit the right balance of running everything safely, and offering a cool experience that goes beyond whatever people might see hanging around an indoor range, while gently making the point to newcomers that there are still many things you should learn and come start shooting matches and learning!
If we can get it to work, it's a way to hang out with shooting friends and setting a good example/bringing new people into the shooting world and to expand their shooting horizons. 
The perfect would be maybe to get all the new folks into it so much that they come to shoot monthly club matches, like the way I was brought into it.  But a little lower on the experience required, kind of like a match but with training wheels, to bring new folks in while we have a social aspect to it, too.
In a perfect world I guess everyone would be trained and this would be just as ordinary as people getting together to throw a football around.

Any thoughts?

alfsauve

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Re: Bringing a new shooter into the fold: priorities of training?
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2020, 08:22:28 am »
I have come to believe the most important factor is rounds downrange.  Yes, yes. They must know all the safe handling and shooting rules and techniques, but just knowing isn't enough.  Repetition of these basics, over and over and over is the key.

How do you get them to practice often?
How do you get them to shoot more than a single box of ammo at a time?
And of course how to make that practice, quality practice?

Social events?
Competition?
Personal advancement?

The later is my hot button. 

I've come to realize the value of Appleseed and the NRA/Winchester Marksmanship program are beyond what they appear at first.



Will work for ammo
USAF MAC 437th MAW 1968-1972

les snyder

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Re: Bringing a new shooter into the fold: priorities of training?
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2020, 09:28:58 am »
when I first started shooting IPSC (pre USPSA) Bill Rogers was the moving force in Florida practical shooting... he was developing his theory on shooting instruction....premise was that you learned faster if you were immediately rewarded with a successful shot...and not the traditional wait till you go down range to paste your target... what he advocated was to shoot on a steel humanoid target, paint the target with inexpensive latex house paint, the hits would then be immediately visible for the successful reward ... and the learning curve would be shortened... at the time everyone was shooting a 7 or 8 round .45 so you painted the target after every magazine

I built a 16x24 (6x6 head) target of 3/8 steel with a 3" box beam welded to the rear... three section of re-bar were bent with a shallow dog leg that fit in the box, and formed a tripod to hold the target... with a slight downward angle...got a cheap hand truck to haul the steel...small roller and gallon of paint... one shot draws per magazine... by the time you go through a gallon of paint, you have a pretty good idea of what you are doing correctly or not.... regards

tombogan03884

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Re: Bringing a new shooter into the fold: priorities of training?
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2020, 10:08:31 am »
Rock wasn't the only place "Bang a Gong" got popular   ;D
I agree, this is an immediate gratification society and steel provides that better than paper.
Another consideration is that steel can be used in ways paper doesn't work.
Which would be more fun, and educational , punching paper, or clearing a plate rack, or one of those star things (Texas, or Polish )
Get them functional, and hooked, then you can work on group size.
I'm the NRA, and I ain't giving up squat.

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xsquidgator

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Re: Bringing a new shooter into the fold: priorities of training?
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2020, 11:38:39 am »
Awesome, thank you all for your thoughts and please keep it coming.
I had heard of that idea re using steel for immediate feedback but had kind of forgotten about it.
I have access to a plate rack and think we can definitely make that part of the shooting.


tombogan03884

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Re: Bringing a new shooter into the fold: priorities of training?
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2020, 01:55:58 pm »
I don't know if SASS people do this, but you can do old West style gun fights.
Take a saw horse, lay a board across with a water filled milk jug on each end.
First hit drops the other jug out of line of fire.
I'm the NRA, and I ain't giving up squat.

Rastus

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Re: Bringing a new shooter into the fold: priorities of training?
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2020, 06:26:33 pm »
My number 1 starting point is to "confront" the person and find out if they likely to pull the trigger to defend themselves/someone or freeze up. 
Number 2 is to discuss what my take is on their mental ability to defend themselves.  If they won't pull the trigger send them home.
Number 3 is safety, safety, safety.  Make certain they know they have responsibility for that round when it leaves the barrel of the gun.
Number 4 is gun mechanics.  Not so much how to shoot a gun, how they work.  Everyone sees them go bang on TV and movies but they don't really know much of a difference from auto to semi-auto to double action and single action, etc.  Not in depth...but enough to put them at ease.
Number 5 is the legal stuff.  You can swap 5 & 6 around frequently before you get to #7.
Number 6 is how to shoot a gun.
Number 7 is how to fight with a gun.
Number 8 is to become proficient shooting and fighting with a gun.

You are going to have to mix it up and bring in numbers 1-4 into number 5,6,7 8. 
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
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tombogan03884

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Re: Bringing a new shooter into the fold: priorities of training?
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2020, 10:05:08 pm »
I disagree with Rastus on sending home the non killers.
Lure them in with the fun part to get them shooting, what ever gets them vested in the 2nd Amendment. The political aspects are more important now than before Political considerations and the battle of the narrative are every bit as important as shooting the SOB's.
I'm the NRA, and I ain't giving up squat.

Rastus

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Re: Bringing a new shooter into the fold: priorities of training?
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2020, 12:32:27 am »
I disagree with Rastus on sending home the non killers.
Lure them in with the fun part to get them shooting, what ever gets them vested in the 2nd Amendment. The political aspects are more important now than before Political considerations and the battle of the narrative are every bit as important as shooting the SOB's.

Good point.  Diverge them to the fun....maybe they will come around.
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
-William Pitt, British Prime-Minister (1759-1806)
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