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  #1  
Old 01-26-2020, 07:43 PM
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dsk dsk is offline
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Took a friend shooting for the first time, gained a new perspective

I have a friend who'd been bugging me lately to take her shooting, so finally we went to the local indoor range today. She's a tiny Asian, maybe 105 pounds tops and most of that in her purse. She also went through a bad divorce with an unfaithful, drug-abusing husband a few years ago and has been a single mom running the house all by herself ever since. I brought along a selection of pistols and rifles for her to try, such as a .22 pistol and rifle, a couple of full-size 9mms, a 4" .38 Special revolver and an AR-15. Turns out she had trouble right off the bat handling just the .22 pistol (a S&W MP22 Compact), and had even more difficulty handling my Ruger 10/22 because it was too heavy for her (it's completely OEM with the synthetic stock so to me it's a lightweight!). I quickly gave up on the idea of her trying out the larger calibers and let her shoot just the .22 pistol.

Well, after she finally figured out the right way to hold it and how to align the sights her shooting improved noticeably. Once she began putting the shots close enough to the bullseye to avoid embarrassment I decided to lighten things up with a miniaturized FBI standard target featuring the classic image of a thug pointing a gun at you. I told her that he was a zombie adulterer, and the only way to stop that kind was to shoot them directly in the nuts. She was quite amused by that, and it seemed to improve her shooting as pretty soon she was turning them into zombie eunuchs with relative ease.

However she still had trouble working the slide on my .22, which was an eye-opener as like most modern .22s the MP22 Compact has a very light and easy-to-rack slide. With a little more practice she could probably be able to manage something like an EZ .380, but for the moment even the little .22 was bucking in her hand as if it was a 9mm. She also began to get tired after 100 rounds, so I took over for a bit and shot my AR and 9mms.

What this range trip emphasized to me was two things: First, finding a way to lighten the mood and make the range visit fun can actually help with improving a new shooter's level of training. But more so, it also proves that for many people a .22 or other mouse gun might actually be the only firearm they can easily handle, so they need to be taken more seriously when recommending a defense gun. I assumed she would be able to handle my Browning Hi-Power easily, since it's relatively heavy and has a small grip, but she definitely couldn't handle it and would've been poorly armed with anything but a .22 at this point. So when taking new shooters to the range be sure to give them as many options to try as possible, especially if they're small-statured or elderly.
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Last edited by dsk; 01-26-2020 at 07:50 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-26-2020, 07:56 PM
drail drail is offline
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First off - thank you for taking her to the range. If only more people could find the time to do what you did the world would be better off. What type of work does she do? She seems to have a problem with hand strength if she has that much trouble racking a .22 bolt or slide - or she is not applying force properly to manipulate it. But as you stated if all she can handle is a .22 she's still better off. I'm proud of both of you.

Last edited by drail; 01-26-2020 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 01-26-2020, 08:07 PM
Dddrees Dddrees is offline
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It's often amazing what one as a trainer can learn from the person they are training if you keep an open mind and keep your options open. I often learned quite a bit that way when training people in the military.
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Old 01-26-2020, 08:16 PM
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dsk dsk is offline
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She pounds a keyboard all day long. We go hiking a lot, but that only helps the cardio and lower body, not the arm and hand strength. Frankly I was surprised she was so weak she couldn't keep my 10/22 held up, even though that thing is maybe 4.5 pounds at the most.
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Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.
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Old 01-26-2020, 08:40 PM
K0025xx K0025xx is offline
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Don't know if this will help, but I was taught a long time ago not to pull the slide, but to hold the slide and push the gun. Technique developed more for the exact scenario you're describing. It uses different muscles. Might give it a try, and good on you for changing the mood and making it fun. Probably a much more productive day that way and now she'll probably look forward to doing it again instead of souring on the experience.
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Old 01-26-2020, 08:45 PM
RandyP RandyP is offline
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I also always start new shooters, of ANY size with a rimfire. It's a great choice. I do bring along other calibers but only advance 'larger' when they want to.

I suspect many prospective shooters are turned off by their range pal putting too big a beast in their hands, with the unexpected loud noise and 'massive' recoil being a shock to their system. Slow and steady wins the race and shooting after all IS supposed to be fun.
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Old 01-26-2020, 09:09 PM
Dddrees Dddrees is offline
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I actually like starting with a Single Action and Double Action 22 Revolvers. Having a Semi there but for some reason I more comfortable showing them starting out on Revolvers.
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Old 01-26-2020, 09:35 PM
cavelamb cavelamb is offline
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I've been saying that for years, dsk.
And have suffered the slings and arrows of the bigger badder boys as a result.
But as you now see, it's true.

The lethality of the 22LR (especially with Stingers or Velociters) is way under-rated. The stupid tiny little things will do the job.

Suggestion:
Find a Browning 1911-22 for your friend to try out.
Much lighter, easier to rack than your Ruger, and grips are perfect for small hands
And, best of all, it really is a 1911.

All the "Black Label" models are polymer framed.
If at all possible find a 1911-A1 model.
It has a 6061-T6 frame.
Or?
Maybe the polymer frame is lighter than aluminum?
Who knew?

The compact model (85% scaled "Officers") is smaller still.
https://www.impactguns.com/Semi-Auto-Handguns/Browning-1911-22A1-22LR-Compact-3-625-Fixed-Sights-10-Round-023614072010-051803490/


PS: Ya done good, troop.
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  #9  
Old 01-26-2020, 10:46 PM
mdellis49 mdellis49 is offline
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I've had the pleasure of taking several new shooters out for their first experience at shooting. With the gals it's always a SS Single Six. Safe, the small grips make it easy to acquire a good grip with smaller hands. I instruct them to use the support hand thumb to cock the gun. Rifles they start with a CZ Scout 452. Single shot bolt gun. Safety, with a new shooter is #1 in my book and a single shot .22 is a good way to go. The Scout is a youth rifle with a short LOP and light weight. Shooting sticks like Primus offers is also beneficial to help support the rifle and allow the shooter to focus on sights and trigger press. Always outdoors and always with reactive targets. Make it fun and seeing an apple explode or turning an orange into juice is guaranteed to bring a smile to a new shooters face
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  #10  
Old 01-26-2020, 11:11 PM
megafiddle megafiddle is offline
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I have seem several guys of medium or large stature at the range shooting 12" groups slow fire at 7 yds or even 3 yds. This is with .45, 40, and 9mm. They were very likely either flinching, or had their eyes closed. They would have been much better served with a lighter caliber, or a heavier gun in the same caliber.

"Dirty Harry" said, "a man has to know his limitations".

Ironically, there are scenes of Harry with his eyes closed at the point of firing. And those were only Hollywood blanks.

His are still my favorite movies though.

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Old 01-27-2020, 06:09 AM
mk70ss mk70ss is offline
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A Beretta Cheetah .22 with tip up barrel sounds like it would be just about right for your friend.

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Old 01-27-2020, 06:25 AM
Plantar5 Plantar5 is online now
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Let her shoot a rifle or handgun for that matter from a rest or bipod. This way it removes her physical weakness from the equation.
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:33 AM
Jolly Rogers Jolly Rogers is offline
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Thanks Dsk! Every little thing helps.
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:34 AM
JamieC JamieC is offline
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My wife is 4' 11", 96lbs. Her first gun was a S&W 442 snubbie. As she got older, the recoil started to affect her, a new gun was in order. She had trouble racking the slide on nearly everything. In time, (and several gun shows), we revisited a couple of guns she like the feel of, I noticed she was now able to rack the slide on guns she couldn't the first trip around. It is not so much strength as technique. What I realized was with practice, she figured out the correct technique and can now rack pretty much anything. Men tend to 'muscle' their way through, women need to actually learn the correct technique. Give her some time and LOTS of exposure to different guns, I'll bet with practice and good advice from friends like you, she'll get it!
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Old 01-27-2020, 07:53 AM
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When I was taking my 16 yo grandson pistol shooting for the first time, his father (who shot with us) insisted I start him with a .22. The kid was 6’, 170#’s zero body fat....a strong young man. I agreed and took a .22, a couple of 9’s and .45. After the first few mags with the .22 grandson looked at me like “what else you got, this is boring”. So he worked his way through the 9’s and into my 1911. He was doing a great job safety wise, just handling a pistol in general.

At the end of the session I asked my grandson what pistol he enjoyed shooting the most.....it was my 1911. Prior to going to the range I had written on a piece of paper which pistol I thought he would enjoy most.......the 1911. After shooting I showed my prediction to his father....and smiled, knew the grandson would like a bigger pistol.

The moral of my story is, while it’s a good idea not to over estimate a new shooters potential, it’s also good not to under estimate. Had I only brought a .22 to the range that day, my grandson would have been bored and not enjoyed the day as much as he did shooting a variety of pistols.
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:42 AM
RandyP RandyP is offline
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The 'technique' I've tried with some folks with some success is to rather than rack the slide I have them hang on to the slide and push their arm forward. It's counter-intuitive but I've found it works for those with difficulties.
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Old 01-27-2020, 09:41 AM
mickeyd mickeyd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dddrees View Post
I actually like starting with a Single Action and Double Action 22 Revolvers. Having a Semi there but for some reason I more comfortable showing them starting out on Revolvers.
This ^^^The simplicity of a revolver is a much better platform than a semiauto for first time shooters. Even with a K frame Smith & Wesson, it can be rested to achieve great groups for a beginner, with really ups their enthusiasm for success.
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Old 01-27-2020, 10:00 AM
GunBugBit GunBugBit is offline
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Very cool.
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Old 01-27-2020, 10:17 AM
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Grandpas50AE Grandpas50AE is offline
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Good job dsk! Every single person we can bring in to our shooting world makes a difference in our benefit. Nothing wrong with .22's - I progressed to those from BB and pellet guns way back when; good habit builders! I agree with cavelamb, the Browning .22 that I have is a Buckmark, and is very much 1911-like but with very low recoil and sensible size grip. My wife was 5' 1" at 105 lbs. when I started her shooting, and grip size and strength were a consideration for her as well; .22 Ruger is what I had back then and it was a bit heavy until she practiced with it for a little while. One thing your friend can try is those "Soft Iron" weights at 2 lbs and/or 3lbs with some easy number of reps for her, and in no time a 3 lb. gun in one had will not be a bother for her; I used them when in rehab after my neck surgery 12 years ago.
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Old 01-27-2020, 10:38 AM
magazineman magazineman is offline
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Agreed on revolvers for first time handgun shooters (non-snubbie) I start them by having them load the gun.

Other than showing the location of the cylinder latch & muzzle control I've never had a new shooter need further instruction on loading.

It's pretty dang obvious.

PLUS it requires no shoving of rounds into a magazine, slide racking, or any of that difficult hooey.

No malf's from limp wristing either. Always works.

My wife & her two friends did their first range day with my service size model 10 with weak ZipLock Bag Packaged .38 reloads bought right there.

I never mention recoil beforehand. It's counter productive to do so & there's almost none anyhow.

Note that my Laotian wife was 92 pounds at the time. Now, 25 years later, she has really let herself go. Ballooning up to a massive 96.

Her pals were of similar proportions at the time. ----------- But not anymore!
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Old 01-27-2020, 11:16 AM
HarryO45 HarryO45 is online now
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She needs a light gun, good sight radius, and the biggest cartridge she can handle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cavelamb View Post
Suggestion:
Find a Browning 1911-22 for your friend to try out.
Much lighter, easier to rack than your Ruger (and many other .22's), and grips are perfect for small hands
And, best of all, it really is a 1911.
OP,
I bought my wife the .380 Browning 1911. She had the same problems with the Ruger, and now loves the .380. I would recommend the full size model.

She also likes the "pretty gold medallion" on the grips. Her Black label is not polymer.

Put one in her hands and her perspective will change...yours too! If she cant handle a Browning, she needs to go to the gym. It is easy to operate, and safe. My wife loves to shoot it... easy to load magazines too.
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Old 01-27-2020, 01:57 PM
USMM guy USMM guy is offline
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Some good advice here.

Most poignant I think are the comments on revolvers, as well as shooting off of a bench.

Aside from that. I am thinking that taking your friend out for a couple of good meals would likely help as well.
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Old 01-27-2020, 02:21 PM
bad2006z71 bad2006z71 is offline
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Well you did it wrong. According to youtube, you should have put a S&W 500 in her hand, filmed it, then laughed when it knocked her down.

I am ashamed to say that I don't have a 22 pistol (plenty of rifles). I will be correcting that as soon as I can.
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Old 01-27-2020, 02:26 PM
Frank Vaccaro Frank Vaccaro is offline
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A Chipmunk for a rifle?
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Old 01-27-2020, 03:58 PM
brickeyee brickeyee is offline
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The most common thing I have heard over the years is "That is heavy."

It is a chunk of steel designed to operate and tens of thousands of PSI.
It better have some weight.

And while the wight does make holding it and aiming harder for many folks,
it also reduces the recoil energy.
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