Introducing a Newbie to Firearms

Girl Fires Machine Gun for the First Time. You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!

newbie to firearms

This is a guest post by Andrew Betts

Spoiler: She has a fun time and no one gets hurt or embarrassed because she was experienced with firearms and started with short bursts, having a reasonable expectation of what was to occur. Sorry for the click-baity line above, but I want to make a point here. No “lulz n00b” fail here. Just a nice lady having a great time.

There have been a great deal of videos posted of firearm novices shooting a gun they are completely unprepared for, usually with titles similar to the title of this article. Now, if the subject of the video is some self-important macho man who bought a .500 S&W to make himself feel powerful and he drops it, I’ll admit that is kind of funny, so long as no one gets hurt. Too often, though, what we actually see is someone new to firearms who is handed a big bore revolver or a shotgun loaded with magnum goose loads just because some ignorant hick thought it would be funny. This speaks volumes about the insecure character of the hick and is a positively terrible way to introduce new people to the shooting sports.

If you ever have the opportunity to bring someone new into the sport, please be kind and thoughtful and ensure their experience is a positive one. That doesn’t mean that you have to start with a .22lr rifle, but that really is a great place to start. The important thing is to begin with a firearm that fits the shooter. That means shotguns with length of pull intended for a grown man are a bad choice for a petite woman. You should also avoid firearms with excessive recoil. 9mm, .223/5.56mm, and .410 bore are all good choices, but you should also consider the barrel length of the firearm. A short 5.56mm AR is undeniably sexy and is a joy to shoot for most people but has significant muzzle blast. That does not necessarily disqualify it out of hand, but it is important to remember that the concussive experience of shooting one can be unpleasant for new people, depending on their personality.

One thing that can help soften that experience is to encourage new shooters to wear both ear plugs as well as muffs. Often, new shooters complain that a gun has too much “kick” when they are actually experiencing very little recoil but a lot of noise and concussion. Plugs plus muffs can mitigate that a great deal. Finally, choose a gun that is not too heavy.

Before you get to the range, teach the new shooter the four rules of firearm safety and have them repeat each one back to you until they can recite all of them. If you don’t know the four rules, memorize them yourself and live by them. No one has ever been unintentionally injured by a firearm while all four rules were followed.

  • Treat all firearms as if they are loaded and ready to fire.
  • Never point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until your sights are on target and you have decided to fire.
  • Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

At the range, teach them the fundamentals of marksmanship (sight alignment, sight picture, breath control, and trigger squeeze) but don’t get wrapped around the axle about their ability to apply the fundamentals. Just give them a target that’s easy to hit and let them have fun. As they improve, increase the challenge to keep it fun, but keep the instruction light. The only really important thing is that they have fun and act safely. If you shoot at a range that allows anything other than paper targets, fruit can be fun to shoot but if you choose to shoot any other reactive targets be sure to choose something that doesn’t make a mess and clean up after yourself. Pop cans, water bottles, and balloons are great targets but beer bottles and other glass containers are a terrible idea.

Introducing a newbie to firearms in a way that produces a positive impression is absolutely critical to the defense of our natural rights to keep and bear arms. Please take the opportunity to do so in a safe and fun manner.


Andrew Betts served with the Arizona National Guard for over 12 years, including a tour to Afghanistan. Visit his YouTube Channel for more great shooting information.

Photo credit – The Chopping Block @YouTube

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