I reckon TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia have reached something of a consensus: if and when the SHTF, working with your neighbors will be your most successful survival strategy. The chances that your neighbors will be as well armed as you, and trained enough to lend a hand with collective defense, depend entirely on geography. You good old boys are good to go. Those of us who live amongst gun-hating liberals face some major petard-related self-hoisting. We may need to train our former antagonists how to run a gun. Start with the same trick that master dog trainers use to train a dog . . .
Buy the right dog. A good dog will pretty much train itself, saving its owner untold amounts of aggravation and removing the need for training expertise. In this case . . .
Buy the right gun
Buy as fancy a gun for yourself as you please, but have a weapon for someone who doesn’t know jack about guns. Actually, make that a bunch of weapons: plenty of guns for dummies.
Handgun-wise, you can’t have enough revolvers. For shooting ease and accuracy, the bigger the better (excepting JOE’s 500s). While a newbie will probably drop a handful of bullets when re-loading under pressure, at least they’ll know what they should be doing. Just show them how to open and close the cylinder. Done.
Shotgun-wise, forget pump-action. An amateur will short stroke it. A simple semi-automatic shotgun is relatively fool-proof (except for the Benelli M2 with its funny little slide release). Shove the shells in here, pull this back, jam the thing into your shoulder, aim and pull the trigger. When nothing comes out the front, stick more shells in the bottom, pull the lever and do it again.
In terms of rifles, I recommend a side-loading lever action rifle. Front loading .22s are an excellent choice for gun guys (and gals(, but the less time a novice spends with the muzzle near their face, the better. With the lever, it’s stick the bullets in here, work the lever like this, jam the thing into your shoulder, aim, pull the trigger, work the lever. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Safeties? This is not the time for safeties. Off please.
Give them ear plugs
Instructors tend to dwell on the evils of recoil. It’s not a bad idea to have a large supply of low-recoil rounds. But it’s not recoil that completely unnerves novice shooters. It’s the noise AND the recoil. And that’s with ear plugs. Without ear protection, well, at least the new guy or gal will get one shot off before they get the ballistic shakes.
I recommend a large supply of the earplugs with a string connecting them. Tell ’em if they jam ’em in too tight, they’ll break their eardrums. Yes, they’ll still lose a large margin of situational awareness. But they might be able to hit something. Repeatedly.
Get them to shoot something squishy
You and I probably don’t have much problem in the “oh my god can I really shoot another human being” department. A man’s gotta do. But total firearms freshmen, including women and children, will have serious qualms and self-doubt. Set up some soft fruit right in front of them and have them shoot it. Wow! I did that? Yes you did. Now go stand over there.
Give them clear safety instructions
Don’t point the gun at anyone other than bad guys. Don’t put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. Cross your fingers. That’s it.
Give them clear shooting instructions
When it’s life during wartime, the danger that the newbie will shoot you, themselves or another friendly is high. You have to weigh the need for another gun shooting for the home team against the obvious dangers of a loose cannon.
I’m not exactly sure exactly what kind of scenario we’re looking at here, but the only thing worse than getting shot by someone to whom you gave a gun (last words: D’oh!) is getting shot by someone who should have been shot by someone to whom you gave a gun but wasn’t because that someone choked.
Hesitation kills. So tell them how to process information. Then make sure they get it. Like so . . .
If you see someone you don’t know, shout the words LEAVE NOW. If they don’t leave and you believe your life is in imminent danger (my lawyer suggested that bit), shoot them in the chest. Move to another position. Reload. Look for their friends.
Warn, shoot, move, reload. Got it? Say it. Warn, shoot, move, reload.
A shouted heads-up is a great way to tell your adversary that it’s time to take cover and/or kill you. But it’s a moral trip-wire for a newbie: a signal to their subconscious that it’s OK to shoot someone. Once the newbie gets past that initial reticence, the chances of them issuing an inappropriate warning diminish considerably.
Bonus! A newbie’s warning cry creates a far better sonic marker than a gunshot. If they do get themselves killed, at least you’ll know where the bad guys are.
And there you have it. The most important thing to remember: no man is an island. No matter how strong your fortifications or how much firepower you can bring to bear, at some point you’re going to have to depend on the marksmanship of others. Scary, but true.