Teaching Blonde Four To Shoot

Four+Targt

“Hey Babe, want to go shooting today?” I asked my wife. She was off for the day, and I could break free for some firearms-related amusement. I had recently joined the Arnold Rifle and Pistol Club and she and I had not yet gone together. “No, I have an appointment – call Number Four and see if she can go.” (I refer to my minor grandchildren by their birth order when writing about them on the web, hopefully to give them a modicum of privacy). Though I had been taking Number Four’s cousins shooting for some time, the adorable Blonde Four had never wanted to go. Adamantly not interested. “Oooh, Grandpa – I never want to touch a gun,” was one of her regular responses to my invitations . . .

But somewhere along the line, she changed her mind. She told me some months ago that she would like to learn to shoot, so I have been texting her invitations from time to time. Dick Heller encouraged me to do the “Take Your Daughter to the Range Day” thing, so I tried to get her to go on the specified TYDTTRD Saturday. However, she is a busy, popular girl. “I have plans this week, maybe next week.” was her last reply. Still, I sent her a text at my wife’s prompting.

When my phone beeped with the arrival of a text, I told my wife “This is Four telling me she is busy.” Then I actually looked at the message.

Where at im with dad.

It took me a moment to interpret the text (I’m old school that way, my texts use capitalization and punctuation – and occasionally ALA citations and footnotes) and realized with delight that she wanted to go shoot. Bonus – my son would come along.

I text her some details. We meet near the range, and after exchanging hellos and hugs, we climb into her dad’s SUV and drive to the range together. Along the way, I review with her the FOUR RULES OF FIREARMS SAFETY.

  1. Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded.
  2. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot (while I like Farago’s “booger hook off the bang switch” version, but I choose to keep it less disgusting for Blonde Four)
  4. Know your target and what is behind it

“Bear in mind, sweetheart, it is a gun range, so you will hear lots of ‘bang’ and ‘pow’.” I say, remembering how the noise of an indoor range used to unnerve and distract my wife. “It may make you jump – don’t worry, you’ll be fine and we’ll be safe.”

We take up a spot at one of the combat bays – 60 foot wide bays backed by an earthen berm and bordered by giant concrete blocks. Sure enough, gunfire makes her jump a bit, but being prepared, she smiles and laughs. “That did startle me!”

I have a package of foam earplugs of varying colors. She picks the pink, which is why I bought this particular package. My son stuffs a pair into his ears as we place the guns, targets and ammo onto a convenient table.

At the ARPC combat bays, they expect us to set up a firing line. Nobody is to handle a firearm behind anyone’s back. We discuss this, and we keep firearms in their cases or holsters back at the table where we originally set up.

“We are going to start with an airsoft gun.” I say to Four.

“What is ‘airsoft’?” she asks.

“An airsoft gun fires little round plastic balls – a bit bigger than a BB” I respond. “It will hurt if you shoot yourself with it, but not ‘go to the emergency room’ hurt.” I point to a spot on my calf where a tiny divot has been removed by a self-inflicted airsoft strike from a few days back. “Just follow the four rules, and you will be just fine.”

We walk to the target wall – a 4×8 sheet of corrugated plastic that we hang our targets on. “Sweetie, even though I doubt anyone would be back here, we need to check to make sure there is nothing behind our target.” Blonde Four and I look, and find nobody staked to the ground on the berm.

Four+Shooting10

I unpack and load the CO2 powered airsoft pistol. It’s a bit bigger than the Ruger SR22 I have brought along, but the loading and magazine release are similar to actual firearms. The slide does not “blow back” but it with it has serviceable sights and is a great, relatively safe and really cheap way to get people used handling, clearing and aiming a firearm.

We cover stance and trigger control, aiming at paper plates we have hung on the target wall. I use paper plates instead of bullseye targets for beginners because the pressure to hit the center seems quite a bit less. I have 12” and 10” plates. We start with the 12”.

“Babe, all you have to do is hit the plate. If you can hit the plate, you are doing great!” Her dad helps her with grip, and reminds her about sight picture. She sends a few plastic pellets down range. Soon, she hits the plate. A little more help, she is consistently striking the plate.

With an empty magazine, I have her “clear” the pistol – mainly just removing the magazine from the airsoft pistol and pull the trigger while pointing downrange, more or less like you would to show clear after an IDPA stage. We walk back to reload and focus on safe gun handling practices. “Shooting is like anything that is dangerous. You can do it without hurting anyone or yourself if you are thoughtful and careful – like driving.”

“Can I load it?” she asks, referring to the airsoft magazine.

“You bet.” I reply. She deftly begins adding little plastic pellets to the metal magazine.

After a few more trips back and forth to the firing line, I note that Miss Four has been mindful of staying in control of the firearm. We empty a few more magazines of pellets and I ask her if she is ready for the .22.

“Yeah” she replied enthusiastically.

I remove a round from the box of Remington .22 LR, and show it to her. She takes it from me and looks intently. “This is called a .22 Long Rifle cartridge. Do not be fooled by its size. A lot of people are hurt and killed with this, perhaps because they think it is just a little bullet. Guns that fire this are dangerous, like any other firearm, and we treat it with as much respect as any other gun.”

Four nodded soberly, and we loaded the magazines for the Ruger SR22.

I bought the Ruger SR22 pistol specifically to help friends and family learn to shoot. Its recoil is very low, and it is small enough for youth and ladies’ hands. It handles more or less like a firearm one would carry for self defense. I am not a fan of the safety – but I am generally not a fan of safeties at all. Alas, a .22 pistol with no safety, made in America, (and carried by my local gun shop Mid America Arms) was a bridge too far.

Four+Dad10

Miss Blonde Four takes up a stance under her father’s watchful eye. She loads a magazine.

“OK babe, now you have to pull back the slide to put a round in the chamber.”

“Like this?” she asks, as she pulls back the slide.

“All the way, then just let it go.”

She complies, and I tell her “OK, it is ready to shoot.”

Four pauses for a moment, then lets a round fly. “POP!”

I expect her to look back at me and grin. Lots of people do that, and the muzzle drifts into an unsafe direction. I am prepared to remind her of rule 2, but instead, she retains her focus and prepares to shoot again. “POP” and a hole appears on the outer edge of the paper plate.

“Good shooting.” I praise.

It is a bright sunny day, so we take the occasional break from the sun and heat. Four sits in the shade a few times, and we let her set her own pace. My son and I shoot a few of our bigger guns in the interlude. Blonde Four returns for a few more turns at shooting after adding a set of earmuffs to augment the earplugs. She is getting progressively better.

After shooting a string that is consistently in one group, we are ready to improve her marksmanship. “When it is low and to the left like that, it usually means you are kind of jerking the trigger. Slowly squeeze the trigger. When the gun goes off, it should be a surprise to you.”

On the next magazine, I set up a paper plate with a Shoot-N-C target. Four takes aim, and begins peppering the black circle, creating bright dayglo green halos. She is shooting nice and straight.

As it turns out, she is not squinting with one eye to shoot, but is in fact keeping both eyes open to create her sight picture. This is something I am working hard to master. That she could consistently hit a 12” paper plate from about 30 feet is astonishing.

Four+357_Magnum20

At the end of our session, Four agrees to shoot the .357 revolver – loaded with .38 Special rounds. She lets off three before she wearies of it. She has been a very good sport so far, but I can tell she is hot, tired and ready to be done. We pack it in.

I think sessions like this is how responsible gun culture can prevail. Four went from being adamantly opposed to guns to someone who is on her way to enjoying shooting sports. The shift is in part was the culture where she lives – pretty much everyone in her life is a redneck. Still, a bad gun experience could have ruined her ability to enjoy it. A few key takeaways.

Four+Dad20

Safety – By emphatically emphasizing the emphasis on safety, I believe we mitigate anxiety. Women are, in general, more cautious than men, girls more than boys. We need to honor that. On the other hand, our goal is not to instill fear, but rather respect. Work to strike a balance.

Prepare – I did not realize how much the sound of firing guns would affect my wife’s disposition when we first went shooting. Knowing that now, I think it is important to mentally prepare people for that before you enter a shooting environment. Talk about recoil and flying hot brass.

Ease Into It – The airsoft gun has proven to be an excellent training tool. It is a low-risk way to introduce the form and function of guns. Moving from airsoft to a gentle .22 has made teaching marksmanship much easier as it has eliminated most of the flinching and anxiety for new shooters.

Let the New Shooter Set the Pace – I like to shoot, and can do it for a long stretch. New shooters are going to feel anxious, and the stress of that anxiety will make their tolerance much less than that of an experienced shooter. Be there for their benefit, not your own. When I take a new shooter out, I am OK with not shooting at all.

Save the Testosterone for Another Time – While I find R. Lee Emery as amusing as the next guy, being yelled at with colorful insults is only amusing for the observer. Patience and good humor is far better for the novice shooter to become familiar with and comfortable around firearms than a string of salty invectives.

If you are an intense gun person, perhaps ratchet back a few notches. How can you tell? Do you like to go to the range with two or more of these items:

  1. “Tactical” pants – pocket count => 8
  2. SERPA holster rigged to float mid-thigh
  3. OD green Gadsen flag ball cap
  4. Mirrored sunglasses
  5. AR15 with “combat” sling
  6. Gloves with Kevlar knuckle armor
  7. UnderArmor turtleneck of any kind

Perhaps consider leaving the firearms introduction to someone who is less of a douchebag. If you find this offensive, then I am talking to you.

Four+Grandpa

I had a great time with my son and granddaughter, and I hope to have a new shooting buddy for the future. Blonde Four told my wife how much she enjoyed the outing.

Hard to beat a day like that.

comments

  1. avatar 505markf says:

    Amen, brother. Great work and great suggestions. Gotta be easier to justify an airsoft to my budget than that CZ 75 D PCR that I am hankering for. And I could shoot it in the backyard. Hmm…

    1. avatar Blah says:

      They make airsoft clones of the CZ 75 P-01, which is a PCR without a rail.

      I actually bought one prior to buying my P-01 because I couldn’t find a LGS with one to fondle. The dimensions are spot on.

  2. avatar mlopilato says:

    Man, I wish my local range was shirts optional.

    1. avatar Ron Burgundy says:

      I’m happy my range isn’t. The eye bleach really messes up the sight picture…

  3. avatar Skyler says:

    Cue the nannies complaining about shooting without a shirt on . . .

    1. avatar Carry.45 says:

      I was thinking about that. But not so much for safety. Just mutual courtesy.

      1. avatar Joke & Dagger says:

        I’m very uncomfortable with both of the people pictured. Too much man flesh and too much teeny- bopper cleavage.

        1. avatar Lars says:

          You think you would be use to that by now.

    2. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      The combat bays are more or less private, and my son is his own man. I of course, would never subject the world to my man-awesome. It would be downright irresponsible.

      1. avatar JW says:

        The scots have always run into battle sans clothing. Scared the Romans so much they tried to build a wall to keep us out. Timor Omnis Abesto!

  4. avatar Taurus609 says:

    Tim, my daughter is 34 and wants nothing to do with shooting. After reading this, I am hopeful that some day she will want to come along. She knows how safe I am with firearms and shooting in general, I’ve taken her husband shooting, but right now for her…no way!

    Great article again.

    1. avatar Bryan says:

      This worked for me, maybe you too? Now I had no history with guns. But some of my friends at work were getting into them and would talk them up all day long. So much so that I went to the range with them once. But my future wife whom I was dating at the time was raised vehemently opposed to guns for various reasons. So the issue was never brought up.

      When driving around on my birthday, she asked me what I wanted to do today? Figuring this was my only chance, I just drove to the range, and I didn’t tell her in advance. She has to do what I want, right? It is my birthday after all. What’s she going to do, sit in the car the whole time I’m inside. Bottom line was she loved it! We rented a 45 for me, and a 22 revolver for her, that she still claims to have out shot me with. I’ll never burst that fantasy for her as she loves to tell it whenever the subject gets brought up with other none gun friends. I’m now a gun owner and she has been very supportive ever since.

      Also I’ve noticed now that I’m well over 50, that some people really enjoy things they have been opposed to for years. They just have to have a reason to try it the first time. It doesn’t even have to be a good reason, but just give her one, use your birthday.

      Try this it may work for you too. BTW if it’s relevant, we were in our late 20’s at the time so…………..

      1. avatar Kat says:

        I grew up around guns but did not get into myself until late 40’s due to unpleasant expeiences with guys. “Pull the slide back and pull the trigger” Style of “teaching” Urg!

        My sister-in-law took me with her to an indoor range after she got her CHL with a Beretta .32 tip up barell pistol. Guided me though the safety rules, how to grip, stance, sight picture. I pretty much sucked as a marksmen BUT loved shooting.

        We have since become members of Ladies Shooting League, in recent years and check out new outdoor ranges.

        If possible, find a women’s shooting League to teach the women/girls in your life. Husbands/dads, are always welcome to observe.

        1. avatar Jan says:

          My wife did not want anything to do with guns for the first few years I’ve owned one. She even complained to her mom and friends that I had a gun in the house with our son around. Although she was surprised with their responses, she still stayed away from them. It wasn’t until the zombie craze hit that she started wanting to learn how to handle firearms. Using that cue, I’ve taken her a few times working on basic marksmanship skills until she becomes comfortable. Now she wants to work on malfunction drills. Finding out what her motivation is helped me make it fun and less stressful.

  5. avatar squarebob says:

    “”I point to a spot on my calf where a tiny divot has been removed by a self-inflicted airsoft strike from a few days back. “Just follow the four rules, and you will be just fine.””

    I guess you didn’t follow the 4 rules very well ………………………………

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      Actually shot myself intentionally. I wanted to be able to tell people I was training that it hurt’ but was not particularly threatening. Figured I let myself be shot with a paintball, I could stand an Airsoft.

  6. avatar BStacks says:

    Good stuff but I could have done without the cleavage shot of your minor granddaughter. Just sayin’.

    1. avatar Skyler says:

      Wow. Girls have cleavage? I never noticed before.

      Some people have to sexualize every innocent thing.

      1. avatar Skyler says:

        Kind of talibanesque, really.

        1. avatar Carry.45 says:

          Ya but honestly if you’re heading to the range the pups should be put away. We’ve all seen the hot brass dance. I was courteous enough to tell my busty wife ahead of time that low cut shirts are a no-no on range day (Tim that is nothing against you). But yeah the guys wording about being able to do without the cleavage shot was unnecessary.

        2. avatar B says:

          Not really, in the Taliban wanting to have sex with girls is deviant. Boys are A-OK though.

      2. avatar BStacks says:

        No offense intended. I have an 11 year old daughter. I Just saw a shot straight down the shirt of a minor.

        Gimme the Israeli super models any day!

        1. avatar Joke & Dagger says:

          Taliban-esq? Seriously Sky? You throw out the race card often also?

    2. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      I would have asked her to wear something else had I picked her up at home.

      1. avatar Ahem says:

        Maybe you could’ve just selected a different photo?

        1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

          Maybe you could write your own article and select the photo YOU prefer.

    3. avatar William Burke says:

      If cleavage offendeth thee, pluck out thine feathers!

      But OH! That word, “combat bay”; the gun-fearing members here must have wet their pants!

  7. avatar Cameron says:

    First picture, booger hook problem. Regardless wonderful write up.

  8. avatar Trogdor says:

    You obviously didn’t teach her rule #3 very well.

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      Did not see the rule 3 violation until after the photo.

      1. avatar Contract says:

        Which doesn’t mean you taught rule #3 very well, does it?

  9. avatar PPGMD says:

    “Perhaps consider leaving the firearms introduction to someone who is less of a douchebag. If you find this offensive, then I am talking to you.”

    So if I am on the range shooting you are going to assume that I am a douche bag because I am using AR-15 with a sling while wearing gloves (since you aren’t close enough to see if they have knuckle guards, which they aren’t), tactical pants, and Oakley’s?

    Never mind the fact that the range I shoot at completely lacks conventional firing lines so I need a sling to carry it while I paste targets, walk up range, and other activities. The gloves are because the rifle gets hot when you are shooting it (100 degree Texas sun plus lots of shooting). The Oakleys are because they are the clearest shooting glasses. And the tactical pants are simply comfortable and durable.

    While I am practicing I might ask you to wait a few minutes before taking time to talk due to being in the middle of something. That is because I am not plinking, I go to the range with a goal, and if I am in the middle of the drill you are throwing off my focus. But once I get a moment you will find that just because we don’t meet your definition of a “normal” shooter doesn’t mean that we aren’t laid back.

    But knowing that when I take new shooters to the range I make it a point to separate it from my normal practice, in fact I don’t plan to shoot at all, though I bring ammo as they typically want to see you shoot somewhat so they don’t feel like imposing on your time. But even then I basically just plink at a bullseye, or a steel target.

    Anyways my point for writing this comment is that you shouldn’t stereotype people based on what they wear. You would be surprised some of the people you meet if you approach them.

    1. avatar dracon1201 says:

      Agreed! I need those mechanical gloves because my AK handguards get HOT! And those baggy tactical pants? Nice and airy! I wear that XD cap because I burn on the bridge of my nose, and this prevents that, and my Underarmor warm weather gear is the lightest thing I have in 95 degree weather!

      I can agree that advice to dress casually would be more inviting, but don’t stereotype your audience because of what they are wearing. And really “douchebags”? Thanks for completely offending me, I was having fun until then.

      1. avatar Joke & Dagger says:

        Yeah, at least I wear a Dri Fit t shirt that I don’t sweat like a pig through. Gross.

        Douchebag? Really?

        1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

          Is it a turtleneck?

        2. avatar PPGMD says:

          Joke & Dagger,

          I love the Nike Dri-fit shirts, they can be found at reasonable prices at Ross, Nike Outlet, and other similar stores. They work almost as good as Under Armor.

          Also they offer more styles of loose fit shirts than Under Armor, and the Nike slogans are witty, without seeming like an egotistical douche bag.

        3. avatar Tim McNabb says:

          If you are taking note of the Iowa Hawkeye’s hat I sport in the photo, I picked that up on a leg of RAGBRAI a few years back. Someone dropped it.

    2. avatar Church says:

      There are multiple uses of the word “douchebag”. My best friend is my best friend but he’s a douchebag when it comes to parking. He’s a douchebag when he’s drunk. And he’s a douchbag for wearing leather gloves when he drove his Mitsubishi Eclipse (before he crashed it being a douchbag in a parking lot).

      Douchebag in the sense of what Mr. McNabb is referring to is taking something above and beyond “way too serious”. It’s like if a if someone wore all black and black glasses to see the movie The Matrix. They’re just taking it way too seriously.

      Unless that’s what you wear day in and day out, if you ever get into a DGU situation, I sure hope you don’t lose focus as easily as you would at a range when someone simply asks you a question.

      1. avatar Dracon1201 says:

        Okay, but he’s not taking a shot at people for being too serious, he’s taking a shot at people for their clothing and gear. Like me saying that everyone wearing wearing a white “wifebeater” is a wannabe gangbanger, or that everyone with a Vneck is in the closet with their sexuality. In addition, the end comment was completely unrelated and comes off as a personal remark rather than one relating to the article.

      2. avatar PPGMD says:

        “Unless that’s what you wear day in and day out, if you ever get into a DGU situation, I sure hope you don’t lose focus as easily as you would at a range when someone simply asks you a question.”

        Well if I ever get into a gun fight where I need to spend a couple of minutes remembering how I shot the drill (like did I do a proper press out, did I reset and prep the trigger while the action operated, did I see the front sight lift out of the notch, et al), and then before I got into a DGU I need to remember exactly the order I am going to shoot it in, because regardless of how many times you shoot the bad guys just stand there.

        Particularly for people like myself that are in the competitive shooting side of gun ownership there is more to shooting than simply putting some groups on target.

        But how I handle a personal practice session is very different from how I handle teaching someone else to shoot. In fact because they aren’t at my level, I am the one watching for the little mistakes which I then slowly and gently guiding them down the proper path.

      3. avatar Tim McNabb says:

        Church, thanks for understanding. 🙂

    3. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      PPMGD, there is a certain type of gun guy who creeps out the rest of the world. The kind who cannot take a joke. I doubt I would peg you as a douchebag until after we talked.

      1. avatar Dracon1201 says:

        Jokes are not well received on the Internet when they poke fun at and/or offend people. Leave those to face to face encounters where people can tell that it’s a joke.

      2. avatar PPGMD says:

        Ah the “it was a joke” defense. I can take a joke, hell I am known for my humorous nature. There are the mild jabs that are done among friends, but that wasn’t a joke. It was an attack due to the typical “I disagree with it, so I am going to attack it” that permeates this industry.

        The recreational shooters make fun of the tactical crowd, the tactical crowd makes fun of the gamers, the gamers look down on the recreational shooters, the hunters think we are all nuts, and everyone thinks the hunters are short sighted.

        Just because someone dresses up like they were raped by a 5.11 catalog, Real Tree catalog, or a copy of Front Sight doesn’t make them a douche bag. Sure they might be taking their shooting niche a little too far, but that doesn’t mean that they are going to be an overbearing douche bag. Hell I’ve met more overbearing douche bags in jeans and a t-shirt than I’ve ever met in the tactical shooting uniform.

        And in case you can’t tell by my light hearted jabs other than the “tactical” pants/shorts, and gloves (when I am shooting a rifle) I am rarely am seen wearing much “tactical” gear (I don’t consider a sling to be tactical). In fact most of my gear is cherry red, and I typically wear funny T-shirts to the range (which is to prevent going full gamer by always wearing my team shooting shirt to a normal range session).

      3. avatar Schnitzel says:

        Jeezus, you’re a heckuva nice guy.

  10. avatar Ralph says:

    Nice post, Tim!

    But please tell me that you’re not the one who taught Blonde Four to lean backwards when shooting.

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      I actually had her correct her stance, but not until after the photo.

      1. avatar Schnitzel says:

        Were you too busy walking on water to take and include photos of blonde #4 in the correct stance?

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          Why don’t you take a good Schnitzel?

  11. avatar SgtR says:

    I wear cargo pants because they’re practical for work, and my AR has a sling because long guns should have slings for the same reasons pistols should have holsters.

    If you think that makes me a douchebag, go fvck yourself. If you find this offensive, good. Maybe consider your word choice more carefully next time so as not to come across as an arrogant, elitist prick.

    Other than that, I did enjoy the article. Good job finally getting the kid to the range.

    1. avatar John in AK says:

      Yes, good article. Except for the gratuitous sweaty man-boob photos, and the REALLY gratuitous shot at people who show up to shoot wearing the proper gear and personal protection devices.

      Going shirtless at a public range is akin to wearing a baseball cap in a restaurant (or any place indoors where baseball is not being played, for that matter).

    2. avatar Church says:

      You guys are being WAY too sensitive about being called doucebags.

      1. avatar Dracon1201 says:

        No, they are offended at being insulted for the way they dress, the phrasing just made it inexcusable.

        1. avatar SgtR says:

          Honestly, I’m not even offended. I have been called far worse things, believe me.

          I simply expected better from an article approved for publication on TTAG. I don’t see much value in blatently insulting a core component of your readership over something as trivial as their choice of sunglasses.

    3. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      “If you think that makes me a douchebag, go fvck yourself. If you find this offensive, good. Maybe consider your word choice more carefully next time so as not to come across as an arrogant, elitist prick.”

      That sound you hear is my point being proven. Learn to take a joke.

      1. avatar SgtR says:

        Wait… you think I was serious, just because I called you an arrogant, elitist prick, and told you to go have intercourse with yourself?

        Nah bro, it’s cool, I was just joking. Jeez, lighten up.

      2. avatar Tim McNabb says:

        I withdraw the statement – sorry SgtR. Commencing lightening up exercises in 3, 2, 1.

  12. avatar Church says:

    The first picture is violating rule #3. Otherwise, great article. My wife is starting to to be a little more open minded about firearms, and my little 10 year old sister absolutely loves them and loves to go shooting with me.

  13. avatar John Davies says:

    I agree about the cleavage – not that I find it objectionable in any way. But if a single hot case goes down into that tender area, you will scare her off shooting or at least make her very mad. It is so simple to just tell any new gal to wear a shirt or sweatshirt that covers to the neck. Plus a ball cap to keep the sun and hot brass out of her eyes….

    Plus real safety glasses – not a set of $10 sunglasses from the mall!

    John Davies
    Spokane WA USA

  14. avatar MothaLova says:

    I think we should all critique the clothing and shooting technique of a young woman instead of celebrating her trip to the range with her father.
    (snark)

    1. avatar Shenandoah says:

      Some people can’t see the forest through the trees. Let’s give the ol’ guy a hand. I see a young woman having a blast on her first trip to the range with her father and grandfather. That’s what should stand out to people.

  15. avatar Shenandoah says:

    When I first read the headline I thought you had yourself a lineup of mistresses there Tim!

    Thanks for sharing and glad to see you get the opportunity to introduce your granddaughter to firearms. Pretty cool to see three generations at the range together like that.

  16. avatar barstoolguru says:

    nothing looks better then a big ol smile

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      Blonde Four does have an infections smile…

      1. avatar JuanCudz says:

        That’s what shooting guns does for you.

  17. avatar John says:

    You said you covered trigger control, but in the first pic she clearly has her finger on the trigger when she doesnt intend to shoot the target. And jesus christ Tim, why are you drenched in sweat in the last pic and she doesnt have a drop on her?

    1. avatar Joke & Dagger says:

      Because she doesn’t need to lose 75 pounds. Dri Fit please.

    2. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      That is awesome escaping my body.

      1. avatar Jerk says:

        Massingill makes an “awesome” formula?

  18. avatar Bruce B. says:

    Monday took my 34 yr old virgin shooter son to the range for the first time. His last comment to me about guns was a few years back when I got him a cartridge studded belt to wear while performing in his heavy metal rock band. “But, Dad I hate guns!” (We’re not real close.)

    Invited him hesitantly, Monday. “I’d love to!”

    Did about a 20 minute safety and basics lesson. The 4 rules, stance, grip, sight picture, etc. Skipped the airsoft segment. Went with a .22, through the 9mm, and ended our hour on the range with the .40 cal.

    10 outa 10 in the black, standard pistol target at 12 meters. About a 6 inch spread. With the .40.

    Used a lot of the same approach, though I stress accuracy harder right from the beginning. Feel like it’s easier than unlearning bad habits. Don’t misunderstand that. Praised him for hitting the paper when he started, but teaching proper fundamentals that lead to accuracy seems to me to be important.

    Multiple times I told him to just put the gun down and relax. Trying so hard to do well, plus maybe some stress or anxiety about the whole shooting thing would have him trembling. Kept telling him to relax. Remember the basics, but not strain.

    He was hitting consistently – but more importantly – walked out with a big grin, can’t wait to do it again, and is talking about getting “his” pistol and a concealed carry permit.

    Oh, and – get this – he posted his “keeper” target on facebook before the day was over. Where he has 1, 085 close, personal friends. He runs in liberal circles. Into the arts, video, photography, music. Think there could conceivably be a ripple effect? I’ve posted here before about the need to set new norms where firearms ownership and usage is no longer seen as aberrant. This is how we do it folks.

    So Tim and I done good, huh? Hope the rest of you are being gun missionaries too.

    Loved the post. Few things are as rewarding as knowing you have set a friend or loved one on the path of security, self-reliance, and freedom.

    1. avatar Narcoossee says:

      Well done, sir.

    2. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      Very nice – each one reach one, so to speak.

    3. avatar Ralph says:

      Good job, Bruce B.!

      But maybe you shouldn’t brag about your 34 y.o. son being a virgin.

      1. avatar Steve-O says:

        Ralph, go home, you’re drunk.

  19. avatar RKflorida says:

    After reading the comments I can see that never posting pictures would be a good policy. First range trip to convert an anti-gun person turns into criticism fest. Take out all the pictures that had a smarmy remark and presto! No pictures. I believe you are correct Tim, douche-bags.

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      No shit. Jesus, what a bunch of whiners.

    2. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      Meh – I love gun guys, even the whiners are really good guys. It’s all good.

  20. avatar Al says:

    I think the folks complaining about wardrobe don’t have kids.

    He led off by saying she’d been unwilling to learn to shoot, and suddenly this once she texted that she was willing to go.

    When the kid finally shows an interest, you go with what shows up. Whining about what she’s wearing gets you decent odds of ending the trip right there.

    Suggestions on wardrobe etc can be left for next time. I say good job on keeping it fun and easy and watching the young’n for mood as well as technique.

    1. avatar John in AK says:

      ‘Fun and easy’ is fine, so long as ‘safety’ is paramount. Having seen, as most instructors have, the result of a hot case down the blouse of an inexperienced shooter (mad muzzle waving, FOT, dropped weapons), I don’t think that suggestions on wardrobe can wait for ‘the next time.’ A 1st or 2nd-degree burn on tender skin, or a frightening ND (or worse) on your first trip to the range, is likely to turn anyone off.

      This is not just for women, either. I’ve seen adult males do bizarre and unsafe things when hot brass goes down a shirt collar.

      1. avatar Carry.45 says:

        I’ve had a shell casing get stuck in between my glasses and eyelid. Most unpleasant. But yeah when taking a woman to the range I feel it’s a good courtesy to let someone know that a low cut blouse could have some consequences. If a shell casing can find that 1/2 inch gap in my glasses then I’d imagine a low cut blouse would be like a black hole.

        With all that being said they were shooting at an outdoor range where the likely hood of ricocheting brass is quite low. So we gotta give him credit for that at least.

    2. avatar Joke & Dagger says:

      Um, we are talking about posting photos taken from an upper angle that provide an unnecessarily gratuitous cleavage shot.

      1. avatar Skyler says:

        Grow up. Or at least stop being a dirty old man.

        1. avatar Joke & Dagger says:

          Dirty old man?? Taliban? You are grasping. Badly.

      2. avatar Swarf says:

        That’s what you see when you look at that picture?

        I see a cute kid having fun.

  21. avatar Bruce B. says:

    ” Hope the rest of you are being gun missionaries too.”

    After reading the comments, maybe not. Too busy showing off their superior knowledge.

    I didn’t cover everything I could of, and maybe should’ve on my range trip. I had his attention for an hour and a half. He did well, had fun, and wants to repeat the experience. Maybe next time we can work on wardrobe.

    That’s just sad.

  22. avatar Merits says:

    I suddenly want an OD green Gadsden flag hat.

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      “I suddenly want an OD green Gadsden flag hat.”

      Who wouldn’t…

  23. avatar orion says:

    “I think sessions like this is how responsible gun culture can prevail.”

    Responsible?…I see a finger on the trigger in the first photo and poor form and bad grip in pics 4 & 5.

    Maybe you can all take a firearms safety class together.

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      “…I see a finger on the trigger in the first photo and poor form and bad grip in pics 4 & 5.”

      Thanks for the feedback, Captain Pedantic. I do hope some day to be the kind of instructor who can teach a new shooter to never make a mistake in the first session. Until then I will just have to strive…

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        It’s okay Tim. It figures that a guy with his thumb up his @ss would complain about a girl with her finger on a trigger.

  24. avatar KD says:

    Someone should have taught her not to have her finger on the trigger in the first picture.

  25. avatar Bruce says:

    Tim, I think you did a great job. I’ve been shooting for over 60 years and sometimes still find my finger on the trigger when is shouldn’t be. I know all the posters are perfect and never make that mistake, but some of us are not there yet.
    As for her shirt, kids put on what they want. Trying to change that can cause a lot of problems.
    Again, it sounds like your first trip was excellent.

  26. avatar jkp says:

    Good story….but if you were really interested in protecting your granddaughter’s privacy, you probably shouldn’t post photos of her in a public blog like this.

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      Trying to strike a balance between quarantine and inoculation.

  27. avatar Old Air Force says:

    I think that this was a great article and a great step in the right direction with your granddaughter. The safety training is good as we should all follow these, some don’t. I seem to fit your dress code at the end but chuckled at myself. Offended, not in the least. Amused, absolutely. Being former military I do wear more of the tactical pants than some others but they are comfortable and wear well. I am not going to my local unimproved range in high end boots and slacks. We sometimes get muddy and dirty depending on the recent rainfall. Also, my wife had to learn the hard way about lower necklines at the range when a spent 5.56 made it’s way inside. That was funny to watch but now she wears full necked shirts. I enjoyed the article and hope that more shooters take someone new and introduce them to a wonderful sport as you did.

  28. avatar Matt in FL says:

    Thanks for the article, Tim. I’m glad she had a good time, and I’m sure she learned some stuff. And she’ll learn some more stuff later. All in all, a good thing.

    It makes me somewhat sad that half the comments in this post are negative. Did I notice the finger in the first picture? Sure. Was it egregious? Nah, I didn’t think so. Did I notice the picture that had a great shot of her cleavage? Sure I did, I’m a guy. But you know what my first two thoughts were? One, “whoo boy he’s gonna get some shit for that” (I was right). And two, “I wonder if he used that as an opportunity to explain why a higher neckline might be good in the future?” I thought the shirtless photos were odd, but not wrong. Dude wants to ditch the shirt, not my place to tell him otherwise. Oh, and God forbid someone get photographed in a sweaty tshirt WITH A SMILE ON THEIR FACE. I bet you guys are real fun at parties.

  29. avatar Martin B says:

    This article is all about a delightful teenaged girl, who took time out from her busy social circle to keep her Grampa happy, and spend time with her Dad. She is seen discovering that concentrating on the sights can lead to good hits, then she works her way up the caliber scale. On a hot day, she has fun and shares a passion with her kinfolk. All the rest is detail. Great story.

  30. avatar SelousX says:

    I am a bit of ‘one of those’ as I wear 5.11 and TruSpec pants and am probably a bit too serious about the 2nd Amendment and The Four Rules.
    That said, I do try not to take myself too seriously. When teaching or refreshing someone’s shooting, I start close (3m), use praise, positive reinforcement and try to ensure the experience is, overall, positive.

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      Clearly it is not to you I refer. I have tactical pants and a Shoot Me First IDPA vest. I wear off-brand equivalent to Under Armor on cold days. Most of you know exactly what I meant.

  31. avatar Duncan Idaho says:

    Reading this post to about the first mentioning of Blonde Four, I was thinking “awesome he gave her a call sign already”….then my mind drifted off to hearing your voice through a cracking radio speaker for Blonde Four to give you cover fire.

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      As the squad leader my call sign would be Bald Six…

  32. avatar TheBear says:

    I was enjoying this article and studiously ignoring my inner snark at tween cleavage, shirtless range trip, etc right up until the author took a jab at tactical shooters.

    As a community, we really need to show more solidarity than this. In my neck of the woods, my firearms friends make fun of the “bubbas” (I live in the south) who show up the range with “shitty” weapons and gear or may whip a shirt off.

    I’ve been preaching tolerance and acceptance in the firearms community for quite some time now but it is really hard to do when I see articles like this that perpetuate the “us against them” mentality.

    Author, you really can’t just say “it was a joke” after a comment in print. It doesn’t work that way. Anything you don’t convey in your writing may as well not exist. You can chalk it up to a failure of the medium or a failure as a writer. The fact remains the same.

    Word choice is critical when reaching out to a broad audience. Please remember this next time.

  33. avatar Tim McNabb says:

    OK – after reflection, and a conference with Grandma, I think the shot of Blonde Four reloading needed to come down. Honestly, I only saw her reloading a mag and did not think about the rest. In my mind, she is still the little swaddled bundle – like a mewling burrito who arrived an amazingly short few years ago.

    Having thought about it, I have come to appreciate those who called it out.

    Thanks. I apologize for my defensiveness – I can be stiff necked. It’s not my most charming character flaw.

    1. avatar TheBear says:

      Takes a decent man to admit he is wrong. Kudos.

  34. avatar JR says:

    Tim,

    Excellent article. The writing and content was far beyond most blogging fare and is great example of why I visit THIS site daily.

    Glad you had a good time.

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      To all the commenters. Thanks. I really enjoy writing, and I am glad to have a place to post.

  35. avatar Mrs.W says:

    Guys! DE-escalate a bit. Deep breath.

    – two separate groups of people he was talking to.

    group 1) “If you are an intense gun person, perhaps ratchet back a few notches.” and then the suggestions that you may be this person if you have 2 or 3 on the list (both my hubby and our pastor would make this list). He doesn’t say this group should leave it to someone else – he says that this group should be aware to ratchet back a few notches (stay calm and encouraging was my take-away).

    group 2) “Perhaps consider leaving the firearms introduction to someone who is less of a douchebag. If you find this offensive, then I am talking to you.” – the point here seems to be that if you are getting all worked up about all the wrongs here so that you miss all the rights, then you may well be that douchebag (a term i personally hate, but agree with). If you got all micro-managing of the pictures and took offense to that statement – well, ya, that may be you. Or you might just be having a bad day. Or you also may hate that kinda guy also and are irritated to feel lumped in. Understandable. But then dialing it up a notch (or 5 or 6), by getting all bent and telling him to F*** off or under or around is kinda, sorta, just, you know … proving his point.

    The child looks fine. The offensive “cleavage” isn’t really **cleavage!!**. They aren’t pushed up there in any overt way. Her clothing is perfectly modest. In fact the young lady is layering with a fitted undershirt (a modest staple). She’s just young and high. Even if a casing did hit her there, it wouldn’t be able to go anywhere super painful due to that undershirt. It would most likely bounce off. And if not, easily brushed off. I’m sure her Grampa and Dad would both know her temperament – if she’s the type to freak over a quick little burn. I had hot brass down my shirt the first time i shot (did not know that was where we were going for my hubby’s bday). I was also wearing a skirt and 3inch glitter covered high heels (again, i thought it was a date!). My Husband knows me. He knows my weaknesses, my strengths and my tendencies. I did NOT “dance” or “wave the gun around”. I froze the gun (pointed at the target) and used my support hand to flap my shirt. The second time i shot, i purposefully chose the highest neckline i own in a fabric that breathes (outside range this time. summer in phx.) and a shirt that is fitted so it wouldn’t get in the way. During an exercise (double-tap-move-back 3x in a row). On the first 2 shots the casing struck my collar bone. And stayed there. I moved back with the rest of the class and took my next two shots. On the second move back I kept my gun with dominant hand on target and used my support hand to quickly brush off the hot brass. And was able to return my support hand in time to take the last 2 shots with the class. I didn’t stop (leaving myself in front of my classmates and in danger of getting shot) and i didn’t wave the gun around endangering my classmates. I don’t think i even missed the target on that particular exercise. My instructor saw and chuckled “hot brass?” right as i was brushing and stepping back. He is INCREDIBLY safety conscious. If he’d thought i was a danger he would’ve immediately halted the entire class. So maybe a point here would be to make sure you know your student’s tendencies?

    Lastly – the first pics of me at the range (aside from my horrid attire) were of me leaning back just like this young lady. My husband had told me to focus on keeping my finger off the trigger and the muzzle on target or at the floor. I was horrified when one of the range guys came over and told me i was standing wrong. I wanted to leave immediately. Hubby said “Don’t let it bother you. Something has to be first – i chose trigger and muzzle. You hit the target and you didn’t shoot anyone. So now, here’s how i stand and this is why. Here’s how some guys stand and this is why. Find what is comfortable for you – what gives you more control and balance.” We never did get a picture of me with a better stance that night. By then we were distracted with shooting bullets not pictures and i began experimenting with targeting (“Can i hit the shoulder on purpose?” things like that) and when it wasn’t my turn to shoot, i was comfortable enough to begin looking around and observing and asking questions and prompting my husband “Ok, what’s next?” Which, of course, was his goal all along 😉

  36. avatar Mrs.W says:

    I didn’t see this infamous “reload pic”, so i’ll grant that perhaps it was a bad angle. But all the others are fine.

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      Thank you Mrs. W. I appreciate the feedback.

      Gun folks, generally, are conservative by nature. I think the fact that Blonde Four is a minor combined with the angle pushed the image too close to the threshold of propriety – at least my own. Had she been a grown-up I think the folks who objected would have been OK.

      Once I got the stick out of my ass, I can actually appreciate the community support for propriety I regret my own myopia.

      Gun guys are amazingly pedantic – it is almost a race to see who can make the most creative objection to a fine point of firearms, safety or both. All part of the fun. You should hear me carp when a magazine is referred to as a clip.

  37. Tim, catching up with your articles on TTAG now that I’ve met you. I’m amused because when you first said your name when we met the question kept running through my mind, “Where have I heard that name before?”

    You are a great writer!

    Keep up the good work.

  38. avatar Caesar says:

    Just saw this article, know it was posted a while ago, but….
    Had almost the same result this summer. Son (in his 40s!) who really hasn’t shot much since summer camp many years ago won a nice o/u shotgun in a raffle at my brothers gun club. Used the opportunity to invite son, to go to my bro’s club to test the new gun, and bring eldest grandson(never shot, age 12) along. Brought my old crosman pellet gun and my brothers 22rifle/pistols to start grandson out on. Much like your story, both my son and grandson had a ball. Sure, my grandson stood somewhat leaned back, but we focused on the safety of where the gun was pointed, finger off the trigger, etc. and by end of day he was even standing “right”. One thing (more or less) at a time!
    Well, even though it was in the 90s, we had a ball. I now have two “new” shooting buddies, and great memories that reminded my brother and I of learning to shoot from our dad and our great-uncle.
    If you have the chance to introduce a new or returnig shooter, do it! It’s the only way our great American tradition will ever continue. And you will benefit too.
    Thanx for the Frst article and keep at it

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