TTAG reader and Free Fire Zone forumista Sivartius writes:

Ok, so first a little background. I’m a 26 year old man living in Northern California. I’ve always been interested in guns, but my Mom grew up in a (she thought) no gun home, and my dad died when I was very young. All the extended family live a long way away, and almost all of them are very strong liberal democrats. When I was 16, I managed to talk my Mom into letting me buy a Winchester bolt action single shot .22. A year later, I convinced her to let me buy a single shot 12 gauge. However, without anyone else to teach me, or to go shooting with, my progress has been slow, Until a couple years ago, I thought of myself as a 2nd amendment supporter, but I bought the “common sense gun laws” line. Then I found TTAG. My political awareness and my desire for more guns has grown a lot, but with a low income, my collection hasn’t . . .

Now for the present day. I won’t tell you her exact age, but my mom turns 6X on Thurs. And I was totally astounded when, in response to “What would you like for your birthday?” she responded “A gun.” She has never owned a firearm in her life, and while she has fired my .22 a few times, and even said it was fun, it was never something she was looking for. She just went along. Until last month, she never knew that her father owned a gun when she was young, and thought he was strongly anti-gun.

Not only did she want a gun, she wanted a handgun, and to get a CCW, and even to learn to hunt. When a handgun turned out to be beyond our current price range, she said that she would like a rifle. After some shopping around, (and me coming to my senses and realizing a Mossin Nagant was NOT a good first gun for a lady with short arms and arthritis in her wrists,) she ended up getting a Savage 64 “Tactical” model, because the carbine was not quite too long for her.

So now she’s looking for me to train her. Her rifle is caught in the 10 day limbo the state requires, but she’s getting it on the 4th and we’re going to take it to the range. The thing is, I’m feeling a little inadequate. Can I get some advice? I was thinking that if she agreed I might take her out tomorrow or Thurs (her birthday) with my single shot, but I’ve never even been to and Eddie the Eagle NRA thing. I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a crack shot. I know 1 “Guns are always loaded.” 2 “Never point your gun at something you don’t want to shoot.” 3 “Finger off the trigger.” and 4 ” Be sure of your target, and be sure of what’s beyond it. But really, any advice you can give would be appreciated.

Click here to read Kirsten Weiss’ reply at the TTAG forum

 

23 Responses to Ask Kirsten Weiss: How Do I Train My Mom to Shoot a Rifle?

  1. Congradulations, you’re headed in the right direction. Teach your mother the 4 rules. And admit to her your shortcomings and suggest that you both learn together. A family project to learn the skill of the rifle.

    And don’t be discouraged because of financial shortcomings. I’ve seen the time when I was so poverty stricken that a Raven .25 auto was the priciest gun I could afford. Now I have an overflowing gun safe.

    Keep your eye on the prize and take care of your mother and good things will come.

  2. TO: Sivartius
    RE: Where to Buy Inexpensive Weapons

    Not sure about the laws in California, but I recommend you look into the possible sources:

    • Pawn Shops
    • Want Ads
    • Estate Sales

    I’ve been going to such sales for decades now and every now and then they offer firearms at very good prices.

    Not top of the line stuff. The family usually retains such. But good weapons can be had.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Gold is where you find it….but you have to look diligently.]

    • In California, with the exception of inter family transfers, all gun deals have to go through an FFL which raises the price on everything. In an inter family transfer of long guns there is no paperwork involved. With a handgun the state has to be notified of the transfer and there’s a 20 dollar fee to the state.

      This is what happens when states rights become larger than the constitution.

  3. If you can’t post the response here, then please don’t post any of it. I’m not going to bounce between a blog and a forum to get complete writeups. Thankfully you laid off of the TTAK cross posts, lets see the same here.

    • On the contrary, I have no problem clicking a link, in spite of being stuck on a satellite connection with god-awful latency. The more the merrier, and I’d much rather have these things compartmentalized to avoid clutter. I say bring back the odd knife link; knives don’t excite me, but it’s good to have the brain tickled once in a while by different things.

    • While I get what you’re saying, in this case it’s more of a forum post being cross posted to a blog instead of the other way around. The original question was asked there, as was the answer.

  4. Phoenix Arms makes a nice little .22 for around $150. It was/is my daughters first handgun. It shoots well (multiple/redundant safeties aside) and if it get broken, they have a lifetime warranty and great customer service.

    • Yes…this is the answer.

      Most women can get a full day of rifle instruction at Appleseeds for a price of somewhere between 0$ and 20$ depending on where you live in country.

      Most Appleseeds can hook you up with a loaner 22 rifle if you cant locate one from a friend.

  5. How Do I Train My Mom to Shoot a Rifle? Try consistent praise and an occasional food reward.

    Or better still, work with a good instructor.

  6. First and foremost stress safety. Savage will have a number of safety statements in the owners manual that comes with the rifle. Read them understand them and use them.

    Second, be sure to be patient, patient and more patient. Shooting is an acquired skill and it takes practice, and lots more practice. Don’t let you Mother become discouraged because it all doesn’t happen at once. Rather work in small increments say shooting at 10 yards at a large target then moving out in 5 or 10 yard steps while reducing the size of the target.

    Third, in the beginning stress only shooting skills, (a smooth trigger pull with proper breathing, proper sight picture, stable and proper shouldering of the weapon, etc…) for the present forget combat or defensive skills, those come later.

    Fourth, try and find somewhere to shoot that isn’t a public range but where you and your mother have privacy. This will greatly reduce her mental distress, uneasiness and fear of shooting around others. It will also save her the inevitable barrage of “knowledge” that other shooters will try to impress her with.

    Fifth, make it fun. Give her balloons to shoot at so she gets and immediate reward.

    There is more but this will give you a good start. Have fun!

  7. I mean this in all seriousness – the Boy Scout Rifle Shooting merit badge book. You’ll get a great introduction to basic marksmanship, and safety. I still remeber teaching shot position, shot preparation, sight picture control, trigger control, and follow through. Of course, you’ll have to go through the 4 safety rules and firearm familiarization first.

    • I might have to pick one up. All my rifle training comes from here, YouTube, and years of Call of Duty and Battlefield. Also, carbine classes are expensive.

      No, the last two don’t count.

  8. You might want to look at the Hi-point 9 mm ($185 new) or go to a pawn shop and look at some 38 special hand guns , and you may be able to trade some old unused stuff at the pawn like old gold or silver items, etc.(ask what he wants) tell the pawn you want to test the gun item and if any problems you want a easy return terms: they most times are not sure if what they have works ok or not…find one that will work with you. and call a local gun shop and ask about any free or low cost class and see if you can find a small local gun shop to help in the pistol , tell them you want low cost but a pistol that works well and ask about return terms if any problems and about lay a way payments.!

  9. I’m going to say right now, very publicly, that I love Kirsten Weiss. Yes, she’s cute, but that’s not why. I think she is a sensible lady and she is loaded with good advice from teaching me about a vignette to keeping a good perspective on what’s important for a first time shooter.

    Kirsten, thank you, for being such a positive role model for my daughter. She’s only six now, but I hope she gets to learn from your videos and other advice on how to be a classy lady.

    • Well, that blesses my heart. Thank you Skyler. Your daughter is lucky to have a dad who loves her and cares about introducing her to the world of shooting

  10. Hard to mess up with a .22 (if you can find ammo) and a red dot. 🙂

    In all seriousness, the red dot is more accurate than iron sights, and less dependent upon proper sight picture than other scopes. She’ll be knocking down cans in no time. Shooting at reactive targets (cans) is fun and helps provide positive reinforcement.

  11. Keep it fun for her! Don’t just shoot holes in papper if you can avoid it. Shoot some water bottles, some blocks of ice, watermelon or hell even tannerite if you don’t think it’ll scare her.

  12. Sivartius,

    If your savage 64 is brand new, you should follow a proper break in procedure. Something like:

    Shoot one round clean your rifle,
    Shoot two rounds, clean your rifle,
    shoot three rounds, clean your rifle,
    shoot four rounds, clean your rifle,
    shoot five rounds, clean your rifle,

    shoot as many as you want after this…

    Since this is an unfamiliar firearm – you should clean your rifle regardless and I would follow the above. This both ensures that your rifle is properly broke in (build up a layer of powder residue instead of copper residue to reduce further coppper fouling), and ensures there are NO barrel obstructions (i.e. oil, grease, etc).

    Kirstin’s tips are perfect for when you are ready to fire. Alternately, I don’t know about your shooting range, but where I’m from our ranges have very friendly, knowledgeable staff that would gladly assist you in any endeavors as long as you let them shoot your gun.

    Be safe, and have fun.

  13. THe night before you go out to the range, take out the rifle, clear it, and sit down with your mom and the rifle. Go over the rules of safety, show her how to clear it, how to operate the safety and action, and dry fire it a couple times. again, MAKE SURE ITS CLEAR! handling an unfamiliar weapon the night before a range is a great way to familirize someone and give them confidence for when they do chamber that first round. I took a friend out shooting for the first time ever, and she’d never fired a gun. Shewasa little intimidated at first, before we finally put some rounds. The next time I brought a friend, the night before we went over the safety rules and the weapon. I even put some snap caps in a mag and he cycled itfew times. Next day on the range, it was too easy.

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