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One of the reasons we started the Texas Firearms Festival — besides providing a fun, truly unique shooting experience — was to further the gun culture. From its first year back in 2014, we were surprised by all of the novices — people who had never even handled a gun before — who have come out to the Festival along with the usual crowd of experienced gun guys and gals. This year, that group of noobs included my wife.

She’s always been someone without any interest at all in firearms. Certainly not opposed to them…just someone who couldn’t have cared less about shooting. This year, once again, she she dutifully came out to the Festival to walk the grounds. And for some reason she stopped by the Battle Rifle Company spot at the rifle range. There they handed her a BR4 Odin…which she proceeded to use to ring steel at 250 yards. Using iron sights.

BING! Instant newfound interest in shooting.

And that’s why we found ourselves back out at Best of the West Shooting Sports on Sunday.


She couldn’t care less about handguns. For her, rifles are the thing, and she had tons o’ fun punching holes with a 10/22 from 30 out to about 50 yards.

As the People of the Gun know oh so well, the fastest way to change the hearts and minds of anti-gunners (or just someone who was disinterested, as above) is to put a gun in their hands. The most frequent response once they shoot it: an involuntary ear-to-ear grin.

Now she wants to shoot more. With bigger calibers. At longer distances. She’s talking about getting her own rife. Maybe joining A Girl and a Gun. Oh. No.

The moral of the story (not that you haven’t heard it before): if you want to further — and possibly save — America’s gun culture and rights, the best way is to take someone shooting. Who have you taught to shoot lately?


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  1. My mother, who is always a work in progress. She carries a Sig P938 but it takes an act of God to get her to practice with it. I strive to be that act.
    My girlfriend. Fortunately she is eager to learn it all and wants to compete in IDPA.

  2. Daniel, you are so screwed now. Not only does she have credit cards, she has the gun nut bug. You are so screwed.

  3. I’ve taught my wife how to operate all the guns, and she occasionally comes out to the range to get reacquainted. But actually teaching her to “shoot”, not really. She too is indifferent to guns and I don’t want to totally turn her off by getting too technical, which is what would happen. Hopefully she’ll get bit by the bug one day though.

    Her little sister on the other hand loves to shoot and every time she comes down for a visit we head out to the farm for a session. I first took her out with me about 2 years ago and showed her the basics and then some and ever since it’s become our ritual.

    • Your lady sounds like my lady, Dan. Not much interest in handguns, but hand her a silenced .22 rifle and a bunch of instant feedback-inducing steel targets at various distances and she will have fun for hours. Good stuff.

      • Boy, I remember that from when I was a kid. Don’t need anybody along, just let me drive to the dump or walk to the woods with my Winchester model 77 w 4x Weaver and 10 extra mags plus a box or 2, and I could entertain myself for hours, mostly with a grin. Shooting dirt clods! For whatever reason, I can’t do that anymore.

        • yeah, I have the same problem. got guns, mags and woods full of dirt clods and twigs. Gotta find the ammo. sigh….

  4. This weekend I finally got my one liberal friend to the range. His gun toting conservative brothers were in town from Georgia and Tennessee and we ganged up on him. Since they mistakenly thought they couldn’t carry in Iowa it was up to me to supply the arsenal so I packed up my handguns and off to the range we went. I started him off with the 9 since that’s the lightest recoiling handgun I own. After going over the manual of arms I took a few shots and let him loose with about 10 rounds left. When he set the gun back down on the bench his brother from Georgia came up, gave him a hug and said, ‘Welcome to the Republican Party!’ Went on to shoot the .357 and .44 magnums and headed to the bar where we made sure all his other gun toting conservative friends saw the video evidence.

  5. 3 college girls who lived in the apartment above me and two of their boyfriends. Winning hearts and minds one at a time.

  6. My bestie, who I’ve known for over 40 years. As a New Yorker, he never fired a handgun (although he had shot trap) until the first time he went shooting with me. Now he travels to MA every month to shoot with me, and he’s starting to get it.

    He’s also discovered that there is a semi-underground crew of New Yorkers who shoot. None of them have carry licenses, but they all have premises/target licenses. The license process is expensive and tedious, but unless the applicant is disqualified for some reason, a premises/target permit is supposed to be “shall issue” and is usually granted.

  7. As an armed undercover security officer, I frequently work with people who question me on firearms. I take full advantage of their curiosity to pull them to the pro-2A side. Those who have taken the time to ask instead of taking an uninformed stand against firearms (ironically, considering they are benefiting from my services) have been open to exploring the world of guns. In the current year alone four have gone to a range for the first time, and of those, two have purchased a firearm and continue training. The other two could not overcome their personal uncomfortability with guns, but have come to understand and respect the Second amendment. One of them I consider a personal triumph, as she is an immigrant from France, who when first arrived, thought of me and other pro-2A people as crazy. In September, I was transferred to a new location, where the discussions of guns began with new people. One young man visited the range a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday, he told me he took a concealed weapons license class over the weekend, and is putting his papers in. To add to that, he informed me he purchased an M&P 9, however he must wait the five days. I of course advised him to get professional training and practice, practice once he gets a hold of his purchase. These people mentioned above are in addition to my daughter and nephew who shoot with me from time to time. Knowing that there are other noobs to meet, I’m doing my part, the year hasn’t ended yet.

  8. I find my time on the range, which is weekly, to be split between my lane (son, daughter, wife) and some newbie nearby. It breaks my heart to see some guy try to teach a gal how to shoot when the guy doesn’t know himself. I have been asked many times if I am an instructor and would I give them lessons. No, I’m not a firearms instructor. But I was a US Navy trained instructor for navigation systems. You either have the instructor genes or you don’t, and I definitely do. I enjoy teaching, but don’t seem able to find any classes nearby to get certified. My range doesn’t offer any beginner classes at all. They only have the CHP class. With all the new shooters I see, it makes me wonder why the owner doesn’t offer classes for beginners.

    • Unless your talking about instructing licensed carriers or people who will carry as part of their job (police, body guards, etc.), chances are you don’t actually need any formal certification in order to teach firearms proficiency.

      Now, there are certifications you can earn whicg will improve your own proficiency and training skills, as well as help establis credibility with clients. The NRA offers such courses. You can find instructors in your area to teach you at

      Classes may consist of just you or a handful of others in somebody’s office or dining room, with a visit to the range for proficiency trials. It’s affordable, fun, and you get a thorough training in how to train, backed up by a professional curriculum to use. Check it out.

      You also get a cool certificate and discounts on guns and accessories….

    • Couple of early-20-something ‘entertainers’. Great fun was had by all. Especially after the gun part was over.

  9. I am ashamed to say that I have not taken any noobies shooting in a very long time.

    Something like half of the population are diehard Progressives in my small-ish community … which is a problem since I have a business relationship with many of them. That being the case, I am afraid that openly inviting my extended neighbors to go shooting would cause a significant loss of business.

    As it stands, I have already sacrificed a LOT of income advancing other noble causes … and further degrading my family’s somewhat meager financial situation seems unwise at this point in time.

    • Yeah, that makes it hard when one of your business associates turns out to be unreasonably anti-gun…then finds out you are evil baby killing terrorist poised on brink of a mass killing (well, that is what is going through their heads…).

      Kinda’ kills the business relationship.

    • I’m pretty open about my gun toting habits among friends and associates, but very mum about it with business contacts. Working in the residential construction industry there’s not a whole lot of contact with brain dead liberals, but I’m not about to take any chances with my meal ticket.

    • My professor just dedicated a minute or two today to discussing the difference between “disinterested” and “uninterested.” Funny coincidence.

  10. Wifey, kiddo, 2 of kiddo’s friends, multiple work acquaintences, anti-gun sister, pro-gun sisters, and other friends and relatives. This is my political passion. Teach people gun safety and then teach them to shoot. A couple of them have gotten their CCW permit with my encouragement, and several others have purchased guns based on my suggestions. I have yet to have anyone be disappointed. Even the anti-gun people that agree to learn about guns come away with a positive experience.

    Best trick of all to get people excited. Put out clay pigeons at an appropriate distance for the firearm being used. The instant feedback of shattering a clay is remarkable. Even better, when they thought they missed with a .22 and you show them they left a small hole dead center so that it didn’t shatter.

  11. the wife. she surprised me the other day by taking me shooting on our “date”. Let her try out a LC380, the 10 mile trigger affected her shots greatly. Then i let her shoot my steyr s9-a1 and boom, 5″ spread. next time we go back she is going to try out the sig 238, we think it will work much better for her. i was an expensive date, mostly due to having to buy store rounds to shoot through their guns we rented, but it was a good time.

    • Shoot a 238 and 938. 9mm is cheaper and similarities in recoil and handling are amazing, if possible chose the Houge grip over wood, it helps a ton.

  12. Ex-Father in law. Took out handgun shooting a week ago. He’s looking to purchase a handgun for himself finally. He’s been “wanting” to for a couple of years now. Everytime he asked, I’ve said, let’s go shooting. He finally took me up on it. (He’s Democrat — that’s worried Hillary’s going to come for the guns).

  13. The 10-22 is my favorite for just having a relaxed time and it makes a great piece to use to introduce new shooters, even young ones.

  14. Three New York City Actresses. The RSO asked me if I was “Charlie” putting together a new team.

  15. Girlfriend’s co-worker. Still a work in progress, but she’s shaping up nicely. I’ve taught four women the joys of shooting in the past ten or so years, one of them a seriously hardcore anti-gun activist who now owns three guns and shoots regularly.

    Had one additional one that I never got into shooting, but I demystified it enough to help her get over a phobia of guns, so a partial victory, I think.

    There’s a few levels to it, but the biggest is just being (and more than being, seeming) a responsible gun owner and being frank about it with people.

  16. Not sure it counts, but took my 42 yr old son skeet shooting for the first time, he’s been saying we need a shotty forever, I finally bought a Mossy pump, 18″ “tactical” barrel, definitely not a gun for clays. So, for the first outing, we went skeet shooting. OMG, but it was fun. After I told my sister and hubby about it, now *they* are wanting to try, although she, at least, shot some skeet and was pretty good several decades back, her Dad (my stepdad) was the AF trap champion 3 years running back in the day.

    I can vouch for the power of busting clay, even stronger than ringing steel.

  17. As Dan’s better half, thought I’d chime in…yes it was my first time and yes it was at 250 yds. 7 of 8 rounds hit. Told the hubby and got a “great” with a qualifier that it’s not that difficult with a scope. This noobie asked, Scope? What’s a scope? I just looked thru those little iron things….I think I’ll go for longer distance and maybe give one of those scope things a try. I’M HOOKED. God bless the 2nd Amendment.

  18. Me and the Bro in law just took his soon to be son in law to Spring Valley Range in Waynesville, Ohio Saturday. Got there at 1145 am left at 330 pm cost is 5 per day or 24 dollars for the year. No time limit on the range can go any day they are open.

    They have 15 yd 25 yd 50 yd and 100 yard ranges. Public range, and of course call a cease fire to set your targets up, as with the POTG they all are nice and accommodating.

    I bought a rolling suitcase with ammo, a range scope and 7 pistols, a 12 gauge pump and an AR, bro in law bought his Mosin, AK and 2 pistols. One his new GP100. Taught the kid (29) safety first, he did fine. Liked the Mosin and the AR. And liked the 357 outta the GP100. even though we had 300 rounds of 38’s.

  19. My wife usually takes a girlfriend (a newbie) to the range to give them their first experience about once every three or four months. A few weekends back, we brought a friend (who had shot before but it was years in the past) and a niece.

  20. My latest? My 19yo Daughter with my Baretta 92. At first scared to death. But after showing her the proper stance, grip, trigger pull, etc she had a great time and i promised to buy her first handgun when she turns 21. She cant wait. But we live in Cali so hopefully we can still buy a handgun in 2 yrs.

  21. Teach a variety of people; young, old, male, female, no experience, some experience–I provide the guns & ammo both and never ask for a cent back–I’ve done OK in life & this is one of several way I give back

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