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Here we have a Scotsman documenting his first time pulling a trigger. Well, a few of them. Anyway, to hear the powers that be from his homeland tell it, no true Scotsman would contemplate firing a gun, let alone admit how much he actually enjoyed it.

His reaction after his outing in the wilds of Maryland (of all places) — skip forward to the 9:50 mark — probably won’t surprise you. Alasdair’s (or whatever his name is) conclusion after his exotic, American experience pretty much comports with that of 95% of all the new shooters ever taken to the range by a gun guy or gal they know. He had a hell of a lot of fun.

But that’s not all. Despite everything he’s likely heard and been taught through his life, Alasdair concludes that people try come out and shoot for the first time, “because they want to grow up, basically. They want to be adults.”

I can see absolutely how…a guy can get really into this. As a hobby and…not just as a hobby, though, as something that would relate to the whole of his life and identity. Like, ‘I’m a guy who can fire a gun reliably and proficiently and productively.’ So, yeah, wow. What a rush. But also, yeah, it feels healthy. It feels right.

If that isn’t an abject display of toxic masculinity, we don’t know what is. Which is why the best cure for an acute case of hoplophobia is a single trip to the range…exactly what the civilian disarmament industrial complex fears most. What’s the best reaction you’ve seen by a new shooter?


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  1. Pride in my Scottish forebears makes me remind one and all that the German soldiers called the kilt-wearing Scottish soldiers in WWI “The Ladies from Hell”.

    • Knowing the Germans, I’m guessing that Fritz called them “Ladies” because they wore pleated skirts and “Hell” because they came from Scotland accompanied by the shrill screaming of the bagpipes.

      • A soldier from London, who served with the London Scottish and from 1916 with the Gordon Highlanders, had his own theory regarding why so many Scottish recruits died:
        […] the Scots, and I say this without a blush because I was a Londoner pure and simple, the Scots had a reputation that was not enviable, I assure you. Because if there was ever any trouble going anywhere,“Call in the Scots, they’ll sort it out”. And that is why, if you look at the record of the Scottish regiments, you will find that their casualties record is higher than anyone else’s. Because once they get the bit between their teeth, you can’t stop them.
        1974, audio recording, IWM catalogue number 374, available at accessed 22 January 2015.

        From Bagpipes at the Front: Pipers and Piping during Combat in the Great War. Its an interesting read –

  2. My wife shot a pistol for the first time and put 5 rounds center mass of a silhouette target. She turned her head and said “I could kill someone”. I said “yes, any of those shots could be fatal”. She said “not that”. “I mean if anyone was trying to hurt me or my babies, I could shoot them”.

  3. Just in case his Scottish burr was too thick to understand (he must be a Glaswegian), the range where he was shooting was at the Myrtle Grove Wildlife Management Area in Charles County in Southern Maryland. There’s an 8-stand range there and you may shoot handguns, rifles, and shotguns there. There is also an archery range for you bow hunters to hone your skills. You have to get a permit first which costs $5 for a day or $20 for the season. The link to their website is

    • His accent sounded a bit thin for a Glaswegian. Glaswegians, in my experience, rarely allow a vowel to escape their lips without torturing it to death first.

  4. Ill never forget the time my (now former) girlfriend and I met 2 english guys on vacation and invited them to hang out at our place. They were sitting on the couch and the subject of guns came up, when I casually pointed to the sks that was sitting on the bookshelf right next to them, which had been there the whole time. One of the guys was military so it didn’t phase him, but the other one looked at it for a few seconds and the moment he realized what it was he literally jumped into the other guy’s lap like scooby doo. Good times.

  5. Have taken 5 people shooting for their first time. Every single one of them had a great time.
    Reactions varied from that’s a lot of fun to its very relaxing.
    All have become gun owners since then.

  6. Took my cousin (who comes from an anti-gun family) and a few of his friends shooting for their first time. I asked what he thought after his first couple shots of my AR. His response was “That’s F@&$ING AWESOME!!!”

  7. Teaching my baby boy to shoot.
    I showed him how to hold, aim and fire my 10/22. Set up a few shotgun clays out in a plowed field and let him have at them with the ten round mag. My heart soared when he ran it dry and immediately called for a fresh mag.

      • I don’t subscribe to the dominant eye mantra.
        That’s just another thing instructors gotta instruct. More content to fill class time.
        Unless there is vision impairment in one eye, either eye can clearly see the sight picture.
        I’m left eye dominant but I sight with my right eye. I works fine.

        • As an academy FA instructor since 1989 (and a lefty) I can say without reservation that your observations there are BS, especially when it comes to long guns.

          • As a human being with two functioning eyes, anyone can shoot accurately using either eye. I don’t care that you claim to be an instructor. To me, this disqualifies you on the topic of eye dominance. Eye dominance is a brain function, not an eyesight function. 20/20 vision is a thing.

        • The guy in the video appears to be right eye-dominant, btw. You may not subscribe to it, but it IS a thing, I assure you. I am right handed, and I shoot right handed, but when i shoot a pistol I sight with my left eye, even keeping both eyes open. With a rifle its a non-issue for me, but with a pistol, if I don’t immediately go to my left eye, it takes forever for me to acquire a good sight picture.

          • I believe in eye dominance, I just don’t subscribe to the idea that you will shoot better with your dominant eye. I’m left eye dominant but when I bring the pistol up, it is naturally picked up by my right eye while my “sighting eye” is on the target. I see the target first (as every shooter should) and when the gun comes up, you see one target and two front sights. I use the closest sight to the target which happens to be the one in front of my right eye since I drew the gun right handed.
            Here’s the thing. either eye works. But you’re better off operating firearms right handed. Just because most of them are designed that way.

        • “I don’t subscribe to the dominant eye mantra.”

          O rlly? Tell me more about your degree in visual neuroscience

          • It doesn’t take a knowledge of neuroscience to successfully operate a firearm.
            What I have are two eyes that work and the freedom to choose which one to line up my sights.

        • “I’m left eye dominant but when I bring the pistol up, it is naturally picked up by my right eye while my “sighting eye” is on the target”

          If both eyes are open and you’re naturally seeing the sights through your right eye, then you are NOT left eye dominant.

        • I agree with Michael in GA.
          “Eye dominance is a brain function, not an eyesight function.”

          Eye dominance IS only a brain function just like being left-handed or right-handed.
          And your brain can learn to adapt to anything.

          It is easier to first learn to to shoot with whatever you hand and eye dominance you have,
          but you should not become fixed in that that scheme and I know a little of this from experience.

          Many years ago, I heard a some firearms instructors made their students learn to shoot in both
          dominant hand-eye and then make them switch.

          It is very awkward at first but you can to learn to adapt.

          The first time i put a gun in my left hand it felt just as awkward as if I held it with my foot.

          Why? This was a lesson learned the hard way by some law enforcement and military.
          If you have eye or hand injured, it is a very scary thing to have to learn in the middle of a firefight.

          For myself, I learned this lesson when I had a stroke a few years ago.
          My stroke only affected my vision.
          At first I could not even get a sight picture with iron sights so at first I adapted and used a laser pointer,
          but eventually I got my vision back and went back to iron sights.

          Going to the gun range and shooting a few targets became a new form of vision therapy.
          Nothing wrong with my eyes.
          Acquiring a target was all in the Visual Processing Area of my brain.

          Right eye.
          Left eye.
          Right hand
          Left hand.
          Dominant and Non-dominant.
          Two handed.
          In-close target and far away as you can.

          Two points of advice I would like to offer:
          1. In the middle of a firefight you don’t get to choose the range to engage your target.
          2. If you are shooting around corners, you have to shoot one-handed to provide the least amount of exposure
          and you have to be able to switch witch eye you shoot with.

          People who have lost a dominant eye can learn to switch.
          Have to learn to switch.

          Believe me it’s a lot easier to learn to adapt when you don’t have to.

          Those who recover best from injuries and strokes learn to adapt.

  8. Wow that’s a great quote from him. I love first time shooting stories. My sister just got her first handgun after some encouragement from me. Hell I’m as happy and as proud as I think our father should be haha.

  9. It’s not a reaction I’ve seen or was after shooting, it was my own reaction after my uncle showed me one of his competition rifles with a 1 oz trigger pull.


    This is a crude dramitazation of my face after I pulled the trigger: (((( ;°Д°))))

    If you just wanted to feel how smooth the surface of the trigger was, it would break.

    • When I’m dealing with a customer who wants a trigger set to what I believe is a dangerously light trigger (in their quest to obtain a “good trigger”), I have them dry-fire (on a snap cap) my Annie, which is set to about 6+ oz.

      Everyone, and I mean, everyone, who has handled that rifle has no clue how light a less-than-1-lb trigger is. Since I don’t cater to benchrest shooters, I don’t have customers who actually know what a light trigger is.

      When I hand that rifle to someone on a range for a live-fire demo of what a light trigger actually feels like, I get them into a standing, off-hand shooting position, then I warn them to be scrupulous about keeping the rifle pointed downrange at their target, and their finger off the trigger once the bolt is closed until they’re on the target. I’ve occasionally heard snarky comments like “I know the rules” and “I’ve been shooting guns for 30 years, do you want my business or not?!”

      They almost always send the round into the dirt about 10+ feet in front of the muzzle because they touched the trigger while mounting the rifle. Sometimes, they don’t even realize they’ve done this. I had to point out to one such customer “you can’t get the rifle to fire, because you already fired the rifle. The round hit the dirt about 25 feet in front of you.” That was the second customer I quoted above. I didn’t get his business, but I showed him that what he was asking for was, in fact, dangerous in his hands.

      The benchrest folks tend to like triggers in the 1 to 2oz range, even lighter than my Annie. The folks shooting “free recoil” want to barely have to touch the rifle at all, so as to minimize the effects of their pulse on their aim. That’s much lighter than I’d want on my Annie, or any gun that I’m not going to be shooting off a rest and/or bags on the bench.

      • I got to fire a champion-level muzzleloader with that kind of trigger, not only bechrest but weighed around 50 lbs, no chance it would EVER be fired offhand. Like that, it made sense.

    • My S&W PC 627 has ridiculously smooth and light single-action pull. I took a friend, new to firearms, to the range once and when we got to trying the S&W, I instructed him after pulling back the hammer to place his finger on the trigger, but not to pull, but rather just think about pulling it. After the shot lit off, he put it down and said, “nope”.

  10. Best reaction? A buddy of mine, big bearded guy, shooting with a suppressor and giggling like a little girl.

  11. Took a brand-new lady shooter out and had her work up from a .22 to a full-power .357. When we were done she said “Would it be wrong to say I loved it”?

  12. About 20 years ago, I took a couple of women from England out shooting. They had a great time – I’ve rarely been able to make a woman so happy as I made them that day. Big smiles all the way ’round. They bought me dinner and beers.

    They both took their targets back to the UK with them and hung them in their cubicles. I received email from them for the next six months, telling me of the panic and fear of their co-workers (especially the men) upon seeing the targets hung on their walls.

  13. Beyond teaching my son and daughter to shoot, MY best, “first timer” was an “exchange-program” East London teenager that had been a Summer camp “Counselor in Training” at a Western Pennsylvania YMCA camp with my son. We invited him to our West Virginia home for a weekend and took him to our local skeet/trap/range club and shot some trap. When he powdered his first clay pigeon on about his 8th shot, he got one of the biggest grins I’ve ever seen, and related, “This is BLOODY FUN !!” When my son visited him some years later in London, he apologized for not being able to take him shooting, as he had had such a GOOD time stateside- one of his “fondest” memories of the U.S.

  14. My best friend’s bachelor party. There were 7 of us. I brought my super Blackhawk for a little fun. Only myself and afore-mentioned former bachelor had fired the .44 magnum. When the others shot it they developed a huge smile and giggled like school girls. Best reaction ever seeing grown men giggle like that.

  15. Best reaction is the English father and son I meet doing an quote to repair the house the family rented when the first came to Australia. I was there Friday, at range with them Saturday and they joined hunting club on Monday. All three sons now shoot.

    They now own more firearms than me. About 15 in three years. I am under instructions to never tell his wife the cost of his new long range set up.

    Later took him hunting for first time.

  16. I had a neighbor join me for a day at the range. Incidentally, his first time shooting was also on an AR15 I assembled. His reaction was twofold: “that was AWESOME!” and “You built that? I want one!”

    I bought him a stripped lower as a gift, and he’s been pecking away at it little by little ever since. Every time we run into each other it’s, “when are we gonna go shooting again?” “When you finish building your AR!”

  17. I had a NYC liberal friend of mine, a work associate who became i friend, i should say, come visit me out here in the sticks on his way to somewhere else. I took him on a 4-wheeler trip around the place, then back at my shop he spies my DPMS .308 and, in shock and awe, eyes agape, he says, “is that an assault rifle?!” I allowed as to yes, some folks call it that. His next words were, “can I shoot it?”
    So i take him out to my shooting area, teach him some basics, and let him bang away on some steel targets for a few mags worth, he (as so many do) took to it naturally. Then he shoots my Sig .45, my S&W .357, my S&W .380, and even my .44 Ruger Alaskan (that last one kinda finished it for him.) He loved every minute of it. Never had fired a gun before and, living in the City, it may be a while before he ever does again. I don’t think he had any big “come to Jesus” moment (especially given he’s Jewish), but i do think his eyes were fully opened, and he came to understand that all gun owners aren’t evil and all guns aren’t used to kill schoolchildren. It was really a worthwhile endeavor. I’m hopeful that the more reasonable people on both sides of the issues that divide us will at least make some attempts to understand each other in the coming years. And I do find that the people on my side are usually the most open to this.

  18. Also, worth saying that the guy in the video was refreshingly honest, forthright, humble, and non-judgmental, quite enjoyed him.

      • Those men needn’t have been treated like that. A little instruction in how to handle recoil and most of them would not only have not dropped the rifle, they would have suffered much less pain/discomfort from the recoil.

        First tip when firing such a rifle: Don’t fire it on the bench/table.

  19. To answer the question posited by the headline, the best reaction to shooting a gun that I’ve seen was watching the bad guy drop like a stone.

  20. Handing my best friend my Dan Wesson 15 with snap caps in it, he was pulling through double action so I told him to try it single. One time and he had to sit down I think he was in shock for a few.

  21. At the time I thought it was terrible but when I realized how crazy my ex really was I started to think that her reaction of firing one shot and then crying like a baby and needing a hug might be the best reaction ever.

  22. Am I the only one that noticed the poor grip on the guns in this video? Also trigger/muzzle discipline (1:05)? Was there an experienced shooter helping him out for the first time or did this guy just buy/rent these firearms for this video. Sorry to be a d!€k here but not the way I introduce people to firearms.

    • Oh, and no eye protection either.

      Tell me again the point of this video? “Exuberance of a first time shooter” or “How many firearm safety mistakes can we teach a first time shooter?”

  23. “But also, yeah, it feels healthy. It feels right.”

    It is. It’s not that having a gun makes one a man, in that manhood is intrinsic to the gun, it’s that conquering your fear of the gun, taming the flinch, losing the superstitions surrounding the hunk of steel and plastic, is necessary to be an adult (among other things).

  24. My favorite was probably that of one of my ex’s whom had been bugging me to go shoot after each had broken up and gotten things settled between us. She turned around with this huge grin and goes “you’re extremely lucky I didn’t know how to do this couple years ago…”

  25. Took my fiancé shooting for her first time. Started out with a heavy .22LR, then a Browning BDA in .380, No problem some moved to .38 Spl…OK. So, full bore .357 mag. Punched out the center of the target. “I love this gun!” Thought I was going to have to fight her to get my Model 66 back!

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