First time shooter (courtesy
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In the video below, we see first time shooters shooting for the first time. Their reactions are priceless. In slo-mo no less. The interesting thing is how old these shooters are. How did they live in America for so long without ever shooting a gun? Which highlights gun rights advocates’ primary mission: take someone shooting! Meanwhile, do you remember your first time behind the trigger? What was that like?

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  1. I was 12. My Grandmother had two houses, a beach house and a town house. The beach house was, at that time, about 100 years old and not suitable for winter habitation. Each year my family would travel to the town house for Thanksgiving. The following day my father and I would go over to the beach house to check on things. This year was different. Instead of getting in the car and heading back to the town house, he opened up the trunk. There was a Marlin rifle box. It took a few seconds for it all to register with me, but boy was I surprised. We walked down to the seawall and he taught me gun safety. One round at a time at first and then 5 rounds in the magazine. We took turns plinking away at a Clorox bottle he had put some sand in and tossed out on the ice. With the cold heavy air we could see the rounds bounce off the ice and skip 3 or 4 times for maybe a mile or more. It was the most exhilarating experience of my young life at that time. But looking back, it wasn’t the shooting that was so memorable. It was the one on one time I got with him, which was rare. The part I remember most and reflect upon the most was cleaning the gun afterwards. More one on one time and that smell, oh yes, the smell of Hoppes No. 9. To this day I enjoy cleaning as much, if not more when I share it with my children, as the actual shooting. And where did all this fun happen?

    Southampton, NY

    Needless to say NY made damn sure I could never repeat this experience with my children.

    • “The part I remember most and reflect upon the most was cleaning the gun afterwards. More one on one time and that smell, oh yes, the smell of Hoppes No. 9.”

      Same here, the cleaning later with an adult beverage and a Honduran stick makes the day.

      (I wish my one-on-one time with my dad wasn’t so frequent, since that usually involved his belt… *ouch!*)

  2. Sure I can remember my first time firing something other than a BB gun.
    My Uncle and cousin and I were out in the woods when we came across an old refrigerator.
    Uncle Hap took aim at it with his 12 gauge and peppered it. He asked the cousin and I if we wanted to shoot it and she did not but I said sure. So he set it up, showed me how to shoot it and handed it to me. I aimed at the fridge and blew a hole through it. Uncle Hap was laughing at first, then he saw all the blood. 8 Year old boys and rung 12 gauge shotgun shells do not mix well. The kick carved a nice gouge just under my eye that ended up needing stitches. I seem to remember Dad was not real happy with Uncle Hap.

    • When I went to school the stitches and big bruise on my shoulder were something I bragged about. How I shot this big gun that was so powerful that I could not hold it.
      I do remember though the first few times after that when I went to shoot a shotgun an odd feeling similar to but not quite the same as the feeling I get when my blood sugar is diving. Like something deadly is coming up behind you.

  3. Anakari…
    Ooooh wait…. yeah a smith and wesson model 19-3 in .357 magnum. Was my dads, now belongs to me. I love it. Nickel plated with wood grips. Damn near perfect condition too.

  4. Yes, I remember. And it’s a miracle that I ever tried it again.

    I was 19 years old, newly married. My husband handed me a 30-06 rifle, gave me some rudimentary directions on how to fire it, and then stood behind me. I didn’t know anything about keeping the butt of the stock firmly against my shoulder… so when I pulled the trigger the gun slammed my shoulder – and then I fell down. I’m only five feet tall.

    Then he laughed. Should have looked into a divorce right then, but it took another 16 years for that to perk to full brew. Oh well.

    But I did eventually figure out the most basic stuff, and used a .410 single shotgun on varmints for all those years afterwards. He never did get me to touch the 30-06 again. 🙂 Got a lot more figured out after the divorce, and a few handgun classes after that.

  5. I don’t remember my first time, actually. It was most likely my dad’s .22 mag, but what I shot at or where we were I have no idea.
    I did take my daughter out to shoot her .22 for the first time about a month ago. That’s a memory I don’t plan on forgetting, and I hope she enjoyed it enough to remember it in the future.

  6. 8 year old kid, begging to shoot the Mossberg .22LR with front folding stock (think it was a model 152). Father and neighbor were shooting at Blue Diamond penny match box, finally giving me one shot to shut me up. It went through the diamond. Rifle was immediately taken away and I was sent away. I seem to recall some uncomplimentary comment after shooting. At my age of 31, father quit going shooting with me. He had been bragging that he’d stand at the end of an alley and let anyone shot at him with a snub-nose .38 Spec. I begged him to not say that. He persisted, until I called a shot at 40 feet and cut the twig off as called (Mod 10 S&W 2″ barrel square butt). Must confess, those are two of the very best shots I ever made (also VERY lucky – but wouldn’t tell him that). Now 72 years old and the larger barns had better quake, smaller barns are safe now. No longer have to buy fresh paper targets, they don’t get punctured. But I still enjoy and have fun – even if I can’t scare the larger barns.

    • found one of those 152’s on harmfist. pristine rotc gun for a lane tech grad. i’ve read the forearm folded down only to emulate a thompson’s forward grip. not to implicate myself, but handshake deal and “now i have to take all of dad’s old ammo to the police station.”
      no, he didn’t.

  7. Great video – I liked young Ahmed, who came to the country with anti-gun views, but did some research on gun culture, and wanted to try shooting. Kudos also to the lady in purple, who was thrilled and scared at the same time.

    My first shot? Mossberg bolt action .22 (probably with shorts), 5 years old and taught by my Dad, on our farm.

  8. Walther PPK at 13. It was so much fun I tried the UZI next, fell in love with shooting. Now with 35+ guns including a CA legal UZI I built myself. 🙂

  9. Hmmm…not really. Probably about 10 and shot my dad’s really cool 22 6 shooter. Also a single shot 22 wooden bolt action rifle. At the NRA range near Kankakee,IL. Later shot a 410 as a boyscout. No eye or ear protection of course. Sorry can’t remember the brands. I’m trying hard to forget the girl😆

  10. About 49 years ago. I was 5. Got a Daisy the year before.

    Springfield brand – bolt-action, tube-fed 22.

    In our barn lot about mid-morning…22 shorts.

    First shot drilled a coffee can at probably 30 feet.

    I was hooked…….Thanks Mom.

  11. Do not remember the first time I shot a gun, but it was likely dad’s pump action 22 that he bought when he was a kid. My oldest son has that rifle now.
    I do remember the first and last time I shot my grandfathers 10 gauge. I was about 12 and we were shooting tin cans in the field behind his house. I was using a single barrel 410. He offered to let me shoot the 10 gauge and I said “Sure”. After I got back up, from falling on my butt, he asked if I wanted to shoot the 8 gauge also. I declined that offer. That was about 65 years ago.

    My aunts ex-husband ended up with both of Pop’s shotguns I still have the 410

  12. I was 17 and a senior in high school. A number of students signed up for a one day outing to the skeet club in Chicago, out at the lake. We had a woman instructor with a semiauto 12 gauge. For someone who’d never handled a gun other than a pellet gun, much lest shot at moving targets, I was happy to have hit 11 of 25, including a double. It was a great day!

  13. 14 years old in Commiefornia, snubbie .38 and 686 .357 at a bullseye target 25m away. Brought the target back and a jokester asked me if I was using a shotgun. =)

  14. USMC… somewhere out in California with an M16A4… Later in SOI I got to play with SAWs and other fun stuff.

  15. My first time was when I was 17 or 18, and it was an M-16A1 (I was in Army ROTC).
    I arrived late and missed the safety briefing and instructions (thanks to my silly roommates playing a practical joke on me by disassembling my alarm clock during the night and hiding the pieces, so I had to bum a ride to Fort Dix).
    So without any safety briefing or instructions, they put me behind an M-16A1 for some trigger time!
    I don’t remember how well I shot that day, but the next summer I got some practice with bolt-action .22 rifles.
    That practice with 22’s must have helped, because the SECOND time I ever shot a centerfire rifle, I qualified as EXPERT with the M-16A1, hitting even the 300 meter targets using iron sights!

  16. Yep- I was 5 or 6. Dad took me n my little brother to our family farm n wanted to try out his new rifle- a Chinese MAK-90. He fires off a few magazines and then it’s mine and my brother’s turn. He sat down with each of us in turn in his lap, held the rifle for us and let us pull the trigger. I’ve been hooked ever since.

  17. I was 24, friend suggested I try it at a range. I went by myself and asked the employee for suggestions. He recommended glock 17. I asked for basic instructions and he suggested 3 yards first then work my way to 7.
    I thought the primers were really sensitive and would go off if you aren’t gentle with them or drop the cartridge. So I was nervously loading the mag. And every time someone shot around me, I flinched thinking surely the cartridge in my barehands just exploded.
    I set up my target at 3 yards, overestimated how easy that was so skipped it and went straight to 7 yards. Eventually I got to shooting, left leg front, right leg back. Shot 3 rounds and looked at the center black dot and truly believed I got all three shots in the black. Pulled the target to me to Confirm and saw I missed the poster completely.
    I also noticed I was leaning forward during the shooting so my back heel was off the ground and I looked down to see my leg shaking from fear.

    And I was hooked ever since.

  18. First trigger pull was on a 20ga on a clay while camping. I was maybe 7 or 8, I missed and that was the end of that, I’m not sure who I was with as my parents were anti gun. I don’t remember it very well. The first time I shot an understood what was going on I remember like it was yesterday. I was 15, my friend mentioned that he was going with his dad and invited me along. He had a 38, a glock 19, and beretta 86 and 21a. Those rip up barrels are so cool. I shot decent, but it got me hooked. Bought my first rifle, a 10/22 on my 18th birthday and a 357 smith on my 21st.

  19. I think I was about 12 or so. At my aunt’s ranch and my uncle brought out his Beretta 92FS. First few shots at probably five yards and I couldn’t even hit the 1’x1′ target. My uncle joked if I was even aiming, so I slowed down instead of being trigger happy (I liked guns since I was a little boy so I was looking forward to shooting a real gun for the first time, maybe too much), I thought about every shot, how I was holding, how I was pulling the trigger, and then took my time and hit each round on the target, close to center. Maybe a three inch group? I don’t recall.

    THEN my uncle stopped and said, “Are you sure you’ve never shot before??”

    Took me too long to end up getting my own Beretta 92FS but I’ve been an owner for one many years now.

  20. Watched the video, and now I want to go out shooting. (Well, I always want to go, but more than usual now.) Not going to get out this weekend, but I’ll see if I can get the family to go with me after Turkey Day.

    I don’t really specifically remember the first time I shot a gun. There were several occasions that could have been the first, but my memory is too hazy to say which one.

    I do remember my kids’ first times, though. Taking them out to the range and teaching them to shoot was a special milestone for me (and for them too, I hope).

  21. Gov Issue M1911, Ft. Riley KS., 1985, E-1, I had never fired a pistol in my life. The instructors assumed everyone had completed the classroom training. I was sick that day. I write Left hand, but pitched right hand. I didn’t know which hand to use nor did I know which eye was dominant. The result was humiliating so was the remedial training.

    • You shot a pistol before the M16? In basic?
      When I joined, in 1966, we didn’t touch a pistol in Basic, but familiarized in AIT.
      I guess things change.

  22. About 6. On the A range across the highway from (then) Miramar Naval Air Station.
    A Springfield bolt action .22.

  23. First time was a bolt-action, single-shot .22lr at Boy Scout summer camp; I was probably 12 or 13? I wanted to take one of the shooting merit badges the year I went, but the troop leaders wouldn’t let me for some reason I can’t remember. So during a free time period I went to the range and talked to a range officer. Fired five shots.

    Second time (first time with real trigger time) was a few years later. My parents were anti-gun at the time, but they got me NRA basic pistol training for my 16th birthday. After the classroom part we went out to the range. The instructor was a nice guy, and let my dad and I borrow a Ruger Mk.3 and a Bearcat as loaners since we didn’t have our own guns. We probably put 200 rounds each through them over two hours. The other lady in our class had a S&W 442; I missed a silhouette target at ~5 yards when I shot it. I missed that damn target 5 shots in a row. Put me off J-frames for years after.

  24. 1975, Boy Scout camp (Tahosa, Ward, CO) bolt action .22 rifles. I think we paid a quarter for 5 rounds and a nickel a target. I wrote home for money twice that week…

  25. First shot (and last for a several years; my parents were anti-gun) was a 12 gauge at a friend’s farm when I was a young 10..
    Put me on my ass.
    Second was on a hunting trip with my Uncle George; we told my parents it was a camping trip. Well, we did camp.
    I fired one shot, killed a deer. With an M-1 Garand.
    A few years later, I joined the Army. I shot a little more then.

  26. 13 years old, Colt Gold Cup 1911 with a distant uncle at his range. I vividly remember somehow hitting the X once at +/- 7 yards. From then on I was hooked.

  27. 12 gauge Mossberg 500 didn’t think magnum slugs were that big a deal, that thing sounded like a bomb 28 inches away from my face. Best moment in my life.

  28. It was Saturday morning when I was 10 years old. Dad got my younger brother and me up, and said we’re going shooting. He drove us to the Fort Huachuca Rod and Gun Club range, signed us up in Junior NRA, and put us in the safety class.

    After learning the safety rules, and basic marksmanship, we picked up a target, a box of 50 rounds of .22 LR, and a bolt action rifle. We went out to the firing line, put our rifles and ammo down at our firing point, and on command from the range safety officer, we moved out to the 25 yard target stand, and set up our targets.

    Back at the firing line, we got in prone position, laid into a good sight picture, locked and loaded one round, re-sighted, and squeezed off the round. The crack of the the .22 from my gun, and the guns around me, hurt my ears, but the sight of the bullet hole in the target was so rewarding the dullness to my hearing didn’t matter. I finished the 50 rounds and wanted more.

    As most everyone says, I was hooked. I continued to shoot as often as I could. Eventually, I joined the Army. I shot M-14, M-16A1, M-203, M-60, M-2, and the .38 Revolver (for which I never knew the military nomenclature). I even got some demo fire with 82mm mortar, 105mm, M-73 LAW. It’s all fun.

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