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It’s an unfortunate fact that there are some people who hate guns. That hatred usually comes from one of two places: prior negative experiences with firearms and political ideology. There’s no way to get everyone converted over to the pro-gun side, but I can think of three rifles that might go a long way towards bridging the gap and showing gun haters how fun and challenging firearms can be.

Ruger 10/22 Takedown (Review)

Generation after generation of Americans have learned to shoot on Ruger 10/22 rifles, and for good reason. First and foremost, there’s nearly zero recoil and minimal levels of noise. A lot of what keeps people away from guns is the fear of recoil and noise, and with a rimfire cartridge like this one that’s a negligible concern. The design is also a huge benefit, since it looks much more like a “traditional” rifle and less like a scary evil “assault rifle.”

I recommend the takedown version specifically because it fits in a much smaller and more discrete package. Breaking out a huge rifle case might be a touch intimidating, but a MOLLE-free backpack would be much less frightening for a newbie.


Sometimes going tactical-free is the right approach. Other times it may simply be too boring. There’s a good number of people who would turn up their noses at a “traditional” firearm, but the opportunity to shoot something as cool as an MP5 (or whatever else tactical at hand) might entice them to step onto the range. Once there, actually handling the firearm and coming to understand that it won’t start mass murdering people on its own might get them to change their minds about firearms in general.

My choice here is a Brethren Armament BA-5 pistol that has been SBR’ed (review). Preferably with a silencer on the end. Everything is better with silencers. Pistol caliber firearms are ideal, with the soft recoil and cheap ammunition.

CZ455 Varmint (review)

Some people respond well to just pulling the trigger and feeling the joy of hitting a metal target at close range. Others enjoy the challenge of long range and precision shooting. For the second group of people the CZ455 Varmint is an ideal rifle. Accurate as all heck with a beautiful stock and great trigger, the rifle is a solid choice for teaching marksmanship to new shooters. It doesn’t hurt that the gun is relatively cheap to buy and feed.

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    • Word. If someone that hates rifles needs a rifle it ain’t likely to be a plinker. It’s cause they feel a threat.

      Then they need one of the guns they no doubt have been trying to ban. Like an AR.

    • I dunno. I could see it as effective for those not dedicated to the anti position as an ideology but on the apprehensive side of things.

      If you were worried, for whatever reason, that your kid might be gay I think a weekend in Vegas and a trip to the “Bunny Ranch” would be far more effective than a “Pray Away the Gay” weekend retreat.

      And hey, if the kid is gay or the person is a dedicated anti, you get more fun out of trying to “fix” it if you go shooting/buying hookers than arguing or going to some lame religiously themed weekend. Might as well put something in the win column, right?

      • “If you were worried, for whatever reason, that your kid might be gay I think a weekend in Vegas and a trip to the “Bunny Ranch” would be far more effective than a “Pray Away the Gay” weekend retreat.”


        Was that helpful for you as a teenager when you couldn’t get a date?

        (Hey, sorry man, there was no way in *hell* I could pass up that softball! )

        (Double-snicker and a chortling laugh… 🙂 )

      • You can’t “fix” sexual orientation, nor is it something that should be “fixed”. But you can always suggest a trip to the Bunny Ranch, and see what sort of reaction it brings.

        An affinity for firearms is something else entirely. I have known people who were strongly biased against guns, who changed their positions after a little trigger time.

  1. CZ455, Marlin crank action 22, H&R single shot in 357/38. Be extra careful with the Marlin, its traditional look may be reassuring but tube mags are hard to inspect compared to detachable box mags.

    • Also AMD-65, lol. Raunchy enough appearance and muzzle blast to startle even seasoned shooters, Warsaw-Pact ergonomics, extra burn-y fore-end, and a relatively complex mechanism make this chipper little bastard worst gun possible for non-gun fans!

  2. These are probably still too scary for gun-haters. How about just getting them a Nerf N-Strike and calling it a day?

  3. I would substitute a Mini-14 for the MP-5. A benign looking semiautomatic that is easy to shoot. After they are done with the fun you can casually mention that the Mini is functionally equivalent to the dreaded black rifle.

  4. I’ve done the “historic” routine a couple of times. First we shot an old Hawken replica muzzle loader to show the basics of what made the gun go bang – percussion cap, a light load of powder, and a ball. Then we moved up to a friendly looking old western style lever gun – Rossi 92 shooting .38 specials. Then when I had them hooked I broke out my AR which has OD furniture. Not an evil black rifle. I have a niece who is somewhere to the left of Karl Marx and she pronounced the Rossi “cute and fun”. She’s looking at Henry .22s.

  5. I can go with recommending a pistol-caliber carbine, but what gun-hater is going to go through the trouble of getting a stamp for an SBR, AND a supressor?
    Better a lever action. They can at least connect that with cowboy movies.

    • I was thinking the same thing, but don’t you know, every gun hater and newbe needs a machine gun!

  6. Had a coworker in for training in from Germany for training. As I had already planned a range trip with a couple of friends I invited him along. He was apprehensive at first but agree to go. He tried everything we brought with us that day but fell in love with my 1891/30.
    Shot it once and had a huge grin on his face. Giggled like a school girl after about 20 rounds.

  7. Hey any writer reading this (specifically the ones that do fact checking on anti-gunners) have you ever dealt with the website “armed with reason”? If so, are they smart, halfway intelligent, or just “over educated”(not sure if I like that word, does that mean we should purposely not learn more) assholes

  8. My S&W M&P 15-22 is always a hit with newbies. It’s got the “bad-boy” appeal of the AR-15 with the way-less “scary” .22LR caliber.

    Another one is my Browning BL-22. Again, the mild-shooting .22LR, with the “pretty” factor of wood and blued steel and the fun of “cowboy” action. A “Red Ryder” for grown-ups.

  9. I think an M1 carbine will eventually find it’s way into my wife’s hands. She doesn’t hate guns though and even likes her 4.2″ SP101 quite a bit. But she doesn’t think she needs a rifle. I think our upcoming move out of the burbs and to remote WY will help with that.

  10. My No 8 trainer is good starting gun for many first time shooters. It looks, feels, and operates like a full-sized rifle, and the adult sized stock often helps, but has the recoil of a .22LR.

    Every year we have a special competition for the kids who mark our targets. There is almost a fight to get to use the No 8 because it is so accurate and whoever has used it has won the competition 4 years running.

    Once a few shots are done to get used to the open sights, the shooters are amazed how accurate the rifle is. The trigger is match grade and the shooters can call their shots after 5 rounds and usually put in very tight groups.

    Considering it is the ONLY open sighted rifle used in the competition (it has the nickname “OLD SCHOOL” among the markers) this is high praise from the Medal of Honor and Call of Duty experienced shooters.

    For centerfire, my No4 .223 conversions are winners. Again they look and feel like proper rifles, but the .223 cartridge allows new shooters to concentrate on the sights and the trigger without the recoil of full power cartridges. It has prompted some new shooters to look at buying or making a conversion for themselves.

  11. “I recommend the takedown version specifically because it fits in a much smaller and more discrete package.”


  12. Not a fan of the 10/22. My son’s is notorious for misfeeds, and the trigger is so stiff and gritty it’s difficult to shoot accurately. My cheap Savage .17 HMR has a much nicer trigger, and it’s easier to load.

    A .22 Henry lever gun or .357/.38 with a suppressor would make a lot of friends to shooting.

  13. Had an anti-gun sister in law to be once. Showed her a Browning Medalist and she was smitten (not with me…the pistol!)

  14. I firmly believe that if possible, the firearm you use to introduce someone who has a fear of guns into the world of shooting should be a suppressed one. A lot of people are afraid of the “boom”. Negate the boom, and let the fun begin.

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