Introducing "Newbies" to Shooting

Yesterday, Rick and I took friends out to Prado Olympic Shooting Park to do some trap shooting. We had some first-timers in our group, so that was extra exciting.

When introducing someone to shooting for the first time, remember to keep things fun and light. This is not a macho sport-- just ask Kim Rhode.  Defy what the media says about guns. Be clear about the rules. Show them the proper way to handle a firearm, and by the end of the day, they will see that it's not a big deal. Shooting is no different than any other activity. There's no fanfare, no expectations and no pressure. Just have fun, respect others and keep your wits about you. As a person new to shooting as well, here are a few things that I found helpful while Rick was teaching me how to shoot.

Long holding a gun for the first time.
To Coaches:

1. Be open to question, no matter how stupid you think they are. The more comfortable people feel about asking questions, the less chances there are of them making mistakes. Some things that you may consider obvious are not always the same way to non-shooters.

Rick giving Long some pointers.

 2. Be clear and thorough. If you see that something is off, correct it. Show the person how to do it the right way by doing it yourself. Explain why it must be done that way. The more you can explain something logically, the better it will stick.
My best friend Briana.

3. Don't be pushy. This is especially important if you're a man teaching a woman. Men can't expect women to show the same enthusiasm as their buddies. Don't get us wrong, we are excited. We just don't show it the same way guys do. Push us to be the best we can be, but please be patient and understanding.
4. Teach newcomers in a non-competitive atmosphere. This varies from person-to-person, but the more comfortable someone feels, the better they will do. Don't teach people and expect them to take on veteran shooters right away in a game of skeet. This will just frustrate them. Everyone learns at his/her own pace.
Rick's co-worker Ken and his son.

5. Be supportive. If someone does a good job, tell them that they did a good job. If they didn't, give them a few pointers and tell them that they will get it the next time. Set the tone for a positive atmosphere. An important part of improving at anything is being able to build confidence. This will benefit everyone, no matter how new or expert you are.

6. Fit the gun to the shooter. Don't give a small-framed person a huge gun that doesn't fit him or her. The last thing you want to do is to scare the person or frustrate them needlessly. A bad first experience can keep a person away from shooting forever. Be responsible. Don't give a person a gun you know they can't handle just to have a good laugh.

To the new shooter:

1. Listen and be attentive. Yes, guns can kill. But so can sharp pencils. Listen proactively, follow directions, be respectful and don't mess around. This is serious stuff.
My brother Ngoc.

2. Cut your coach some slack. Oftentimes, gun coaches are stern because they want you to be safe. And if you're a woman, you know that men think and communicate differently. If your male coach gives you short, direct statements, he's not trying to be mean. It's just how he communicates. Respectfully remind him that you're a lady. Sometimes, they forget.

3. Don't be afraid to ask questions. You don't learn anything if you don't ask. If someone rolls their eyes, screw them. Chances are, someone else in the group had the same question but was too afraid to ask.
All-in-all, everyone seemed to have a good time yesterday. We think our friend Long wants a shotgun now... we like to hear that! It's always great to introduce new people to shooting and getting positive reactions from them. We hope this post helped!


  1. I totally do want a shotgun!

    Just have to move out and get a job first...

    But I definitely know where to go when I do decide to purchase my first.

  2. Yeah. You better get it from Rick!! Just kidding. But, he would appreciate it if you did. :-)

    I need to move out too.

  3. For sure I'll be buying my first gun from him.


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