Sunday, September 22, 2013

First Steps Class Post Class Report

We had a great time!

Several of the people had previous firearms experience, with rifles and shotguns, but had never fired a handgun before.

Several had some very limited handgun experience, and were there to learn more, and improve their understnding.

One family was there, and they brought their 14 year old son because "It was time for him to learn about gun safety".

And we advised by the lead instructor before the students arrived that one person was an anti!

The class ran as it usually does, with intelligent questions being asked, and all of the students understood eye dominance, and all quickly learned the correct stances and grips, and above all, The Four Rules.

Everybody understood sight picture, trigger control, safe gun handling, and all the other things that get taught in the NRA "First Steps" class.

Then it was time to go out to the range, and put the pedal to the metal.

The range time consists of 20 shots at 7 yards, at an 8" x 10" piece of blank paper so the students can get used to handling, loading, and firing the pistols. This gives us a chance to check and correct any improper things they might be doing.

Next is 20 rounds on a "standard" slow fire/rapid fire target, again at 7 yards, and this gives us a chance to help them improve or correct things like an improper sight picture, jerking or slapping the trigger, and to keep checking their stance again.

One thing I've noticed is that while they may do as instructed in the classroom with a rubber gun, for some reason they change when they get out on the range. The most common fault I've seen is that people start to lean back, almost as if they want to hold the gun further away.

This does bad things to your balance, sight picture, and trigger control, so we do our best to correct them on their first shots at the blank paper.

It's up to the student to decide if they like the Isosceles or Weaver stance, and whether they want to keep their elbow "locked" or slightly bent. We also stress keeping the knees slightly bent, as if they go further in their training (most do), it's important to keep a bit "loose" so you can learn shooting on the move, a vital skill in self-defense.

The last target is 10 rounds on the same size target, and we score them on this one.

The big surprise of the class was the young lady (the "anti") we were advised about.

She was pretty quiet during class, asking few questions, but really came to life on the range. As luck would have it, she was in "my" group (We had 10 students an 4 instructors) on the range, and turned out to be an excellent student. She listened carefully, took direction very well, and had a good attitude.

At one point she turned slightly (and safely, keeping the pistol pointed downrange) to me and said "This is FUN! I don't see what the big deal is about guns!".

So I don't know if we "turned" an anti-gun person, or just helped her to subtly make up her own mind.

The two guys who had rifle experience wound up going into a 3 round "shoot off" to determine the overall "winner", and over half the class scored in the 90's on their last target.

So we had another safe class, and brought 9 adults and one 14 year old boy through it with flying colors.

After class one of the other instructors and I spent some time getting our own bad habits worked out, and I put about 100 rounds of 45 ACP downrange.

Always good to go to the range!


  1. I managed to get 4 women signed up to take First Steps in a women only class next weekend. I suppose I'll be cooling my heels somewhere nearby but that's OK, it's worth it.

  2. Over the last several years we've seen a huge increase in the number of women signing up, along with the number of families taking the course.

    People are scared, they don't trust the government to protect them anymore, and they don't trust the government PERIOD.

  3. Sounds like a win-win for all concerned. Way to go!

  4. Now that's a fun day. Well done.


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