Sitting Down With Beginners

by
posted on November 1, 2011
wiley-clapp.jpg

Handguns can be intimidating to a complete beginner trying to get over the fear of injury that comes with handling what can be a deadly tool. After teaching him or her The Fundamental Rules of Gun Safety, it becomes time for the student to learn the operating drill for the particular handgun with which he or she will begin the training cycle. In my opinion, it isunwise to present a new shooter with more than one gun at a time. Ideally, the first gun should be a DA/SA revolver, but that is not always possible. Whatever the selected handgun is, make sure the beginner has a thorough understanding of how the gun works. Then you can move on to using the gun to its full potential.

The business of teaching marksmanship is complex, with many manuals and books written on the subject. For the most part, however, experts agree on the basic principles with the most important being sight alignment, followed closely by trigger control. I have taught these skills to a lot of folks, but never thought of a particular teaching technique until I saw an instructional video a few years ago. It was radical stuff, but it really works.

Try beginning handgun training with the student in a seated position. That's right—seated in a chair at a table or bench. The shooter is comfortable, can relax and you can sit behind or slightly to the side. The close proximity of the instructor in this kind of one-on-one situation facilitates communication. For this, you willneed sandbags or a sturdy box to use as a rest. The shooter rests elbows and forearms on the bench and holds the handgun in both hands on the sandbags. Then, you talk the student through those first few shots. This technique has one minor and one major advantage for both students and instructors.

The major advantage is concerned with safety. Inexperienced handgunners often cannot resist the impulse to turn around when they have a question. With a gun in a hand, this is a dangerous practice. But it is far less likely to happen when the shooter is seated with both feet flat on the ground.The minor advantage to this sitting approach is the increased steadiness. Despite all the quiet reassurance that the gun will settle down and quit wobbling all over as he tries to aim it, a new shooter has an unfamiliar struggle to aim and squeeze at the same time. It is frustrating in the extreme. By using a seated, resting position, the gun can be held more steady making it easier to aim. The budding handgunner therefore has nothing to do but align the sights and work the trigger. It is a temporary solution, but it results in increased confidence. The shooter sees tighter groups on the target and becomes aware of what can be done.

Latest

Savage 555 1
Savage 555 1

New For 2022: Stevens Model 555 Sporting

Stevens Shotguns has introduced a new addition to its lineup of over-and-under shotguns, with the Model 555 Sporting.

Preview: Rock River 20" Stainless Steel Varmint Barrel Assembly

Stabilizing standard and heavy-for-caliber bullets, Rock River’s Varmint Barrel Assembly is designed for high-volume shooting at pesky critters.

A Veteran Paratrooper And His M1 Garand: Normandy And The Bulge

From training in the States to fighting in Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, this World War II combat rifleman depended on his M1 Garand, which he described as getting him through “some tough situations.”

Are Pistol Iron Sights Destined For Extinction? 7 Experts Answer

Nearly every major manufacturer offers optics-ready handguns, and it’s convinced some that pistol iron sights are destined for extinction. We asked seven of the industry’s foremost if they’re indeed on the endangered species list. Even they can’t come to a consensus.

Preview: Galco High Ready Chest Holster For Smith & Wesson M&P

Galco has released a new line of High Ready chest holsters, geared specifically for Smith & Wesson M&P semi-automatic pistols.

5 Signs Of A Bad Gun Range

Follow Frank Melloni as he gives five examples for what to look out for when trying to avoid a bad shooting range.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.