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New Gun Owners are Stepping Up Their Training

May 13, 2012

I see new gun owners stepping up to get advanced training.  Gun sales are up 20 percent year to year.   I also read from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence that we should expect “more blood on the streets” from firearms owners.  I read that Wisconsin’s new concealed carry licensees are a danger because they are inadequately trained.  That is what I read, but that is not what I see.

These new gun owners are going to the range to shoot at paper targets.  Ranges in my area are unusually busy and their memberships are growing or full.  New gun owners are taking courses and learning to safely operate their weapons.  They learn the laws of their state.   The instructors I know are running full classes these days.  The new shooters are not stopping there.

Classroom courses will not teach them to quickly present their weapon.  Target shooting at the range will not teach them to shoot accurately under stress and reload smoothly when second count.  Competition will!  Even the lowest level of competition is a large step from casual shooting at the range.   It is the next logical development in gun handling and training for these new gun owners.

They start with local steel shoots.  If they shoot handguns, now they have to safely load and holster a live weapon.  They are supervised and have examples of good gun handling all around them.  We have a safety officer within arms reach of every loaded firearm, so it is a safe place to learn.  They learn to draw under the stress of competition.  Now they learn to focus on the front sight and think as their heart pounds.

They also learn forgiveness.  Of course they make mistakes and miss shots.  In competition, they can not afford the time and added stress of self criticism.  They have no time for self incrimination, correction or condemnation.  They learn that only the next action is important.  Only the next shot matters, not the last one.  That is a lot to learn, and I see them learn it.  The entry level competitions in my area have a sizable fraction of new shooters every month.  Soon the new gun owners will move along to IDPA and other advanced competition as their skills progress.  Gun owners are learning more every week.

There are other changes happening all across the US.  Bennie Vick is the sheriff of Williamson County, Illinois.  His office will host a Handgun Safety Class for county residents.  This is happening in Illinois where civilians cannot get a concealed carry permit.  Now, Illinois law enforcement admits that safe gun handling is worth teaching.  Someday the Illinois politicians will catch up with the rest of us.

You might want to take a course or find a competition that fits your interests.  I bet you’ll like it.

Keep learning.  There are lots of gun owners learning right beside you.


Rob the Student

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 13, 2012 8:09 pm

    Spent my Mother’s Day doing what I wanted – shot in a Steel Challenge match with my husband and a couple of our kids 🙂 and because of cheap ammo we acquired and were trying to get rid of, got to do lots of those tactical reloads. We are starting a women’s steel challenge team at our range for the express purpose of moving the ladies off paper targets and toward more realistic use of the firearms. Thanks for pointing out the necessary progression for those who wish to improve their skills. Hope you and yours had a wonderful day 🙂


    • May 13, 2012 8:56 pm

      Cathi, I was hoping you’d get to shoot for Mother’s day. Good for all of you.

      Yesterday I took my wife and another friend to a beginning steel shoot. Both of them liked it and are eager to try again next month. My wife made us dry practice today so I think she is serious about improving her performance.

      I think it is great that you’re providing an encouraging environment for shooters to develop their skills. Do you see lots of new shooters in your area?


  2. May 14, 2012 4:12 am

    That’s great! Sounds like she is hooked! 🙂 Yes, we are seeing a lot of new shooters. My forte is handguns, and I have a lot of women contacting me who have never shot before, but I’ve also talked to a lot of men lately who grew up hunting and are experienced with a rifle, but they are brand new to handguns. They are getting into pistols now so they can carry, which they feel compelled to do, given our current environment.


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