New Shooters

Keep It Simple Series

For the average shooter, hunter or sportsman

By Johnny Dury


New Shooters: Get Them on the Right Path


   There is no perfect, works-for-everyone set of rules for starting a youngster on the path of becoming a member of the fun and entertaining wide world of shotgun sports.

    However, when that fledgling firearm fan is ready to start sending lead down range, there are a few pointers that will help take the bumps and pot holes out of their path.

    For all the parents, grandparents, mentors, shooting buddies and others bringing a youngster into the shooting scene, here are a few basics:

    No. 1 – Shooting should be a pleasurable experience, not a pain in the shoulder, neck, back or head.  If at any point the youngster complains of something hurting – take a break from the trigger time. Generally, beginning shooting sessions should be limited to 50 to 100 shots.  It does no good and may even develop bad habits if the youngster is forced to keep hammering away at targets even when it hurts.

    No. 2 – Keep the comfort factor on high.  A beginner’s firearm should fit the individual shooter; be easy to handle; function in a dependable manner; and should never cause unpleasant shoulder shock.  The better the shotgun fits the individual, the less the perceived kick from each shot.  Fitting a shotgun to an individual is not a complicated process and should be the first step after any firearm purchase.

    No. 3 – Any shooter, but particularly someone new to the shooting sports, prefers to hit targets rather than miss them.  Start the shooter off on simple targets, such as incoming clays to reinforce the sense of accomplishment with the fledgling clay buster.  Once the incoming targets are smacked with regularity, try out a few straight-away shots.  Then and only then should presentations such as quartering or crossing targets be thrown into the mix.

    No. 4 – Start slow and keep the process as simple as possible.  More than one well-intending shooting instructor has subjected a student to “instruction overload.”  The shooting instruction process should be undertaken one step at a time.  If a youngster can learn one new technique or develop one good habit during a lesson, that is a simple, effective way to start them on the path to shooting happiness.

    No. 5 – Breaking clay targets is a game of smooth, rather than a game of speed.  Youngsters and other beginning shooters have a tendency to want to rush their shots – they are anxious, excited and find it hard to control the desire to shot as fast as possible.  Focus on teaching the smooth factor.  By slowing down, doing the same thing the same way in a smooth and effective manner, target trauma becomes more consistent.

    No. 6 – Always remember Rule No. 1.

    As a final note for those bringing new shooters into the fold – don’t be afraid to spend a little more money on the front end of the process in order to obtain greater benefits at the finish line.

    There is nothing more exciting to new shooters than cradling that first smokepole in their arms with the knowledge they have a shooting tool that fits right, feels right and looks good.

    We will be happy to assist our customers with that selection and offer our years of experience to help send youngsters on the right path to shooting enjoyment.  

Posted in: General, Reports From the Range and Field