I took one of my wife's girlfriends shooting at my club range today. It was something SHE wanted to do and this had been in the works for quite a while. Her husband, who had not fired a gun since he was young, was supposed to join us, but ended up going in to work. It actually worked in her favor, because she did most of the shooting.
She had never seen a gun close up, never mind handled or fired one. All she knew about guns and those that owned them was negativity, but she wanted to find out for herself. Since parking at the range can sometimes be limited, I picked her up at the local commuter lot and drove to the range. Because there were people already shooting when we arrived, I made sure she had on her "eyes and ears." We spent the first 45 minutes going over range rules, basic firearms safety, and gun and ammo type, design, and operation.
I had her start with a pair of .22's, first my 1935 vintage S & W K-22 Outdoorsman double action revolver. Now before anyone gets on my case about shooting a valuable antique firearm, my guns are all shooters. Because it is a rather large K-Frame, she was unable to fire on double action, so she stuck with single action. Since she was a beginner, we stuck with the 7 yard target stand. It didn't long before she was on the target, and not too long after that she was doing tight groups on center. Her shooting stance all day was "isosceles," which hurts my bum shoulder, so I use a "modified weaver." I had explained the different holds before we started. After the revolver, we went to my semi-auto Browning Buckmark. After a loading and firing demonstration, it was all hers, and she really enjoyed that one.
Next up was my Dan Wesson Model 15 .357 Magnum double action revolver. Again, a large frame, so only single action. I went first so she could see it operate and the recoil. I had her load it with .38 Specials to start. After 4 loads, she wanted to go full size, with the .357 Magnums. The first shot caused a, "HOLY SHIT!" to come out of her mouth, and then she finished the other 5. All six rounds on the paper, and then another couple of cylinders of magnums. She is really enjoying herself at this point. Next up, my Ruger SR9c in 9mm. The controls are similar to the Buckmark, and the recoil similar to the .38 Specials. I demonstrated how to load the mags with the loader tool, load and fire the gun. Once again, she went at the three fresh targets with no problem. We even had a couple of FTF's that had to be cleared, re-chambered, and re-fired. Only one was a total dud that I will recover the components from.
OK, no more playing around, time to get serious. Out came the S & W Governor (nicknamed "Thumper"), which I explained shoots four different calibers; .45ACP, .45 Schofield, .45 Long Colt, and .410 Shotshells. I have pile of full moon clips and a moon clip tool, and showed her how to operate it. She loaded and fired it several times, and I shot a good video of her shooting it. Then I demonstrated a cylinder full of Hornady Critical Defense shotshells. I couldn't believe it when she asked to try one. The recoil from the shotshells is substantial, compared to everything else, but she handled it with no problem.
Since she was now familiar with shooting .45ACP, and how to load and fire a semi-auto pistol, I had her move on to my full-sized Glock 21. The only problem encountered was not holding the pistol solid enough to get all the empties to eject over her right shoulder to the rear. She got dinked in the forehead a couple of times. That pistol usually throws them all in a pile behind me to the right. She still enjoyed it.
The last one up was the smallest, my Ruger LCP. I explained that just because it is the smallest, does not make it the easiest to shoot. The .380 Auto is actually a 9mm Short, and the LCP does not have the mass to grip like the SR9c does. I demonstrated first, but I am able to grip it solidly. She found out what I meant. She was puzzled to what would be appropriate to carry? I explained she needed to go to Hoffman's (with someone she knows, because they don't have a lot of patience for newbies) and try some of the different guns they rent for their "10 for 10" rental program. I further explained about taking concealment into account, as well as lethality and what she could handle comfortably. All in all, we were at the range for 3 1/2 hours. I brought four rifles for her to try at the rifle range, but she had to get going to take care of errands.
This was a truly positive experience, and will pay dividends many times over. She will be telling all her friends, both daughters, and has already posted up the video of her with Thumper on Fakebook. I have done this with two other women (and have one more to go) before they took their NRA Pistol Safety Course. To me it is not wise to spend that much money on the course and have that be your first real exposure to firearms. I told her at the start if she didn't like it or wanted to stop it would be no harm no foul. She's already talking about doing it again, but I told her the first time is on me, after that she has to kick in for ammo (at least with adults, kids I let slide).
UPDATE 6-26-16 0645: I wondered about this post this morning and wanted to add the following. This outing, while certainly a way to introduce someone new to shooting and firearms, it is also my way of undermining the libtards drumbeat of, "GUNS ARE BAD! GUNS ARE BAD!" Operating as a "gray man" in the background, I will continue to do my best to defeat these tyrants right where I am....Behind Enemy Lines!