One Woman's Range Session

Discussion in 'Women with Firearms' started by gunsmoker, Sep 15, 2016.

  1. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    Today I took a woman shooting who had not fired a gun in 20 years, and before that she had limited experience going shooting with her ex-husband, and shooting 22 rifles when she was a girl under her fathers and brothers supervision .

    When she was married she had the use of a full size 38 or 357 revolver supplied by your husband, but when they broke up she didn't have that gun anymore .

    When her father passed away, he left her a K frame Smith & Wesson police style revolver . That was basically almost identical to the gun her ex-husband had given her for her use. So she probably has "owned" a full-size 38/ 357 revolver for a dozen years in total .

    After a basic refresher course on the operation of a double action/single action revolver (including some dry firing ) I challenged her to use the gun with six rapid shots at a full-size man shape target at only 5 yards .

    Although I asked her to shoot as fast as she could and still expect to hit the body of the target, she took about 20 seconds to fire each of the first three shots, and then she put her hands down shaking because she couldn't hold the gun up that long, and the recoil had disturbed her . PS the gun was still loaded with the full power defensive loads that her father had in the gun when he last loaded it 40 years ago . And one of those rounds was a dud, so only five rounds fired .

    After a brief rest she reacquired her grip on the weapon, concentrated on the sights again , and very slowly fired 2 more rounds ---probably taking 30 seconds to shoot those last two .

    The man sized target had been hit twice once in the shoulder and once on the edge of the chest off to the side . Three other shots were complete misses.

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    The lesson to take away from this experience is :
    Don't assume that all "gun owners" are skilled with a handgun and can effectively use it in a self-defense situation .
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2016
  2. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    But two hours later, after she fired probably 75 rounds thru her 38 special and 50 rounds from my 9 mm, she was significantly better. At that point she could comfortably hold the gun with a decent grip, hold it away from her body with a good stance, squeeze the trigger (double action) with a rate of about one shot every one and a half seconds, and hit the man sized target every time .

    Although her groups were large and off center to the left, at least there was a recognizable group and they were all on paper .
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2016

  3. Wegahe

    Wegahe NRA Instructor

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    Try 9'' paper plates. Or I'll hook her up with a private lesson class. Range fees and ammo not included but I will include the Pistol Laser Simulator Course in the process.
     
  4. zetor

    zetor Well-Known Member

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    I took a guy I work with shooting a while back and never had any luck in helping him. The lesson I got from that experience was that just because you know how to do something, it doesn't mean you can teach someone. When I say "you" , I mean anyone.

    We've been twice now and no headway made.
    I told him to find a class.
     
  5. Wegahe

    Wegahe NRA Instructor

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    I agree. There is a lot more to teaching firearms than just going to the range and popping caps. Many people on here have either grown up with a gun in their hand or have had at least minimal formal training. I would almost wager most have had zero training on teaching. My dad had an unusual method of teaching us about firearms and safety. If we did something that was unacceptable he just knocked us up side the head a few times. We did learn but there are better ways of teaching than breaking noses. I recommend training for everyone. I do not support required training though. I do have an NRA Basic Pistol Phase II class coming up in Marietta. Phase I of the class is taken online t the NRA web site and is self paced.
     
  6. Feral

    Feral Active Member

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    It's definitely an interesting experience. I've introduced a handful of people into firearms.

    I have no formal training. I had to self teach because I in return was never taught either. I watched my skills considerably improve through patience and perseverance.

    Two of the people I showed how to shoot ended up doing better than I do. But I had more prior experience leading and teaching than I did shooting.
     
  7. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    This lady did a lot better with my Springfield XD9 (five inch barrel) than her own revolver, and when I suggested that it was due to the much shorter and lighter "safe action" type trigger pull AND the bigger sights with the colored dots, she said no, it was JUST the SIGHTS.
    And when I loaded her revolver with some live rounds and some fired cases, to watch how steady the gun was as she pulled the trigger (both DA and SA), it turns out she WAS pretty steady. She didn't jerk the trigger, at least not after the midway point in our range session when I did this experiment mixing ball and dummy ammo.

    The sights on her S&W M&P revolver (1940s production, pre Model 10) were just too small, the rear notch too narrow and too short, and lacked any color or contrast.
    I think the sights on that gun were blurring out and she was disregarding them, or at least disregarding the rear sight.

    That's probably why she shot so slowly, although she really didn't want to practice shooting fast.
    She declined my suggestion to shoot 6 rounds "from the hip" as rapidly as possible, just pointing the gun but not aiming it.
    Instead, she brought the revolver up to eye level and used the sights anyway, and was much slower as a result.

    (I did two runs of 6 shots from the hip. From 5 yards. First shot of the first set was up in the shoulder, and then I corrected my pointing and brought the other five shots into the center of mass. I got about an 8" group, and fired all 6 shots in about 2 seconds.
    Then I did it again from 10 yards, a little more slowly (6 shots in maybe 15 seconds) and the first shot hit the target in the crotch,
    and I walked the rest up into his belly and chest.
    All holding the gun down at my own mid-chest level, elbow bent, my eyes only on the target.)

    Like this historical photo, but without the low crouching.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
  8. UtiPossidetis

    UtiPossidetis American

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    In teaching a few women to shoot I've found that in situations like the one you are reporting teaching them to do a more instinctive point & shoot has resulted in better accuracy and consistency. I've taught a few to use a 442/642 that has no real functional sights by pointing and shooting at center mass <5 yrds. Typically I've had more difficulty with men who knew nothing and were not instinctive shots than women. Also, I've had far less of an issue with flinching with women as well.
     
  9. Wegahe

    Wegahe NRA Instructor

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    You did not have to self teach. There are plenty of classes out there you could have taken. Think about where you would be if you had taken a class and learned the mechanics of taking a shot and placing it where you wanted it. About 5% of my students are able to shoot instructor rating qualification targets by the end of the class. That's 20 shots on a 9'' paper plate in a 6'' group or less at 45'. No bulls eye to aim at, just a blank paper plate.
     
  10. Feral

    Feral Active Member

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    I did have to due to financial constraints. Any decent classes required hundreds of dollars and traveling up north to the Atl area. The latter which I could not due do to my means of travel at the time.

    Both of those things have changed now and I am going to seek formal training.

    I do use paper plates more often than B27 targets. I know my grouping is solid (apple sized) at 7 yards with a compact DAO pistol. As well as out to 15 yards on occasion. I also have become accurate on point shooting and firing at the hip.

    I haven't yet tried with a full size. I expect even better results on a different pistol platform and after formal training. I'm very excited to try out a full sized pistol once given the opportunity with my current skill set.