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The Roving Sportsman… It’s Time to Take a Non-shooter Shooting!

If you are like the majority of shooters that I have encountered over the years, you probably began shooting during your early years. Through the decades, your passion for the sport has grown and now you have, no doubt, expanded your shooting to include rim-fire and center-fire rifles, handguns of all sorts and the various shotgun sports available to us these days. Now, it’s due time to take the next logical step in your evolution as a sportsman and shooter to do what you can to protect and promote our sport so that generations from now, others will enjoy it as well.

It’s time to take a non-shooter shooting!

Recently, while attending a sporting clays tournament, I related to several fellow shooters just how much I was enjoying the sport and the people who attended these events. We all agreed that sporting clays is the most enjoyable, yet challenging, of all of the shotgun sports and agreed that we plan to participate in the activity for years to come. The question arose as to what we each could do to promote and ensure the growth of shooting, not just sporting clays, but all forms of recreational and competition shooting. “Imagine,” one of the shooters said, “How rapidly our sport would grow if each of us would go out of our way to introduce just one new person to shooting!”

Everyone nodded in agreement, and then one by one began to add their thoughts of how to go about doing just that.

Initially, the idea is not to present a detailed lesson on how to shoot, but instead, give a newbie the chance to handle, become familiar and comfortable with a firearm and to fire off several rounds to realize how enjoyable the activity can be. You should not be trying to impress a new shooter with your prowess as a shooter, but focus on making them relax, have a good time and end up being anxious to do more next time the opportunity arises.

Whether the new shooter is young or old, man or woman, it is important to start out light, meaning that you should introduce them with either a .22 caliber rifle or handgun, or a smaller gauge shotgun, such as the .410 or 28 gauge. Make it as easy and as visually rewarding as possible by using balloons, tin cans or clay targets, when possible. There is something more rewarding when seeing a balloon burst; a tin can jump or a clay target shatter! When possible, have available for the new guy several different firearms. As an example, in shotguns, there are several different styles and actions available. There are single barrel models, side-by-side shotguns, over and under models, pumps and semi-automatics. While your preference may be the over and under, and you are most comfortable shooting that style, a new shooter may prefer one of the other actions as he tries it out for the first time. Remember, it is all about making them comfortable.

Firearm safety is critical, and it is important to emphasize proper gun handling when you are introducing someone to shooting. No matter how experienced a shooter becomes, accidents can always creep into the picture, and it is the very basics of safe handling of firearms that will keep a shooter safe. Often, a person who has never had the opportunity to handle, much less shoot a firearm already has preconceived notions and fears regarding firearms. This is your chance to ease their minds and make them comfortable when handling and shooting a firearm.

Over the years, many of us have had the opportunity to introduce someone to our shooting sports and have experienced the pleasure of watching a smile of accomplishment spread across the face of a new shooter. It is very satisfying to watch the newfound appreciation and awareness for firearms of a new shooter as it washes away his previous misunderstandings and concerns about shooting.

Each and every time we introduce a non-shooter to shooting, we help make sure that the sport we enjoy will be around for future generations to enjoy as well.

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