Well Robb, I was gonna pdf it, but I didn't have a pdf-writer handy at the time. Plus, I wanna make sure there are no glaring errors or omissions before I mess with that.
Gary, glad you like it. I haven't seen anything else out there like this, except at Cornered Cat (which is an absolutely terrific website, by the way.) In fact, her page was part of my inspiration for doing this.
My main goal, though, was not to discuss how to teach a newbie, but rather how to handle that very first trip. Everything after that is a matter of preference, and should be tailored to the new shooter and their needs. In fact, unless you are a trained instructor (which I ain't), I wouldn't recommend trying to "train" someone past their very first couple of range visits. Still, anyone who is halfway proficient and understands firearms safety can and should take newbies to the range as often as possible.
The only place where I'd differ with you is the use of the gun's safty. When just doing simple target drills I never use the safty on any of my guns, hell I only use my shotgun for trap and sporting clays so I've only engaged the safty a few times on that gun period.
I prefer my gun n00bs to trust their own skill and judgement rather than a fallable mechanical feature. Finger off the trigger the gun will not go bang. Gun on the bench, gun will NOT go bang. The only way a gun is trully "Safe" is the action wide open and the chamber visually inspected. The types and variations on safties (and in the case of some guns, the non-existance of them ie revolvers) I feel it streamlines the learning experience, and enforces trust in the person, not in the gun.
You make a good point about putting trust in the safety. I still have newbies engage the safety, however, because it helps them to be more conscious about the state of the firearm. I think it is useful for them to aim the firearm, and try to pull the trigger, only to realize they forgot to turn the safety off. I don't ever tell them "to be safe, make sure your safety is on"... rather I just make engaging the safety part of the SOP (both for them and for me.) I agree that it probably isn't that important, and I have no problem with people leaving it out. In the end, I think it is more important to customize the experience for the individual. This guide is geared towards handguns. If you take a newbie trap shooting, then I wouldn't bother to even mention the safety except to say "oh, make sure the safety is off".
Oh, and I almost forgot... using the safety, of course, is only relevant for some firearms (i.e. not a Glock.) For some firearms, the safety cannot even be engaged until after it is loaded and the slide is forward, so there is no use for it at the range (i.e. a 1911.) For these reasons and others, if you intend to use my guide, you need to download it in MS Word format, and customize it for A) your firearm(s) and B) the individual you are taking to the range.
That would be my personal point. Just like your sound advice about hardware, politics, ballistics, ect. I don't want to glaze their eyes trying to explain to the n00b the difference between the safty on my 1911 (which I don't think my wife STILL gets how it interacts with the hammer) the one on my CZ-52 (which can be set independant of hammer and slide position, and has a seperate decock feature) and a revolver which has NO manual safty, and no damn need for one....or a Glock, that has a manual safty, but frankly there's no need to think of it like one.
If they ask about a safty (either the mechanical device or the concept of how safe somthing is) I'll give them the blow-by-blow, but shooting can be a mind-bender if you throw too much info into the mix.
I start with the 4 rules and the basics of the actions I bring with us, and I let them choose what else to learn as they go.
I agree that you don't want to overwhelm your newbie... for children and slower learners, you should probably thin it down to the bare necessities. But for an average adult, thinking about a safety (if it is relevant) isn't a big deal. Mostly, I think it makes them feel better ("Oh, its a safety! Safe is good!") Regardless, thats also why I suggest one-on-one time, because when they do make a mistake, you can correct it before it becomes dangerous.
This all leads to an obvious question... when was the last time you took a newbie to the range? No, I'm not questioning your experience or knowledge, because it seems to me you are on the ball. I'm asking because there is a competition on. Actually, two competitions... one in which I'll send you a little prize if you introduce a bunch of people to guns, and the other one where if you win, anti-gun politicians don't get elected and you get to keep your guns.
Notice: There are some areas of this website where everyone is permitted to post information.
(In this case, information is defined as anything you can paste/type into an html form.)
Do not post anything that cannot be legally put in the public domain.
I have the absolute power to remove/modify/edit anything that is posted on this site.
All original content on this website is owned solely by me, and cannot be redistributed without prior written consent.
Click Here for information about a FREE introduction to firearms safety and shooting.