A female's first gun.
First I know this has been talked about a lot here. I want to know what you think about the class I'm going to offer. I started to comment on this on another thread which was going to bring it off topic so I thought I would start a new one. Taking your wife or girl friend to the range for the first time (which should be done before going to any shop) to shoot to see if she liked a particular gun that you think she should get for self defense. I think that's a no no and you should bring that person no matter how small they are and see what they think of each caliber.
I was in one of my favorite gun stores a few weeks back listening to the sales person tell this women that the Bersa 380 is recommended by the instructor of the CWP class. She bought it before the shooting part of the class had started. I learned that the instructor was able to get a deal on these Bersas. I was mad at the gun shop and I know the instructor and do not like him but I said nothing. Not my place.
I think the person shooting for the first time should get some one on one training and given the chance to shoot a 380, 9mm ,S&W40 and 45 ACP. Then let them decide and have the knowledge of what each round will do for them in a defensive situation.
I'm thinking about offering a before you buy class where I will explain the difference in the semi-auto and revolvers. Then I will explain the difference in calibers. Once they have that understanding I will let them shoot a 380-9-40-46-38+p-357 with all factory rounds. Then when they go to the gun shop they will know what they want as far as type and caliber. Then all they have to do is pick each up and try the feel and make their decisions. I will send them with suggestions or for addition cost go with them.
The Bersa the gun shop was pushing is a great gun. I meet some new members at my range last week and both husband and wife bought the 380 on recommendations. He also went back and got a 9 and 45. He likes the 9 the best and she likes the 45 the best. Thats what gave me the idea for this class. I should asked them to sell one of the Bersa to me.
So I think I'll offer this class and then give them other classes that we offer. I have a NRA certified instructor who wants to do this with me. This would be a side line job and the money I make will all be donated to a great cause. My gun safe. It needs to be full again with better guns.
Do you think this class will fly??
A guy around here advertised with hanging a piece of paper on the door at the gun show for a women basic shooting course. He wanted 100 from each for a 4 hour class outside at our range to learn how to shoot. He got 8 women, I saw the target setup he used and the women were shooting at targets 8 feet high. 800 for a Sat. morning. I don't know how much was given to the range owner. I'm sure not much.
I think if you have some credentials and can prepare a course that will enhance new shooters' appreciation of handguns and shooting, you should definitely offer a course. If on the other hand, you, like a lot of us, are simply an avid shooter who has seen how people get steered into initial/early handgun purchases without a good knowledge base and want to help folks up the learing curve and avoid buying the wrong gun, that's an admirable goal. But I'm not sure how much you could charge for that. Most folks want to pay for classes that will satisfy a requirement like a CCW license. But you can sure give it a try and see if there's interest.
I'd suggest that it's not just the caliber that needs to be decided, the handgun it's in can make a huge difference. A .380acp in a KelTec will likely kick more than a .357magnum in a large frame revolver.
Demonstrating the same caliber in different firearms might be an enlightening excercise too.
I think the idea has merit...but I'd personally have some reservations if it were me. Here's why:
Most new shooters aren't skilled enough to know what to look for in a gun. Your class would give them some additional knowledge of the objective differences between the calibers, but as far as shooting the calibers, most newbies don't even hold the gun properly and therefore can't objectively evaluate muzzle flip, recoil, etc. Unless you're offering good instruction on shooting technique, I am not sure how much really useful hands-on experience your students will gain. Having an NRA pistol instructor present may be helpful, but quite honestly some of the techniques illustrated in the NRA Basic Pistol handbook are questionable at best (and I say that as a certified NRA instructor), and if he teaches "by the book" it may not help. But you did mention "one on one" training, so maybe you have that covered.
Would this be strictly for women? I do think you'll probably get more women than men, regardless. Lots of guys assume they already know everything and don't need help or instruction. On the other hand, I suppose an offer to shoot someone else's guns is easy to accept. Perhaps getting more women is fine, since I get the distinct impression that women are more commonly victims of condescending gun shop advice than men, but my experience is that there is fairly small pool of women willing to take training.
Depending on your motivation for doing this - altruistic versus moneymaking - you might consider just doing it at your cost. I've often thought about doing the NRA Basic Pistol class at cost, donating my time, just to get more educated shooters out there (I am horrified by what I see on public ranges). Lots of instructors charge what I consider exorbitant fees for basic classes, which I think only hurts our cause in the long run.
I think that your idea has great merit. But, why not make it for ladies or men? The one local range that has rentals, charges $33 for a "package" of gun, ammo (50 rounds, 100 for .22s), lane time, and "eyes and ears".
A "sampler" package of several firearms might get me interested in guns that I might not otherwise consider. Why, I might find that I actually would like a Glock. (lol)
I sure wouldn't need 50 rounds. Five rounds would either peek, or kill my interest in a particular model.
There is a gun shop in my area that has a similar program for new shooters both male and female. I believe they charge $50 for the program, but some or all of the cost is refunded when/if the student purchases a firearm from the store. They teach basic safe handling, shooting and cleaning. I think that your idea is a good one. Finding a way to make it work is the hard part. My wife wanted to take the class before she started her CCW classes. She had a blast. I almost took it with her, but had to work that evening. I too feel that you should make the offer available to both men and women. You'll probably end up with more women in the class. My wife said her class consisted of 10 female and 2 male students. That is a full class for them. That way everyone gets some one on one instruction. Kudos to you for the idea. I hope that you can help some people with your idea. Good Luck and have fun!
Just to go one step forward, how about "couples" training. The guys can stand back and watch you train their partners and pretend they already know that stuff, at the same time being grateful for a nonthreatening way to learn.
Another consideration, double ear protection. My wife did not like shooting initially because of the noise. It wasn't until she used both ear plugs and headphones that she could be on the range next to those folks with higher powered weapons and be comfortable.
I think it is a great idea. I have been shooting for 30 years and recently picked up my first .40 S & W caliber pistol. Boy, I wish I had experienced it earlier. Thinks about it; we test drive cars, try out guitars, and get free trials of internet, etc. Why do guns have to be like running shoes where you don't find out you're unhappy unitl 10 miles down the road?