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  1. #1
    elitherev's Avatar
    elitherev is offline Junior Member
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    Thumbs up 1st Time At A Gun Range!

    Hello everyone - Elaine here. I am new to the forum and to firearms. I've been getting a lot of great help and advice so far from the members of this community and I'm very thankful.
    I saw this section of the forum and thought I would share my experience and target photos.
    Just a little background : I had never been to a gun range before a few days ago and never fired a pistol beyond what was necessary for my pistol license (about 10 rounds). My instructor brought with him:

    22LR (Ruger MK3)
    9mm (Glock 17)
    38 Spl Revolver (S&W 686)
    45ACP (1911)

    ... and I tried all of them. The 1911 was too difficult for me by the end - I was really fatigued.
    He said I did surprising well for my first time and given how anxious I was. I was shooting 25 feet.

    The range was kind of ... intimidating. I've never been to one before but I don't imagine I'd ever go there alone It seemed really old school and was quite scary but everyone was friendly.
    It was Wolfs Range in Connecticut (Wolf Range)

    I hope to purchase some kind of .22 as my first firearm so I can continue to practice and the range and get more comfortable before moving up.



    Thanks for reading


    Elaine

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  3. #2
    usmcj's Avatar
    usmcj is offline Member
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    Congratulations.. you did very well. Relax, and don't be afraid to ask questions. None of us were born with the knowledge we have acquired over the years. Compliments for getting some training before you bought a firearm... good move....

    The age-old "trade-off" in handguns is especially applicable to the ladies..... short barrel revolver, light weight, only 5 or 6 rounds equals much more perceived recoil... longer barrel semi-auto, heavier, much less perceived recoil.... REGARDLESS OF GENDER.

    Once proficient with the fundamentals, then anyone can learn to shoot any caliber, as well as learn to shoot either a revolver, or a semi-auto.

    Caliber comes AFTER proficiency in the fundamentals. Start with a .22 caliber something. Once a new shooter begins to flinch from shooting a large caliber right away, it's tough to "unlearn" it.

    Shop for a firearm just like you shop for shoes.......

    Shoes...... when you buy 'em, you try 'em on first...... if they don't feel good, you don't buy 'em..... if they feel good, and you buy 'em, chances are that you still might need to break in the shoes, and your feet.

    Guns..... try 'em on first...... if they don't feel good, you don't buy 'em......... if they feel good, and you buy 'em, chances are that you still might need to practice with it, and enhance your ability to use it.....

    Buying a particular handgun simply because someone else has one is just foolish. If there were a "best" handgun, we'd all own it, and the huge selection of handguns to choose from wouldn't exist.

    Hey ........

    GO SHOPPING

  4. #3
    berettabone is offline Banned
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    Looks like you did pretty good to me....

  5. #4
    Haas is offline Member
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    I remember my first time at the range also. It was only a year ago (approx). The first time I entered the firing lanes, I had ear plugs in, and no one happened to be firing at that moment we walked in. I was nervous enough already being my first time, but after we got in, someone fired off the first shot, and I just about jumped out of my skin!! Ha ha, it startled the heck out of me, but then I started laughing at myself for not realizing there were going to be loud bangs at a gun range, duh!.

  6. #5
    DJ Niner's Avatar
    DJ Niner is offline HGF Forum Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by berettabone View Post
    Looks like you did pretty good to me....
    I'll second that thought. Your targets look better than about 50% of the monthly shooters at my favorite local indoor range. Safety foremost, keep up the quality practice, concentrate on those fundamentals, and after a while, it'll be almost second nature; you'll be able to shoot well without having to dwell on every aspect of every single shot.

    Looks like a Ruger .22 pistol, or almost any 9mm/.40/.357 Glock (all these calibers use the same basic frame size) would be a fine choice for you, based on these targets. I own both a Ruger .22 and several Glocks, and I'd recommend any of them as good long-term choices.
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

  7. #6
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    Does the range have a ladies night?
    Many do.

    Check around.

    Last time the wife and I went to the range about 50% of the shooters were women.

    AFS

  8. #7
    chessail77's Avatar
    chessail77 is offline Senior Member
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    As stated above try to rent and shoot any pistol you might be interested in buying......JJ

  9. #8
    elitherev's Avatar
    elitherev is offline Junior Member
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    usmcj thank you so much for your comments and feedback. I did see that the range had a variety of rentals available but I was really too nervous for my first time to ask about it. The people there were kind of gruff ... and honestly I felt pretty silly not knowing the names of any of the guns at the start or even the caliber of what I wanted to try. Now that I have been once, I think I know that I want to try other .22s and I may feel more comfortable asking about that there. I think their rental and ammo pricing is pretty good there. My instructor also recommend trying different guns before a purchase, I just need to muster more courage to return to the range. There is another one a bit closer to me (the one I went to was closest to where my instructor lived) and it looks more modern and less "dark and scary" so I may take a trip there today and see what they have.

  10. #9
    elitherev's Avatar
    elitherev is offline Junior Member
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    AFS I am not sure. When I was there everyone was a big dude shooting at pictures of animals It was ... very anxiety provoking for someone like me. However, everyone was friendly and I felt "just ok" being there. I have pretty bad anxiety and don't go out much so just the trip there was hard. It's difficult for me to ever feel truly comfortable in any kind of public setting, let alone a place where there are guns. I still have a long way to go before I can be really comfortable with firearms. I had my license for 6 years before picking up another pistol.

  11. #10
    elitherev's Avatar
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    Thank you both berettabone and DJ I really couldn't believe it. My instructor was saying something similar. He told me to look at the targets of the people around me and how their shots were all over the place and that it was better to be consistent than perfectly on target. I really had no idea that I'd even hit the thing I have some trouble with my corneas and where special contact lenses and it causes me to have to really learn some compensation skills. My instructor said that I just have to practice more with whatever eye is best. I'm right handed but my left eye is strongest it seems ... Firing the Smith and Wesson was just really tough and I think it shows in the target. It was just WAY too big for me and it felt really unstable and it was heavier than I was expecting. My instructor said not to grip the guns so tightly but I felt like I needed to or it would fly out of my hand. The Glock was a better fit. The Ruger was a great feel in my hand.

  12. #11
    berettatoter's Avatar
    berettatoter is offline Senior Member
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    Well, for the first time I would say you did pretty good. Keep up the practice, and it will start to seem as easy as breathing.

  13. #12
    elitherev's Avatar
    elitherev is offline Junior Member
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    berettatoter thank you. I hope so. I just purchased my first firearm - Ruger 22/45 Lite - and the guy at the gun store gave me a free 1/2 hour at their indoor range - which looks so modern and clean compared to the first one I went to. I hope to be able to build up enough courage to go back tomorrow and cash in the time. He was really cool and knowledgeable and the Lite version will be much easier on my hands while I build up more comfortability with the firearm and strength in my arms. I feel quite nervous but I am glad I am going forward with this. I would like to get better with practice and I think this is a great way to begin.

  14. #13
    berettabone is offline Banned
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    My wife had never fired a firearm before I took her to a range...her first time was with a 9mm Beretta....she actually did very well from 25 yards....I believe that it is a proven fact, that women can point and aim better than most men.........something to do with physics.......keep it up!!!!!!

  15. #14
    rex
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    I never realized you were female in your other post,that makes a little more sense with the arm strength you mentioned.

    You did real well there and seem to be pretty consistant between all 3 guns there,you can definately ruin a bad guy's day with that.Don't worry though,the jitters will go away soon as you become more comfortable.I've found most women can be very good shots because you don't have the macho or testosterone thing going on,which seems to cause you to listen and learn a bit easier than men.

    You're doing good,keep it up

  16. #15
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is offline Senior Member
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    Elaine;
    Here's a trick that worked for my wife, Jean. (She is less than five feet tall, and weighs 90 pounds fully dressed and sopping wet.)
    Get one five-pound dumbbell.
    Grasp it in your strong-side hand, and fully extend your arm downward. Lock your elbow and your wrist.
    Now lift the dumbbell, arm still locked, straight out in front of you. Lift it all the way to shoulder height.
    Stop and hold it there for as long as you can, maybe to the count of three (or five), and then slowly let it down (arm still locked).
    Rest for the count of three (or five) and do it again.
    Repeat until your arm is tired (even if that's just twice), and then do it only one more time.
    Now do the same thing with your support-side hand and arm.
    Do this entire exercise once a day. No more than once a day, please.

    The next time you go shooting, you will be pleasantly surprised at how lightweight your pistol has become.

  17. #16
    rex
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    To add to Steve's post,the grippers like the Ironmind banner at the top of the page work well for your hands.Usually you can find a cheaper version at Wallmart or large sport shop and sit watching tv squeezing it.Somewhere I saw one thet looked like a bar withspring loaded plungers for each finger but I have no idea where I saw it.The nice thing about it was you could isolate your trigger finger from the rest and work it separately,your natural tendancy is for all your fingers to tighten as you squeeze your index finger.It's called milking the grip and will cause you to pull shots low.You're probably getting close to information overload by now but don't worry,everything will fall in place in time.

  18. #17
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rex View Post
    ...I saw one thet looked like a bar withspring loaded plungers for each finger...The nice thing about it was you could isolate your trigger finger from the rest and work it separately[. Y]our natural tendancy is for all your fingers to tighten as you squeeze your index finger. It's called milking the grip...
    ...It's called the Gripmaster, and both Jean and I use the medium-strength (red) version.
    Click on: Welcome to Gripmaster hand strengthening machine

  19. #18
    FNISHR is offline Member
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    Elaine,

    Steve and Rex have given you good advice. I think your groups look very good for your experience level. Fatigue is an issue with most of us, including a friend of mine who was for many years an Army Ranger. You just train for it and keep shooting. The range is nothing to be intimidated about. If it has a good instructional staff it will be supportive and comfortable and you will progress there much faster than you would out on a farm somewhere.

    Keep it up and enjoy.

  20. #19
    plp
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    I think you did very well, wish my first trip out had looked that tight. You have a good instructor and are a good student, and have an advantage over a lot of folks with being intimidated at the range.

    Any situation where you may have to defend yourself is going to be very stressful, being able to function under pressure is what separates the good from the great.

    I'd recommend getting a .22 pistol of your own, my wife loves her Ruger SR-22 because it is lightweight and easy for her to hold with arthritic wrists. She cannot handle a lot of recoil and while it is a bit snappy compared to a longer, heavier target pistol it is still very manageable. Most important is she is not afraid of it due to lots of shooting time. .22lr is very affordable (although getting hard to find like pretty much everything else) and will make it easier on the budget to spend more time at the range.

    The more you shoot with proper instruction the better you will shoot. I am an amateur musician and have found the old adage, 'Practice makes perfect', is false. Practice makes permanent, and simply doing the same thing wrong repeatedly will not make you better. You obviously have a talent for it, develop it and see how far you can take it.

    I'd also recommend renting and trying out as many different calibers and types as possible. My sister in law was directed years ago to a .38 Special revolver as her home defense gun, never practiced because she hated the recoil. That is not known as a particularly high recoil caliber, turned out when she tried a larger framed revolver in the same caliber the extra weight worked much, much better for her. She is a small woman with weak wrists and now is able to shoot semi-automatic .40 S&W and 9mm with no failure to feed problems, usually caused by not controlling the handgun. It has taken months of practice to get to this level, but she is a smart woman and always wanted to be a better shot so she has worked at it quite a bit.

    I also had problems with the same pistol as she did, very thin grips and short barrel that felt like it wanted to jump out of my hand every time I pulled the trigger. My nephew loves it, is a stone cutter and has the hand strength to control it.

  21. #20
    grey-wolf's Avatar
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    Wow! for your first time out you did very well, keep practicing and you will be shooting lights out.

  22. #21
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    holy cr*p, first time at 25 feet - that's downright amazing. I would have been impressed if you said 15 feet

  23. #22
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    Welcome to the world of firearms! My gf and I go to the range regularly. Her favorites are the .22's, and especially now our new Sig which is about the same size and feel as a small 9. However, all it takes is practice, and patience, and you will be able to fire anything. She's pretty small, and can fire my .50 Desert Eagle no problem. You just have to get used to it. This past weekend at the range, 50% were women. It was more of a social outing for us - you're surrounded by people who all share your interest, and I would bet most like to talk about why they like their particular weapon. I got to try some new guns this weekend, and we all chatted and shared our guns. I look at being a bit nervous or self-conscious at the gun range as the same way I do at the gym - once you realize everyone there is only looking at themselves, it's all good lol!

    Cannon

  24. #23
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    Awesome job Elaine! Perfect practice makes perfect.

  25. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by elitherev View Post
    berettatoter thank you. I hope so. I just purchased my first firearm - Ruger 22/45 Lite - and the guy at the gun store gave me a free 1/2 hour at their indoor range - which looks so modern and clean compared to the first one I went to. I hope to be able to build up enough courage to go back tomorrow and cash in the time. He was really cool and knowledgeable and the Lite version will be much easier on my hands while I build up more comfortability with the firearm and strength in my arms. I feel quite nervous but I am glad I am going forward with this. I would like to get better with practice and I think this is a great way to begin.
    Aww, don't be nervous about shooting...it is supposed to be fun. Don't put undo stress on yourself. Just practice sight alignment and trigger squeeze and you will do fine.

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