Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Training "special" students. Shooting advice requested.

I invited one of my nephews to go shooting.

He does not come from a "shooting" family.  He is a senior at Michigan State University and he is studying to be in "media".  I told him that I owed him a quick education in firearms because he might report on them someday.  I also extended the invitation to anybody he thought might have a similar need to know.

He accepted instantly and already knows who he is going to bring.

Now what?

If you had the ability to go back in time and give the typical media "talking head" two or three hours of firearm training, what would you teach them?

Here is my first draft.  All comments will be appreciated.
  • Cooper's four rules of gun safety (Goal: Safety)
  • Shooting reactive targets (charcoal briquettes) with a .22 semi-auto at a distance where they have a +50% chance of hitting. (Goal: Fun, muscle memory, provide frame-of-reference)
  • Shoot 9mm semi-auto handgun at gallon milk jugs at same distance they were hitting charcoal briquettes (Goal: Introduce handguns, demonstrate inherent accuracy difference between handguns and long guns)
  • ---Edited to add--- Walk through copy of 4473 Form.  (Goal: Acquaint them with question 11, conditions that preclude legal gun ownership)---
  • Demonstrate relative difference in power by shooting gallon milk jugs filled with water:  .22LR, 9mm FMJ and 9mm hollowpoint, 12 gauge buckshot, 30-06 "high power rifle" (Goal: provide clear differentiation of different types of firearms so terms are not used indiscriminately when reporting.  Demonstrate why is might be necessary to shoot assailant multiple times with a handgun).
  • Back to shooting reactive targets.  "Sniper"  shooting little plastic figures.  (Goal: provide insight into snipers)
  • Shotgun drill, five jugs suspended at chest height from a clothes line at 5, 8 and 11 yards.  Light target loads. (Goal: Fun.  Increase "discrimination")
  • ---Break---    ---Break---   ---Break---
  • Pattern shotgun.  Buckshot loads (Goal: Debunk myth that buckshot does not require aiming, that it is a death ray)  Deleted in the interest of time
  • Demonstrate "trajectory" if range is long enough. Deleted in the interest of time.
  • Stationary Mackey Sagebrush drill (described below) (Goal: Demonstrate reasons for standard capacity magazines, demonstrate sensory occlusion, introduction to IDPA type shooting sports.)
  • ---Edited to add--- Stationary Mackey Sagebrush drill with other firearms, including AR if available.
  • Fire for familiarization, bolt action, pump, semi-auto, revolver.  Deleted in the interest of time.
  • Q/A and shoot up rest of ammo.
  • ---Edited to add--- Send students home with  "bullet boards" with mounted Handgun: .22LR, 380ACP, 38 Sp, 9mm, .357 Mag, 40 S&W, 45ACP....Long gun 22LR, .223 Rem, 7.62X39mm, 30-30 Win, .308 Win


Mackey Sagebrush drill

Mackey Sagebrush is the screen name of a law enforcement officer in Idaho.  This drill  attempts to demonstrate the advantages of semi-auto handguns with standard capacity magazines over reduced capacity magazines or revolvers.  Mackey's argument is that bad guys select encumbered victims.  It is easier to attack a man who is focusing on his family than it is to pick on a man who has undivided situational awareness.  A standard capacity magazine allows the defender to focus more on the targets than the mechanics of his firearm.

You are with your family enjoying a quiet meal at a restaurant near a shopping mall.  You see a disturbance in the parking lot. (Show footage of Reginald Denny beating.)  Loud music will be playing on the radio to add ambiance.

Your job is to walk away from the disturbance to your vehicle.  You will start at the top of the course.  You will walk backwards so you can keep an eye on the disturbance and stay between it and your family.  You will shoot anybody who threatens your family.

Five pop-up targets will have a "gun" stenciled on them.  Two will have a baby stenciled on them.

The course will be run first with a revolver.  Only hits count.  You die if you run out of bullets before you get to "safe".

Then the course will be run with the 9mm with the standard capacity magazines.

I really want to run this with "Dad" pushing a beach ball backwards with his feet to simulate a clingy/curious three year old child.

At end of drill I will ask participant what detailed questions about the "shooters" and what music was playing on the radio.  This is to demonstrate sensory occlusion caused by massive adrenaline dumps.


Lots of situational demonstrations.  Relatively little talk-at-them.  It will be a success if they learn firearm safety and have a little bit of fun.  Everything else is a bonus.

Do I have too much? Is it too complicated?

Your advice will be much appreciated.


  1. That sounds like a lot of fun, they will be busy! Be careful with recoil with the heavier calibers-an 06 may not seem like much but to a new shooter it might be.
    One thing to bear in mind, when they go back to school, and talk about what a great time they had, they may be in for severe criticism from the PC SJW crowd.
    Some mental armor may be useful to counter this .
    I had a young man close to the family go shooting for the first time with me, had a great time, lot's of enthusiasm, etc. I think he came from a no gun background. The next few times he came back from college his enthusiasm to go shooting was noticeably tempered and I have wondered if he got the treatment from people at his liberal college.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. I remember from coaching soccer, stand-around (aka, dead time) kills enthusiasm. I already plan to pull in some favors and get help. If that falls through, I will have the students shoot at reactive targets while I set up the next stage.

      They can invite the SJWs along for the return visit. Empowerment is viral,.

  2. Have them help set up the stage- tshooting, to them, will have the allure being introduced to a infinitely appealing yet forbidden cult- my guess is they will want to know everything about it, down to cleaning the guns at the end. Plus it gives some quiet time to talk stuff over.

  3. Could be too mch, depends on the shooters. Prioritize so you will know what to cull just in case. Sounds great!

  4. Shooting a handgun while pushing a beach ball and walking backwards seems like a recipe for getting someone hurt. If you fall backwards with a loaded handgun and hit your head you might well pull the trigger and shoot yourself in the foot or knee. After a lot of gun carrying and shooting experience keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction is nearly instinctive. Not so for newbies.

  5. Sounds like a busy day, and I'd prioritize if things needed to be dropped due to time/frustration factors. If you've got a 5.56 or can get one, I'd include it in the rifle/damage display. Wish I was closer, I'd love to help.

  6. Great comments from all.

    Mackey Sagebrush drill will be changed to a stationary drill. Targets will be milk jugs that will be pulled toward the shooter. Some will be OK to shoot, others will be innocents. Additional advantage of stationary drill is that it simplifies providing a safe bullet stop background. If this goes well, we may also run it with shotgun w/ Reddot scope and the .22 semi-auto and that may be the end of the session.

    I will work on finding an AR and somebody who can speak intelligently about it.

    Fire or familiarization will be simplified. Firearms will be laid out on picnic table and students will be offered the chance to shoot ONE of them.

    Patterning shotgun and trajectory will be dropped in the interest of time.

    Again, thanks to all who read this and took the time to make thoughtful comments.

    1. Shooting any kind of gun will likely make this poor child an addict to the Second Amendment in general and guns in particular. Don't bury yourself in the weeds in details, but do make sure he shoots a shotgun -- awesome gun -- and understands WHY people felt and still feel the need to shoot. Ask him to imagine what he would do if his girlfriend was being attacked and he had no means but his bare hands to defend her ... get real.

    2. Shooting any kind of gun will likely make this poor child an addict to the Second Amendment in general and guns in particular. Don't bury yourself in the weeds in details, but do make sure he shoots a shotgun -- awesome gun -- and understands WHY people felt and still feel the need to shoot. Ask him to imagine what he would do if his girlfriend was being attacked and he had no means but his bare hands to defend her ... get real.

  7. Just saw this post today. Hope I'm not too late.
    Have them shoot an AR-15. Demonstrate to them that an "assault rifle" is no different functionally than any semiauto rifle. Demonstrate that it's not a machine gun. Show them that the "high-powered" "assault rifle" is much lower-powered than the average deer rifle.
    Above all, don't expect too much. Always remember that a person will believe anything if his job depends on believing it.

  8. I like the idea of old 1811 to explain that what you have is not a machine gun and that a semi auto is no different in function of the trigger from a revolver as far as one pull one shot.

  9. Agree with the above two comments. If you can, get your hands on a wood stock ranch-style mini-14 plus a 'military look' AR then ask them which one is the 'assault' rifle. The answer, of course, is neither - there is no such thing except in the Leftist press, and both rifles shoot the same ammo, to boot.

    Have him shoot the .223 into the same target he just shot the .22LR and let him see the difference in the size of the holes. The truth will help drive into his head the point about the extreme bias and false narrative the media spins.

    Be safe, have fun, and don't cram too much into it. My bet is after lesson one, he'll be more than eager for lessons 2, 3 and 12.

  10. All the items you suggest are great! I do not know if you are a firearms instructor or not, but if you are not my first suggestion would be contact one you know and trust. You have a great amount of knowledge to have put this together, but having someone there who is used to teaching firearms can make a big difference. I am not far from Eaton Rapids and would be willing to help depending on the date. I have plenty of ARs and teach Defensive Handgun and Defensive Carbine classes.

    Also, You have the right thought process on starting them at ranges where a new shooter can hit the target. Realize this is different for every student and I start new shooters at a range where the average new hooter can hit the target 99% of the time and then move back from there. Shooting start in the mind and the experience is great if they find success at the start and then they feel great when they can start moving back. If you start out farther than they can hit, then you move them in, that is not a great experience.

    You have the exact right idea which every pro-gun person should be doing! invite someone who does not or has not had the opportunity to shoot before, to the range and show them a great time!

    "For God has not given me a spirit of fear; but of power, of love, and of a sound mind" Timothy 1:7

    1. I can also give them an education in "silencers" and let them shoot an AR with one on it.