Friday, November 19, 2010

Start small and work up with handguns, or start large and go larger?

David Fessenden at Tactical Gear offers a good primer on training in the use and carry of concealed-carry guns.

I can't say I agree with everything he writes, particularly his negative opinion on starting a novice shooter on a .22 pistol.

In the NRA Basic Pistol classes I've taught, I've started new shooters on .22 pistols and shown them they can hit what they aim at, always a good start.

And from there I've moved them up to 9mm, .357 Sig and .45 ACP with no problems in the same class over the span of about four hours at the range, beginning with bench rest and moving up to standing two-handed.

But Fessenden makes some good points so it's worth your time to read what he has to say.
For the selection of a concealed carry weapon, many instructors will advise their students to purchase a .22 Long Rifle pistol and train up to a larger caliber firearm. The thinking here is that the student will adjust to the lower noise, recoil and shock of this smaller caliber handgun and will eventually be comfortable enough to move up to the larger caliber pistol with ease.

I view this as a colossal waste of time and money. I prefer to advise my students to bring a .38 Special revolver or 9mm, .40 S&W, .38 Super or .45 ACP semiautomatic to start the class. We teach the student how to properly and safely control and manage the recoil and push of the weapon, even when firing the multiple target drill. This is done with the application of proper stance and grip instruction in an acceptable period of time, usually just a few hours. Students quickly become very confident with their marksmanship and gun handling skills.

Any concerns about noise and recoil quickly are forgotten. I’ve taught many women without any prior firearms training or experience how to shoot a Glock Model 23 in .40 S&W with ease and precision, and after several hours they have openly thanked me for insisting that they start out with the weapon that will, in all likelihood, end up being their carry weapon.


Mulliga said...

I agree; from personal experience, it's best to have new shooters start with the .22 (not actually purchase one, but start shooting with one) and work their way up.

.22s do have their place. There are some people who simply cannot tolerate the recoil of a regular gun (mostly elderly folks).

netfotoj said...

That's my view exactly. I keep three 22 pistols for students to use. And after they get the basics of stance, sight picture, grip and trigger control, I move them on up to "serious" calibers.

Of course I also think every gun owner should have at least one good 22 pistol and rifle. But that's not a given for new shooters.