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  • Writer's pictureKat H

A gun alone, can’t hurt you.

Many people handling a firearm for the first time or entering a range or gun store are overwhelmed, but firing a gun or being near a fired weapon can be down right daunting. The natural instinct to duck away, flinch, prepare to run or fight when a sudden loud noise occurs can be mortifying to some people and can prevent them from working through that reaction and gaining such awareness and confidence as can be had with learning to safely harness this machinery.


New shooters are always embarrassed about flinching on the range, but if you had never handled a firearm and didn't flinch standing there, hearing gunshots ring around you, I would be worried. The trick is to understand and convince your body that you are safe, YOU are in control. As long as you treat every weapon as if it is loaded, keep the muzzle pointed away from anything you are not willing to destroy, be aware of your surroundings/situation/target area and keep the last "safety"- your finger- off the trigger until you are ready to obliterate your target, then the gun WILL NOT hurt you.

I have seen new shooters fire one shot and then quickly set the gun down shaking and trembling. Trying to load and unload a magazine without picking it back up to do so and then doing it gingerly as if it would bite them. This is all normal and expected in a new user and nothing to be concerned about, unless you cannot get through it with a good coach. If you continue to look at this inert piece of metal and plastic as a deadly rattlesnake, you will be the one to fumble and cause harm. It will not fire on its own laying untouched on the table. It will not fire if you do not put your finger on the trigger.

That all being said, it is the most amazing feeling as both an instructor and a student, to go from jumping at each report of a firearm and closing your eyes, to holding steady front sight on target, breath controlled, stance and grip secure and hit the central target with all shots even at 30 feet in your first hour on a range.

The confidence this can give you in your own ability to handle your fear, to manage a situation, to defend yourself in the proper context is IMMEASURABLE. And also the reason I want to ensure that everyone out there willing to learn has a chance to do so, safely and comfortably at their own pace.

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