Why every new shooter needs a 22lr

I went to the range last night and in the lane next to me were two college age women, one had just purchased a Glock 43 for defense. The RO gave them some basic advice, but they were two magazines in and the flinching was already getting worse.

I see this play out over and over, and as much joy it brings me to intervene to help, I want to shake the sales people who dosen't tell them that they need to learn on a 22lr.

I did the same thing with these ladies, that I have done dozens of times. I ask if they would like a little help, give a few instructions and put a 22lr with red dot in their hands. Instantly they go from fear and frustration to having fun.

So, here is what the sales person should tell new shooters.

You have to learn to handle recoil by working your way up to it.

Once you make flinching a habit, it is hard to break.

Flinching is caused by more recoil / noise than you are ready for.

The smaller the cartridge, the less the recoil and noise.

The heavier the gun the less the recoil.

A full sized gun you can get a good grip on, has less felt recoil.

A 22lr pistol like the Ruger MkIV or Browning Buckmark is the quietest and least recoil you can get.

Red Dot sights are fantastic for getting first time shooters into the center of the target. This builds confidence and quickly gets them trying to get their groups smaller.

Once you have mastered the 22lr and know what you are capable of, it is time to practice dry firing your normal pistol. It is important to practice building muscle memory and focusing on not shaking the pistol. I have people put a spent 22lr case on top of the slide and try to not, knock it off. The focus is for two reasons, it does teach trigger control, but more importantly it gives the mind a habit of focusing on the trigger and sights rather than recoil.

Then it is finally time to go to the range with your centerfire pistol. This is not only the difference between becoming a good shooter or not. It is the difference between leaving the range frustrated and afraid of your pistol or happy and confident. The frustrated person may never come back.

Many ranges rent 22lr pistols, ammo is 1/5 the cost of 9mm or equivalent. Remember that the most expensive part of being a shooter is the ammo, not the firearm. I shoot about 200-300 rounds each range trip. When I shoot 22lr instead of centerfire, I save about $100.

Last advice is get coaching, you can pay for, but I have always found that experienced shooters are happy to share if asked. Just look around to see who the best shooters are and make friends.

You can also look into Project Appleseed which has started doing pistol events this year. If you don't know them, they are a not for profit that teaches marksmanship with volunteers and is very cheap for the quality of instruction. They are mostly known for their 22lr rifle events.

Understand that there is a lot to being a good shooter, being acclimated to you pistol is the beginning. Now you can learn how to shoot without distraction.
Old School
The best upgrade for you firearm is always instruction and practice.

Re: Why every new shooter needs a 22lr

What about us old farts? Are we allowed to enjoy 22s as well?
My Remington 241 takedown.
My Remington 241 takedown.
An additional suggestion is to start introductions with a 22 rifle. They are far quieter and at beginners range really build confidence quickly and sooth initial concerns like recoil and noise.
To be vintage it must be older than me!
Stories coming to you from Deep South Texas!
The next gun I buy will be the next to last gun I ever buy. PROMISE!

Re: Why every new shooter needs a 22lr

Yep, .22's should be the way everyone learns how to shoot.
I remember growing up and going to NRA Junior Marksmanship classes in the early 60's. Dad said if I wanted my own real gun I should join and get properly trained. Back then the range scheduled the whole day for kids. Graduating to larger calibers was easy after proper training.
Course I already had my Daisy BB gun and could hit a lizard on the run. Poor lizards didn't have a chance. I had a BB target trap I would spend hours practicing on.
Adults getting into gun ownership outta do the same, maybe start with a BB gun. hehehe
Redneck Liberal This Is The Way

Re: Why every new shooter needs a 22lr

Doesn't everyone need a .22? Or three?

Back to that point about new shooters and developing a flinch - every new shooter needs ear protection. No, better ear protection than that.

You're spending hundreds on a firearm and probably hundreds more on ammunition and accessories. The one way your weapon is guaranteed to injure you and anyone nearby is through hearing damage. This is the one place you absolutely don't want to skimp. Doesn't matter how comfortable you re with a .22 - moving up to something like .357 or .45 is a lot louder. Hearing protection that was fine for smaller powder charges will leave your ears ringing in a service caliber. Double up. You'll enjoy shooting more, it will help avoid developing a flinch, you'll get better faster - and you might be able to hear things thirty years down the line.

Re: Why every new shooter needs a 22lr

Yah, my first gun was a .22 rifle. My idiot father didn't want me to have a BB gun, lest I consider it a toy. And then he did exactly nothing to instruct me or see that I got instruction. When I started high school, I joined the ROTC unit, and learned there.

One of the important lessons I learned in high school ROTC was that I'm not the right sort of person to be in the military, and about that time, my folks divorced (one of the wiser things my mother ever did was divorce that clod). After that point, I lacked interest in firearms, and the rifle fell into neglect.

Over the last few years, my wife and I have been seeing the trends and decided last year that if we needed to use firearms in the future, the time to get them and learn to use them is well before we need them. She didn't start with .22, but with 9mm in a Sig P365XL, but she had fired something years ago (I know not what--her father had been Air Force SP).

Neither of us has had any real problem with recoil, but we are outliers to your point.

She doesn't seem to consider shooting a recreational thing, even though most of her shooting is with intent to make smaller groups on the target. We haven't done a lot of drills for gun fighting, which is quite different than punching stationary paper targets while standing still.

I, on the other hand, have found some pleasure in shooting, and the .22 lever-action rifle will appear in the collection in the next few days.
Eventually I'll figure out this signature thing and decide what I want to put here.

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