New Shooters!

Took colleague DeAnna and her 16-year-old daughter Dakota to the range today to try out the Hi Point 9mm carbine I'm reviewing. Both are avid bowhunters, but have never handled a firearm. DeAnna owns a Ruger LCP, which she has only fired twice because she found the recoil unpleasant. After a little instruction, she was fine:


I started both mother and daughter off on KatyBeth's Smith & Wesson M&P 15, and then moved to the Hi Point carbine. After that, they shot the Walther P22, the Kahr CW9, and my officer-length 1911. Shot half a box of ammo through DeAnna's LCP, too.

A couple of my basic shooting premises were confirmed:

  1. A carbine is easier for a novice to master than a pistol. Both girls had no problem chewing a ragged hole in the target at 30 feet (albeit with a few cheap holographic sight malfunctions), and their best handgun groups were easily three or four times that size at half the range.
  2. A microcompact handgun or snubby revolver is not – repeat NOT – a ladies' or beginners' gun, any more than a .410 shotgun is an appropriate choice to introduce your kid to wingshooting. They are expert's weapons. DeAnna now carries a weapon she can't shoot, and when asked which gun they'd rather have, a steel-framed 1911 in .45 ACP or a Ruger LCP in .380, both girls chose the 1911 without hesitation.

So much for "Girls can't handle a man's gun." Ladies, if Cletus at the gun counter steers you toward anything with a short barrel, rudimentary sights and pink grips, leave the store and go buy a gun from someone who isn't an idiot. Guys, if you're thinking of buying the female in your life a weapon, stay away from the microcompact semi-autos and snubby revolvers.

As a matter of fact, don't buy them a gun at all.

Instead, take them to the range, get them some competent instruction, and let them shoot a bunch of guns. Then, surprise them with a gift of the pistol they liked best.

DeAnna and Dakota

You're much more likely that way to create an avid shooter who wants to go to the range with you, instead of one who hates shooting and resents it when you go.