This weekend my wife and I went out to the family farm to celebrate my father-in-law and my birthday (we do joint celebrations, it’s a long drive). I also brought a pile of guns with me, since having access to 500 acres and a perfect backstop (giant pile of dirt) was too much to pass up.
For targets, I brought a bunch of the Shoot-‘n-See targets – the kind where the round hits and the target “explodes with color” or somesuch, making it easy to see where your round hit. However, my best idea was snagging a bunch of clays to use, because nothing is better for newbies than reactive targets. Soda cans, steel ringers, or clay birds, my new theory of teaching is based around the fact that if the shooter can see or hear their hit immediately and get that feedback right away, they’re going to enjoy the sport a lot more.
The shooting was a big hit, my father in law, sister in law, her fiance, and my wife all had a pretty good time. After my sister-in-law and her fiance went back inside, the three of us had a little fun throwing the clays by hand and trying to nail them with the .410 shotgun I had brought along. While doing this, I discovered that Mrs. Ahab appears to have a natural gift for the shotgun. Now, again this was with hand thrown clays, but once she got dialed in (it took 2 shots) she broke 10 straight clays without a miss, using 2 1/2 inch .410 rounds with like half an ounce of shot.
The best part of it is that once she starting breaking clays, she loved it. The good hits where the bird would just blow apart under the shot would elicit a giggle from her, which resulted in me not shooting my shotgun very much. I’m not complaining, even a little bit, since she now wants to get a good 20 gauge with a nice recoil pad and start shooting trap. You should have seen the big old grin on my face when she said she’d be interested in continuing with the sport.
So, I’m putting an erstwhile training program in place. We’ll start with hand thrown clays, then move up to ones thrown with the sling-thing that I have, and after she feels comfortable with those, we’ll move it up to actually shooting trap from the booths. From there, who knows? Maybe she’ll starting shooting IPSC matches or something crazy like that.