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August 26, 2007

Jennifer's New CZ 452 Scout Rifle


Here we're training Jennifer to become a serial killer in the back yard. Life is good.


Jen showing off her bull's eye

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 26, 2007 at 1:47 PM


First, let me congratulate you and your daughter on the new rifle. The selection of a CZ rifle demonstrates your intelligence and foresight. This will be a rifle that she can teach her kids to use one day.

The following is some random thoughts about teaching new shooters (some of which I discussed with you that day). It's just my $0.02, so take it for what it's worth.

1) You did absolutely the right thing by providing Jennifer with "classroom" insruction before the range session, and making sure she understood the basics of safety, gun handling, operation, etc. before taking her to the range and putting a loaded weapon in her hands.

We've both been guilty of taking newbies to a shooting area and then trying to explain all of the important stuff to them. By then, it's too late -- a lot of the questions and answers should already have been out of the way. We're asking the student to absorb way too much information that we take for granted, with all the distractions of a live fire session thrown in the mix. Think about the time last year we took Ravi shooting.

Watching you work with her, and being able to help in my own small way, was a joy. By contrast, teaching newbies to shoot has been a frustrating experience (for me, and probably the new shooters), for which I have myself to blame.

Granted, the "learn to shoot at the last minute" has often been at the request/insistence of the student. But as a matter of personal policy, I'm not going to do that anymore. That should weed out the people who aren't serious, and save me a lot of grief.

2) Have the rifle sighted in for the load you are using ahead of time. Different ammo has different trajectories.

At 20 yards, the Aguila Super Colibri shot about a foot lower than the Remington Sub-Sonics and Wolf Match Target loads.

This is important if you're trying to teach somebody the relationship between the sight picture and point-of-impact. If the bullets aren't hitting where the shooter is aiming, then the lesson about sight picture is not reinforced.

Yes, adjusting the sights is an important lesson; but one that shouldn't be taught until much later -- after the student can understand and use the weapon's sights properly.

3) For new shooters, move them close enough to the target so they can consistenly hit what they're shooting at. If that distance has to be 15 feet instead of 15 yards, so be it. Granted, 15 feet is a ridiculously short distance for an experienced rifle shooter, but instructors shouldn't expect new students to have the skill level of an experienced shooter.

Instead, they should be concerned about eliminating as many sources of error as possible while building confidence. It doesn't help to make learning to shoot a frustrating experience for a newbie.

Once the student can master the short distance, then think about increasing the distance. Others have suggested "When you get so you never miss a fist-sized target at this range, don't change the distance, change the speed. See how quickly you can hit ten or six targets. If you start missing, slow down a little" [John Ross, "Defensive Firearms Advice for Those With No Experience"].

4) Make shooting fun. Punching holes in paper has it's value; especially to see where the misses are. And as somebody who enjoys shooting, I could shoot at paper targets all day. Or more realistically, about an hour before eye fatigue sets in.

But understand that it can be awfully boring for some people. Use some reactive targets that do something when shot. I've used pop cans, balloons, and water bottles in the past. I heard that charcoal briquettes make a nice dust cloud when shot. Anything that provides immediate feedback (and immediate gratification) can reinforce lessons better than repeatedly walking downrange to find the holes in the paper.

Posted by: Robert R. on September 7, 2007 at 2:20 PM


Thanks for helping us to pick out the CZ 452 and set up the targets. It was a hoot to shoot out back. We need to figure out how to put in a serious 100 yard range.

Posted by: Rob Kiser on September 7, 2007 at 9:11 PM

FYI: The CZ-452 Scout is now available in pink.

Posted by: Robert R. on March 7, 2009 at 1:41 PM

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