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Education / Training Teach me to shoot: Part 17

Teach me to shoot: Part 17

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12
Part 13
Part 14
Part 15
Part 16

You will notice ads embedded in the blog today. This is something that was planned with the upgrade, but was held off until now, since the blog issues are finally resolved. Play nice!

This is the continuing fictional saga and guest report of a man teaching a woman to shoot.

Our guest writer is reader, Jack Cooper. Take it away, Jack.

Teach me to shoot

by Jack Cooper

This report covers:

Karen is up to speed
Long distance
Open sights
She gets it
Longer range
Playing card
BB speaks

Jack’s wife, Jill, is teaching one of her patients, a lady named Karen, how to shoot. Up to this point they have covered gun safety, aiming with a peep sight and Karen has shot the Daisy 499 BB gun.

Karen is up to speed

Jill left the 499 with Karen after their first session and today Karen showed her several targets in which all of her BBs are in the black bullseye of a 5-meter BB gun target. Jill told her that was good enough and today she would move back to 10 meters and shoot a pellet rifle.

Karen is small, so Jill brought Jack’s Diana model 23 pellet rifle. It’s small, lightweight and easy to cock, and it is also quite accurate at 10 meters.

Long distance

When they set up a 10-meter range Karen said she didn’t know if she could shoot that far accurately, but Jill told her she already was doing it. “If you can keep all your shots on the bullseye at 5 meters with the 499, you will have no trouble shooting this pellet rifle at 10 meters. But we are going to start out with something that is easier.”

She then asked Karen to set up her card table, on which she placed a thick book and a sandbag on top of that. Then they sat down to discuss the sight picture.

“This rifle has different sights than the 499 that you learned on. Let’s see how they work.”

Open sights

So Jill drew a sight picture that showed the sights as they are used for sporting purposes. “When you shoot the rifle for sporting purposes, like plinking at tin cans, this is how to hold the sights. That bead on top of the front sight goes in the center of your target and you adjust the sights to hit at that spot.

“When you shoot at targets like we are going to, then you hold the top of the front bead level with the top of the rear sight notch like this. Put the bullseye on top of the front bead, so it looks like a snowman or the figure 8. And when you want to adjust the sights, move the rear sight in the direction you want the pellet or bullet to go.”

sight picture
The sight pictures with open sights.

She gets it

Karen caught on right away and they started shooting with the rifle laid on top of the sandbag. Her first group of five shots were all in the 9 and 10-rings of a 10-meter rifle target. She was astounded. “Wow! I’m hitting the target from way back here!”

To which Jill responded, “Yes. And now that you know that, you know that the distance to the target doesn’t make any difference. Your groups will be larger as the distance increases but if your rifle is sighted in, distance doesn’t make much difference. You needed to know that before we got to handguns.”

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After Karen made several small groups, Jill had her stand and shoot offhand. She remembered the shooter’s stance from her time with the 499, so she got into a good position and then noted, “This rifle is even smaller than the BB gun. Where do you find small guns like this?”

Jill told her that Jack had a small collection of airguns and many were small like the Diana 23 they were shooting. “Jack says a gun doesn’t have to be large or heavy to do a good job. He has a couple firearms that are large, but they recoil too much for me and I don’t shoot them.”

Now Karen shot offhand at the same 10-meter targets. Her groups were larger and some of the pellets hit outside the bull, but she was still hitting close to where she intended. “It’s harder to stay on target when I hold the rifle, but when I concentrate I see that I can still hit close to where I want to.”


That remark caused Jill to wonder whether Karen remembered her earlier safety training. So on the next shot when she saw Karen had drawn down and was ready to shoot, she called, “Cease fire!” A second later, Karen shot the rifle. That was what Jill had anticipated.

So, when Karen lowered the rifle they had a long talk about safety. What if Jill had seen something unsafe, like Karen’s dog about to jump up on the table where the bullet trap was? Karen admitted she hadn’t thought of that. She was concentrating on that shot and just wanted to get it off. After a long talk Karen understood why the cease fire command has to be obeyed instantly and every time.

Longer range

Now Jill had Karen move the target and bullet trap into a closet at the end of a hall just off the living room.  If the shooter stood at the front door she was 63 feet (21 yards) from the target. Instead of a 10-meter rifle target Jill put a single 10-meter pistol bull on the backer board held by the bullet trap. Now Karen shot offhand from this distance and had to adjust the rear sight to get the pellet up into the bull. But when she did she kept 9 out of 10 pellets in the black bull. She shot three targets, keeping them all in the black on the last one. Then Jill had her stop.

Playing card

Jill went down to the target and taped a playing card to the backer board. Then she came back and had Karen take aim at the bottom of the card. After five shots she stopped her and they both went forward to see that all five pellets had hit the playing card!

“When you started learning I told you that you would be able to hit a playing card five times at 45 feet and you just laughed. You just hit a playing card five times straight at 61 feet. That’s after only two actual shooting sessions!”

“Well, Jill, the way you taught me to stand, it’s hard to miss, even at this distance. The rifle stays real steady and as long as I hold it up and use the sights, it’s hard to miss. I hope a handgun will be this easy.”

“It will and it won’t. A handgun can move side to side easier than holding a rifle, because you hold it with just one hand.”

“I thought you used two hands to shoot a handgun. That’s what I see on TV.”

“Oh, we’ll get to that. But first you’ll hold it with just one hand so you learn the best way to stand, just like with the rifle”

“I will say this. When I shot my uncle’s pistol it hurt my hand a lot. I hope this isn’t going to be like that.

“Not to worry. One of the big reasons I agreed to teach you how to shoot is because a boyfriend of mine did the same thing to me. But when Jack taught me, we went up in power progressively. You’ll be surprised how easy it is when you do it that way.”

“The whole reason I want to learn is so I can get a handgun for self protection. I just hope the gun I’m able to handle is right for that.”

BB speaks

I have an older kid coming over with his father to learn to shoot. He watched my Royal Ranger marksmanship class a few weeks ago and asked if he could shoot after the kids were finished. It was the first time he had ever shot anything, and he seemed to like it a lot. He then asked me to teach him to shoot.

So, what I wrote about in the report today was to get myself mentally prepared to teach a brand new almost adult shooter.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

29 thoughts on “Teach me to shoot: Part 17”

  1. The hardest part of shooting off hand(single handed 10 meter style) is the wobble.
    How did Jill teach Karen to deal with that?

    PS small gun or large gun, they all wobble!

    • Yogi,

      all this technological progress, but they still can’t make guns that don’t wobble 🙂

      What I noticed recently was that with pistols and open sights, I still focus too much on the wobble. Yes, it looks annoying, but for me, the far greater problem seems to be sight picture and trigger technique.

      If I let the wobble be wobble and focus on sight picture and trigger pull, I tend to get better results than when I focus *really* hard on holding the pistol still.

      I think this is pretty much common knowledge, but there’s still a difference between what you think you’re doing and what you’re really doing 🙂


    • Siraniko,

      is using two eyes with open sights something that everybody can do (and should do)? My understanding is that it works for some people, but doesn’t for others.

      I tried it and if I focus on the sights with my right eye and then open my left eye, I can *barely* keep the sight picture visible. But this seems to take up so much of my mental capacity that I can’t really focus on the actual shooting 🙂


      • Stephan, I suspect much of the difficulty is that you are used to shooting with one eye closed. You have to reprogram your brain, and that takes practice. I have the same issue, and I can tell you it can be done with practice. Keeping both eyes open has a few benefits: better peripheral vision (especially when hunting), and it will actually help your shooting eye see better and with less fatigue, especially with a peep sight. Here’s a couple of cheap tricks to ease you into practicing with both eyes open. RidgeRunner once told me to wear a hat and tape a strip of paper to the brim so it hangs down in front of your off eye. If you wear glasses, and you should be wearing shooting glasses anyway, you can use a piece of tape on your off eye lens. Scotch “Magic” tape works great because it is translucent. In a pinch, I run my finger through what is left of my hair and plop a big fingerprint on my left eyeglass lens right in front of my left eye and my right eye just takes over.

      • Yes, keep both eyes open. Easy, peasy, if your aiming eye is your dominant eye. If not, you need to block or occlude the non- aiming eye. You can use a piece of tape on the lens of your glasses. I have also smeared Vaseline on the lens. Messier, but it does help. I have a flip down shade that clips on my glasses frame. They all work. The key is to keep both eyes open for best vision.

  2. BB,
    The ad wasn’t bad. I can live with that. This is really not a bad little saga. I have relearned a few things and managed to pick up a few pointers along the way. I do use my beaded sights different from you, but this is a good way.

    Long distance
    Then they say (sat) down to discuss the sight picture.

    Playing card
    After five shots she stopped he (her) and they both went forward to see that all five pellets had hit the playing card!

    P.S. I am still not getting email notifications.

    • RR,

      Dang! I had scoped out a drive to the Gun Show. It’s about 6 hours drive time from home. Do-able in one day with sufficient coffee in the driver. However, I just realized that the 10th is our eldest Grandson’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor. I would not miss that for a dozen Gun Shows. The rank order of things in life places the Gun Show far below Aidan’s formally receiving the Eagle Scout award toward which he has worked for so long.

      To those attending: please take notes and photos to share with those of us who are unable to be there in person. Thank you.


      • From a former Cub Scout who barely managed to learn to tie knots – attendance at your grandson’s Eagle Scout ceremony overrides pretty much everything else. Congratulations to the young man!

  3. “So, what I wrote about in the report today was to get myself mentally prepared to teach a brand new almost adult shooter”
    That is so cool; I pray it works out great and he becomes a shooter!
    Take care & God bless,

  4. B.B. For what it is worth, I do not like ads embedded in the text of your blog. I would rather have the ad at the top or at the bottom in the usual place. I find it frustrating when ads are strategically placed for me to accidentally click on them while I am trying to scroll past them. But an ad where I have indicated below, would be more agreeable.

    I would add that I would be more likely to click on it if it is the first thing that I see rather than if I am reading your blog and it is interrupting the flow.

    • Roamin,

      For what it is worth, I agree. And also for what it is worth, I believe you have accidentally disclosed the “secret” of why the ad is placed where it is. It ain’t for better visibility. It’s for, as you so eloquently stated, “… ads are strategically placed for me to accidentally click on them while I am trying to scroll past them.”

      You broke the code! 😉

      Does that mean “they” will change where the ads are placed? I don’t suppose it does. But at least now we know. 😉

      Sorry, I’m not making fun of you. I’m just admitting what we all knew but didn’t want to say.


      • No offense taken, sir. I have an app that is called Word Cookies, and when you finish a puzzle, it tells you your score and there is a button to go to the next level. Well, they time it just right so that when you read your score and go to tap on that button, an ad pops up at that precise moment and you click on the ad, which of course takes you to a completely different website! THAT is annoying. I know it is not the button triggering the ad because I have learned to wait for the pop up, X it out, then click the button for the next level. But honestly, with my new addiction to airguns and this blog, who has time for word cookies?

  5. Sorry, I’m NOT pleased with advertising imbedded in the blog.

    We suffered the teething problems with the new blog format (when the old one worked fine for years) just so advertising could be added?

    I know that we have to thank Pyramyd AIR for this blog and I do appreciate that. But, I don’t think that the tiny increase of product exposure gained by inserting ads into the body of the blog is worthwhile. There is lots of room in the margins – why not there?

    Don’t know, guess that I cherished that the blog was a small, quiet place on the internet where advertising wasn’t shoved in your face.

    One ad is not bad but I doubt that it will stay that way. YouTube videos started with one ad and now there are two ads to start then others every couple of minutes. Puts me off. I haven’t watched television for decades because of all the advertising.

    To Pyramyd AIR, I know your site well as I check your products often. I frequently follow the links Tom imbeds in the blog because they lead me to something I am specifically interested in. I don’t need to have random products pushed at me.

    I support (with guest blogs) and promote the blog and Pyramyd AIR to people I meet because I believe this is the best place on the internet to educate new airgunners so that they can make purchases suitable to their needs.

    Again, sorry to react so strongly (and I am a bit surprised at my reaction) but I feel that the advertising commercializes a special place and that bothers me.


    • I wholehearted agree with EVERYTHING Hank said. I cherish this blog and B.B. and the “regulars” as well. I actually like the embedded links to products or other blog posts. I usually long-click on them, and have my phone open a new window or tab and then keep right on reading, and then go back and look at those pages separately (I have 55 open windows right now). That’s how I ended up with an order for the AirForce peep sight and lots of various kinds of pellets. And I don’t mind the ads at the bottom of the page, and I wouldn’t mind a narrow strip of an ad at the top of the page, just not right in the middle of the article.

      • Roamin and Hank,

        I can tell you this. “They” are watching today’s comments closely, to see what impact this is having. “They” care as much about this blog as all of you!


        • Tom,

          If Pyramyd AIR advertised their presence and the type of products they sell in a magazine or on the web or YouTube that would make (business) sense as they are reaching out to new potential customers.

          I am sure that most (if not all) of the people who read the blog are very aware of Pyramyd AIR and know how to find products they want to purchase.

          If Pyramyd AIR wanted to advise their customers about a special deal or a promotion I would welcome that (above or below or to the side) but not in the middle of the blog.

          IMHO, advertising specific products here is a waste of time, people will search for the items they need. The links you provide in the blog are excellent for those who are interested in the products being discussed.

          Personally, I never (deliberately) click on an advertisement pushed at me (in fact being a grumpy old guy I ignore them on principle) and get annoyed if I accidentally hit a link and get hijacked to somewhere I don’t want to be.

          Think that the blog attracts a huge amount of readers to Pyramyd AIR, the link to the website at the top of the blog is very convenient. I hope that Pyramyd AIR deems that it is enough.


          • Hank, I would differ with you. Many newbies (I am still one) found this blog by searching for info about airguns in general or about a specific one. And there are thousands of readers who never comment or ask a question. So there are readers from every experience level.

            I have started reading from the earliest post (May 2005) and going forward, and I know this is true. Check out all the questions on this post:
            452 comments! And many of them are new airgunners who just need a bit of guidance to get them started. So I would say advertising on this blog would be very effective. However, P.A. should balance the enjoyment of this blog versus over commercializing it. I think they are prudent to take baby steps and gauge the response. One way to do this is to embed something in the links to this blog that would tell them how much traffic comes to their website through the blog vs. Google, for example.

            Personally, I have a special place in my heart for P.A. I am the done of an immigrant so I really identify with the founder’s story, I live in NW PA. So I am close to their headquarters, and of course, I have found a “home” among friends in this blog.

            I would add that newbies like me are very grateful to get answers to questions from experienced airgunners such as yourself. It’s a great community to be a part of. I do not mean to be critical of your opinion in any way, but just to point out that this blog attracts brand new folks every day.

  6. While PA is watching and people are commenting on the new format,…. I did the Comment RSS this morning and there had been more than 20 comments overnight,…. so some I have missed and will not be going through the older blog to find them (this is VS the previous 100 comment limit).

    – I do get an e-mail when a reply is made to me,… so that is good.
    – I do not have to log in anymore to see the current blog or have the Comments RSS updated,……. so that is good.
    – I do not like the narrow format. Harder to make a long reply.
    – Ads?,………. no issue,…. yet. I would agree to put them at the bottom. No lack of ads elsewhere on the PA site. Do we really need them here?


  7. RE: More Pyramyd AIR Ads

    I respect that Pyramyd AIR is utilizing the internet to garner more business. They’ve reached an oversaturation point with me and I’ve been one of their biggest cheer leaders for years. It’s clear that this blog is sponsored by PA. The PA banner is the first thing you see at the top of every blog every day. The PA ad in the middle of the blog is over the top. Enough already

  8. B.B.,

    Moderation in blatant Advertisements is to be hoped for.
    If this blog is the Golden Goose I think it is then it is hoped that it continues to lay Golden Eggs for PA. Hopefully these recent changes by PA marketeers don’t simply lay an egg!

    I know the totally blunderbuss PA marketing emails got so THICK that I shut them OFF.


  9. I feel the addition of advertisements in the middle of the blog text is a disappointing development. I am much more likely to engage with advertising I don’t find intrusive. I humbly request the ads are kept out of the main body of the blog. Thank you

  10. I use that Pyramyd AIR logo to go between the blog and the site if I want to check something out. I never looked at it like it is advertising. And still don’t. I look at it as a tool.

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