It's my 5 year anniversary and, traditionally, that means paper. I bought the wife some targets. I also bought her a Walther p22 with the 3.4" barrell.
I looked at the SIG Mosquito, which fit my hand better, but remember I wasn't buying a gun for me. Also, there were many other luger-looking options and strange looking target pistols out there but I wanted something more conventional and comparable to the firearms we already own.
With the new Walther and pink softcase concealed in my shooting bag we went out to the range in what was to be my wife shooting some of my firearms to see if she liked it. Having never fired a weapon, she was very surprised to recieve one to call her own.
We covered basic firearm safety: Every gun is loaded, don't aim at anything you aren't willing to shoot and keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot. We also discussed some range safety like target identification, knowing what's behind the target and when/how to tell if it is safe to go down range.
Once we covered that, she got to handle the weapon. We touched on safing and clearing the weapon. We also covered general terms and part identification. I showed her how to load the magazine, which was very easy thanks to the slide button on the side.
She fired nearly 200 rounds though it and a many rounds through a couple of other weapons. She is now hooked.
Despite the hundreds of options for someone's first gun, I think the Walther P22 is the perfect starter gun for several reasons:
1) Same action/operation as it's big brothers, learn common firearm terms and principles on one gun as they are applied to many
2) Hammer block safety is good for practicing trigger control without striking the firing pin
3) Small grips, by the time my wife graduates to a larger caliber my 3 young children will be able to learn, practice and shoot all day!
4) Cheap ammo!
5) Cheap ammo!
"You said cheap ammo twice."
"I know, I like cheap ammo."
I know people will disagree for many reasons but this worked for my wife. Her first day of shooting included many misses but as the rounds flew closer and closer to the bullseye she became more and more intent on focusing and squeezing the trigger, all while continuing to practice safety that she had learned earlier.
I think anyone who owns a firearm needs to find someone who doesn't, and take them shooting. I was exicted to share what my dad shared with me years ago, I was excited to see the look on my wife's face as she progressively shot better throughout the day, I was excited that I hit a homerun for an anniversary gift, but most of all, I was excited because she was excited.