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gwendy85
10-02-2008, 09:24 AM
Hi guyz!

Just a question. How exactly do instructors teach students how to use a gun? By hovering over them, making sure the gun's gripped and aimed correctly and such? Because one of my characters is teaching his girl how to hold a gun, and this is a little romantic scene so I'm thinking of having him behind her the way guys teaching girls to play baseball would look.

Also, the setting is World War II, using World War II guns and rifles. Does that make a difference? What points do the instructors need to stress towards their students?

One last thing. During World War II, of course they had to save bullets. But does anyone know if during these training sessions, actual bullets were used and guns were indeed fired? Scenario would be training both troops and civilian volunteers.

Appreciate the input. Thanks :D

FinbarReilly
10-02-2008, 10:55 AM
1) Yes, privates in basic used ammunition. It's the only way to get them used to the kick of the rifle. I don't understand the term "civilian volunteers" in this context; the military would only only teach soldiers, and civilians wouldn't even be allowed on the firing range unless the military was showing off a new piece of ordinance (and even then the civilian wouldn't be allowed to fire it).

2) The way it'd taught (if you're going for a version of the learning to hit) is how to hold the gun correctly, holding your breath so your breathing doesn't mess with your shooting, and then squeezing the trigger. Once she has that down, then it's time to actually shoot targets, with maybe some instruction in how windage (allowing for the wind) works, and then leading the target (shooting where a moving target will be rather than where it is).

It can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour depending on how much is taught to how much fun they are having, and anywhere from a few bullets to maybe 20-30.

The only thing to remember is that the teacher would need to hold her loosely; otherwise you risk injury to the student.

FR

Mumut
10-02-2008, 11:07 AM
There would have to be a time actual bullets were used, at the end of their training. The only way to know how good a traqinee was, was on the firing range. Also with WWII rifles like the .303 the recoil was very heavy and it was essential to have the butt securely in the shoulder or you could hurt yourself.

For a rifle the different firing positions were shown; standing, kneeling, sitting, lying down. Each one is for a specific battle situation. Lying is preferred because the elbows are both on the ground and therefore steadier. For soldiers the positions were taught in relaxed circumstances then in an emergency where you'd have to fling yourself down but still attain the best position possible. And yes. After the explanation, demonstration and a lot of shouting everybody would take up the position on order and the NCO or Officer walk behind them and comment (read 'shout at') as necessary.

A pistol was also demonstrated before the learner takes on in hand but here I think you can have a situation where the teacher could have to stand behind the learner and reach around her body - to adjust how she was taking aim, of course. It was usual to take aim slightly above the target after breathing in then carefully bring the pistol down as you exhale, squeezing the trigger lightly so as not to jerk the gun to one side.

In WWII a pistol would have been used only by an officer, I believe. Foot soldiers carried rifles or submacine guns.

Puma
10-02-2008, 01:58 PM
There would (should) also be some basic gun safety - making sure the safety is on (if there was one, not sure about all WWII guns) until ready to fire, never carelessly pointing the gun at a person or object, never pointing the gun at a person unless she was willing to pull the trigger (and shoot the person), treating the gun with respect. There should also be time spent in how to load, how to clean, and how to clear jams. Hope that helps. Puma

dpaterso
10-02-2008, 03:03 PM
Agree with above, rifle drill comes first, how to handle the weapon safely, how to disassemble and re-assemble, how to clean, how to clear blockages. Then a trip to the firing range where live ammo will be issued. Weapons (especially older issue) need to be tested and their sights calibrated.

Then again, the amount of training probably depends on the location, and on how quickly the volunteer force needs to be organized and dispersed into the jungle (in the face of rapidly advancing enemy troops, perhaps?).

A thought: civilian volunteers already adept at handling firearms might be excused training or may become instructors for other volunteers, supervised by Army instructors.

-Derek

sheadakota
10-02-2008, 03:29 PM
My MC uses guns- lots of them- I never touched one, so I asked my neighbor, an active duty Army Ranger home on leave, if he would mind teaching me how to use a hand gun. He first showed me the weapon, broke it down, made me put it back togther (then made sure I did it right so it wouldn't blow up in my face!) Then showed me how to load it and THEN we went out to the firing range in his back yard - He showed me how to hold it, how to site it and how to fire it- he did not stand behind me and 'show' me how to do it, BUT this is not a touchy feely type of guy- he was all buisness. With that said I don't see why your guy couldn't sneak a little romance in while showing the girl how to site and hold the weapon.

Oh, in case your wondering- I would make a terrible soldier. I hit the target twice out of ten shots, the recoil hurt my wrists and the NOISE! Yikes!

jclarkdawe
10-02-2008, 04:24 PM
If she's being taught WWII pistol, the standard in the Army was the .45. This is not a ladies gun. Hell, it's barely a man's gun. You need to be a fricken gorilla to handle the thing. It has quite the kickback.

Depending on the size of your girl, and especially her hands presents problems. My daughter, who had temporary duty on guard, had a lot of problems with the 9mm. Her hand (she's five foot nothing and doesn't weigh a 100 pounds soaking wet) was too small for the handle. The gunnie who was working her finally came up with an approach within the Navy's guidelines but also that worked for her. It did involve a fair amount of touching as he worked to get her into a position that worked.

As her gun instructor, her uncle (retire Lt.Col. Army), and I kept telling her, for most people, you're more accurate throwing the damn gun at who you want to hit then trying to shoot. Hand guns are very hard to shoot accurately.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Perks
10-02-2008, 04:46 PM
I was taught by an ATF agent who scowled a lot and kept three feet of space between us at all times. I am a terrible shot. Perhaps I'd be better if he'd cuddled me through the process. Consequently, I chose a Mossberg 12 gauge as my favorite weapon. (It doesn't matter so much, your accuracy. Just point in the general direction and squeeze. Guaranteed to ruin someone's day without stressing my bionic eye.)

Chase
10-02-2008, 06:19 PM
I was a military firearms instructor, not during WWII, but preceding and during Vietnam. In both eras, there actually was a U.S. civilian marksmanship program, and its instruction was different.

Civilian students didn't typically memorize nomenclature and strip down and reassemble weapons as might be necessary in combat situations. Smaller classes familiarized them with the gun they would fire and its safe handling. It was often a .22 rifle or handgun until the student became more proficient.

I'm still an NRA home safety and personal protection instructor, and I would never let a complete neophyte start out shooting at large bore, a sure way to assure the student is embarassed and frightened and will hate guns forever.

After basic safety instruction would come lots of supervised gun handling and dry fire before shooting lighter loads.

I've never thought of myself as hovering, but I do want to be close enough to prevent a mishap. Yes, it can involve lots of touching to position arms and stance, and sometimes I notice a flush on the necks and faces of some female students, so I'm sure a touch or two could have been construed as "romantic." Ha ha ha, as Perks said, scowling a lot seemed to help as a buffer.

dpaterso
10-02-2008, 06:36 PM
I'm wondering if everyone's instruction techniques and gun choices might be a tad different if the Imperial Japanese Army's arrival was imminent, but I don't want to second-guess gwendy's story. :)

-Derek

kuwisdelu
10-02-2008, 07:11 PM
Well, my brother walked out into the desert, stuck an empty coke can securely on the branch of a dusty, fallen tree, came back, handed me his shotgun, and said "try and hit it."

RJK
10-02-2008, 08:06 PM
When I met my wife, her EX, a state trooper, taught her to shoot a .357 magnum. She was 5'9", a waitress, and strong enough to carry those big trays full of dinners. When I tried to teach her to use a .45 automatic, she wasn't strong enough to pull back the slide. I tried later with a 9mm and she was successful but it was a struggle. She opted for a revolver. That worked out fine.

As far as teaching her to shoot, it was all business. It is not a time to let your mind (or hands) wander when the other person has a loaded weapon in her hand.

Tsu Dho Nimh
10-02-2008, 08:07 PM
Well, my brother walked out into the desert, stuck an empty coke can securely on the branch of a dusty, fallen tree, came back, handed me his shotgun, and said "try and hit it."

I think we had the same brother ;)

************
On the saving bullets front, it's false economy to stint during practice and sighting in. If you are firing against a backstop you can retrieve the lead and reload the casings for more practice.

My dad physically put my hands and the rifle (a 30-30) into the right position for shooting, complicated by my being left-handed. The guy who taught me pistol (a cute Beretta, not my dad's 45 caliber) just told me to "point at the target as if the pistol is your forefinger" and squeeze the trigger. It's a reasonably accurate aiming for short range shooting, like when the bad guy is coming towards you.

Chase
10-02-2008, 09:57 PM
Ha ha ha, it seems everyone who's ever shot a gun (or had a brother who did) is an expert on instruction.

The campfire winner of pointing your finger is right up there with putting a comma where you take a breath. Everyone hears it, so it must be sage advice.

Actually shooting a gun with even marginal proficiency takes patient, knowledgable instruction and practice, practice, practice.

Where I'm far from the expert is the romance part of the question, but I do know a bond often develops between shooter and coach, so after-lesson emotional ties aren't completely far-fetched.

StephanieFox
10-03-2008, 12:06 AM
I had a private lesson in handgun use. (I hate them. It was for an article i was writing.) The instructor's biggest thing was safety, safety, safety.

vixey
10-03-2008, 12:24 AM
I've had 2 private lessons on a skeet shooting range and I've shot an M-1 Carbine (WW2 vintage).

Two things I didn't see mentioned here:

1. Ear plugs - It's very likely in your timeframe someone wouldn't have thought about it. But when that shot goes off you're deaf for a second.
2. Adding to gun safety - carrying the weapon 'broken' (if it's a break action shotgun that means draped over your arm where it 'breaks', hinged; and unloaded). If it's not break action, the ammo (don't now term) holder(?) is open and you hold the gun, barrel pointed down.

As to snuggling with the instructor - yes. In my case, I was on a skeet range and the instructor touched my hands to position them. He may have even put a finger on my chin to lift it up as I sighted the gun.

I used shot, not bullets, and we had to pick up the empty casings afterwards.

Good luck!

PS - I hit more clays than my husband!!

Chase
10-03-2008, 01:28 AM
PS - I hit more clays than my husband!!

I'd say you had a very successful day. If I remember skeet rules correctly, you were supposed to hit more clays than you were supposed to hit your husband. Even so, if he was running and dodging, I'll bet that all added to your day's score.

Linda Adams
10-03-2008, 01:36 AM
Actually shooting a gun with even marginal proficiency takes patient, knowledgable instruction and practice, practice, practice.



Definitely a lot of practice. When I was in the army, we were sent to the range once a year. Our "practice" was firing nine shots to zero the rifle, and then we qualified. I never did very well. All the NCOs kept trying to come up with the reasons why not (i.e., jerking the trigger, breathing at the wrong time), but I still think the reason was not enough practice!

FinbarReilly
10-03-2008, 02:24 AM
When it takes you nine shots to zero, there is definitely something wrong...then again, my best was 26/40....


FR

Linda Adams
10-03-2008, 02:43 PM
When it takes you nine shots to zero, there is definitely something wrong...then again, my best was 26/40....
FR

I never zeroed in nine shots. Usually we got 21 rounds, and often never zeroed in that, either. But then, the NCOs always insisted on going back to battle sight zero and would often reset the soldiers' rifles. When they did, I wouldn't even hit the paper. It often took all of those rounds just to get on the paper. By then, I had three or four people trying to analyze what was wrong with what I was doing, sending me to back to the trailer to practice with the machine, and all I did was end up tired and frustrated.

FinbarReilly
10-04-2008, 02:44 AM
That's impressive in a sad sort of way....

[For those of you wondering what's being discussed, after use a rifle's sight can become unaligned, causing the rifle to miss (adjusting for windage is the usal culprit, but there are issues). Every so often, you need to go out to the range and check on it. Thus, three shots are fired; the center of the group is calculated, the sights adjusted, and another three shots are fired. As you need two groupings with the same zeroing point, you either keep adjusting or you get your two groupings.

For most riflemen, it only takes six shots (each grouping only has to cover a space the size of saucer, or person's palm), and most riflemen take good enough care of their weapon that only two groups are needed. And, of course, there are some people that go through a bit more ammunition than that; I usually required about 12 shots. Good thing I was a tank-killer...]

FR

Tsu Dho Nimh
10-04-2008, 03:51 AM
The campfire winner of pointing your finger is right up there with putting a comma where you take a breath. Everyone hears it, so it must be sage advice.


Chase -
Using that method, and a small pistol, I can reliably hit the center of the torso of a man-sized target that is 30 feet away. And I can place the shots into a spread that I can cover with a salad plate. Perhaps it's not up to your standards for target shooting, but it would seriously inconvenience whoever I was shooting at.

gwendy85
10-04-2008, 02:32 PM
Hey! I was only gone for 2 days! Didn't realize there'd be so many replies! Thanks!!! I really learned a lot! Of course this means a lot of revisions, but then again, it'd of course make the story more realistic.

Wind. Breathing. Positioning. Check, check, check. AND SAFETY. Big check. Thanks ;) And thanks much for giving me the ideas abt the whole snuggling thing, haha. I guess the lessons are pretty much gonna fail for the most part, since the girl's gonna be too nervous and her instructor would rather be smiling than scowling haha

A few more things. I know from Resident Evil games (go figure) than .45 calibre handguns have just too much power (love using it with Jill Valentine, this gun kick's zombie a--) and I know for a fact this is too much for my girl, who's only 5'3" and slim (another character uses this but he's a guy and a soldier to boot, but not the same character as the instructor). I was thinking somewhere along the lines of .22, but then she needs to use this in a part that needs running and shooting...and ACTUALLY HITTING the targets. And may I add FATALLY? I'm gonna give her an unnatural ability with the gun. What would be the best gun in this case? By the way, she's not doing the chase. She's the one BEING chased.

By the way, her instructor's a first lieutenant. 18 years old. The only son of a colonel. So I guess he's connected enough to get his position and a gun of his choice.

And Chase, thanks for mentioning about the civilian fighters. I can breathe easy now, knowing my story isn't too farfetched. Then again, there have been newsreels of natives actually marching with rifles and being taught how to use 'em.

Also, backstops for saving bullets. What backstops would've been available during WWII Philippines in the Bataan jungles? Given of course, there are enough military supplies?

Appreciate the input again

redpbass
10-04-2008, 05:25 PM
If a .45 is too much, you might go with a 9mm or something similar. Still big enough to kill with a single shot, as long as you hit the right spots. I've read somewhere that it is the most common round in the world, though I'm not sure about its situation in WWII.

Here is a link about 9mm ammunition. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9x19mm_Parabellum) Scroll down to the part called "Performance" for some info comparing it to other calibers.

jclarkdawe
10-04-2008, 06:47 PM
Although larger caliber bullets tend to be more immediate, a .22 coupled with hollow points can be very effective if aimed right. For example, I had a suicide who used a .22 hollow point to the head. Aimed above and behind the ear. Wrong place for immediate results as it took out a lot of brain but didn't hit anything critical. However, if he had a better knowledge of anatomy, he could have gotten immediate results. (It took about ten hours for him to die.)

A .22 is easier to aim, light, and won't beat you up. A hollow point will do significant damage without exiting the body.

Remember that you can't shoot and run at the same time (well, technically you can, but your chances of actually hitting something are about the same as my chances of hitting a pitch from a major league pitcher). You run, stop, position, aim, shoot, and then run. Remember that even with a .22 you position, aim, shoot, reposition, aim, and shoot. It's just with a .22 the reposition is a lot faster than with a .45.

Remember to have her flip the safety off. And if she's using a revolver and carrying it with loads (not smart, but ...), usually you keep the firing cylinder empty so you don't have an accidental discharge. A .22 can also have more than six shots to a cylinder.

Longer the barrel the easier it is to hit your target but the harder it is to carry. Derringers work best when held within inches of their target.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

FinbarReilly
10-04-2008, 08:46 PM
For most people, however, using the sights will get you more accurate results. If I'm just shooting (ie, no time issues), my groupings can be covered with a tea saucer, and I suck as a shooter. Even if I have time issues, using the sights tends to be more accurate than just pointing my weapon and hoping...

FR

Chase
10-04-2008, 09:14 PM
Chase -
Using that method, and a small pistol, I can reliably hit the center of the torso of a man-sized target that is 30 feet away. And I can place the shots into a spread that I can cover with a salad plate. Perhaps it's not up to your standards for target shooting, but it would seriously inconvenience whoever I was shooting at.

Tsu, if you’re talking about consistent 30-foot accuracy from point-firing a handgun with the forearm horizontal at waist-level, you deserve more than congratulations; you’re my idol.

Such marksmanship puts you in the 99-plus percentile class of shooting greats of the mid-1900s like Jelly Bryce, Ed McGivern, Bill Jordon, Eric Sykes, and Bill Fairbairn. But even those guys recommended at under 21 feet and their demonstrations were at 7 feet.

Or maybe you’re talking about Rex Applegate’s concept of point shooting back then. It was more a one-armed Weaver position with the pistol extended from the shoulder. However, recent studies of films of Col. Applegate in action showed he actually aimed rather than merely pointed.

Anyway, with your success, you should give up writing and join the shooting circuit. You’ll make a mint. Any good shooter can do that 30-foot point trick on their best day. It’s doing it time after time that raises one to the gifted Annie Oakley level.

Every single time without exception that someone has told me and other instructors that it’s an everyday thing can never seem to replicate it on the range. Not once in my long experience.

What usually happens at 21 feet is the first shot is wild. If it kicks up dust, the shooter corrects and can often get the second shot on target and then pretty much center the rest. Trouble is most up-close and personal gunfights are over long before the third shot. If there’s no reference to the first wild shots, then the rest usually go wild as well.

Except for the gifted few like yourself, the rest of us--in fact every current champion shooter world-wide--uses the two-hand isosceles or Weaver stance and aims like Jeff Cooper developed at Gunsite Ranch in Arizona, and the law-enforcement academies of the world now teach.

Smiling Ted
10-05-2008, 07:03 AM
Wind. Breathing. Positioning. Check, check, check. AND SAFETY. Big check. Thanks ;) And thanks much for giving me the ideas abt the whole snuggling thing, haha. I guess the lessons are pretty much gonna fail for the most part, since the girl's gonna be too nervous and her instructor would rather be smiling than scowling haha

A few more things. I know from Resident Evil games (go figure) than .45 calibre handguns have just too much power (love using it with Jill Valentine, this gun kick's zombie a--) and I know for a fact this is too much for my girl, who's only 5'3" and slim (another character uses this but he's a guy and a soldier to boot, but not the same character as the instructor). I was thinking somewhere along the lines of .22, but then she needs to use this in a part that needs running and shooting...and ACTUALLY HITTING the targets. And may I add FATALLY? I'm gonna give her an unnatural ability with the gun. What would be the best gun in this case? By the way, she's not doing the chase. She's the one BEING chased.

You might consider a .380 ACP - like James Bond's Walther PPK, or the Sig Sauer P232.

It's a little heftier than a .22 and, with special ammunition, can still pack a wallop, but with less kick than a 9mm or .45 calibre handgun.

I've taught a couple of friends to shoot, and my first concern is ALWAYS, ALWAYS safety. There's nothing more scary than a nervous person with a gun. Speaking personally, it is THE VERY LAST PLACE in which I'd consider making any kind of advance.

Tsu Dho Nimh
10-06-2008, 12:23 AM
Also, backstops for saving bullets. What backstops would've been available during WWII Philippines in the Bataan jungles? Given of course, there are enough military supplies?


Sandbags, then sift the sand for the lead blobs. The casings get picked up from where the shooter is standing.

If you want to mess with the bad guy's heads, selectively leave at a campsite - as if overlooked or spilled - a few shells for things you don't have with you, like machine guns. They will have to take the possible gunner into account in their strategy.

And don't forget the Negritos. My dad worked with them during and just after WWII and he was in awe of their ability to move through the jungles and slide past sentries.

Tsu Dho Nimh
10-06-2008, 12:46 AM
Tsu, if you’re talking about consistent 30-foot accuracy from point-firing a handgun with the forearm horizontal at waist-level, you deserve more than congratulations; you’re my idol.

OK corral shootout style? Too much wobble side to side.

It was a bit of a parlor trick: my shoulder height is where the target's sternum would be. If I'm centered on the target, side-on to the target, it's muscle memory on what the arm position should be, not aiming.

I would have no plans to try that in a gun fight: if I'm 30 feet away and they are armed, that's a 30-foot head start on getting the heck out of there.

gwendy85
10-06-2008, 05:32 AM
Sandbags, then sift the sand for the lead blobs. The casings get picked up from where the shooter is standing.

If you want to mess with the bad guy's heads, selectively leave at a campsite - as if overlooked or spilled - a few shells for things you don't have with you, like machine guns. They will have to take the possible gunner into account in their strategy.

And don't forget the Negritos. My dad worked with them during and just after WWII and he was in awe of their ability to move through the jungles and slide past sentries.

Would coconuts do? hehe :D It's as close as I can get to actual head-like targets. But thanks, sandbags should do the trick.

And thanks for the info about negritos. I knew about that but...in what country was your dad assigned to during the war, if you don't mind me asking?

Tsu Dho Nimh
10-07-2008, 03:54 AM
Gwendy -
He ended up in the Philippines, after working his way up via the island-hopping campaign ... Guadalcanal and the Solomons. He was a Navy medic with the Marines in combat then was transferred to malaria control in the Philippines. When he wasn't dynamiting drainage ditches from the swamps, or checking the base for potential mosquito breeding places, he spent days at a time in the jungle, trapping mosquitoes to check for malaria, checking monkey and bird blood for malaria. That's where the Negritos came in - he took samples from the animals they killed for food. They fed him, led him around to their camps, gave him a place to sleep, and were very happy when he shot the wild pigs that ripped up their gardens.

He received some bows and arrows (hammered iron heads, the rest native material) and other gifts from them, in exchange he treated their wounds, admired their children, etc. The strange thing is that he didn't speak Spanish, Tagalog, or the Negrito language. It was all pantomime, point, grunt, and gesture. In a few months he had a whole circuit of families to stay with and a crew of helpers.

Terry L. Sanders
10-11-2008, 05:20 AM
<<A few more things. I know from Resident Evil games (go figure) than .45 calibre handguns have just too much power (love using it with Jill Valentine, this gun kick's zombie a--) and I know for a fact this is too much for my girl, who's only 5'3" and slim...>>

My wife is 5'1 1/2" (she insists on the 1/2), and weighs less than a hundred pounds. The gun she loved shooting above all others? A Desert Eagle in .44 Magnum. It really does depend on the person--the way the weapon fits her hand, the way she is built, the way she stands, for all I know. Your lady could shoot almost anything if it worked for her.

<<I guess the lessons are pretty much gonna fail for the most part, since the girl's gonna be too nervous and her instructor would rather be smiling than scowling haha...>>

Depends. If he really thinks she ought to learn, and keeps it "professional," it might be a good scene for developing the "non-hormone" part of their relationship. Him admiring her determination, her admiring his taking this so seriously, their growing mutual trust, etc. And there's nothing to prevent his wrapping her fingers around the pistol properly and them both trying to ignore the tingle because this is not the place for it...

ideagirl
10-11-2008, 07:38 PM
There would (should) also be some basic gun safety - making sure the safety is on (if there was one, not sure about all WWII guns) until ready to fire, never carelessly pointing the gun at a person or object, never pointing the gun at a person unless she was willing to pull the trigger (and shoot the person), treating the gun with respect. There should also be time spent in how to load, how to clean, and how to clear jams. Hope that helps. Puma

One more safety tip my shooting instructor emphasized: NEVER put your finger on the trigger until you're ready to pull it. Hold the gun normally, but keep your index finger straight, parallel with the gun barrel; only bend the finger and put it on the trigger right before you intend to shoot.

And "treating the gun with respect" can be stated more concretely: "treat every gun as if it's loaded, even if you just unloaded it yourself."