Not to long ago I was working at an event geared toward helping people who have little to no firearm knowledge or experience.
Looking back at, and most of the other similar events I have been at I noticed at how much new shooters tended to prefer the shotgun.
Before they ever fire the shotgun, often the various people running or helping at these events will explain how you don’t need to aim, that the sound of racking a shotgun will scare off any intruder, and how the massive power of the shotgun can blast a grown man across a room. Then these novices proceed to fire a couple shots of birdshot at close ranges absolutely shredding these paper targets. When they go to try a rifle or pistol, it is fired at far longer ranges with no feedback as to hits or misses.
Now don’t get me wrong, the shotgun is a devastating effective weapon with the right ammunition and it may be the right choice as a home weapon for many of these novices. That said I think the combination of bad advice along with firing these very light loads at very close paper targets gives a false sense of effectiveness. I also think that new shooter when firing any weapon should be given some sort of reactive target(be it steel swingers, clay pigeons, balloons, shoot and see targets, etc) so they can see that they are hitting the target. That way they can also receive coaching if they are missing. A new shooting firing at a paper target at 25+ yards often has no idea if they are hitting or not, and will receive no help to correct problems if they are missing.
I remember one church group I was the Range Officer for; the minister showed off to his congregation his pistol grip only shotgun and explain how it was perfect for home defense and you don’t even need to aim it. He then proceeded to fire a shot from the hip that impacted about 10 feet above his target.
When there are people new to shooting, we need to prepare them for success, not failure.
Now that the magpul DVDs have been out for a while and it seems everyone has seen them, I have noticed a few common ideas about them people seem to have especially on internet forums. A lot of people I talk to about them seem to miss some of what I think is the real point and value of them. they obviously can not substitute for real hands on training, but they do have some real benefit despite what some say. Mainly I think the point lost on a lot of people is the video really help with weapons handling and manipulation. Even if you are a long time AR15 user, you can learn some pretty good stuff, even if you do not adopt their procedures it gets you thinking ( if you have enough brain) about cleaning up your own sloppy actions.
If you do choose to use their version of each operation its still some good stuff. Its in style now to rag on them and make all the useless and pointless tier 1 jokes in a worn out attempt to be sarcastic, but in doing so, some real chances to learn are lost. I for one have become a lot smoother with my weapons manipulations and have even modified some of what they teach to better fit me. You do not have to do it exactly their way but it is a great starting point for basic manipulations and smoothing your own self out.
Another thing people seem to get the wrong idea bout is speed, or how fast they can put 5-10-20 whatever rounds out. We have seen a lot of guys shooting at ranges who seem to think the point is to get the mag half empty in 3 seconds even if they hit the dirt 5 feet in front of them!! The videos do not demand 1 MOA groups on target, but a balance between speed and accuracy that is good but not slowfire at the NM good. But it seems that because it is so cool to see those two guys dumping rounds on target in seconds people just forget you also need to actually hit with those rounds. The more the offender seems to blaze away at a break neck speed, the worse they were at just plain marksmanship to start with. The idea being forget precise shooting I will just do a mag dump! Few seem to want to train smooth a slow so they never gain the speed that comes through the repeated movements done correctly.