When I was in the Army and had to learn how to use the M-60 and the M240. We first used blanks so we would learn about the recoil of the weapon. Then when we moved to using bullets. The belt was only seven bullets long. That way we could feel what the recoil really was.
Also we did the same thing with magazine weapons. Learn with blanks. The with real bullets. The magazine only had six bullets in it. Of course the main weapon used by the military today isn't a automatic weapon. It only fires a single shot or a three round burst.
And this person at the shooting range was foolish for handing a fully loaded automatic weapon to a young girl that never fired one before. That's a new level of stupid.