Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Promote Safety and Smart Shooting

I was at the range the other day. I seem to start a lot of articles this way, don’t I? The range I frequent is an outdoor range. It has several “bays” at different distances. Each bay has room for about 4 to 6 people so there is a lot of room. I was at a 25 yard bay next to a wide 50 yard bay that is also suited to shotguns. As the group of shooters drove up to the bay next to mine I watched as several young women in their 20’s got out with 2 20 something guys. I thought “Here it goes again!” I’ve watched this many times before. A couple of “gun guys” invite several ladies to go shooting. They make themselves out to be Jerry Miculek when in reality they own some guns but shoot a few times a year. They may have some experience, but it’s limited. So they all get out and start in. To their credit I hear a basic safety briefing happen. For some of these girls it was too little. They start shooting some rifles. That goes well. Then they bring out the shotguns. I am down range in my bay with a large mound of dirt and some distance between us when I hear the first blast. I get rained on with bird shot. This tells me that their aim is not too good. Then I see it out of the corner of my eye. They hand a petite girl a long 12 gage. I watch as she hesitates with the weight of the gun. Then she shoots it and loses control of the weapon while falling down. Everyone laughs and I walk over. I try not to sound too much like their fathers, but I lay into the guys for being so stupid and dangerous. They show great respect and apologize profusely, giving great credit to their mother’s teaching. This was not the worst I’ve seen. I almost got shot with a .45 1911 Colt one time when another girl given a powerful handgun by some idiot guy, shot the gun and lost control of it. Without taking her finger off the trigger the gun floated all over the range until it was pointed my way and went off. I was not a happy man and even threatened to call the police on a stupid boyfriend who thought it would be fun to watch his pretty girlfriend shoot a gigantic gun. Had she not been crying and he been so apologetic I would have zip-tied them and left them for the police to pick up. I’ve seen it happen with big guns and with little guns. I really don’t blame the inexperienced one. In September 2014 a 9 year old from New Jersey shot her instructor with a fully automatic Uzi. There are many that say this story and video are propaganda. If it is a real incident then I have lots of questions about this “instructor”. This is a well-known incident and of course anti-gun proponents jump on this. If you own a gun. If you want to teach someone to shoot, please get a competent instructor. Don’t try and create a You tube video that you and other fellow idiots think is funny. It’s not funny to have someone do a dangerous thing when you are right there to teach them correctly. It’s not funny to give someone a bad experience with guns. I don’t know what brings people to do this. They give all of us such a bad name. I’m just not sure what would bring someone to post a video of these atrocities. As near as I can tell it has to do with their own inexperience, immaturity, and lack of discipline and sense. Please, I beg of you, stop this nonsense! I contrast that with my nephew. He takes anyone to the range, provides their ammunition, gun, safety gear, and will give them a basic safety and shooting class. He has even given free CCW classes many times. He encourages shooting and learning the right way. He is a law enforcement instructor and has been a deputy for many years. He is dedicated to helping people to have a safe, good, positive experience with firearms. A few years ago I was asked by a co worker to help him with his wife. The co worker wanted to get a gun and she was against it. She was a little fearful even though he had been in the military for several years and had a good knowledge of weapons. I had them both meet me at the range the next week. It was a good day weather-wise and a good day to shoot. The range was empty so there were no distractions. After I met them at the range my friend introduced me to his wife. We sat at the picnic table there and had a chat. I asked her about her experience with firearms if she had any. She said she had grown up around guns with her Dad and brothers hunting a lot. When she showed an interest as a teen-ager her brothers took her out and had her shoot some fairly heavy caliber guns and a 12 guage. It scared her and hurt her shoulder and she wanted nothing more to do with a gun. Her brothers teased her and made fun of her and that was it. Brothers can be jerks sometimes can’t they? We talked a little more and I told her about my experience teaching firearms in the military and told an amusing story of kicking an Air Force Major off of my range one time. I told her what I wanted to do to show her safety and how to have fun with a gun. We talked about safety and the rules in some detail and the reasons behind the rules. I told her exactly what I wanted her to shoot, what it would feel like and promised her she would want to keep shooting after our lesson. After talking about how guns generally work, and how to shoot with sights, we began. We started with a Ruger 10-22. I assured her I would be right next to her and she would not mind the noise, or recoil of a .22 long rifle round. She shot, quite successfully and I then asked if she wanted to try something else. She then shot a .22 handgun. After that she shot a .25, a .380, a 9mm, a .357 and a .45 ACP. Then she shot a 9mm rifle, a AR in .223, and a .308. Each time I told her clearly she did not have to shoot if she didn’t want to. I told her exactly what the increased noise and recoil would be. She even shot a .410 shotgun and the 12 gauge she was so afraid of. When we took a break we talked about her experiences with each caliber. She liked the .22 rifle and pistol. She liked the 9mm pistol and rifle. She liked the AR. She still didn’t care for shotguns. She then shot with her favorite calibers and thoroughly enjoyed it. She was not under any pressure and did very well in the area of accuracy. When we were done we sat and talked again. She had a different view of guns and did not have any of her fears and bias’s anymore. She wasn’t afraid of the shotguns, but just didn’t prefer them. In the end, after a few weeks my friend told me that not only did they buy a gun, but she wanted one too! I reminded them of storage safety because they have children. They had aleady purchased a safe and were taking a class together. She had asked if I would teach her teen-aged daughter the same way I taught her. So instead of another “casualty” of the range, we have a family that wants to be safe, and to learn the right way to use their firearms. I want more Americans armed, safe, and trained, not less. We as gun people, or even if we are not into guns, should promote healthy, safe gun learning if we are to beat the anti-gun people and keep our right to keep and bear arms. Let’s be smart about this and each do our part to keep America safer and more secure. Semper Paratus Check 6 Burn

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