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Old 12-16-2012, 07:48 AM   #1
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Default The joy we sometimes forget

I took a friend to the range who had never fired a handgun before today. He's the husband of my wife's best friend, and over the past year or so we've gotten to know each other well enough for me to invite him shooting. That is, he's demonstrated more than once that he's got a head on his shoulders. Ordinarily I shoot alone or with a handful of guys who have earned my trust, and I theirs. So, I'm not one to don an instructor hat very often, but I made an exception today because my friend showed a genuine interest in shooting.

It was a cold and slushy day today, so attendance was sparse on the public range and the private ranges were all but empty. We had an entire covered outdoor pistol range to ourselves. I set up a few steel spinner and plate targets, a couple of paper targets, and a dozen bowling pins at various ranges. Then we sat down for some basic range safety instruction. He took everything I said seriously and asked appropriate questions. I explained about sight picture, grip, and trigger control using empty weapons and he ate that up as well. It was now time to shoot.

My first choice for him out of my range box was a 22LR Ruger SP101. He was aiming at a paper target maybe 7 yards out. He pressed the trigger and I could tell he was hooked right then. every time he emptied the cylinder he'd run out there and take a look at his target, then run back and load it up and shoot another eight rounds. I'd help him out if I noticed something obvious he was doing, but mostly I let him have at it. we ended up graduating to a six inch S&W 686, then a Colt series seventy, and eventually I even handed over my carry gun so he could shoot that. His excited reaction was the same for each gun he got his hands on. We ended the trip with a Henry lever gun chambered in .44 magnum. Boy did he love that gun, but who doesn't. In the end he'd knocked every one of the bowling pins down several times each, made the steel ring a plenty, and the paper looked like fine Swiss cheese.

The point I'm getting to is this, his excitement and fascination with shooting for the first time was exactly like mine so long ago. He brought me back to why I love shooting so much, because it's damn fun. In the end, I bet I had every bit the good time he did today and I don't think I fired 25 rounds total. I think I sometimes forget just how fun shooting can be, especially when I get wrapped up in the particulars of the sport or start taking myself and the craft too seriously.

I decided for my next trip to the range I'm taking a .22 wheel gun along with a brick of ammo. I'm going to be setting up the same gallery for myself, except I'll throw in a mess of tin cans, why not. I'm going to plink away and say "yesss!" every time a bowling pin falls over or a round lands in the ten ring. I might even high five myself.

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Old 12-16-2012, 08:58 AM   #2
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Brings it back for me, too.
Years ago I remember being most excited about shooting my 22LR's - had a single six - what a hoot! But the real fun was the Marlin Model 39 lever action 22LR! That was so much fun setting up tiny targets at distance and learning to knock them down!

And recently I taught a friend to shoot. She was afraid to even physically touch a gun. Brought on by many bad experiences - an abusive ex-husband who was a bad cop - drummed out of the service - but he beat her and threatened her with the gun....
Anyway, she talked me into taking her out shooting. We rented a Model III. Had a blast! What a nice little fun gun! And boy! Did she ever learn to shoot! She loved it! So she signed up for CCW class - so I figured I better go with her and signed up myself before the class closed! And she did very well! She scored best in the class in shooting - beat me! And I have to tell you, the range officer that helped us on our first outing was a retired cop and he watched me early on - claimed I was a "sand-bagger" - couldn't believe I was not specially trained with the consistent hits I was making! And with the Ruger and my little Single Six so -- what I'm saying is ... I trained her to outshoot me! And that was saying something! - at that range! ................. But she outshot everyone in the class! It was a hoot! And we shared that same little rented Ruger Model III 22LR.

I think we were the only ones using a 22.

It's funny... in those classes, there were all sorts of people ... even those you would consider gun nuts. Meaning they knew all sorts of lingo and had many guns that they brought to class - so they would have a selection - and "back-up"!. I didn't get that. But most of those people were terrible shots! This guy shooting the lane beside me had offered to loan us one of his Glocks. We thought he must be some sort of pro... Hardly! Watching his shots beside mine - the guy didn't even hit the paper that often!!
I don't know if you guys experience people like that or not. It was kind of amazing and eye opening at the same time!

Learning about guns really boosted her ego! She was so proud! Then the guns came ... She now owns a Colt Trooper 357, a S&W Airweight J frame 38, a Ruger LCP 380, and a M&P22! All that in about one year!

Same for me - all my old guns were mostly cowboy guns. So I expanded with carry types, too - Ruger 380, S&W Airweight 38, Ruger LC9 9mm, and a good house gun - a S&W Model 14 38 - but I had to buy my own Ruger Mark III - they are just such excellent shooters!

Thanks for an excellent write-up --- and memories. Shooting is fun! And the best fun I've had has always been with 22's!

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Old 12-16-2012, 09:40 AM   #3
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I get attacked by cans all the time. After you shoot some of those cans they hide in tall grass to ambush you. The cans in the tall grass are the hardest cans to dispatch. Sometimes you only have a postage stamp sized target. A good revolver is best for killing the ambush cans.

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Old 12-16-2012, 03:47 PM   #4
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Thanks for posting this. I love teaching new folks how to shoot and you're right, their enthusiasm is a wonderful thing to enjoy.

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Old 12-16-2012, 03:58 PM   #5
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I like reading posts like this, Deadeye. It was a little less than 3 years ago I was that new shooter with a huge smile on her face happily listening to the pinging steel targets. I've been hooked ever since. And I was pretty darned anti-gun most of my life. This guy did a lot of talking to convince me to go shooting. I'm so glad he did. Not much makes me feel as happy and confident as shooting my guns. I always leave the range feeling like a million bucks..........even if I didn't shoot so well.

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Old 12-16-2012, 10:41 PM   #6
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Now go tell his wife that her husband needs to find a gun under the tree.

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Old 12-17-2012, 03:59 PM   #7
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Great job in bringing one over to our side ! . I have a MK II w 5 mags that keeps that joy going for 50 rds before they have to reload. I just put a fiber optic front sight on to make hitting easier.

If every FTF member w convert one person per year we just might be able to change public opinion. Then again, that might be a wee bit optimistic.

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Old 12-17-2012, 04:08 PM   #8
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If you like teaching new shooters. You should consider becoming an NRA Certified Inst. or NRA Shooting Coach. There is always a need for these well trained and dedicated instructors. I have enjoyed my years as a Certified Police and Civilian Inst.

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Old 12-17-2012, 04:31 PM   #9
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How does one become an NRA Certified Instructor ? The cost involved?

Lord knows the police need the training...

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Old 12-17-2012, 06:58 PM   #10
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I have just recently taken my kids to the range . I just gave Isaac my son his first 22 , itcwas found I. The wall of a house all rusted up . It's a 25 favorite riffles that I drilled and resleved to 22. He just loves it , and with a bit of instruction withopen sights . He was hitting the Target every time .
I'm working on a favorite for my daughter as well just need to resleave it . She wants hers browned instead of blued.
But nothing like teaching someone who is enthusiastic about learning your sport ....
F.K.

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