Be a Man: Learn to Shoot

This one will demonstrate exactly why much of my immediate family thinks that I've gone off the deep end and am some kind of America-loving wannabe deep-fried redneck hillbilly. Can't say I care, I've wanted to do this for years.

As far as I'm concerned, every man who wants to think of himself as being good at being a man should know how to use a gun, if not own one outright. (It's not entirely practical in some parts of the Union, and it's damn near impossible in large parts of Europe and Asia.) It's not just a matter of manliness or ego, increasingly it will become a matter of outright survival as the Western world continues its slow-motion collapse into anarchy and eventual war. For most of my life, I lived in a very sheltered environment where such things really just weren't a concern. It wasn't until I came to the United States and began to truly understand the concept of natural rights that I realised the importance of the right and the ability to keep and bear arms. Unfortunately, for years I was in no position to do anything about it. I live in the hyper-liberal Northeast where the idea of private ownership of weapons is considered gauche beyond words, and it's not easy to find somewhere in the urban areas of this part of the country that allows you to fire guns in a safe and practical practice environment.

That all changed when I found this place. What they offer isn't cheap, but it is worth the price. Yesterday, on perhaps the coldest day I have ever experienced, I finally got an opportunity to learn how to fire handguns. I was able to try out various calibres and models of handguns, such as a Luger 9mm, a Glock .22, and a .38 Special revolver. As is to be expected for a beginner, I did all right shooting out to a range of 16 feet; but then when I tried hitting bulls-eyes at a range of 27 feet... yeah. Epic Fail.

Here's what I learned and/or reaffirmed:

  • The vast majority of people who want to use and own guns are NOT swivel-eyed loonies. I'm not sure where this ridiculous stereotype comes from- probably the idiots who insist on going into schools and shopping malls and blowing innocent people away because they can't fight back- but nothing could be farther from the truth. The people in my class were all just normal, law-abiding folks, and almost all over 30, with the exception of maybe three girls.
  • The NRA is made up of regular people like you and me, who also happen to believe ardently in private property rights and have no problem whatsoever with the concept of armed self-defence. Your average NRA instructor is likely to be much smarter than the average person, and will be interested first and foremost in your safety, not your accuracy. Listen to your instructor very, very carefully, don't cock about while at the range, and you'll have a great time.
  • A shooting range is not actually a bad place to meet cute women. There were three in my class last night- well... two, really, one looked to be a bit heavy on the clown makeup. I didn't say a word to any of them- missed opportunities, it's true. Going to a gun range does appear to get them quite excited, judging by the amount of verbiage coming from two of them afterwards. Knowing how to talk to them is another important life skill, which I clearly need to work on.
  • The demographic composition of my class was interesting. Most of them where white and close to middle-aged, and there were at least two married couples there. Most of them will probably never come back after the experience- they're weekend-warrior types looking for a new experience, not people who are serious about self-defence. Some might, though. There was one big black guy and two Indians out of a class of 15- and to be honest I was a little surprised to see other Asians there. Asians in this country tend to be politically liberal, which is not altogether odd given that they come from nations where filial piety and deference to the authority of the State is considered to be normal and acceptable.
  • You WILL look a bit of a tool during your first live-fire session, even if you have perfect eyesight in both eyes, like me. (I like carrots. A lot.) I completely missed the target with half my shots during the 10-round shooting competition at the end of the evening. This annoyed me, which is why I'm definitely going back for practice.
  • Personally, I found the lighter pistols to be easier to sight and use; the heavier guns tend to be hard to keep on target and are more about stopping power than accuracy. I personally prefer control and accuracy to speed and power- in most pursuits, not just this one. I particularly liked the feel of the 9mm. The goal, however, is eventually to get comfortable and accurate with the heavier calibres. Nothing says "Don't Tread on Me" like someone who can shoot accurately at range with either single or mixed grip using a .38 or .40 semi-automatic weapon.
  • Going down to the range and shooting rounds at targets is some of the most fun that you can legally have. Seriously. It's therapeutic, it takes your mind off whatever BS you might be dealing with on a given day, and it can become a social activity if you want.
The next step is to go back to the range again, possibly as soon as this Friday night, and get some real practice. There's also a Basic Pistol course that lasts for like half a day, which I'm definitely going to take- hell, I signed up as soon as the 3-hour session was over. I swore to myself that if I ever got a chance to learn how to use a gun, I would treat the endeavour seriously. That means getting some practice, becoming as proficient as I can as quickly as possible, and then taking up challenges, whether personal or competitive. I also fully intend to go in for some rifle shooting classes when the weather warms up; right now it's just to friggin' cold to countenance standing in a field upstate and taking potshots at targets from 100m away. And eventually, I do want to go hunting. I do believe that a man is defined by his ability to fend for himself.

For anyone out there looking to learn how to shoot- just do it. Don't sit around waiting for these bastards to tell you whether or not you might have the right under some bizarrely tortured reading of the plain English of the Bill of Rights to shoot guns safely for recreational purposes. That right is yours at birth, and no one can take it away unless you let him.

Plus, the cold hard fact is that you won't look like this much of a badass until you know the business end of your weapon:

Comments

  1. Cool. One of the best places to learn marksmanship is the Appleseed Project. Appleseedinfo.org

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    1. Thanks man, I'll definitely check this out. I really want to get proficient with a pistol and eventually a rifle, and the Appleseed Project looks like a good way to do it.

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  4. To the Anonymous commenters- I do appreciate the feedback, and I will take your advice, but please note blog policy. I DO NOT permit anonymous commentary. By all means re-post your comments under names (pseudonyms are perfectly fine), but please do so under a recognisable name of some kind. Thanks.

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  5. Whoops!

    Also go to the technical forums on ARFCOM
    http://www.ar15.com/

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