My article on left-handed long-range shooting on a budget is now available. I had a blast writing the article, and learning how to shoot long-range has made me want to shoot it more, mostly because it’s FUN!
The .308 Savage mentioned in the article is at Gulf Coast Precision Rifles as I type this, getting bedded into an MDT chassis and threaded for my SIG Sauer silencer. The optics on the gun are getting upgraded to a new, truly cool Primary Arms optic that’s coming out before SHOT, and then I’m headed out to train more and shoot more.
A question was asked in a Facebook group I belong to about how to avoid burnout. I’ve been writing about guns (professionally and otherwise) for over a dozen years now, and yeah, it does get kinda boring to write “Top Ten Guns For Concealed Carry” over and over and over again. This is how I avoid burnout: I get reasonably competent at one part of the sport, then move on to another.
* I’m kinda happy with how I managed to mashup two book titles into one with that headline.
Speaking of the media narrative on guns, I have (note the past tense) been impressed with Lois Beckett’s reporting on the give and take when it comes to the right of self-defense in America. She took the time to approach gun owners with an open mind, and turned in some terrific, balanced reporting on the issue.
This tweet, though, shows that despite her willingness to approach and engage with NRA members, she still doesn’t get it.
It looks like the students who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting this February, and the parents of their classmates who were killed, will be living in a state with an NRA-endorsed governor and two NRA-endorsed senators. A lot of grief and anger in Parkland tonight.
What does the fact that NRA-supported candidates won in Florida have anything to do with the Parkland shooter? Was the murderer an NRA member? NO! So why involve the NRA with this? As I said in my response to her,
Lois, you’re better than this. That’s like saying “It looks like Texas, which had a harrowing incident with a school bus recently, will be electing a Governor endorsed by AAA.” All that excellent reporting you did and the trust you built with gun owners, gone in a single tweet.
The NRA is NOT the “gun lobby.” The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) represents gunmakers on Capitol Hill, not the NRA. However, the NRA is feared and reviled by progressives because it registers people to vote, and those voters tend to vote Republican. If the issue was truly about “gun safety,” progressives would welcome and embrace the world’s largest firearms safety training organization and support efforts like Eddie Eddie and Project Childsafe.
It’s been a few months since I carried a pocket .380 as my primary defensive firearm. The fact is, though, that even when I carried a tiny little gun like my LCP2, I never feel under-gunned. Was it the optimal self-defense gun? Of course not, there is no such thing… a pistol, ANY pistol is a compromise, the LCP2 (and guns like it) compromise firepower in favor of portability and concealability. I know what I can do and can’t do with my LCP2, and I live within those limits. A Glock 19 is not an überwäffen: It also has limitations, and if you don’t know what they are, you’re in worse shape than I am with my pocket .380.
If you carry a pocket gun, and you haven’t put it (and yourself) to the test, do so, otherwise you’re relying on hope, not knowledge.
“I’m never going to need tactical fantasy band camp!”
Ignore the safety apparel; the plates and helmet in the shoot house are as necessary as eyes and ears on the square range. Do you think that moving in a structure and problem-solving with a gun in your hand is a skill that might someday be necessary?
I’ve done a LOT of problem-solving with a gun in my hand; it’s called practical shooting, and I’m… ok at it. One thing I’ve not done, though, is take a class using either my defensive shotgun or my defensive rifle inside of a structure, which is kinda sorta how I foresee using said devices.
A unique event, and one that every firearms trainer should look to duplicate. New gun owners learn how to draw from a holster at this event, then shoot under the stress of a timer and maybe even win some cool prizes.
However, two friends of mine suggested independently of each other that they’d use the money to help build shooting ranges in areas of the country where there are none.
What an interesting idea.
There is precedent for it. Literacy in the poorer parts of the nation was vastly improved by the creation of Carnegie libraries where there were no libraries, and Rosenwald Schools where there were no schools. If the right to self-defence is an inherit right enshrouded in the Constitution, (and it is) isn’t it the government’s business to ensure that right can be used? After all, it ain’t private businesses that are used as polling places, it’s schools, churches and other community centers.
Along with people like myself who support the NRA with our meager donations, there are wealthy people out there who are donating scads of cash to advance gun rights. This is good, and it should continue. However, donating a gazillion dollars to advance gun rights means squat if there are no places to shoot. Maybe it’s time for a program, funded much like the Carnegie Libraries were, that will give people a place to exercise the Second Amendment rights we’ve fought so hard for.
Okay, Koch brothers. There’s the idea. Now hire me to run it. 🙂
Someone with at least 100 hours of classes from a variety of instructors
Now, to be fair, I can and have shot all of those drills at those levels, but to be honest, I don’t really consider myself to be an advanced pistol shooter. While it’s true that I’m rapidly approaching the point of diminishing returns, I still have two hills to climb.
I want to be USPSA B Class in Production
And for some reason, the NRA Instructor Qual is kicking my @$$ right now, and I am less than happy with that. 20 shots into a 5″ circle at 15 yards isn’t THAT hard, but for some reason, I just can’t do it right now.
Am I an advanced shooter? Yeah, kinda, I guess. Am I satisfied with my shooting ability right now? Heck no.
This photo of a target was posted in firearms-related Facebook group I belong to, and the person who posted it claimed he “knew how to shoot.”
Look, we can say we “know how to shoot,” but at some point, we are going to have to back up those words with our actions. Ideally, we should demonstrate our ability to shoot on a range, in a safe, controlled environment before the need arises to defend our lives with our defensive firearm of choice. In other words, we fail on the range so we don’t fail when our lives are on the line.
So when it comes to pistols, how do I personally define someone who “knows how to shoot”?
I never have to remind them about safety
Their carry gear is up to the task: No nylon waist holsters, small of the back carry or similar stupidity
Their carry gun is of decent quality and is loaded with good, name-brand defensive ammunition, with one in the chamber and appropriate safeties engaged.
They have taken a firearms class after their concealed carry course from an instructor who has more than just NRA credentials
They can shoot an El Presidente in 16 seconds or less
That’s the baseline for someone who I would consider to someone who knows how to shoot. That first item, knowing and practicing the rules of gun safety is THE most important one. Statistically, the person you are most likely to shoot is your own sorry self, and rock-solid safety habits can take care of a lot of that worry. You can achieve some of items two and three with some money, research and practice at home, but items four through six are only achievable if you step outside your comfort zone, realize that no, you are not a good shot, and make a conscious effort to change.
Everybody wants to lose weight. Not everybody stops eating candy. Everybody wants to be a good shot, but not everyone wants to accept the fact that they really aren’t.