In a lunchtime talk at the National Firearms Law Seminar recently, I recounted three of my main observations about guns and gun culture in America. The second of these observations is: “Shooting is fun, and challenging.” It is fun, in part, because it is challenging.
This is one of the things that got me into guns in the first place and is something I enjoy passing on to others. As I have become known more and more as “the gun guy” in my social and professional circles, more and more people have asked me to take them shooting.
Last summer, one of my sociology students asked me if I would take her to the range. Of course, I said. In January, she reminded me that I promised to take her to the range, and we eventually arranged to go last week.
Her only experience shooting (in her hometown of Chicago) seemed a bit sketchy, so I wanted to give her a legal, safe, and fun shooting experience. After arriving at the range, we spent about 30 minutes discussing the basic rules of safe gun handling and use, and reviewed the basic operation of revolvers and semi-automatic pistols.
Although I am a certified Range Safety Officer, I am not a certified firearms instructor at any level. But I recall the first time I ever shot a gun. My teacher, Jimmy Staley (a firearms trainer for the North Carolina Highway Patrol), gave me minimal instruction and just got me shooting. So I gave my student some minimal instruction on grip, stance, sight alignment, and trigger press. As she missed I gave her little tips to try to help her get on target more.
By the end of our hour on the range, she was shooting pretty well and having a lot of fun. Using reactive targets (rather than paper targets) gives immediate feedback and adds to the fun, so I broke out the bowling pins and steel plate.
Here is a video of her shooting bowling pins at 10 yards with my Glock 17 9mm semi-automatic pistol.
And here she is shooting a steel target at 10 yards with my wife’s Beretta 92FS 9mm semi-automatic pistol.
Notice that even in her excitement she observes two of the four basic rules of gun safety by keeping the muzzle of the gun pointed down range and her trigger finger straight and off the trigger.
Shooting is fun. I had a great time and I know she did, too.