Saturday, January 03, 2015

Teaching Gun Safety (The REAL Story)

Some people just shouldn't have guns.  They don't understand the concept of safe gun-handling techniques, but they think it looks easy, so they want to try it out.

That's where I come in.  I teach people how to shoot safely under stress.  Not everybody is quite up to the challenge. If they can't hack it ... by the end of the afternoon, they know it better than I do.

And I know it.  I watch them pass or fail, and I never have tell them that they have failed the course:  I never see them again.   It's as simple as that.

Yeah, I bet you get tired of hearing how excited I am about teaching a new lot of folks how to compete safely in IPSC competition.

But I don't get tired of talking about it, and I don't get tired about the joy of watching new wanna-be competitors having fun shooting even the most mundane (or the most challenging) of live-fire exercises.

I've been doing this for four or five years now.

 Fifty percent of the  people I teach don't attend more than a single match, if that.  They're not all here for the competition; they're as often here to check it (competition shooting) out and see if this is something that they want to spend their time and money on.

It's a self-fulfilling prophesy:  They get some trigger time in, realize that *(a) they don't think they're good enough to do this, or *(b) they think they might be good enough ... in time .. but they don't care enough to spend the time to be 'good at it'.

Sometimes ... enough to make it worth my effort ... they prove to be safe, accurate, interested competitors that I wouldn't mind squading with.

In the meantime, they're got a taste of the game, so they can make of it what suits them best.  Maybe they're learned a few things about shooting accurately, shooting quickly, shooting safely; that's a bonus for those of us who may find ourselves on the same range.  They may be safer shooters, and we don't have to worry about sharing a range bay with them.   They're not part of a 'problem'

That's half of the participants.

And half of those who are willing to "put it to the test"?  They are their own worst critics.  Not me.

Montroses Toast:
"He either fears his fate too much,Or his desserts are small,Who dares not put it to the touch,To win or lose it all!"
Here's the good part:

At least half of the people I teach are good enough; either that, or they're close enough that they can learn the necessary skills.

They may decide against furthering their training, and that's their choice.   In the meantime, I'm happy that they have observed and recognized their skills (or their potential), and I'm confident that they will either work to hone their abilities .. or give it up.

So we're up to a half of the people who take the class, and half of them have either the desire or confidence to take it a step further, and actually further their education.

Halves of Halves Make A Whole:

The thing is, by simply taking the opportunity to enroll in that the "Introduction to USPSA" class, these nice people get to decide whether being an active member of the (pistol) shooting community.

They have given themselves the opportunity to:

  1. evaluate their personal gun-handling/shooting skills;
  2. compare their skills to their contemporaries;
  3. determine for themselves whether they are competent to own, let alone shoot, guns in a Free Society.
The purpose of the course is to teach gun safety.  And that's a valuable lesson, worth the price of admission for both the student and the instructor.

More important, though, might be that the people who have no business cannot convince themselves that they are a safe gun-owner might be disillusioned, and give up their liberal fantasies that they can be a safe, responsible gunner.   It doesn't happen often, but it happens often enough to make it worth the exercise.

(We're talking 'basic skills' here .. not necessarily advancee skills.)

If only 25% of the people I teach each month gain a realistic appraisal of their gun-handling acumen, then my job is done.

My job?

It's not to teach people how to use guns safely, or accurately .. or even how to use them efficiently.

Oh, it's not even to teach people how to use guns safely.  

(I do that, of course; but that's not the primary purpose of the class .. even though the range I use think it's why they give me a break on my club membership when I teach the class.)

MY job is to allow would-be gunnies to understand how well they measure up to REAL safe gun-owners.

What they do with that knowledge is up to them.

I've never been disappointed.


Anonymous said...

You are doing the Lord's work. Keep on doing it.

Mark said...

I continue to be amazed at people, even experienced people, who worry about picking up a magazine or a round before the gun is safely holstered or bagged.