New shooter report

Sheryl isn’t a first time shooter. But she didn’t have much experience. She recently moved here from the Philippines and Calvin, her former Marine husband, did teach her to shoot. Calvin likes to drive up in the mountains on Forest Service and even unmarked dirt roads and yesterday they showed Barb and I a wonderful viewpoint east of Snoqualmie Pass:

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After getting off the mountain we went to the range where both of them shot a .22 with a suppressor. I gave Calvin a couple of suggestions and let him shoot by himself. I spent a lot more time with Sheryl and here is the result of her first target from about 10 feet away with 10 shots per bullseye:

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I then had them shooting five shots with the requirement that each shot be on a different bullseye from the previous to simulate a Steel Challenge type stage. Then I put them on the shot timer. I told Sheryl that I thought with a little practice she could do it in about five seconds—one second per shot. “No way!”, she said. I told her at first I expected something on the order of seven or eight seconds but we could get her somewhere in the range of five today.

It took a little bit for them to settle down and not get misses but when we were done Sheryl did better than Calvin with one string at 4.44 (IIRC). Calvin’s best was 5.15 (IIRC).

I moved them back to about 20 feet and Calvin did better. Sheryl kept trying to shoot the same speed as at the shorter range and had misses. A another trip or two to the range is going to be required before I take them to a match.

I then put them on my STI Eagle chambered in .40 S&W with low recoil loads:

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They both did well but Sheryl, in particular, had problems with the gun not fully cycling. I gave her a few major power factor loads. She did just fine with them but with the heavier gun, large grip, and her small hands I could tell she was getting tired. It was time to clean up and called it quits for the day anyway so that’s what we did.

New shooter report

We have a relatively new intern on my team at work, Nashwa. She grew up in Texas and speaks fondly of it so I figured she was at least comfortable around gun owners. I had taken everyone else on the team, except my boss Jodie, to the range but not Nashwa.

I have invited Jodie many times. While she expresses great interest she has not found a time slot that works. I give her a pass because she recently finished up training with the FBI where she learned to shoot everything from handguns to sniper rifles. I’ll get her to the range someday but today was Nashwa’s day.

I had the training bay reserved just for the two of us from 4:00 –> 6:00. It turns out she had never fired a gun before. I asked if she was right handed or left handed. “Right”. Which eye is dominant? “Right”. I was a little surprised she knew. My surprise must have shown because she then said she wasn’t sure. I did a quick test and found she was left eye dominant. I first taught her shooting left handed and then part way through switched to right handed for a while. She decided to stay with left handed shooting.

I started her out with dry firing of a Ruger 22/45 Light with a suppressor. She looked like she had it down. But her first half dozen real shots were all high. Nice group. But they were about three inches high at 10 feet. I went over sighting again. Still the same problem.

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I fired a few shots. It was maybe a quarter inch low at that range.

We went over the sighting again. “Oh, I wasn’t really looking at what was going on with the rear sight.” Hmm… I’ll have to work on how I explain sights.

I gave her a clean target and she was putting them just below the bulls-eye:

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Ahhh… Yes. The new shooter smile.

I moved her to shooting a simulated steel match with four targets on one piece of paper and removed the suppressor.

She was getting all five hits in under ten seconds.

Next I gave her Major Power Factor loads in my STI DVC Limited. With essentially the same results. But after a few strings the misses started increasing and getting more and more wild. It was time to go back to the .22.

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She still had some misses. Back to dry fire. We needed to end the day on a positive note.

The dry fire looked good. I pretended to put in a loaded magazine and she “fired” again. There was some serious movement of the gun when she pulled the trigger. More dry fire. And then, finally, live fire. She was back to consistent, solid, hits  I shouldn’t have let her fire so many rounds through the .40. She was starting to develop a flinch.

After we cleaned up and packed things up we talked a little bit. She had two questions:

  1. Q: How much do I owe you?
    A: Nothing. The first time is free for new shooters.
  2. Q: How often do you come here? I would like to go again.
    A: Two or three times a week. But you don’t need for me come with you. You can come here by yourself if you want or bring a friend anytime they are open.

We now have a new member in the gun community and a team member at work that fits right in.

New shooter report

A few days ago a co-worker, Vic, told me he had someone call him up from “back home” (the Washington D.C. area). It was a young guy, Chris, who just got a job (Support Engineer) at Microsoft and didn’t know anyone in the area except Vic. So Vic has been “taking him under his wing” and helping him get settled in. Vic asked if I would take Chris to the range and teach him to shoot and prepare him to participate in the Fun Steel match at Holmes Harbor Rod and Gun Club tomorrow. Vic has been wanting to go for several months but never followed through on it. This time, with Chris needing to do something fun and different over the weekend, it looks like Vic will be following through.

Vic was in the Air Force many years ago and had mostly rifle training with a small amount of pistol training. When I took him to the range he was using a “cup and saucer” grip and I offered some coaching. He readily agreed and he picked it up really quick. His accuracy was good and his speed was great for a relatively new pistol shooter.

Chris, on the other hand, had never shot a pistol. He shot a little bit of rifle when in the Boy Scouts several years ago. We started out with the grip, stance, and dry fire. After about 20 “shots” with me chanting the mantra, “Trigger prep. Sight alignment. Squeeze. Follow through.” Chris got to the point where there were no noticeable wobbles of the gun as the hammer fell on the Ruger 22/45. I loaded the gun and told him to keep doing exactly what he had been doing. There wouldn’t be any significant recoil and the suppressed .22 would be very quiet. The target was at 3 yards and the first shots were just to the left of the bullseye. Out of the first 20 shots only one was out of the black with several in the bull (see the right target in the picture below).

We brought the target back and talked a little bit about his shots. I told him things were looking good and to add something new. Keep his focus on the front sight at all times.

He took another 20 shots. It was a much tighter group with more shots in the bull.

Here’s that new shooter smile and his target:

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I took the suppressor off and told him we were going into competition mode. I had him start with the gun pointed at the floor ahead of him, told him about the range commands for steel matches, and told him to shoot five rounds, hitting three targets once and one target twice. His first string was almost funny. He was a little too excited and only put holes in the general vicinity of the targets. I told him to calm down a bit and remember the mantra, “Trigger prep. Sight alignment. Squeeze. Follow through.” for every shot. The next strings were much better. He shot about another 60 rounds at various ranges as if they were strings of fire for the steel match and only had about a half dozen misses. I used the shot timer for about half of those and we could see his times getting better while maintaining good hits.

He is very unlikely to win the match tomorrow but I think he will do well enough to feel good about the experience. Zero to match shooting in less than 24 hours!

New shooter report

Barb’s son Max, his friend Mikel, and I went to an Airsoft range last Sunday. It was the first time for Mikel and I. I was a little uncomfortable aiming and shooting what looked very much like a real gun at real people. That uncomfortable feeling went away when people started shooting at me. It’s strange how that works. I returned fire and got my share of “kills” and was on the winning side about 70% of the time. It’s not something I would do again on my own, but if someone wanted me to go with them I probably would agree just to be social.

On the way home Mikel asked how the rental Airsoft guns compared to real guns in terms of weight. Max and I told him a little lighter on average and the magazines were much lighter. I followed up with an offer to take him to the range and shoot some real guns if he wanted. He agreed and I was able to get a complete bay to ourselves for Tuesday evening.

I started him out on a .22 pistol with a suppressor. I taught him grip, stance, sight alignment, trigger prep, trigger squeeze, and follow through. Then I had him do dry fire to practice what I had just taught him. Then it was live fire with subsonic ammo. He did well. This is Mikel (with fogged up safety glasses) and his first target after 20 rounds at about five yards:

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Next, no suppressor with high velocity ammo. He continued to do well and we moved the target out to about seven yards. His groups opened up some but they were still inside the rings.

I then at five yards had him shoot five rounds as fast as he could shoot while keeping them inside the rings as he rotating around the four targets while on the shot timer. He continued to keep his cool and keep them within the rings even as he shot faster and faster.

Next I got out a .22 revolver and told him this was the lightest gun I owned. And I put my STI Eagle on the bench and told him that was my heaviest handgun. He compared the two and expressed some surprise.

He fired the revolver single action, then double action, and expressed, both verbally and with his group size, a preference for single action.

Next he did some dry fire with the STI Eagle. To my surprise there was a jerk of the gun when he pulled the trigger on an empty gun. I mentioned this and he said he was anticipating what he expected would happen when it was loaded. Max had told him it would have a lot more recoil. Okay then! We’re going to have fun with this!

I had him dry fire until long past the time the flinch was completely gone. Then I put in a loaded magazine (with very low powered .40 S&W loads) and pretended to put a round in the chamber. “Now, shoot just like with the dry fire”, I told him. There was a click and a big flinch. Gotcha!

I again pretended to put a round in the chamber and reminded him, “Trigger prep, sight alignment, squeeze, follow through. Just like with the empty gun.” No flinch. Again an empty chamber. No flinch. Then a loaded chamber. The bullet went into the bottom of the bullseye at five yards. Again and again he shot. 18 rounds and all near the bottom of the bull into about a 1.5 inch group. Nice. Another 18 rounds in the next target. And again, good shooting. I asked him to remember what his target looked like and I took him to another bay where people were shooting and showed him the targets people were shooting as well as the targets in the garbage cans. Most of them had such a wide pattern there wasn’t even a hint of a group near the rings.

Then I gave him Major Power Factor loads with two of the light loads on the top of the magazine so he could compare the easily. I could hear a significant difference as well as see the increased recoil from the heavier loads. He still kept the rounds on target with only an occasional stray out of the black.

“Okay, now what do you want to do?” I asked. “You can do more handgun shooting of whatever gun you want or you can shoot the AR-15s”, I told him. He was unsure. I then offered to set up multiple targets where he could move and shoot with the handgun. He lit up at this and so we put out five USPSA targets at various distances. I started him about five yards from the closest target, the second to the right at about 10 yards, and the remaining three to the right of that at about 15 yards from his starting position. I told him to start at the low ready, go slow, be safe, put two rounds on each target, move and shoot however he thought would be best to get almost all A-zone hits. He did great on the safety issue and I told him to go a little faster if he wanted. I think he shot the stage four times getting his time down into the 17 second range with reasonable hits most of the time.

Max then shot the stage a few times. Good hits with times in the 15 second range.

They asked if I wanted to shoot it so I shot it two different ways. The first was without moving. Just shooting all the targets from the start position. Something over seven seconds with five A-zone hits and five C-zone hits. The second attempt was while moving and shooting with me ending up about three feet from the last few targets. My time was in the fives with seven A-zone hits and three C-zone hits. They seemed to be impressed.

We cleaned up the range, packed up, washed up, and went outside to talk for a while. I told Mikel the five shots on five targets was practice for steel challenge events and that if he wanted he could shoot that type of match now with his skill set and not be embarrassed. I explained that it is difficult to do extremely well, but it’s easy to “Not suck”. I then told him about a couple flavors of action shooting. I described the problem solving and difficult shooting positions. And to just let me know if he wanted to go shooting again or shoot in a match.

He seemed very enthusiastic and thanked me. In my mind, I was thanking him for giving me an opportunity to bring another person onto our team.

New shooter report

Kelsey recently joined my team at work. Like Caity, when she first joined the team full time, there was a minor flaw. Everyone else on our team knows how to shoot and enjoys guns. Kelsey is very quiet and difficult for me to read. I wasn’t sure whether to discuss this issue with her or not. Over the course of a few weeks it came out that she was interested in learning to shoot so I reserved the training bay for 12:00 –> 2:00 (they only do two hour blocks) today. It turned out our boss gave us all the afternoon off since we have to work part of Sunday this weekend so Kelsey and I weren’t rushed when we visited the range.

I started her out with a suppressed Ruger Mark III 22/45 with subsonic ammo at five yards.

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That went well. I didn’t take a picture of the target after the first eight shots, but here you can see the target after 18 rounds:

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The first eight shots were the three at the bottom, and then a vertical hole of five shots you could cover with a nickel. The one wild shot at the top was near the end of the second magazine.

I had forgotten to tell her to keep the front sight in focus. We talked about that a bit and then she went on to a .22 revolver. I had her fire it single action with CCI CBs:

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That went well:

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Okay, now a challenge, and the reason I seldom recommend revolvers. Shooting a revolver in double action mode:

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Again, a couple wild shots near the end of the string. But the rest of the shots are really rocking it for a new shooter with any handgun, let alone a double action revolver. She learns fast!

I gave her a choice, learning to shoot faster, move to a larger caliber gun, or more precision shooting with the Ruger. She choose more precision shooting with the semi-auto.

I was amazed. This is 10 rounds at five yards:

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These were shots 37 through 46 in her entire life. She only once even held a gun in her hands before (so she says).

This is after 20 rounds:

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Okay. She’s a pro. There is nothing I can teach her about this type of shooting. We have to move on to something else. She is going to get bored putting so many bullets through a single hole.

I put up a paper with four bull’s-eye targets and told her to put one round on each bullseye. Keep it in the black or smaller, but shoot faster. She did a couple strings of five shots each. She shot quite a bit faster, but about half the bullets were in the 10 ring.

Uhh… nice.

I told her she can go faster still, “Just keep them in the black. As soon as the sights are lined up somewhere within the black, squeeze off the last 20% of the trigger pull”. “Oh”, she replied, “I can do that.” And she did. Hmm… I need to push her more.

I pulled out the shot timer and went through the range commands with her: “1) Make ready. 2) Are you ready? 3) Standby…BEEP!” Got that? Good. Let’s try it.

And I finally pushed her into failure. With four shots, one bullet barely nicked the bottom of the paper, and one missed on the right side of the paper entirely. Ah! Now we have something I can teach her!

Shooting fast, particularly in competition, is a mind game. A little bit of stress can make everything fall apart. Don’t let the timer or the shooter next to you, with their own set of plates competing for the first to complete, affect how you shoot. You shoot your targets your way, just like you did in practice. Let’s try it again.

She got it. From the low ready she was able to get five shots into five targets (one of the targets twice) in six point something seconds. All her splits were less than a second.

We had used up all our range time so we cleaned up the range and as we returned to the lobby to wash up I asked her to walk slowly past the shooters in the next bay and look at the targets the other shooters were producing. I told her, “There won’t be any targets even close to what you did today”. I was right. There wasn’t a pattern on any of the targets I could have completely covered with both of my hands spread wide.

We went on to the lobby and I finished washing first. I grabbed her 20 round target and showed it to the range officer behind the counter. She was as amazed as I was and pulled up Kelsey’s profile in their database and made a note of something about “A legend has been reborn.”

Kelsey earned her new shooter smile and she is now a complete member of our team:

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Shooter report

Paul and Louise visited us from Canada this weekend. Paul was in the U.K. military and had a fair amount of experience with rifles but very little experience with handguns. Recently they purchased handguns and took some classes. Then Paul decided he would like to get into reloading. I showed them my reloading set up and talked quite a bit about it with them. Why I reload, some tips on reloading he probably won’t find in the YouTube videos, and why I have some of the equipment.

Barb and I took them to the range and Paul had his first experience shooting an AR and Louise shot a rifle for the first time. Among other firsts were shooting a gun with a suppressor.

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I did a little coaching with Louise but Paul was doing very well without much input from me. We probably went through about 400 rounds total of .22LR and .40 S&W. It was a good day and you can see the indicator of that with the new shooter smile on Louise’s face.

Young shooter report

From a reader who wishes to be anonymous:

I took the son to the range today. Not the first time, but we have not been there very many times yet. It was the first time he has fired a center-fire semi-auto handgun. A generic 1911, using standard white-box 230 gr hardball. He had a pretty shot-up target already from the .22 and the 38 special, and we couldn’t tell where he was hitting, so we put out a new target.

This is the result of his next ten shots at 7 yards, loading the magazine one to two rounds at a time, being very safety conscious and paying attention to stance and grip.

Not bad… for an 11 year old.

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Very nice. Even if it had been a adult it would have been good for that level of experience.

I did a little coaching for a friend I bumped into at the range today. He was shooting a Smith & Wesson M&P 45 at about 7 yards at what looks to be the same size target and only about half of the bullets were within the rings. His grip and stance both needed some help. I then had him doing some dry fire to make sure his trigger control was good. I spent about 20 minutes with him and he was shooting much better when we left but it still wasn’t up to the level of our 11 year-old star above.

‘Twas a fine day

There are “new shooters”, many of whom, long ago, had their fathers show them how to shoot a 22 or such, and then haven’t touched a gun for 20 years. Stuff like that, and then there are those who’ve never touched, much less fired, any kind of firearm. Last weekend I had the privilege of introducing one of the latter to the fine art of pistolcraft.

(Long, wordy, self-aggrandizing post, with something of a review of the Walther PK, 380 Auto pistol, and detours into cider-making and “gun psychology”, ensues. You have been warned)

Continue reading

New shooter report

Nearly everyone I work with is a shooter. I have two peers. One was in the army for several years then helped build targets for Boomershoot this year as well as participate. The other has more NFA toys than he is willing to tell me about. My lead is former special forces. My boss is a former cop. His boss, our director, and her husband have helped make the targets for Boomershoot for the last three years as well as participate.

There was one exception. The intern. Caity’s last day as an intern will be next week. After a break she will return as a full time employee in August. She did well as an intern but there was a flaw. She hasn’t done any shooting since she was 10 or 12 years old. And it wasn’t that much.

Today, we set out to fix that flaw.

I started her out with some dry fire and she was rock solid. No jerking the trigger, excellent follow-through, and she picked up the mechanics almost instantly.

I put her on a suppressed .22 pistol with slow fire at about eight feet. She was nailing it with about a 1” group. Okay, 12 feet. The group size increased some but still well within the black of the target. Okay, 20 feet. Still in the black.

Okay, let’s try something else.

I removed the suppressor to reduce the inertia and put the target at about eight feet. I had her starting at low ready and then put one shot on each of the four bull’s-eyes. Her splits were probably 1.5 seconds and she was still nailing the targets. She shot magazine after magazine and kept the shots all in the black with the splits decreasing into the sub one second range:

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Okay.

I got out my powder puff loads for the .40. She couldn’t hold the gun firm enough to get reliable cycling but said the recoil wasn’t a problem so we tried a couple rounds of major power factor. She shot those just fine. No recoil issues. So, I gave her a full magazine.

Start at low ready and put one shot on each target…

Still almost exclusively in the black with the splits again approaching one second:

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Okay. She’s a keeper for our team.

They’re Coming to Grab Your Guns, And That’s A Beautiful Thing

They’re coming to grab your guns. They’re your friends, family, loved ones. Even strangers will do it, if you let them. Some reporters have been known to do it, too, if you invite them.

With your permission, these people will take your gun, gently, from your hands into theirs. Shoot, they will. Learn, they must.

They will touch your gun all over. And another one. And another one. And other one. So many makes, so many models!

Questions will be asked, probed. They’ll load your gun, but certainly won’t loathe your gun. They’ll ooh, ahh, ogle, and be in awe of your gun(s).

It goes unsaid, but for those who don’t know: you will teach them to keep it pointed in a safe direction.

They might even “borrow” your ammunition. And leave behind the brass.

Though your ammo will be spent, you’ll oftentimes expect no reimbursement.

When the moment, or day, or shooting weekend is over, they’ll express gratitude, then return your tool, graciously.

You’ll clean the instrument, without minding at all.

Not only is an armed society a polite society, it’s a gunsharing, caring society.

If you’re a righteous gun owner, you’re essentially part of the gunsharing community. Gunsharing is a voluntary, legal activity in which one person owns and shares their gun(s) with one or more people, whilst providing gun safety teaching, free of charge. This is done out of compassion, because gun owners care about sharing their knowledge, skills, and tools.

After gunsharing, fellow gun users will want to grab your gun. Because it’s so much fun. Safe, too.

Gunsharing is it’s own little sharing economy of sorts.

This post goes out to all the men and women, who, over the years, have allowed me to familiarize myself with their magnificent tools. Thank you. And you. And you. And you.

Readers, what kind of guns have you legally borrowed from other righteous gun owners? I’m bracing myself for a looooong list. Let’s hear it. Tell the gun grabbers just how far – and how safely – one gun goes.

#GunSharingCaring

Oh, look… the hashtag’s registered at Twubs. How nice.

Winning

Remember new shooters Kurt and Tracie?

Yesterday they went to the range with Barb and me. They haven’t purchased a gun yet but they have been looking and test fired two guns they rented at the range. Kurt has applied for his concealed pistol license and Tracie was asking good questions about shooting in self defense.

They went through 500 rounds of .22 LR, 100 rounds of 9mm, and about 20 rounds of low powered .40 S&W.

This is how we win the culture war.

New shooter report

Some friends wanted to learn to shoot so Barb and I reserved the training bay at the indoor range near us for late Saturday afternoon.

I was surprised to find both of them were right handed but left eye dominant. Many people who are cross eye dominant end up shooting with the hand which matches their dominant eye (daughter Kim is an example).

I put them at about 5 yards from the targets and gave them stance, grip, and trigger operation instructions.

I started them out shooting left handed for a couple of magazines of .22 with a suppressor then had them try shooting right handed. They both opted to continue shooting right handed. As they continued shooting I showed them how to load the magazines and operate the bolt (Ruger 22/45s) and safety.

They shot a few hundred rounds of .22 with both suppressed and unsuppressed semi-auto pistols on single targets as well as multiple bulls-eye targets. We then put up USPSA targets with “hard cover” and had them shoot two shots on the same target starting from the high ready position. We also put up barricades for them to shoot around at multiple bulls-eye targets.

I offered them some low powered .40 S&W loads. They did fine with those. I offered them full power loads. They did fine at first but then started to falter with some of the shots going a bit wild. The shots were still on the paper but off the target so to finish up for the evening I put them back on .22s.

We ended with them saying they had a really good time, asked about the class Barb recently took, and said they wanted to do it again with us.

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Student shooter update

Remember the student shooter who was having trouble handling the .40 S&W her husband bought her for self defense at home? Remember the light loads I was working on so she could handle the recoil better?

Yesterday she and her husband went to the range with Barb and I. She shot a Ruger SR22* with a suppressor and did great. She shot it without the suppressor and did great. She really liked the Ruger Mark II. And she shot my gun I have had all the problems (also here) with. With about 100 rounds through it yesterday there was only one failure to feed.

Her husband tried the .40 S&W with the two different light loads. The 148 PF (in my gun, probably less in theirs) worked fine. The first round of the 131 PF loads failed to cycle but worked okay after that.

She wanted to shoot the .40 S&W. I had her shoot my gun with the lightest loads. She did fine. No nausea. And her hits stayed on target although they weren’t quit as accurate as when she shot .22s. She tried her gun with the 131 PF loads. She had nothing but failures to extract even when I had her hold the gun more rigid. Moving up to the 148 PF loads fixed the problem although the ejected shell casing just barely popped out of the ejection port. She handled it fine. And I had her shooting at silhouette targets and around corners all without difficulty before our range time was up:

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I sent them home with 100 rounds of the 148 PF practice ammo. And now I’m going to load up some of the self-defense Gold Dot Short Barrel bullets in a similar load for them.

Barb handled the 131 PF loads in my gun just fine too. I might load up a few for her self-defense needs as well.


* The SR22 wouldn’t cycle when using CCI Quiet-22 ammo. But it worked great with Standard Velocity. But wow, was it ever quiet.

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(Almost) new shooter report

Cherie has done some shooting before. Her husband, John, gave her a .38 Special revolver and a .40 S&W semi-auto. She recently took a NRA class and shot a variety of guns but wasn’t comfortable using a gun for self-defense. This was the main reason for getting the guns in the first place.

I put her on a suppressed .22, checked her grip, and had her do some dry fire. Things looked good so I had her shoot a couple of 10 round magazines with it. She shot slow but with good accuracy.

I asked what she wanted to work on and she said she had never shot the .40 semi-auto and wanted to shoot it. Her first shot from about 15 feet away was dead center:

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But it was obvious the recoil was far more than what she expected and was comfortable with. She fired a few more shots and they were still very good for a while. This was even though I could tell she wasn’t handling it too well. Then there were the two far low and right. I suggested she take a break and she agreed.

She then tried the snub nosed .38. Similar results. The recoil was just more than she was comfortable with. She said she felt nauseous.

I put her on an unsuppressed .22 and had her do double taps and target transitions from a high ready position. At first she said she couldn’t do it. I moved her to about eight feet away and encouraged and coached her. Within about 75 rounds she was doing a double tap in under a second and a transition in about 1.25 seconds with great accuracy. Almost all her shots fit under my hand on the USPSA target in the top of the lower A-Zone. There were no hits on the hostage with its shoulder just below the exposed portion of the bad guy A-Zone area.

John and Barb were doing some shooting as I worked mostly with Cherie. When John tried the double taps and target transitions he had several hits on the hostage including one directly in the center of the neck. Not good. We teased him some about that as we all tried the same exercise and he was the only one shooting the hostage once every 10 rounds or so.

After we wrapped up at the range we went to Barb’s house for dinner and I showed Cherie how to pie a corner and shoot around the corner with a plastic training gun. We talked about where to go from here because the centerfire guns just aren’t working for her.

We should review her notes on the guns she shot in the NRA class and see if we can learn anything from that. And we probably will go back to the range sometime and try some .380 and 9mm guns. But I expect the best approach will be to spend a lot of time with a .22 so that she can feel totally at ease with gun handling and accomplishing various self-defense tasks. I want her to be able to do those sort of things almost “on auto-pilot” under stress and perhaps by then, with only the recoil issue to address, she can work on shooting with one of the centerfire guns she already has.

Before and after

Yesterday, as you might imagine, there was quite a bit of talk at work about the shooting in San Bernardino. Two different people who I barely know and seldom see wanted to talk guns with me. Usually I might get one or two conversations a month.

One was a middle-aged woman who lives alone. She wanted to take a shooting class to prepare for home defense. She had done a fair amount of shooting growing up but had never taken any classes. Her boyfriend has quite a bit of rifle shooting but no handgun shooting. They both wanted to take a handgun class or two. I referred her to West Coast Armory and Insights Training. And suggested the specific classes I thought would be appropriate for their skill levels.

The second person was a young guy. He owns at least three guns and has a concealed carry permit. He had just got a new gun and it was shooting to a much different point of aim than his carry gun. He couldn’t figure out why it was so different. I figured I knew what the problem was but didn’t want to tell him until I knew for certain. I offered to take him to the range and look at his guns with him and figure out the problem. He brought the guns to work (left in his car, yes, our parking lot is an okay place for guns) and at lunch time we went to the range to do some tests.

I had him take a few shots with his gun to demonstrate the problem. I put the target at 15 feet and asked him to shoot at the top right diamond (I very deliberately suggested the TOP). Most of the .45 caliber holes below are the result:

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Okay. I know what the problem is, but need him to figure it out on his own. I asked him to shoot a few rounds with his carry gun. The 9mm holes above are the result.

I then shot three rounds with his .45 at the top left diamond on the target. Here is the result:

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Oh. He got a big clue and I pushed a little bit more by suggesting, “I don’t think there is anything wrong with the gun or ammo.”

He agreed and had him shoot my .22. The .22 holes mixed with .45 holes in the target above where the result. The first one was the one low and to the left. The rest were in on very close to the diamond. Much better. But I knew he could do better still.

I then had him doing some dry fire exercises. I explained what it meant and repeated the mantra as he pulled the trigger on an empty chamber again and again, “Trigger prep, sight alignment, squeeze, follow through.”

The first half dozen “shots” resulted in the muzzle of the gun dipping down as the hammer fell. He got it under control and after he had “fired” probably 20 in a row holding it rock steady I told him I was going to either have a live round in the chamber for him or it might be empty.

He again had a steady muzzle for five or six rounds before I put a live one in the chamber. It was on target. More empties and another live one. Again on target.

We talked about it for a while and he then wanted to shoot a few more rounds knowing they were all live. The top three holes below were the result:

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He asked about how to aim. I explained and he said that because his guns always shot lower than than that he would always aim a little higher than what I suggested. He tried aiming as I suggested and the hole at 9:00 on the target above was the result. Close enough. I told him to go home and do lots of dry fire exercises before going to the range again. And consider getting a .22 to practice with. It will take a while to get the bad habit out of his trigger finger and dry firing 10 rounds for every one live round is what my instructors recommend.

As we left I pointed out the Insights Training flyers in the hallway to the ranges and he and I both picked up a few. He seemed very interested in taking a class and thanked me for helping him.

We went back to work where I gave the flyers I had picked up to the woman I had talked to yesterday and I figured I had done my good deeds for the day.

Changing our culture. One new shooter at a time.

Old, fat, racist, white guys

Gun rights advocates are told:

It’s as if that belief makes it acceptable to infringe upon the right of everyone to keep and bear arms. They must rationalize it as something like, “Who cares if some old fat white guys get their guns taken away from them? I’d bring the popcorn to watch that happen.” I have to imagine there were similar things said about blacks and their right to keep and bear arms and their right to vote. The KKK were Democrats and most anti-gun people are Democrats so it’s not surprising to have them have similar attitudes about the rights of their fellow citizens. Frequently we find the epitome of anti-gun rational thought process is to invoke Markley’s Law so it’s not surprising they would be able to muster much beyond the outright dismissal of the rights of “old, fat, racist, white guys”.

I frequently take new shooters to the range and I blog about all of them. I’m not selecting for any particular demographic when I post a new shooter report. It’s my complete dataset. While it’s not a large dataset and it’s all from the Pacific Northwest rather than nationwide I would like to point out it doesn’t look like only a bunch of old, fat, racist, white guys to me. Here is non-random sample of the pictures:

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When someone tells you it’s only old, fat, racist, white guys who like guns send them here.

New shooter report

Several months ago Joycie expressed an interest in learning to shoot a gun. She had a couple scary incidents. One where she thought someone was in her house and another incident where a suspicious person was in her backyard.

Of course I immediately offered to take her to the range but for various reasons it didn’t happen right away. Finally Barb made the reservation for the training bay at the local indoor range and Joycie and her husband Michael put that time slot on their schedule. Here is the story from our time on the range last night:

They did the paperwork with the range, got the range safety briefing. We then walked through the normal range with stalls about half full of people shooting. Joycie jumped every shot fired but made it through to the training bay without chickening out. There we took off our hearing protection set up a table about 15 feet from the target line.

I’ve only one other student who was more nervous.

I started them out with the Ruger 10/22 with a suppressor so we could talk without hearing protection:

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It was really too close for the scoped rifle, the target was just a little bit blurry, and the hits were an inch or so low from the point of aim. But these were new shooters and I wanted to make sure they could hit the paper without difficulty. They both did great with it.

Next I put the suppressor on the Ruger 22/45 and showed them how to shoot it:

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Michael had no problems with it but it took Joycie a while to get the hang of getting both sights lined up on the target.

Next they tried the .22 LR revolver:

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With no suppressor and such a light gun even the recoil from the .22 was intimidating to Joycie. She was able to settle down enough to get good hits by sitting at the table.

We were running out of time and I gave her the option of a 9mm or .40 S&W pistol or an AR-15. Joycie asked if the AR-15 was an Uzi and if it would shoot out all the bullets one after the other. I smiled and told her no. It was an AR-15 and it shot one bullet for each pull of the trigger just like the other guns she had been shooting. She chose the AR-15.

Michael emptied a 30 round magazine with excellent hits in probably two or three minutes. We were very short on time and Joycie fired maybe five rounds with decent hits before we had to pack up and leave before they locked the doors on us.

As is usual, there was the new shooter smile and Joycie wants to try that again:

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Joycie also wants to see what competition is like and may show up to watch a pistol match sometime soon.

New shooter report

Barb’s nephew Jeff wanted to learn to shoot so Barb reserved the training bay at the local indoor range and I brought a bunch of guns and ammo.

I started him out with the safety rules, then grip, stance, sight alignment, trigger prep, squeeze, follow through, and finally dry fire. Once he had that all working pretty good he shot a .22 scoped rifle with a suppresser. Then it was the Ruger 22/45 while sitting, then while standing.

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Then it was the .22 revolver:

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Then the AR-15. And finally the Ruger P-89 (9mm).

Quote of the day—George Washington

So that moron who keeps spewing garbage – and doesn’t seem like he’s even listening to your responses – may actually be a bot.

George Washington
March 23, 2015
Propagandists Use Automated Software to Spread Disinformation
[We have suspected this for some time now. The anti-gun people are just so dense they could be replaced with a bot without any degradation in perceived intelligibility.

Our time is probably better spent taking new shooters to the range than it is engaging in battle on Twitter.—Joe]

New shooter report

I took a former boss of mine, Marcello, to the range today. It was over two months ago that he had express an interest in going shooting for the first time but schedules hadn’t worked out until today.

Before we stepped onto the range we did the normal safety, grip, stance, and sight alignment stuff. I thing asked what he wanted to get out of this range session. His was a different story than I had ever heard before. He was a little bit scared of guns. He wanted to resolve that. He wanted to be either comfortable with guns or know for certain that it wasn’t for him. I’m sure nearly all of my readers know how this is going to resolve.

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Here is just the bull’s-eye:

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That is the result of firing his first 20 rounds of .22 LR from my Ruger Mark III into a target nine feet away. I verified on another target at 21 feet the sights are a little off. The gun is shooting a little bit to the right.

I would edit the picture to emphasize his smile but it is big enough to easily see in the picture above.

I put up a more difficult target (four diamonds) and moved it out to 15 feet where he continued to do extremely well. I had him put one shot on each diamond. I had him go from low ready to fire on one diamond. I had him go from low ready to fire one round on each diamond until the gun was empty. I had him go from low ready to fire two rounds on each diamond until the gun was empty.

He kept probably 80% of the shots inside the diamonds and his speed rapidly increased.

I had him shoot a .22 LR revolver in single action mode from 15 feet. First dry fire, then live fire. He did great. Then I had him shoot double action dry fire about a dozen times. It looked pretty good even though you could tell he was struggling a little to get a consistent pause between the cylinder rotation and the hammer falling. The first cylinder of live fire was not very pretty. Everything was on paper but not many were on the diamonds. The second cylinder was much better. Nearly all were in the diamonds.

He moved on to 9 mm. Dry fire followed by a single round in the gun. He was a little bit surprised at the recoil even though I told him it would be a lot more. Then I had him shoot two rounds. All the shots were great and I had him empty a magazine into the target. Again all good and his speed was picking up as well.

I had him shoot a few rounds of .40 S&W through my STI. He could tell there was more recoil and it was a bit more than he wanted. He went back to the 9mm and soon his shots were getting a bit wild. Still on paper but not the tight groups on the diamonds like before. It had been nearly two hours on the range and I was pretty sure he was getting tired and maybe developing a bit of a flinch. I suggested he might be getting tired because of the shots weren’t as good as he was doing earlier. He agreed and we packed up and left.

I told him about professional training available from Insights offered at the same range, different range options in the area, rental guns, and competition. He seemed interested and told him I would be glad to give him more lessons. He just needs to let me know when and next time he needs to buy the ammo.

Winning. One new shooter at a time.