Thursday, April 11, 2013

A New Experience......Part One

This is a post I wanted to write and share for a few weeks. It may turn into 2 or 3 posts…we’ll see how articulate I can be here. First off, I know if I don’t write about food and/or foodie experiences there are some readers who skip by altogether. I can dig that, especially if my topic du jour isn’t about cooking.

Eating good food is the common ground where many of our friendships began. But if you’ll bear with me I would like to share some of my recent experiences and changing outlook on the subject of firearms. Owee – I just put that out there…the gun control issue is a passionate and heated subject with people solid in one camp or another.

I didn’t grow up with guns with the exception of the single time my father took me out to Tinicum Island (this is near Philly) and showed me how to fire a shotgun. BAM – and my 12 year old butt was knocked backwards, my ears ringing and I never, ever, ever wanted to have that experience again. As an adult, the idea of being around guns made my heart rate pick up. I just never thought about owning one, firing one, being around one ….it wasn’t on my radar at all. That being shared, I want to tell you about my first experience firing a revolver this past February and my experiences, viewpoint and education since then.

My first adult experience handling a firearm was in February, just 2 months ago. Our son is in the Army and we went to visit him prior to his possible deployment. He wanted to take us to an indoor firing range to shoot. I didn’t know how to load a gun. I didn’t know beans about gun safety or even range etiquette. I considered how strangers in a shooting stall right next to me were popping off live ammo as they fired away at their respective targets. . It was very sobering ….….all of it. My first shot with a .38 revolver was jarring. The recoil was expected but yet, surprised me. The one and only shot taken with a .40 Springfield semi-automatic pistol was absolutely jolting. I handed that one over to my son immediately!

My son wanted to share this experience with us and clearly hoped we were having a good time. You know how you can tell it’s important by their tone, by the cadence, by their look when your son (or daughter) asks you, “Are you having fun? You doing OK?” to whatever it is they are introducing you.

Yes, I was having a good time. But it was more about spending the few precious days with him than the shooting. It was a scary, impressive and intoxicating experience all at once. I never thought I would handle a gun again.

Wrong. After talking about the experience and getting pointers on why the recoil jarred me (as well as other factors), I realized I needed training on safety, stance, laws, etc. It’s always better to have an abundance of information to make an informed decision. Doug and I signed up for a firearms safety course at Talon Training Group

I wasn’t committed to owning a firearm but I did want to go through the safety and scenario course. Talon is….Amazing. I am so happy we took this course. Let me tell you about it but first, let me tell you the difference this 8 hour course made with some before and after examples.

Prior to the course

I did not know my rights or the laws concerning self-protection at my home, in public, stranded on a road, etc. I was unaware of the tricky legal stuff, meaning what actions I may legally take and what behavior is legally unacceptable.

I could not load a revolver or a semi-automatic firearm nor could I pull back the slide on any semi-automatic no matter how I struggled.

I did not know how to stand to support the best position for firing a gun…any gun.

I did not know about safety issues when handling a loaded firearm.

I did not know if I wanted to own a gun or just proceed with this safety education.

Now let me tell about the training and what I learned.

We arrive at 8:30 for the class. There are 6 male students and 11 female students. The instructors are from a local law enforcement agency and put you at ease immediately. They don’t pull macho crap and talk down to the women, they don’t treat any of us differently.

One of our instructors brought out several firearms, proceeded to show us they were unloaded and explained how to ascertain if any weapon was loaded, how to check it ourselves. As they passed around an unloaded semi-automatic for us all to inspect, load with snap caps (bullets without primer so…no firing ability) and practice the slide on top, I was already feeling out of my element.

I don’t have the strength to rack that top slide. I am a small woman and besides, if I choose to own a firearm I could just get a revolver. But I was there for the education and so I soldiered on while the guys handled these guns smoothly.

We were introduced to all various forms of belt holsters, pocket holsters and even purses specifically designed to safely carry a gun. We were educated on Florida statute and what constitutes legally acceptable use of force in various situations. Much praise to Detective Kevin Shea for his infinite patience explaining the hard to decipher statutes and translating so us average Joes can understand. Not to mention the endless questions we all hurled at him.

Again, I was there for education and had not made up my mind about ownership of a firearm.

Please walk with me through this class as I explored territory I never, ever, thought I would be exposed to and how it all shook out.

Please check out my next post.


Velva said...

I understand that guns is a controversial issue. I don't think that the controversy lies with personal gun ownership. I think there are a lot of crazy conspiracy theories that are leading people to believe that the government is coming to take their guns. Nonsense!

I believe that people should be educated and provided gun safety before owning a weapon. A sufficient background check too. Other, than that I say enjoy!


Debbie said...

I've always wanted to take a concealed weapons class. Rich, (my husband, the Handyman) is a concealed weapons permit. I've just never gotten around to it.
Good for you!
And yes, it's a very complicated subject to tackle. Hang in there.

Heather said...

good for you. Education is the key to so many things. My husband has been taking firearms courses of various types for the past few years. He is incredibly safety conscious. When we were in Vegas in January, he took me to a range. I was so impressed with the staff, mostly ex-military . My guy was with me every instant and I had a very positive experience. I really do need to take a safty course .

Debra Eliotseats said...

I am interested in your experiences. I think the concealed carry class in our state is not so involved. In fact, I have a friend who has taken it and has said her ten year old grandson could pass the test. Controversy will always abound here with all the recent tragedies.

Grilling Chicken and Asparagus

This new Weber grill has taken the heat out of the kitchen and outside on the porch. Perfect when the temperatures are reaching the upper 90...