Monday, November 11, 2013
After volunteering as an EMT at my rifle club's sighting-in event for hunters yesterday, I came to a stark realization. That realization is that the average gun owner and hunter (emphasis on the word average) has absolutely no clue as to what they are doing. The shooting community as a whole is in DIRE need of some serious firearm training. Not just in the basic Fundamentals of Marksmanship, but more importantly, with the Cardinal Rules of Gun Safety, especially the Big Four. You know the Big Four: Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire a round downrange. Never point a firearm at anything which you are not willing to destroy. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded. Be aware of your target, your backstop, and what's beyond. Yesterday, we had at least four individuals who split their faces open when their rifle recoiled and the scope hit them either above the eye or on the bridge of their nose. Each and every one of these Nimrods said they weren't expecting the gun to go off when it did. What this shows is that their finger was on the trigger before they were ready to actually send a round downrange. A clear violation of one of the Four Cardinal Rules of Gun Safety. Muzzle integrity was also in short supply yesterday. During the course of the day, I was swept by several people's rifle barrels. Another major violation of the Cardinal Rules. Clearly a lot of these shooters are either very inexperienced, or don't believe the Cardinal Rules apply to them. Some even displayed puffery when they were corrected for their violations. This is a prime indication of a total buffoon. These hunters probably shoot twice a year, once at this event and then in the woods during the Deer season. I've been an avid hunter since the age of 13 and I can unequivocally say that the "Orange Hoard" is truly frightening to me. Most of today's hunting rifles are capable of firing a three-shot group within 1.5" at 100 yards, when utilizing a solid rest. Some commercially available rifles will shoot one-inch or better with a five-shot group. The Savage Model 10 and the Remington 700 are two prime examples. The average hunter should be able to hold at least a 2" group at 100 yards from a solid rest and sight their rifles in approximately 3" high, so if they must take a longer shot, no holdover would be required. A lot of these budding outdoorsmen couldn't hit the target frame let alone the target yesterday. Being satisfied to hit a pie-plate-sized target at 50 yards or less with Grand Dad's thirty-thirty shouldn't be considered adequate. Because of this type of abysmal marksmanship performance; many a White-tailed Deer will survive to see another season. Yet countless others will be gut-shot and die at the jaws of a pack of ravenous Coyotes. Not a fitting end for such a majestic animal. Now for the hand-gunning fraternity. As more and more people come through my tactical and/or CCW classes, the more I see what is wrong with our gun culture. Yes, you have a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. But for God's sake (yes I said God) you also need to defend that right. To do so means that you as a gun owner need to learn how to use your firearms safely and store them properly! That means you may have to spend some money God forbid (there's that G-word again) to buy a 1,000 round case of ammo, find a top-notch firearm trainer, and obtain top-quality firearm instruction from them before you go out and about with a firearm. The thing that scares me the most is that a lot of people are coming to my concealed carry classes with firearms they have never fired before. They are also bringing a conglomeration of guns that are in no way conducive to concealed carry. Some of them get upset or downright indignant when I won't allow certain types of firearms in my classes. What they fail to grasp is that I, am the instructor, not visa-versa. They have selected me to train them. There are reasons I have placed limitations on what types of pistols I allow in my classes for CCW training. What I am doing is actually looking out for their safety and well-being. People listen to me please! When you apply to the state for a concealed carry permit, you are essentially asking the powers to be for a license to possibly kill someone. If that situation is ever forced upon you, it will be the absolute worst day of your life. It will probably happen during the hours of darkness. You will probably be alone. Your body will experience several of the psychological and physiological factors associated with extreme stress. You will probably be accosted by multiple offenders, who are far more streetwise than you, younger, far more physically fit, and ready to maim or kill you for your money and valuables. Most of these types of individuals are predators who have honed their craft to a keen edge. Do you honestly believe that you can or will rise to the occasion and defeat them without constant range training and extensive firearm manipulation drills? If your answer is yes, you are a complete and utter fool. According to FBI statistics, under extreme stress, the average police officer has a hit ratio of just under 18%. Sworn police officers here in Illinois go through a minimum of 40-hours of firearm training while they are in the academy. When they graduate, most of their departments will only require them to fire an annual re-qualification of thirty (30) rounds of ammunition, yes I said thirty rounds, and score a minimum of 70% to remain proficient. This in itself is not only a pathetic disservice to the officer in question and the general public; I also believe it to be criminal. Look at the incident in New York City where the NYPD engaged a murder suspect during a deadly force encounter and nine innocent people were accidentally shot by New York's finest! I could already see the plaintiff's attorneys rubbing their hand's together in glee when I read the article. As a CCW holder, if you shoot the wrong person during a deadly force encounter, you will probably have to pay dearly for your poor judgement and marksmanship. You may pay with you home, your life savings, your marriage, and possibly with your freedom. With that being said, I strongly urge you to get to know your firearm platforms intimately. That includes your hunting rifle if you hunt. This means you will need to practice at least once a month. This includes running dry-drills with your firearms at home, and then firing several hundred rounds at your local range annually. I know you're thinking to yourself, this can get pretty expensive. You're damned right it is! So is getting sued for stupidity, negligence, or both. Most people who know me, know that I am a brash, in your face kind of guy who doesn't suffer fools very well, if at all. I also detest stupidity. So my advice to all of the gun enthusiasts out there is simply this! If you hunt, if you're concerned with home defense, or if you're a CCW holder, find a quality instructor, buy a case of ammo, and go get trained. Then start practicing your newly acquired craft on a regular basis. If not, I beseech you! Please get the Hell out of the sport all together and take up Golf. Our Second Amendment rights are riding on it! If this offends anyone, then they may be part of the problem!