Wednesday, February 24, 2016

An Infidel and an Odyssey Part 3

After getting familiar with her new Ruger LCR, Aunt Clickity ("AC") accompanied The Lovely Bride ("TLB") and The Adjectiveless Niece ("TAN") to a ladies night shooting class at Harry Beckwith Guns in Micanopy to get more instruction and practice.

The class turned out to be meant for more advanced shooters that night so she didn't participate.    They had a couple of guest instructors.  Ex military guys who now do "Corporate Security."   They had the beards and the 511 Tactical stuff going on but AC wasn't ready for double tap drills and snap shooting poker cards.

Turns out that TAN wasn't ready for the cards either.   They put a whole bunch of cards on the target board and drill was to shoot the card that they called out as fast and as accurately as you can.  They called out "Five of Clubs" and TAN didn't shoot.   

"Did your gun misfire?"


"Then why didn't you shoot?"

"Which ones are the Clubs?"

OK.  A little basic instruction with playing cards and TLB and TAN finished the class.  It was a really good class.   Both raved about it for days.

AC didn't get to shoot because of her arthritis.  You just don't do quick draws and snap shooting real well if your hands can barely hold onto the gun.    To make up for it, she went to a public range with a friend on her day off and burned through the other half of the box of wadcutters.

By that time, she was feeling less intimidated by the gun, knew she could handle it safely and was ready to take her concealed weapon permit class.  The only problem was so were about half a million other people in the State and they were all in front of her.     

One particular instructor had been recommended to her over and over.  She talked to him on the phone and was devastated to learn that he was booked for the next three months.   It was really a big setback for her but, as it turns out, both TLB and I are friends of the instructor's family.

I called the instructor's son to see if there was any elasticity in his dad's  class sizes and found out that there wasn't. Class sizes were determined by the size of the class room  and it was maxed out in every class.   The good thing was that the instructor's son is also an instructor and he had an opening in a class that very weekend.    

We relayed the information to AC and she decided that If TLB would go with her she'd go.  TLB couldn't go so I volunteered that I was going to the class to assist the instructor anyway so I'd be there.  That's all it took.  She was in.   I even called afterward to ask the instructor if I could come out and help so it wasn't a lie for very long.  (Its OK.  I am the infidel in this story).

Come Saturday Morning we met at the instructor's house.  We got there early and helped set up the class room and I sat in on the start of the class.  The class was a model of diversity.  We had an eighty year old man, a couple of kids that weren't old enough to have the permit but wanted to take the class so they'd be ready when the time came.  We had a lesbian couple too.   Liberals would have been so confused that us right wing, homophobic etc etc ad-nauseum old bitter clingers didn't throw them out.   We covered basic handgun types and function and gun safety.  AC took pages of notes and asked intelligent questions.  After a break for coffee and nature, the class moved into the law on self defense.

Guess who gave that part of the class?   The instructor's dad.  The same instructor the AC had her heart set on originally!

Then came the shooting.  It wasn't really target shooting.  It was shooting to prove to the instructor that you can handle your gun without being a danger to yourself or anybody else.  Ten shots at a silhouette 7 yards away.  AC didn't go first but she didn't go last either.  When her group's turn came, she picked her gun up off the table, put her ammo in her pocket and walked to the line like John Wayne.

Shooting wasn't easy for her but she did fine.  Out of ten shots she put seven in the bowling pin zone.  The instructor gave her the seal of approval and she packed her stuff up and went home.  She didn't even stay around to pick up her certificate.  I had to bring it home to give it to TLB to pass it on to AC at work.

That's when I learned something about AC that I hadn't known before.  She actually doesn't like shooting.  She doesn't dislike guns but she doesn't have any particular affinity for guns or the shooting sports.  She has no desire to do a lot of shooting.  She just made the decision that she needed a gun for her own protection and she decided to do what it took to start from scratch, become safe with a gun and make it do what it needed to do if she needed it in the gravest extreme.  

The whole thing made sense now.  She hadn't fired a gun in over fifty years but decided that she needed one because she lives alone and frequently has to drive to a bigger city that has a lot of crime.  Instead of just buying any old gun and deciding she was somehow suddenly safe, she talked to people who had more experience than she had.  She got good advice and she got bad advice.  Then she took all that advice to several gun stores and tested it against her own physical disability.  That's what all the clickity-clickity was about.  She needed to know if she was going to be able to make the gun fire.  She tried out over a dozen different handguns before settling on the LCR. Then she got some instruction.

I know, the Glig & Wessfield BR-549 is a splendid fighting arm and anyone who chooses anything different for their own protection is a fool but amid the shouts of Raca-Raca from most of her expert advisors, she chose a gun that she could both hold onto and fire.  Strangely, those two things were important to her.

She tried a Glock 42 and couldn't rack the slide.  Kahrs were even harder to rack,  She tried a Glock 19 at her son's insistence.  Not only couldn't she rack the slide, she couldn't even hold onto it.  Most of her expert friends tried to steer her toward what they would carry.  The trouble with that was they have two hands that they can close around a handgun grip.   She doesn't.  One of her's barely closes.   We kept encouraging her to just find one that she could work and she stuck with it until she did.  It was like paying attention to the person shopping for the gun was worth the trouble.

AC's particular LCR naturally had a much heavier trigger pull than a Glock or any of the other semi-autos that she tried but it was unusually smooth.   She doesn't have fine motor control in even her good hand anymore.  She needed something that required a very deliberate and long pull and it needed to be the same the whole length of the stroke.   The LCR that she bought worked and it gives her five more shots than she would have if she had bought somebody else's idea of a "better" gun that she couldn't hold or shoot.  

You know what's even better?   Even though AC doesn't really like to shoot, she is recruiting new students to attend the class.   There's going to be a Part 4 to this Odyssey and she is helping  that happen.


Anonymous said...

There is a fair amount of goodness in that but it has a bittersweet tone. Maybe it's just my perspective. Just today I received news that my bride has been diagnosed with RA. Hopefully it won't get too severe. So while we'll be concerned with treatment and how she adapts, a big issue which hasn't yet surfaced is her continued ability to shoo pistols and rifles safely. I want to get ahead of that so I can offer more than only encouraging words. And advice is appreciated.

Anyway, I certainly can see how you are thrilled for AC because of the effort she makes plus the value of bringing new students in.

Lantry said...

I'm not all that much of an expert on arthritis but besides Aunt Clickity I do have one friend that has a pretty bad case of it in his wrists. I guess every case is different and his hasn't affected his grip strength enough to make it impossible to shoot his semi-autos but he has had to curtail shooting his bigger revolvers. He hasn't stopped it completely and just bought one of the five shot 454 Casull Blackhawks that Lipsey's (I think) had Ruger make but he has cut way back on the big stuff. He shoots a lot more of the less powerful guns like 45 ACP, 40 S&W and 9mm. I have arthritis in by back that was kicked from the bushes by an idiot that rear-ended me driving a cell phone instead of her SUV. I had to quit shooting my 416 Remington but, so far, I'm still good with anything from 35 Whelen on down. My favorite is a 25-06 with a muzzle brake. It kicks about like a 22 Hornet. When I first saw it I thought "what kind of a sissy would need to put a brake on a 25-06?" Now I'm glad they did. If she develops a problem with recoil, I can definitely recommend putting a brake on her rifle. I suspect that compensators or porting on her handguns would probably help if her wrists get bad. Hopefully your Bride's can be controlled and won't diminish her shooting.

Aunt Clickity is kind of an inspiration in a lot of ways. From her decision to take some responsibility for her own protection to the decisions she made along the way like getting a gun that worked for her and then getting real instruction so she would be safe with it she has done everything right. Now she's recruiting her friends to become shooters. Its really something to see.