Once a month my gun club opens its doors to friends and family and I’ve made it a rule that I take advantage. So every month I take someone new down to show them how good shooting really is, to let them get hands on with handguns and to shoot rifles in a safe and controlled environment. Hoping that they decide to join and do the same for someone else, to grow our sport is essential if we want to change minds.
This month was no exception so my sister joined me on the hours drive (the local club is less than friendly) up the mountain to the range.
After sign in it was now the best part – hiring your guns.
We opted for a GSG 1911 in .22 to show her the best stance and to fire a pistol with no recoil.
A Beretta 92 in 9mm which certainly looked the part in its all black coating – after all a 9mm is just enough recoil to be fun.
And a Smith & Wesson revolver in .38, a little heavy but my favourite of the bunch. And .357 rounds are a hell of a lot of fun.
A TENTATIVE START
Like any new shooter I’ve seen the adrenaline kicks in as soon as they have went through the safety briefing and are handed the pistol. My sister was no exception and was physically shaking a little as she took her stance and prepared to fire the first round. A little hesitant at first but I assured her it was all ok and she gently squeezed the trigger. The .22 was the right choice as the smile confirmed and it wasn’t long before the 10 shot magazine was empty.
She didn’t manage to hit the steel plate but that’s ok, she got over the first hurdle which is overcoming the propaganda and getting comfortable with the handgun in the first place. After 2 more mags I calmly said, “you want to try the .38?” “Hell yeah.” Was the reply.
Now the revolver is a different beast altogether from the little .22. It’s a solid piece of engineering and weighs considerably more, has a very long barrel (not mainland long of course) and packs a kick – so I told her to brace herself before she pulled the trigger.
She did, but I still heard a shout of “Holy ****!” followed by an even bigger smile than before. It was at this point it is safe to say that she was hooked and we went through 50 rounds of .38 and 50 rounds of .357 – the latter giving even more bang for the buck than the .38.
The 9mm seemed a little tame now of course but the Beretta is a fine handgun to shoot. Very reliable, the muzzle doesn’t lift too much, it has a decent capacity, very crisp trigger and I must admit I always liked its styling. It’s no 1911 of course but a beauty in its own right.
Thanks to other members we also got to try a .44 Henry lever rifle, a Ruger single action revolver in .45, a Ruger SR 1911 in .45, a Glock 19 and a CZ 9mm. Every one had its strengths but that lever action rifle was something else. My wallet can already feel the kicking it’s going to take when I next get into the gun store.
My sister firing a rifle for the first time…..in .44
But the members are what makes any club and mine is one I’m proud to be a member of. They always welcome new faces with open arms and that is indeed what this sport needs. Considering some clubs are run more like secret societies or cabals.
Needless to say I think my sister is seriously considering joining in the near future, between a day shooting handguns and finishing off with target practice on my little 10/22 the experience was very much a positive one. And the fact she was knocking down steel plates like a champ by the end of the day certainly helped.
If every shooter in the country did this we could grow the sport very quickly. Be it shotguns, rifles, LBP (seriously it sucks you are stuck with those on the mainland) or indeed standard handguns – the more sports shooters out there then the less chance of government banning them all. Shooters are voters after all, so I encourage you to reach out to friends and family.
I’ve done my part this month, will you do the same?