Thursday, April 9, 2009

Don't ask an idiot to teach you to shoot!

I'm kinda fuming with anger, disgust and a few other emotions this evening.

This afternoon I was asked to help a young lady who's been the victim of a couple of property crimes, and is worried about the criminals returning when she's alone at home at night. She'd spoken to her boyfriend about learning to shoot, but the dumbass had tried to play the macho idiot by handing her a lightweight twelve-gauge shotgun, without teaching her a thing about stance, grip, control or the like. Needless to say, she found the recoil very painful, and was now scared of firearms in general and shotguns in particular!

Her mom, whom I taught to use a shotgun several years ago, managed to persuade her to try again, and called me in for a bit of remedial therapy. The three of us spent two hours this afternoon talking her through how to stand, how to hold a shotgun, and how to aim and fire it. We started off with a .22 rifle, which has no recoil at all and is very easy to shoot, then progressed through a 20ga. shotgun with low-recoil birdshot, before graduating to buckshot and slugs. Needless to say, with proper instruction, she handled it all beautifully, and even had a go with a cut-down 12ga. double-barrel shotgun by the end of the day. The smile on her face was a pleasure to behold. It's amazing what it does for your self-confidence to realize that you can, indeed, protect yourself.

I've lent her one of my Mossberg 500 20ga. pump-action shotguns for a few days, and we're going shotgun shopping in the morning. Academy Sports has just what she needs in stock, and she'll buy her own gun and get it set up to fit her. She feels a whole lot more comfortable about defending herself now, and I can almost bring myself to feel sorry for any crook who decides that she's a defenseless young thing just waiting for an after-dark visit without prior invitation. I think she's now more than capable of demonstrating to him the error of his ways, and will become more so with ongoing practice (which her mom promised to make sure she gets). Best of all, after realizing what a dumbass her boyfriend was, she's not exactly pleased with him. I have a feeling that relationship is headed for the waste-paper-basket of history!

I'd like to show a few examples to any ladies who've encountered dumbasses with shotguns, so you know what to look for - and what to avoid! Here are two idiots, to start things off.

Ladies, if the man (or men) in your life behave like that with deadly weapons, or they caption their videos of such stupidity as being 'funny as HELL!' . . . believe me, you need to meet a better class of male! Next, here are dumbass males introducing their lady friends to shotguns. In each case, the lady gets hurt, because she's not been taught to hold the shotgun properly, stand correctly, and manage the recoil. These are painful to watch, but I'm including them as examples of what not to do (and the sort of boyfriends to avoid!).
Finally, here are a few ladies handling their shotguns correctly. Note that they manage just fine, with no pain or problems at all - even in the last video, which shows a young lady firing a 3" Magnum shotgun slug. Even large men find them unpleasant, but she copes with no trouble.
Just to drive the point home, here's a small child shooting a 20ga. single-shot shotgun with no trouble at all. Those light single-shot guns kick much harder than heavier weapons, but he's been taught to hold it correctly. That makes all the difference.
Ladies, I emphasize: given the right instruction, a shotgun (or any typical gun, for that matter) really isn't a problem to control, and won't hurt you. If you doubt that, I can introduce you to many women whom I've taught, or who've learned from other competent instructors, and who will tell you the same thing. Just as one example, Lawdog and myself taught the lovely Phlegm how to handle her Mossberg 500 20-gauge shotgun in only an hour or so. She was able to handle birdshot, buckshot and slug rounds with aplomb. She wrote about it on her blog, and you can read her comments for yourself here.

Please do seek competent instruction, and become familiar with a very useful tool to keep yourself and your loved ones safe - and don't learn from dumbasses! Better still, don't have dumbass boyfriends who think that hurting you is funny!


EDITED ON 2015/01/05 TO ADD:  Here's another example of a dumbass giving someone a gun they can't handle. It still makes me angry!


phlegmfatale said...

Hear! Hear!

Brilliantly stated, Peter.

A woman should question any relationship where someone finds mirth in her pain, embarrassment and potential injury. Guns are marvelous tools, but they are not toys and you and LawDog are living proof there are patient, knowledgeable folks in the world who will kindly take the time to give proper instruction on handling such tools.

One thing which amazes and delights me is how much stronger and more capable I am with my 20 ga now not even a full year after my first lesson with you and LawDog. You were so right that practice makes all the difference.

Perhaps most significantly of all, I have the confidence that I can use my Mossberg effectively if, heaven forbid, the need should ever arise. I owe you a great debt for making that instruction such a high priority for me. I sleep much better at night.

I know I speak for many when I say thank you, Peter. You are truly the kindest and best of men. :)

LabRat said...

Oh, but these must be crazy Amazon women! Most women are just too light and bone and have too little upper body strength to handle a 12 ga! Feminism has lied to you!


Seriously, good stuff. Oddly enough, the only time I've ever been hurt in any way by a long gun was the time I learned range day is not the day to be wearing a bra with buckles on the shoulder straps. I wonder how that happened?

Anonymous said...

I have had a chance to teach a few women to shoot both defensive pistol and skeet. I find they are bothered more by noise than recoil.

Like you, I start small with a .22 pistol or a 20 gauge with a Knox adjustable stock and light loads.

One woman now competes in IDPA and has no trouble with her 1911 or Glock 23. Several others shoot 3 gun or sporting clays.

I would recommend Teaching Women to Shoot by Farnam and Nichols. Vicky Farnam is an outstanding instructor and I have taken several classes with her and her husband John.

Ladies, if your boyfriend laughs at those videos, it's time to upgrade.


Anonymous said...

I know this post if fairly old, but Ill give you another you tube vid for your list.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I find that it's the *type* of recoil that causes issue, not the force of the recoil itself. Then again, I'm mostly working with handguns.

With shotguns, I'm more worried about bloodying my knuckles than
incurring structural injury.

NO, by far the most annoying thing about recoil is the need to re-aim.

For example, I had a glock 26 (9 mil) and a Kimber Custom 1911 (short barrel; for cc) I like the latter because the recoil is *straight back*, and predictable every single time I fire. I know exactly what it's going to do.
Therefore, I can auto-adjust, then re-sight to fine tune things. This takes a fraction of a second, and is not much of an inconvenience.
A 1911 will bite you if you hold it incorrectly. A just nip at first,
just to let you know you aren't in charge. Like a dog, you should be, but proper handling, not being a jerk is how that happens.

When I fire the glock (which has been customized and improved)
the recoil has a *twist* that forces the barrel to the side, then up. This means you have to re-sight and adjust fairly extensively before you fire again. Depending on how far off I get, it can take a while. (Two seconds can feel like forever at the range) Might have something to do with my astigmatism.

BTW, my husband would never laugh if I do something... off at the range. He's more likely to go three shades pale and explain carefully what I've done wrong. Then he will show me, at least six times, how to do it right, and even go over what wrong feels like so I can avoid it in future.

HOwever, he's not a wooden freak-out doll at the range either. He will laugh lots when firing his .22 fast enough to be confused with full auto, or when he gets a nice tight grouping with his .357.

Hence, married. Range idiots are all prime candidates for Darwin Awards.

With any luck, they won't take anyone with them. :(