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Friday, November 13, 2009

Guns for selfdefense

I Haven't Shot It

"...When you make the decision to carry a gun for personal defense, you must also come to terms with this fact: Your firearm may someday end the life of another person...."

by Ray Hawk

Recently, a friend of mine stated, "I bought a 357 revolver but I haven't shot it in fifteen years." He bought it for self-defense. How many people buy a handgun and stick it in a drawer? The gun is never cleaned. It is never shot. Some are never loaded. Yet, it is there to provide protection for its owner if needed. Do you see something wrong with that picture?

Some people have the idea that if someone is breaking into their home, automobile, or place of business, they will retrieve the pistol and it will not only fire, but they will hit only what is threatening them. I am afraid most of us get our gun knowledge from Hollywood. That source is an inadequate teacher. In fact, such ignorance can get you killed.

How many folks buy an automobile and let it sit unused in their garage? How many purchase a car but refuse to learn how to drive? "Oh, I'll learn to drive when I need to take someone to the hospital." Sure you will.

If you are going to buy a firearm for personal protection, either to carry on your person or to keep at home, in your car, or business, take a handgun course. A good starting place is a class to obtain your carry permit. Once you have gained that permit, you need to take at least one advanced class. Is it expensive? Perhaps, but what price tag do you put on your life or that of your loved ones?

It has been proven that if you can stand and hit the bull's-eye at seven or ten yards, you will lose about 65% or more proficiency when your life is threatened. If you have no prior training or target practice, you will hit something, but probably not the criminal. Remember, the bad guy isn't concerned about where his bullets go, you should and must be. If your rounds go past the felon and hit an innocent person, you are legally responsible. You may be shot by the criminal and then sued by the innocent party.

You may think that you can buy a handgun and holster, strap it on and carry without some training. First, it isn't always comfortable to carry a gun. Second, in the beginning you will think everyone knows you are carrying. It will take time to build confidence. Third, if you don't have the practice of keeping your "cotton pickin' finger off the trigger," you may accidentally blow a hole through your holster and ruin a pair of trousers when reholstering! In a worse case scenario, you could shoot yourself in the leg. Fourth, it takes practice to throw back a shirt or coat, draw, get your sight picture and shoot in a life or death situation. That is why practice, practice, practice is needed. In a life threatening situation, you will revert to your least amount of training. If you have none, what would that be?

If you own a semi-automatic pistol, the dresser drawer or car glove box is not a good learning place. A semi-auto firearm may fire more rounds than a revolver and be easier to reload, but if the firearm's weaknesses are not learned, it can become little more than a paper weight. When you load the magazine, make sure you load the cartridges in the correct direction. Yes, ignorance happens! When you insert the magazine into the handle of the pistol, make sure it "clicks" to show it is fully seated. If not, the first round fired will dislodge it and it will fall to the ground. If you are a novice under fire, you will be perplexed as to why your gun will not fire when the trigger is pulled the second time. You need to know what to do if your pistol jams and why it did. Many jams are caused by "limp-wristing." You did not have a firm grip on the gun when firing. You need to practice reloading when the slide locks back after the last round is fired. All of these items are elementary if practiced. Without practice, it can mean the difference between a gun that functions and one that doesn't. Which would you rather have?

I used to have a neighbor that was an agent in the FBI. The department decided to issue a new firearm. It was the Springfield 1911. After being issued the pistol, the local office went to the range and put 1,000 rounds through the gun each day for two days, just to learn how to use it. That is a good lesson to us. If you are going to purchase a pistol, I have one word for you--Practice! Your life may depend upon it!

Ray Hawk is a minister, a member of the NRA, IDPA, and the Tennessee Sports Foundation in Jackson, Tennessee. He is also the webmaster for the Tennessee Sports Foundation web site.

10:23 am est 

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