The personal thoughts and comments of Gene, "The Aggie."

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'Gun-Free Zones' are only gun-free, until somebody brings a gun. - Unknown

Friday, April 18, 2008

Guns and Our Kids

Our first child, at the tender age of 8 or 10, still playing with dolls and such, was introduced to firearm safety beyond the DON'T TOUCH, etc. of the NRA's Eddie Eagle program. We taught her to shoot targets with her very own BB gun in our back yard. Birds were off-limits! ;>)

At the time, in the early to mid-80s, we had a H&R .22 LR/.22 WMRF convertible revolver on hand. I had owned a .38 Spcl revolver and a .380 ACP semi-auto earlier. Having not fired a round from anything for about 5 years, I was concerned about my ability to control such tools under recoil.

Recoil is literally a "sensitive" subject for me. Not because it hurts but because my right wrist & hand are off-set from my forearm. Some call it a "club" hand. As such, I can't bend the wrist enough to provide a straight line between the handgun and forearm for recoil control. The recoil forces cannot travel in a straight line through the wrist and into to the forearm as occurs in a "normal" person. Complicating matters is my lack of a right thumb. It was amputated, due to missing bone structure, when I was an infant. I use the finger adjacent to the thumb as a thumb when grasping any object. Holding on to something as poweful as a .45 ACP, .357 Magnum or even a 9 mm handgun is still something of a challenge.

The first time I fired a .45 ACP it wound up forcibly rotating my hands back until the muzzle pointed at my forehead! Being a semi-automatic pistol, or self-loader, that meant that there was a live round under the hammer and my finger was on the tigger! I was not happy! Now, you can see why I was concerned out "grip" after several years of inactivity.

The H&R revolver was loaded with the Magnum cylinder & cartridges for our defensive use. SWMBO! and I agreed kid #1 (and only at that time) needed to know how to use it. HER safety required that skill. We went through the safety rules again and again.

We went to a northside pistol range as often as possible. It was there, one day on her first day of Christmas break the year she was 12 that this story ocurred. Daughter had gotten out of school early, for Christmas break, and I took the afternoon off, beginning my own holiday. I picked her up at school. The trunk of the car was loaded with both the H&R mentioned above and the Colt Detective Special .38 Spcl we had recently picked up and a .22 LR semi-automatic rifle we had taught her to shoot. The Det Spcl was a snubbie with an 1-1/2" or 2" barrel. Compact and about as powerful as I could, and can, handle, with confidence in an emergency.

We arrived at the indoor range in mid-afternoon. There were only two others shooting. All the way to the left, there were a Harris County Sheriff's Deputy and another man in civilian clothing. My daughter and I took up two lanes all the way to the far right.

Over the next hour, we retreated into our own little world shooting, talking, comparing notes and eventually trading guns. She shot bulls-eye targets and I was shooting the standard human silhouette targets. I had her working on accuracy and safe handling while I stood next to her working on my ability to raise the Colt snubbie, acquire the sights, position the sights over the center-of-mass of the target and press the trigger without disturbing the sights. My attention was, first of all, on her and then on my own weapon handling. Ear muffs enhanced our "retreat."

After a while, I sensed an extra "presence" in our area. The uniformed deputy had moved over, behind my daughter. He stood with his back against the wall behind us. I recall he stood there, intently watching my little girl, with his hands behind his back. I safed my weapon and turned and enquired if there was a problem.

"Oh, no!" He told me he had noticed an "odd" pattern in the sound and sights coming from our end of the range. He had seen us arrive and setup and had watched as we began our work. The little one fired .22s, both the revolver (two-handed "combat" grip) and rifle, from a height of about 4' while the .38 snubbie sounded off from my lane at about 5-1/2' from the floor. After a while, the deputy noticed a change. The snubbie was then at the lower heght and the .22 was at the 5-1/2' level. He decided to "investigate."

There he was, standing behind my 12 year-old little girl, watching, as she fired our last rounds for the day. And there she was, proper two-handed, combat, grip on the .38 Spcl snubbie, Catholic parochial school (we were Episcopalians at the time!) uniform, blond hair in a pony-tail, cleanly taking out the center-of-mass of my last silhouette targets. He just grinned at me, repeated "No problem!" and walked back to his end of the firing line.

I was very proud of my kiddo. Still am.

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