Monday, August 21, 2006

Teaching My Nephew to Shoot

My visit with my Marine nephew is over and I can give up my week-long stint as tour director, chauffeur, and pistol trainer (well maybe I won’t give up that role). I can also cease to be amazed about how much a young Marine can eat.

I appreciate comments that others left on this post. I do honor my nephew’s service even though I still think he has some funny ideas. For instance, he is wrestling with pacifism. I bought him a few books of his choosing as gifts and one was Gandhi’s autobiography (and I am familiar with the pro-gun quote about Britain forbidding a people the use of arms).

Other than philosophical discussions and trips to Boston (not my favorite place), we did a few fun things. He wanted to learn how to shoot a handgun. He hadn’t fired a handgun before thanks to his mom and it hasn’t been part of his Marine training, so I taught him.

He did the typical male thing that I’ve seen whenever I’ve taught men how to shoot a handgun. He thought he knew it all until he got to the range and then wondered why his shots were going underneath the target when he hit the paper at all.

You might remember that his sister visited me some months ago. She listened very attentively to my safety lecture and then how I explained the interplay of sight alignment and trigger squeeze. My nephew, however, already knew the safety rules and recited them while standing almost at parade rest.

His range safety was impeccable, but his accuracy was less than good. He thought his rifle skills would more readily transfer to a handgun and didn’t understand how much a handgun wobbles even with a two-handed grip. The wobbling caused him to snatch at the trigger when he saw a good sight alignment. He had to pause and listen to me explain trigger control which led to better accuracy.

I’ve introduced a respectable number of men and women to handgun shooting and fewer to rifle and shotgun shooting. It’s always easier with women and I think it’s a societal thing. After all, too many movies show a cowboy, cop, or gangster making impossible shots with guns held in any position except backwards and with no aiming. Maybe young women pay less attention to that aspect of those movies.

I don’t know, but I’ve always found it interesting and I’m not the only one who’s noticed it. Any other theories?

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