With a forecast of 2-4 inches of snow, warmer temps – into the low teens, and two guys ready to jump into the NRA Basic Pistol course, what better place to be than in our local Ikes chapter house with its associated range to spend the day. And, TheBoy was lending a hand to give him some more instruction time as well, a nice bonus. Coffee made, furnace doing its best to warm things up, donuts at the ready and a 12 pack of Diet Coke . . . we’re ready to rock!
A lot of folks think fewer students means a shorter class . . . alas – not true. While you can save some time on the range, the rest simply “takes what it takes”.
In the winter, when “sun set” is essentially 4:30PM or so, I shuffle things around a bit so we can hit the range right after lunch. Both Jim and Bill are new to handguns which is usually good news to me. It means that I don’t have to beat my way through poor habits or heads filled full of misinformation.
So, we roll through SA, DA revolvers, SA, DA, SA/DA, Safe Action semi-automatics, safety rules, range rules, range commands, loading/unloading all handguns, safe handling . . . a full morning that ends with a SIRT range experience. I put up a couple targets, place the shooters at 21ft and work through their first “range trip”. I have to admit the more I use SIRT pistols with new shooters, the more I appreciate them. The difference on how they perform on a live fire range is really noticeable. You can cover everything from stance/grip/sight alignment/sight picture to range commands to duplicating how they will run the live fire qualification.
Following lunch we packed up gear, move a range barrel to the firing line and prepared them for their first target. I use this for their first course of fire – a single round followed by their second course of fire – 10 rounds. These first targets are theirs to keep. A second target is mounted and a 10 round qualification round is shot. I evaluate everything from their safe gun handling skills to their ability to place rounds on the target.
A word about shooting in cold/snow/wind/rain . . . just do it. It may require you to slow the pace of the range work – but weather is simply weather – deal with it.
We pack up, return to the warmth of the chapter house and finish out the course and the exam. Final result – two new NRA trained shooters, TheBoy got to work with students and refine his teaching skills and we all gained a few “range stories” of snow, cold and wind chills . . . a fine day indeed!