Friday, July 30, 2010
As part of my on-again, off-again, self-imposed move towards simplicity, I've been paring down my collection of guns to what I really use. Of all the guns I've divested myself of, I can honestly say I don't really miss any of them, but I guess I had to own them to know that.
As my journey through middle age continues, I am beginning to discover that fewer possessions are better if those possessions are used regularly and well. What good does it do to have so many guns, or anything, that you barely learn to know/use well? It would be better to learn how to use one, or two, or three guns and honestly wring out everything each has to offer than to keep a stable of guns with which one has only a passing acquaintance. How many of us in the gun community can say we do that? I know I can't, but I'm working on it and I hope to be able to someday.
I can't say that I'm to the point where I want to be with the number of guns I own, but I'm getting there. Two more left the nest this summer, and maybe one or two will follow at some point in the future. Once I reach the correct amount, I'll know.
In the past, my pulse used to quicken whenever I walked through a gun store or gun show. All those nice, shiny firearms beckoned me to handle them, to take them home. Now, however, all I feel when walking through those venues is ennui. I have what I want/need and it's time to stop acting like a teenager who has a crush on every pretty face he meets. In other words, it's time to grow up.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Nearly three weeks ago, I attended a two-day Appleseed shoot. The purpose of the Appleseed program is twofold: to impart a bit of American Revolution history and make known the sacrifices of many of its participants; and to train men, women, and children to become competent riflemen. Think of it as a history class with a lot of fun, extracurricular activities.
When I say train folks as competent riflemen, I mean just that. No benches were allowed, only firing at targets from positions supported by either the ground (prone) or the shooter’s own body (sitting, kneeling, standing). The only support aid allowed was a sling. Practically all firing was done at silhouette targets placed at 25 meters. The silhouettes varied in size to simulate distances out to 300 or 400 meters, IIRC. Although 25 meters sounds close, it was no mean feat to hit the targets, even from the most stable position, prone. More often than not, I missed them.
A number of different guns were in evidence at the shoot, with a fairly even split between .22 LRs and centerfire rifles. Most were semi-autos, but I saw at least one bolt-action .22 and one lever-action .22. The type of shooting Appleseed trains you for is definitely geared towards the semi-auto-type action. Why? With a semi-auto, you don’t have to break your firing position, and then regain it, after every shot to cycle your gun. But that doesn’t mean that just because you have a semi-auto you’re in like Flynn. I had my Marlin model 60 .22 LR, a gnat-drilling gun from the bench, and I still failed miserably. But I learned my weaknesses--practically everything--and I now know what to concentrate on.
Now that I have one Appleseed shoot under my belt—I’ll likely attend another sometime next summer—here’s some advice for you if ever attend one: One, make sure your gun is sighted dead-on at 25 meters. The class is fast paced and there will be little time to make adjustments if your gun does not shoot to point of aim already. Two, if you think you’re a good shot because you can make tiny three- and five-shot groups from a bench, be ready for an epiphany, and a humbling one at that. Three, as mentioned, the class is fast paced and a lot of information is given in a short amount of time. One instructor likened it to drinking from a fire hose. Four, come with an open mind and leave your preconceived notions behind. Five, if the weather’s hot, and it was for us, bring plenty of water, wear a hat, full-brimmed if possible, bring sunscreen, wear light-colored clothing, and bring a lunch and snacks. Six, bring a chair to sit in between stages. I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all I can think of right now.
All in all, I would describe the Appleseed shoot as a valuable learning experience, and certainly worth the $70 I paid to attend. (Women, kids, and active-duty personnel may attend free of charge as of this writing.)
P.S. My nine-year-old son attended with me on the first day, Saturday. He enjoyed himself, but it was a bit much for him towards the end of the day. In my opinion, twelve or thirteen would probably be the minimum age for a child to get the full benefit of the course.
Monday, July 26, 2010
It's been a while, eh?
I found this on another blog and thought I'd post it here. It's spot on in so many ways that I would be remiss not to disseminate it.
If a Libertarian doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a Liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a Libertarian is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.
If a Liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a Libertarian is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a Liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.
If a Libertarian is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A Liberal wonders who is going to take care of the them.
If a Libertarian doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a Libertarian is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A Liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.
If a Libertarian decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A Liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.
If a Libertarian reads this, he'll forward it so his friends know how to vote in November!
A Liberal will delete it because he's "offended."
As far as I'm concerned, when the word "Liberal" is invoked above it includes all who are not Libertarian, or at least strongly leaning that way. You may disagree, as is your right; I won't secretly wish for The Powers That Be to silence you.
P.S. On the same blog, I spied this quote which, we can only hope, comes to pass eventually; I'm not sure how it couldn't:
The legacy of Democrats and Republicans approaches: Libertarianism by bankruptcy. –- Nick Nuessle