Monday, July 14, 2003

Guns guns guns

Everyone - man or woman, boy or girl - should know how to change a flat tire, cook a dinner that doesn't come from a box, and operate a gun.

My wife and girls can already do the first two, and yesterday I took the first baby steps towards that last one, and it has already turned out to be educational. I bought a pellet pistol, with the idea that I could use it to teach firearm basics. Notice that I said 'operate' a gun, not just 'fire' a gun, because shooting is only a small part of owning a gun of any kind.

I want my ladies to know that you have to always be aware of where the firearm is pointed. I want them to understand that every gun should always be treated as if it were loaded. They're going to learn how to hold a pistol and fire it safely. They're going to learn how to maintain and keep a gun clean. They don't have to love it, they don't even have to like it, they just have to know how to do it.

Even if they never ever shoot a gun in anger, or self-defense, I want them to be able to make a gun safe and secure. Just in case.

I wrote to Kim du Toit and asked his advice on a 'first' firearm, and he was kind enough to answer and recommend a couple of .22 pistols. But after running into some serious resistance from Rachael, I thought that the bb pistol might be a better first step.

Last night I brought it out and talked about setting up a place in the backyard to shoot, and Rachael was fine with it. When mom asked why she didn't have a problem with it, Rachael said "This isn't like shooting a 'real' gun."

Oh yes it is, little one. And that was the very first lesson, right then and there. I honestly believe its already paid for itself, just for that moment.

This pistol is vaguely shaped like a .45, with some heft to it. It was also dirt cheap, as in throwaway cheap. In fact, the instruction booklet that came with it has a little Q&A section and one passage reads "you will find the accuracy to be commesurate with the retail price you paid." LOL In other words, don't expect much, because it's a cheap crappy pistol.

It has a slide action and uses a spring/piston instead of CO2 cartridges. The force is intentionally limited, making it possible for us to shoot in the backyard (or even inside) with a blanket backdrop. It has an 18 shot bb magazine and a functional safety. It's got the classic ramp and post sight, and will put holes in paper targets. It also has some simple maintenance procedures to be followed every several hundred shots or so. Basically, it has everything I need it to have to use it as a teaching aid.

This should be interesting.