Thursday, August 05, 2010

Bang ...

Edwin and I took his young nephews -- visiting from the old country for the recent wedding -- along with Irene's son, to the gun club today to sling a little lead downrange.

Edwin can shoot, of course, even if he likes knives better, but none of the boys had ever fired a handgun, and speaking here as a now-and-then pistol instructor, those are the best students. No bad habits to unlearn.

We went to the indoor range, had a short course in safety -- always the first thing -- then some general stuff about cartridges and guns, with specifics on the two we brought to shoot. Those being pictured above -- a Colt. SA Peacemaker pattern, and an Erma Luger, both in .22 rimfire.

Neither are target handguns, both have fixed sights, but they are good plinkers. I like the single-action because it's simple, and the Luger because it is intrinsically one of the best natural pointing guns since the old flintlock dueling pistols -- the grip-to-frame angle is terrific.

.22 is my preferred caliber for teaching new students. We wear ear and eye protection, of course, but these guns don't make much of a bang and they have little recoil, so it helps with flinching.

I showed them about grip, stance, sight picture and trigger control. How to figure out which eye is dominant. The boys were all right-handed, save one, and I think everybody was right-eye dominant. We went over how to load and unload, use the safety on the one that had such, and a bit about breathing.

We dry-fired the weapons, put up large targets at fifty feet and then each boy got to get up, load the gun, and fire five rounds, me standing right behind him. We cycled through each weapon and then did another turn with the Luger, which they all seemed to like.

They did remarkably well. Nobody forgot to keep the muzzle pointed downrange, no ADs. Almost every shot was on the paper, and many were in the black. Given that the front sight on the semi-auto was a little loose, that was even more impressive. And nobody limp-wristed the Luger, so there weren't any stovepipes.

Well-behaved and polite young men, all of them, and a fine time was had by all. I have corrupted some Europeans into being shooters. I am pleased.


Anonymous said...

"The boys were all right-handed, save one, and I think everybody was right-eye dominant."

Being a confused person myself (left handed for some things, right handed for others), I'm curious how being dominant in one eye but in the opposite hand affects shooting (never having discharged any sort of firearm, myself). Is it intrinsically harder? Or is it just learning things a bit differently than someone who is right-right or left-left? Or does it have no measurable effect?

Steve Perry said...

I can't see that it would be much of a problem. If you use the dominant eye and it is opposite, it needs only a small positional shift for a handgun. Looking at somebody doing it, you probably couldn't tell.

For a scoped rifle, it'd be a bit tougher, but you can teach yourself how to use your non-dominant eye, and if you close one eye when you shoot to better focus on the sights, you use the other one anyhow.

A lot of handgun shooters learn how to keep both eyes open. The dominant eye tends to take over and you adjust the weapon accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Hasn't hurt me too much yet. I've found over the years that I'm right hand dominant, but I sight through my left eye when I'm shooting handguns. I look through a scope on a rifle with my right eye, though. :-)


Ed said...

I lost central vision in one eye a long time ago. It didn't bother my pistol shooting much except when I catch an ejected shell with some pistols - ejected brass from a 44 Desert Eagle drew some blood on my forehead - noticed it after a day of shooting just after I lost the vision. Couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with that pistol - glad it wasn't my pistol, too much gun for me and too spendy to shoot often - for me.

I do now have to shoot left handed with rifles - if I want to use the sights.

Looks like the kids got a great first lesson and had some fun.

jks9199 said...

One other benefit of the .22... Ammo is relatively cheap!

As to the cross-dominant eye... For handgun, it's not really an issue. If you close one eye while shooting, you'll almost naturally line up the pistol with that eye. You're reaching across your face by a couple of inches. If you keep your eyes open -- same thing, really.

For rifle/shotgun, it can be more of an issue. Depending on how dominant the dominant eye is (I'm right handed, but VERY left eye dominant), you just shoot 'em lefty.