A Trip to the Range


In which Mrs. EMS Artifact goes shooting for the first time. She’s had her carry permit for a while now, but hasn’t actually done any shooting. Our state requires a safety class before you can apply for a license, but shooting is not required. Which is fine with me, as I don’t think that any class should be required. That’s a debate for another day, though.

Friday was a nice, sunny day, not too hot. In other words a good day to go shooting. Not that I’m sure that there is a BAD day to go shooting, but that’s me not the Mrs. I didn’t want her to be distracted by the weather, so the weather was ideal for my purposes.

I brought along my trusty Walther P22. It’s good for new shooters and even better for Mrs. EMS Artifact. She’s a lefty (left handed, not politically) and so my very nice S&W Model 18 was not going to work for her. Although many people think that the P22 is a piece of junk, I’ve had good luck with mine. I bought this one used several years ago and it came with two barrels, a bunch of different front sights, and two grips. It also has ambidextrous magazine releases and safety levers. Which is good for a left handed shooter. And practically no recoil.

It’s a really good handgun for a new shooter. Except for one thing, I’d say it’s perfect. The one thing is that the plastic front sights sometimes fall out of the slide. Which is what happened to us on Friday. So, I decided that I’d have to improvise and so I told the Mrs. that we’d work on handling and improving her comfort level with the gun itself.

The first step was to show her how to load the magazines. To start, I loaded one round, and one round only, into each magazine. I then went over the controls, showing her the magazine release, safety, slide lock, how to release the slide, rear sight, and where the front sight should be. I wasn’t going to be able to work on sight alignment or sight picture this time out. (Note to self, next time bring the box, because that’s where the spare sights live.) Sigh.

Using an empty magazine, I showed her how they were inserted into the gun, how the slide was released, and how to decock the hammer. Which brings me to the one feature of this gun I really don’t like. In order to decock the gun, the operator first has to engage the safety lever and then PULL THE TRIGGER. I’m really uncomfortable with that and spent a fair amount of time going over that with her.

When she felt comfortable with that I had her load a magazine, release the slide, set the safety to fire, and fire. She flinched just a bit, but asked for another magazine. Another single round was loaded. I talked about sight picture (in theory), grip, breathing, trigger squeeze. That’s what we worked on for the next several minutes.

Oh, the reason I wanted to use one round per magazine was that I wanted to be sure that she was following the dicta of always pointing the muzzle down range. I had a previous new shooter who fired a single round from a Bersa .380 Thunder. At which point the young lady (not to say men don’t do this too) turned towards me with a chambered round and said, “I don’t like shooting this, too much recoil.” Since she wasn’t mad at me, I suggested that she turn and point the gun downrange. Which lead to a bit of embarrassment on her part, but since she’s a sweetheart and I love her like a daughter, I forgave her. I learned an important lesson that day, and it didn’t even cost me a trip to the hospital. But, I digress.

Next we practiced with three rounds per magazine until she had a high comfort level, then five, and finally ten.

I sort of figured out a work around for the missing front sight, set up another target, and tested my handiwork. Not bad, the gun shot high, but we cold compensate for that. At the end of 100 rounds, Mrs. Artifact was doing pretty well. More importantly I heard the best comment one can hear from a first time shooters, “That was fun, when can we go again?”

That will be in another week or so, I hope. I’d like to get a replacement sight, since that particular height pointed well for me when I shot the gun in the past and I’d like to have a selection for her next trip. If not, the we’ll put in the size we do have an go from there.

Before we left, I put a couple of chambers full of .38 Special through my S&W 642. I’ve recently installed Ergo Grip Delta Grips and want to get more time in with them. I have to write up a separate post about that, maybe tomorrow or Wednesday.

I also loaded one round into the revolver and coached Mrs. EMS Artifact through using the controls of a revolver. I just wanted her to shoot one round. Which she did and did not like. Which did not surprise me as it’s a big step up. However, she didn’t complain about the recoil nearly as much as I thought she would.

To prepare for our next trip, I’m going to give her the handgun, a couple of Tipton .22 snap caps, and a magazine. I want her to practice handing the gun with dummy ammunition so that she gets even more comfortable with handling it. I figure the more relaxed and comfortable she is, the better we’ll shoot.

I don’t know that she’ll ever want to carry for personal protection, but I do know that I want her to be able to do so if that’s what she decides.

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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.



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