Wednesday, February 17, 2010

There's Something About a Gun......

I might as well admit it right off the start. I like guns. My grandfather started teaching me to shoot when I was barely able to stand up. My grandparents lived on a farm in Oregon and hunting was used to to put food on the table. In those days, that was a way to put meat in the freezer for the long winter months. Venison, duck and pheasant were not something you hunted for sport, they were your next meal. Knowing how to shoot was not a recreational achievement, it was a necessary tool.

Grandpa was one hell of a shot. Around the community they often referred to him as "One Shot Fred" in tribute to his reputation for always getting his deer on opening day of the season with the first shot. My Grandmother and my mother were also really good shots as well. My father, who had been raised in the city and had never been around guns, was not very good and preferred to go golfing when we got the guns out.

Grandpa had 7 grand children but he and I had a special relationship. I was the youngest and was named after him. When I showed an early interest in shooting, he became determined to help me get as good as he was and carry on the family reputation. He started me out learning about gun safety and teaching me to use a gun as a tool. I had to learn how to take one apart and clean it long before I was ever allowed to shoot one. Fortunately, I had a talent for shooting and got pretty good. I went on to earn quite a respectable number of competitions and marksmanship awards. As a midshipman I was on the rifle team and the very first ribbons I earned were the "Expert" rifle and pistol awards. As a police officer I took great pleasure in always placing first in my class when we went to the range for our firearms qualifications.

I stopped hunting after I moved off of the farm. I was always taught you only shot and killed game for food and since I was then in a position to be able to buy my meat in a store, killing for food was simply not necessary. I still liked to go out hunting from time to time, but I started doing it with a camera instead of a gun. This was not a change of attitude. It was merely a logical extension of what I was taught about respecting life and killing only when necessary. As my life and profession changed I had less and less time for shooting and I eventually stopped going to the gun range completely. I got so I only read magazine articles about guns and hunting and only took my gun out to clean it twice a year.

There is something about a gun, however, that still gets my juices flowing. There is a certain primeval satisfaction you get from shooting and hitting your target. There is a connection to danger and power in a gun that you can feel when you look at one and even more when you handle one. Perhaps it is a connection with our darker side. Whatever it is, it has never gone away.

I had an opportunity to go out to a gun range today and to shoot again for the first time in years. It was an awesome experience. I spent several hours shooting different guns. Two of them were fairly new models and I fell in love with both of them, One was a pistol, a Glock model 36. It is a .45 ACP caliber with a 6 shot magazine. It is relatively small for such a large caliber handgun and has a black polymer finish and weighs only 20 ounces. This makes it very comfortable to carry (and conceal if necessary) and makes it good for women and people with smaller hands. It also has a double recoil spring that is a big improvement over the kick you get from the Colt 45, which has always been one of my favorites. Firing the Glock was just plain fun and I was able to get some good results keeping a 2" group on my last target. It would not hesitate to recommend this little sweetheart to my friends. For home defense it is small, easy loading and that 45 caliber beats the hell out f my 9 mil for stopping power.

The other gun I fell for was a shotgun. It is the new Mossberg model 930 12 gauge.
Shotguns are just a blast to shoot and they can be a real game changer in both police and military shooting situations. This one has a 5 round easy-loading capacity and handles like a sports car. It is lightweight enough to make it comfortable to carry and fire from both the hip and the shoulder. The kick is a little heavy but the recoil and stock do a god job of absorbing it. We fired 00 buck and the pattern was good and fairly tight at 15 yards. If you have the room and ability for safe storage, you can't do much better than a gun like this for home defense. There is something about the sight of a shotgun that makes would-be bad guys run for the hills and the sound of a shotgun racking (pumping a shell into the chamber) is something that gives everyone a good chill. I have always liked Mossberg as a manufacturer and they have really done a nice job on this weapon.

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