June 2017 Article: How long since you shot that (insert your gun here)?

Last night I was at a Safety Committee meeting of our gun club where the Chairperson of the various ranges discuss any incidents that took place, damage, required improvements, etc… During the meeting we talked about training and behaviors of shooters. A common observation was that many people are not adequately familiar with their firearms.

One of the attendees relayed that his neighbor has purchased an AR-15 several years ago and had never shot it.  His explanation was that “He bought it and several boxes of ammo just in case things got bad”. This is not only a bad idea but it is the opposite of being prepared leading to a false sense of security and can actually be dangerous.

As more of us shared similar stories of friends and neighbors it became clear we were describing a void in training that needed fixing.  We discussed the available “Military Shoot” matches as a possibility and a planned class by a nationally known instructor, but it was brought up that people were reluctant to display their lack of knowledge and training in front of people that were very practiced and proficient.

Beyond basics like holding the gun correctly, trigger pull, and proper sight picture, do you really know how to “Run Your Gun”?

The great ramp up in semi-automatic rifles in the past several years has meant that many familiar (AR-15) and less familiar (AK47, HK91. Tavor, FN PS90. Galil, SCAR Steyr AUG) and others are often seen at your local range.

The most popular rifle platform in the country is the AR-15 and its many variants.  In the past two of decades tens of millions have been sold and many are still in the box. I will use it for this example, but the discussion applies to all the others as well.

Think about the things you need to know: I have seen people struggle with remembering how to unlatch and pull the charging handle to chamber a round, they can’t find the bolt release and instead accidently drop the magazine on the ground and “What the heck is a forward assist for the bolt do and why do I need one?”

Do you know the difference between Remington .223 and 5.56 NATO ammunition? What is your barrel twist rate? What are the typical bullet weights for different purposes, and why are some painted with a green tip?

Now imagine doing all this under pressure, while you and your family are in danger!

If you have access to a resource such as a qualified instructor you know from the range or gun store, a friend that is very into shooting the type of gun you own, or belong to a sportsmen’s club, ask if there is a basic class in pistols or rifles of the type you own. While you are at it ask about an Armorer’s Course or basic class on disassembly, cleaning and reassembly. Again something you don’t want to learn under fire (figuratively or literally).

Watching a cleaning video on You Tube or even some of the very well done online training videos is good for basic information, but there is no substitute for pulling the trigger often and with great repetition. Get that gun out of the safe, get some training and make some noise, you will be better prepared and your guns will be happier!

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