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Education / Training Teach me to shoot: Part 8

Teach me to shoot: Part 8

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

This is the continuing fictional saga and guest report of a man teaching a woman to shoot. Today Jack and Jill look at other possible defense weapons for her, and Jill makes her selection! Jill also tells Jack about a Babes with Bullets training camp she recently attended.

Our guest writer is reader, Jack Cooper. Take it away, Jack.

Teach me to shoot

by Jack Cooper

This report covers:

  • Jill went to camp
  • Grouping the campers
  • Sized for everyone
  • One hand or two?
  • More defense revolvers
  • Bottom line
  • Hospital security
  • More training
  • B.B. is next

Jill went to camp

I didn’t write a report last week because Jill was attending a Babes with Bullets training camp. She returned completely on fire for shooting and had made a new friend. Babes with Bullets has different camps, and Jill was in the one called Beginner Handgun. She said the camp went over the same safety fundamentals we did, then they started shooting with low-recoil handguns in .22 rimfire instead of airguns. That makes sense, because they only have three days, where Jill and I had a lot more time.

Grouping the campers

They rank their campers as novices, advanced beginners and intermediate shooters. Jill was put into the advanced beginner group at her request, even though the instructors said she was probably an intermediate shooter. She said she liked the pace of the training, but it did go faster than we had, because there were others to be trained. She was very glad she had trained before the camp, though she did observe that the novices were given more personalized instruction.

Sized for everyone

The campers were fitted to their guns on the first evening, which is where Jill learned that she does, indeed, have very small hands. Her roommate and new friend, Jamell, is over 6 feet tall and has a large frame, according to Jill. She is a sculptor who works all day with clay and stone, so she is very strong. They had to give her their largest pistol, and even it wasn’t quite large enough.

Jill really liked the 9mm S&W M&P pistol they loaned her at the camp. It was specially modified by Smith & Wesson to have a crisp trigger and to be easy to cock. She was surprised by the low recoil, but that is the difference between a semiautomatic pistol and a revolver. She said it didn’t kick any more than the snubnosed revolvers she shot in .32 H&R Magnum, but I pointed out that the pistols at the camp were larger, heavier and their mechanisms absorbed some of the recoil.

Babes with Bullets allows the campers to bring their own handguns, if they want, but Jill doesn’t have a gun yet. Neither does Jamell, who isn’t even sure she wants to carry for self-defense. She told Jill she really wants to learn to hunt, but Babes with Bullets reached out to her, so she went. She noted that it isn’t that easy for a woman to learn to shoot. She figured any training she could get would be valuable.

She had shot with her father when she was younger and lived at home, so she was also ranked as an advanced beginner, but Jill said she told Jamell some things that weren’t covered at the camp — like gun etiquette. They do cover safety quite well, but the extra stuff I taught Jill isn’t normally considered part of firearms training. She also showed Jamell about the foot placement to make the upper body rigid for shooting with one hand. That’s something Babes with Bullets doesn’t cover, as their training is geared towards firearms familiarization and self-defense, rather than target shooting. They do address body positioning, but from a defense standpoint.

Jill is definitely thinking about trying out some kind of action pistol shooting sport — like maybe IPSC-style handgun matches! The shooting she did at camp was fun and she liked the idea of competing against her own times. She will have to find another instructor for that, because I don’t shoot action pistol, but the Babes with Bullets camp got her off to a good start. She has already contacted a local club that invited her to their next match.

She also wants to try 10-meter air pistol, so she and I will look into that. I told her these two shooting disciplines will probably conflict with each other somewhat, but she still wants to try them both.

One hand or two?

On the last day at camp they have a competition that Jill really liked. But she was feeling cocky and challenged her instructor to a side match, as well. They would both shoot at bullseye targets — Jill one-handed and the instructor two-handed. The best score for 10 shots won. I’d like to tell you that she triumphed, but the fact is, the instructor outshot her by three points. Jill says those instructors are all titled competitors who really know their stuff! I thought she did well just getting close.

In the end I think Jill has discovered the joy of shooting. She started out just wanting to learn to shoot for self defense, but along the way she found a sport that she enjoys. She’s talking about joining the National Rifle Association. I think we have a new shooter on our hands!

More defense revolvers

Today Jill and I tried a couple more .32 H&R Magnum revolvers for her consideration. One of them she absolutely loved, but it’s too large to  carry conveniently. Ruger’s SP101 is a snubnosed revolver in stainless steel that used to be produced in .327 Federal Magnum caliber. That means it will also handle the smaller .32 H&R Magnum. The problem is, the shortest barrel it ever came with is 3 inches long, and Jill could see that made it too large for her purse. But, oh, boy, did she like how smooth it was! The weight really helped control the recoil. If the gun had been smaller, she would have chosen it. Because it was discontinued, the SP101 in .327 Federal Magnum now commands a high price. They can top $800 when they change hands.

The other gun we tried was a Taurus .327 Federal Magnum snubnose. Taurus makes great handguns, and their revolvers, which take after the S&W line more than a little, are considered to be among the best. This one is chambered for .327 Federal Magnum, so it also chambers .32 H&R Magnum. Jill found it to be as nice and easy as the S&W 431 she shot two weeks ago, plus she can buy one for about $150 less than the Smith. The trigger pull is about the same as the Smith’s in both double action and single action, and the overall size of the revolver is equivalent. Both guns hold 6 rounds in their cylinder, which she felt was essential. She actually shot better with the Taurus than she had with the Smith, but she was also just back from the Babes with Bullets camp and was still sharp from that.

Bottom line

Jill decided to buy the Taurus revolver. I will find one for her on Gun Broker, where she should be able to pay about $350. Then she needs to look at purses that have compartments for concealed handguns. That will be more of a problem, because right now she carries a Gucci bag. But she knows of a custom leather worker who will make whatever she orders, so it should turn out okay, if not exactly cheap.

She really liked the Ruger LCR revolver, too, but it is double action only. Although she agrees that any defensive shooting has to be double action, she still wants the option of being able to cock the hammer when she wants ro.

Hospital security

Finally, she was able to make a deal with her hospital’s security people to store her gun while she is inside the building. She will buy a gun safe with an electronic keypad that she will pay to have installed under the security desk. The hospital chief of staff agreed to this when she spoke to him two weeks ago, so all she has to do is set it up. There is a security desk next to the door that leads to the parking garage, so that is where she will have the safe installed. She isn’t the first doctor to get this done. Two other doctors and one nurse already have similar arrangements.

More training

Jill asked me to teach Jamell to shoot a rifle. I agreed, as long I could conduct a preliminary session with her to cover the things Jill and I covered. I would just test her on her knowledge of safety and then cover in detail the subjects that were not familiar. I have decided to also blog that training, too — mostly because B.B. asked me to.

B.B. is next

Speaking of B.B. — he asked if he could do the next segment of this series himself. He promised several readers he would show in short videos how to properly stand to shoot a handgun accurately with one hand, so I’m going to defer to him for that.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

37 thoughts on “Teach me to shoot: Part 8”

  1. I’ve really enjoyed reading this story and have learned some things along the way. I’m looking forward to the video demonstrating the stance for one handed target shooting.

  2. So Jill has a girl shooting buddy now that wants to learn to hunt.

    I’m already picturing her and Jill out in a blind they made up from the surroundings and hunting those darn wild pigs. Or maybe even coyotes.

    Sounds like there’s fun times ahead brewing for Jack and Jill and her new shooting buddy. Wonder who will be the first to get a pig or coyote.

  3. B.B.,

    This Teach me to shoot series is quite educational for me. I read these at least as intently as i do those on airgunning, perhaps more so.


      • B.B.,

        Definitely a logical progression, and yes, the emphasis of these on firearms is clear. That is the reason I am curious about the subject, being a non-powder burner, I have an awful lot to learn.

        Consider the lesson I earlier learned here about recoil. I naively thought that rounds that provided almost the same muzzle energy also provided equivalent felt recoil. I didn’t consider that a .38 Special might have significantly more kick than a .32 H&R Magnum.

        To paraphrase Albert Einstein, to stop learning is to begin dying.


  4. Jack,

    I’m really curious how Jill did with the M&P. Did she have problems with slide manipulations?


    Thanks for the effort you put into this blog for us. Love reading it.


    • Teknobel,

      Smith & Wesson modified the M&P pistols to give them crisper triggers and easier cocking. If you go to the Babes with Bullets website and look under the Industry Friends (Media) section, you will see videos of slightly-built women having no difficulty racking the slides.

      I’m glad you enjoy the series. This is something I have wanted to do for years and I finally figured out how to do it!


  5. Jack:

    “She really liked the Ruger LCR revolver, too, but it is double action only. Although she agrees that any defensive shooting has to be double action, she still wants the option of being able to cock the hammer when she wants to.”

    Did she look at the Ruger LCRx – the version of the LCR with the external hammer? It can be fired in double or single action mode. I believe it is offered in 38 Special only. At least the one we tried at the range was in 38 Special. However, you can use low powered loads or hand loads to the tame the recoil. Actually, according to my daughter, the recoil is not bad with regular 38 Special (not +P). She still prefers my S&W model 60. I believe my chances of getting my Model 60 back are slim to none and I do believe that I saw slim heading out of town.



      • I wondered about this too. But then I got to thinking that the exposed hammer might snag on clothing. On the other hand, is .38 special so bad? It served the police well for many decades, and it was only joined by the .357 magnum when they had to shoot armored automobiles.


  6. I don’t have one … I just read the reviews and thought it looked interesting the way it was designed to not have any edges that would catch when trying to draw it (thinking that in a purse there would be lots of opportunities to get hung up when drawing in a panic situation).

  7. I see we have a number of people who have handled grenades here. Thanks for the info. That timing associated with the spoon is interesting. There is a story of some virtuoso with the grenade who described how he used the timing feature. He kept his eye on his target. After the target hit the deck at the start of the action, the thrower “let the spoon fly” and threw the grenade just at the moment when the target was getting back up. That’s high level stuff.

    Gunfun1, right you are that one can never be sure where an individual shot will end up. I’m just trying to organize the shooting space for personal safety based on reasonable probabilities. So, for reactive targets, a minimum of 75 yards at the base of berm should permit only small bands of non-dangerous backscattering right and left and overhead. I don’t think any of your examples violate this. The one exception would be a ricochet off a tree branch. I’ll make sure not to shoot under trees. However, the danger posed by this as opposed to a straight rebound is essentially the same, just divided into parts, and for that reason is even more unlikely. The bullet would have to ricochet at a very precise angle from the target then from however many tree branches to turn 180 degrees back to the shooter. And it would have to rebound from branches that were as hard as steel. Supposing they were, the bullet would deform and lose a lot of its energy that way. So, the chances of a dangerous ricochet back to the shooter in the above conditions are nil.

    Still, I once contemplated buying a steel army helmet for extra safety. And the danger from other shooters with their reactive targets will probably keep me away from unregulated ranges.


    • Matt61
      All I can say is I don’t want to find out how much energy that projectile did have left in it if it happened to come back and hit me from a ricochet.

      That would for sure ruin a fun day of shooting.

  8. B.B.,

    I noticed that I would be remiss if I failed to offer my thanks to Mr. Ungier and everyone at Pyramydair who helps make this blog and the extensive archive available for everyone who stops by.


    • Ken,

      Good point, very good point. In my research on a PCP package, I did a LOT of research and visited other sites. Hands down, no question, the PA site is BY FAR the easiest to use, navigate and from what I can tell, offers the most selection. Plus,… the perks,… like this blog.

      You are right,.. in that it takes somebody “at the top” that can put together a talented team to pull all of that off.

      • I’ve shot a couple of 1911’s and find I like the thumb rest (not sure if that’s what you call it). It seems to give me more stability in my grip.

        I continue to have trouble with my S&W 642, but I’m getting some new Hogue grips for it and will see how I like it then…For now, there is too much recoil and the trigger pull is way too heavy for me…

        • Levans,

          What you are calling the thumbrest on a 1911 is actually the manual safety, and I do recommend resting your thumb over it when you shoot. It lessens the bounce by about half.

          The Hogue grips will help, but a .38 Special snubnose is just too much of a recoiler for me. If I shot one, I would load the cartridges with 110-grain bullets and a fast-burning powder that would give velocity without recoil. It would still be stiff, but a lot better than most ammo for that caliber.

          The .32 H&R Magnum shoots an 85-90-grain bullet and it is uncanny how much less recoil there is. Maybe I will find a way to show this in the blog someday.

          As far as the heavy trigger goes, that can be fixed with gunsmithing. But you want cartridge ignition reliability, so that has to take precedence over a light pull.


  9. Just some info as a FYI for whats it worth.

    When I worked at Harley we had several ex police officers that worked there as well and one told us of several times he had been shot by suspects he had stopped. This was back in the late seventies and early 80s before the bullet proof vest we have today so he always wore his heavy Harley leather jacket at work ( the leather on them are between 3/8 to 7/16″ thick and they weigh over 50 pounds.) I have one so I can vouch for the weight and thickness of the leather.. He said he was lucky that the times he was shot the suspect only had small caliber pistols of 25 or 32 ACP calibers and while he had some bruises and broke ribs from being shot none of the bullets were able to penetrate his jacket and you could see the impressions and tearing on his jacket from the bullets impacts as he still wore that same jacket while at Harley.

    My point is as I am not familiar with the .327 or 32 H&R magnum calibers as far as power or velocities are concerned but he told us if we are going to carry concealed for self defense to not carry anything less that a 9mm and preferably a 38 or larger caliber since a criminal that is wearing a heavy leather jacket like what bikers wear could likely not be stopped or even slowed down by a small caliber round as it was a real possibility that it will not penetrate the leather of the jacket especially if it was a loose fit or had other layers of clothing on under it as it would tend to absorb the energy of the bullet and prevent penetration thru the leather.

    If I had not seen his jacket and worked with him for 11 years I don’t know if I would have believed what he said but the proof was plain as day on the jacket so either he is one lucky person or the Lord was with him on those days, but either way I have took his advice to heart and will not carry anything less than a 9mm for self defense myself.


    • BD,

      The .327 Federal Magnum will out-penetrate the .357 Magnum cartridge, when shot from an equivalent gun. The .32 H&R Magnum is less powerful — more like a .38 Special.

      A 9MM Luger (9X18) will probably out-penetrate the .32 H&R, but only when shot from a 4-inch barrel or longer — not when fired from a snubnosed revolver.


      • Does the same fpe calculation hold for powered burners like it does for air guns? What velocity are these rounds launched at? How heavy a projectile? What is a .222 Remington?
        Confused? Does a slower speed, larger bullet do more damage and have greater recoil than a smaller bullet with faster speed? Assuming they are both shot from a 20 oz gun? Why do these guns have such heavy triggers? What is a realistic defines shooting situation? 50 feet or less?
        Sorry I’m so ignorant….


        ps aside from some .22 target shooting as a kid. A little skeet shooting as an adult and shooting my buddies AR-15 some Nato round, I have never shot powder burners.

        • Yogi
          I’m going to answer some of this.

          The formula for fpe is.
          grains×feet per second×feet per second÷450240=fpe

          And grains is how much the bullet or pellet weighs in grains.

          And yes bullet mass and weight matched to a certain velocity will make the projectile impact differently. As well as distance.

        • Yogi,

          The formula for energy is the same for all things — even speeding cars.

          Slow heavy bullets penetrate deeper but do less damage than high speed bullets. A .222 Remington puts out a 50 grain bullet at around 3100 f.p.s. Of course there are different loads that do differently.

          The light bullet recoils less than the heavy one — even when producing more energy. That’s why the .32 H&R Magnum works so well for Jill. Most shooters are just not aware of recoil ballistics and overlook the obvious.


      • BB
        Thanks as that what I was unaware of as to the actual power of those two calibers since I was not familiar with them. So the .327 is definitely a hot round and would be more than adequate and the 32 H&R magnum would be a very nice round as well. Thanks for the info since a 38 is in most cases is a larger sized revolver its nice to know the 32 H&R would be a good substitute for a small light weight carry gun although I prefer more than 6 rounds just as a personel preference..

        I agree a 9mm luger round in a snubnose is not much better than a 25 or 32 ACP round and therefore when I carry in 9mm its my Ruger P89 with the 4.5″ inch barrel and 15+1 round clips so I have plenty of ammo as I also have two extra clips in my shoulder holster as well. It is my CCP gun for public carry and I have my Rossi model 68 as my home defense pistol by the bed at night with 38+P rounds in it as well as my 70 model Remington 1100 modified into a tactical shotgun with a 21 inch slug barrel and an 8+1 extended magazine with alternating 00 / #4 buckshot in it leaning next to my bed as well..

        My belief is you can never be to prepared with the world we live in now.


  10. B.B.,
    This series(Tutorial) really works. I am ow much better with my p 17 after following the instructions. Can’t wait for the videos.
    Thanks for all the time and effort you put in on a daily basis just to keep the blog up and running. My morning coffee wouldn’t be the same without it.


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