Teach me to shoot: Part 8
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
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.
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.
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.
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.