Not Your Typical Noob: Teaching a Blind Man to Shoot

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Reader Michael E. writes:

As a Second Amendment enthusiast and gun owner, I do my best to educate as many people as I can about firearms and everything surrounding them from concealed carry laws to learning how to put two shots in one hole at the range. I attend a small to medium sized liberal arts school in Colorado, so I’m often surrounded by anti-gunners and those who question my perspective surrounding firearms. I try to go out of my way to educate these people as much as possible and have successfully turned more than a few anti-gunners and generated new range buddies.

I have taught many of my friends from different backgrounds how to shoot and the safety protocols that surround firearms. Every one of them now loves shooting. I have also now taught three parents of my friends how to shoot, most residing from the east coast. One of those sessions, though, wasn’t your typical range session.

My friend’s father was coming in town and relayed to his son that he wanted to shoot with me, so of course I said yes. The only drawback was that my friend’s father, Ed, is blind. That’s right, 100% sightless.

Now I believe that no matter what physical disability someone has, they still have the right to shoot a gun with the proper instruction. We entered my local shooting range and told the RSO that we would like to rent a couple lanes and that I would be in the same lane as Ed. Not surprisingly the RSO had quite an alarmed look on his face but recognized me and gave us the green light.

Along with my GLOCK 19, we rented a SIG P226 and a Beretta 92FS and made our way to our assigned lane. My first goal was to get him familiar with the lane constraints, and once he was comfortable, we moved on to the handguns. After running his hands and fingers along each side barrier and feeling the edges of the table, he had a picture in his head of his surroundings. After that, I proceeded to hand him my completely cleared and unloaded GLOCK 19 so he could get familiar with it.

I explained to him where and what the slide lock, magazine release and slide did and how to use them. Once that was complete and he understood everything, I told him to aim the gun straight in front of him at the target. I then gave him a loaded magazine and based on our previous instruction he knew exactly where to put it and how to rack the slide. The blind man was ready to send rounds down range.

It’s important to note that I was next to him this whole time with my hands on his arms directing his follow-up shots. After each shot he took, I told him if he was high or low, left or right, and I would slightly adjust his arms toward the center of the target.

After he emptied the GLOCK, we switched to the SIG, and later the Beretta. We went through the same process with each, getting familiar with the unloaded firearm and then sending live ammo down range.

As the day went on, his groupings got tighter, and probably a better shot than most who haven’t gotten instruction. While unusual, the session was a definite success. Teaching someone to shoot takes lots of patience and is a big responsibility. The reward at the end, though, is worth it every time.

P.S.- Ed loved shooting so much that we went back the next day and shot full auto MP5’s and M16’s.

comments

  1. avatar jwm says:

    A blind guy with a glock 19. I bet his groups were better than most of the NYPD’s.

    1. avatar BDub says:

      ZING!

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Sometimes the stuff just writes itself.

        And on a serious note. Blind folks vote, also. This was good pr for our side.

    2. avatar YaDaddy says:

      The blind and visually impaired have been shooting and defending themselves effectively with guns since there have been guns.

      Covered the topic in DEPTH with Greg Trapp of the New Mexico Commission for the Blind in episode 28 of 2AToday.

      http://twoatoday.podbean.com/mf/web/79vkpz/2ATodayep28.mp3

      A fascinating and enlightening listen, indeed.

    3. avatar Ert says:

      I highly doubt it.

  2. avatar Ralph says:

    Blind people should carry and know how to use a Smith & Wesson Centennial model. As the best contact weapon ever devised by man, no aiming, or even vision, is necessary to end a life-threatening confrontation.

    1. avatar anonymoose says:

      I was thinking more along the lines of a katana, like Zatoichi, or a morningstar, like that one blind Bohemian king.

  3. avatar Joe R. says:

    Blind people should use a laser and a strobe flashlight. It’ll make them look like the Terminator as they listen for their targets running for cover.

    Just sayin.

  4. avatar formerwaterwalker says:

    Alrighty then… Yeah I’m with Ralph. A small wheel-gun fer fun. Good job.

  5. avatar Tom in Georgia says:

    I can’t speak as to your friend’s father but it’s worth considering that very few people are truly “blind” in the stereotypical, ‘complete darkness’ sense of the word. Sure, it happens, but it’s relatively rare. Usually they can see varying degrees of light and color and objects. Now with that out of the way, blind people most certainly do vote and legally speaking, in great numbers.

    I think this is a great story, and kudos to you for extending your hand, time, experience, and most of all your patience. You made his world a little better, and if the gun haters in your state can’t see that, well then, they’re the ones who are well and truly blind.

    Tom

    PS: I was born 100% deaf in one ear and about 90% in the other, so I know a thing or two about having a sensory disability. Don’t be afraid of a little humor btw, either. It’s a healthy balance.

  6. avatar Steven says:

    In a practical sense, blind people with dangerous object makes me nervous. Now, they are no less equal than any of us, so without question they should have guns, or anything else, if the so chose; it just makes me anxious.

    Although, I’m probably projecting. I’d be worse than useless if I were to suddenly go blind, these people have adapted to their situation and can do much more than I’d ever imagine.

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      An online friend of mine was blinded after birth (premature birth and they put him on too much oxygen).
      He’s a talented self-taught DIY mechanic, does virtually all the work on his cars (but other people drive for him).

      He’s in the ‘total darkness’ category, never saw anything that he can remember.
      I should ask him if he’s tried shooting sports.

  7. avatar FedUp says:

    Teaching a blind man to shoot is easier than teaching a Kuntzmann to shoot. Some disabilities just cannot be overcome by teaching.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      First step to overcoming his disability is a name change.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        That there was funny!

  8. avatar matt says:

    Glad to hear he had a great time I do have to admit at first we took it as a shock when we were told a blind guy was coming on the range and renting full autos I’m Matt I was the one who helped him with the m16. In all honesty he did better then most people. Hope you guys come back for a visit at 5280

  9. avatar matt p says:

    Glad to hear he had a good time, have to say when we were told a blind guy was coming to rent full autos we got a little nervous but I have to admit he did better then most people. Feel free to stop by 5280 again

  10. avatar MD Matt says:

    As another of those complete darkness blind folks, got to say I really appreciate the guy who walked me through shooting the first time. Though in retrospect I wish I’d started with a 9mm rather than a 12 gage–probably wouldn’t be as prone to flinching.

  11. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    If Ed is willing to play along I would really like to hear how he does on his next trip to the range. Not being ‘distracted’ by the sights I am really curious how he does with the muscle memory and his shot groupings. He is going to have a much better awareness of his ‘position in space’ because he has to be so returning his aim to a fixed point after the recoil should, in theory at least, be better or quicker or both.

    Oh, And good on you for taking the time to teach Ed to shoot!

  12. avatar Craig says:

    I had a friend (since deceased) that only had ‘some’ sight via peripheral vision. He lost his sight in an industrial accident in the early 80s. I used to take him to the range and let him shoot on the 8 yrd range. He could see reasonably well enough to the side to hit a silhouette 5 out of 6 times. I wouldn’t want to enter his house uninvited……

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