Reader David Parker writes:
I am probably a very unique shooter, for you see (pun intended), I am totally blind.
It started a little over three years ago. My wife thought we ought to replace our Smith & Wesson J Frame revolver with something a little more intimidating.
My wife had only ever shot the J Frame a couple of times, once at a milk bottle and once at an injured skunk. She hit both. I, however, had only shot a .22 rifle more than 60 years ago when I still had a small amount of vision.
After some rudimentary research, we settled on a GLOCK 19 and took it one early morning to a local range. She thought she’d shoot a couple of magazines, go home, put it in the night stand, and, like many other shootes, that would be the end of that.
Well, my wife immediately fell in love with shooting, even though the range safety officer was a crusty 80-year-old who felt the only handguns started with 1911, and ended in .45. His first words to us were, “Looks like you got one of those ugly ole GLOCKs!”
The RSO asked me if I’d like to shoot our new gun to see what it was like. I told him I didn’t think firearms and a blind guy were a good idea. In the months that followed, my wife shot two to three times a week, and we made some wonderful friends at the range, especially that crusty ole RSO.
Little did I know that RSO and one of our other friends were plotting on getting me to try shooting. So, one day, when we arrived at the range, the RSO and the friend had brought a Smith & Wesson 686 loaded with light .38 Specials. They convinced me to give it a go.
They had a B27 target for me to shoot at, and the only way for me to aim was for either my wife or the friend to stand be hind the gun and try to line up the sights. The problem is, I’m six feet tall., and both of them are very short.
Needless to say, I shot, and was able to put a few rounds on paper, and, like my wife, I fell in love with it!
Over the succeeding two and a half years we’ve enlarged our gun portfolio to over 10 Handguns. My wife and I have also succumbed to the RSO’s desire for al real shooters to shoot .45, and it had better be a 1911.
My wife and I love to shoot together, and we have Laser Grips installed on all the guns that I shoot. We’re like an artillery team; she’s my spotter, giving instructions if I’m left, right, too high or too low.
At one point, I could almost come close to outshooting her. I cut a playing card in half, using .45 ball ammo, in five shots. I’ve gone from spraying shots all over a B27 Target, to confining nearly all my shots to a three-iinch area of a six-inch paper plate at seven yards.
The guys at the range have brought various guns for me to shoot. I’ve shot .22s, .38s, a .357 Magnum and a .44 Magnum…all were great fun!
My wife has, however, surpassed my shooting ability. She now regularly shoots 3×5 cards at seven yards, and can often keep 50 shots in a 2 to 2.5″ hole!
We both shoot often at an outdoor range where we like ringing steel and falling plates, I have difficulty with the falling plates, due to the spaces between them. It’s easy for my wife to lose the laser between plates, but, ringing steel gives me instant feedback I don’t get when shooting paper.
I always thought shooting was easy. Just point the gun and pull the trigger. Yeah right. I have now learned that shooting is a very complex and perishable endeavor. I had no idea that grip, stance and trigger control were so influential, and really dictate whether you can hit what you’re aiming at.
It’s been a fascinating journey, going from knowing absolutely nothing about handguns to learning the jargon and how they work. I do all the cleaning of the firearms, including our 1911s, even to the point of disassembling the 1911s’ slide. I’ve learned a little about re-loading, but I won’t be taking that up any time soon. It’s been a wonderful journey and a memorable experience, plus I’ve had the benefit of sharing something enjoyable with the one I love.