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By Jim Hammond

May 7, 2020 was Independence Day in Massachusetts. The governor declared that golf courses in the state could open under a series of restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

My golfing buddy and I were enjoying a post-round drink in the clubhouse. “Well you are now officially retired,” I said, “and the golf course is open. You must have dreamed about this day for years?”

“Sure, but you can’t play golf every damn day. I need a new sport.”

“Funny you should say that. I was cleaning out my attic and found my old .22 Ruger rifle. I haven’t used it for 20 years.”

“Well, excuse the bad pun, why not give it a shot?“ my fellow hacker said. I decided to do just that for a number of reasons.

Back in 2001, the World Trade Center Towers in New York were a pile of rubble and people were frightened at the prospect of further terrorist acts. I needed a new hobby, so I decided to buy a .22 Ruger rifle.

I joined a local rod and gun club and received instruction for members who were not only experienced in the use of firearms, but placed an emphasis on gun safety. I enjoyed plinking, but as my freelance writing career grew, I spent more time on the road.

I have now cut back on travel so I joined a local gun club and took a few lessons. But this time I concentrated on pistol shooting. My reason for the change can be found in three words spoken by politicians across the USA: “defund the police.”

Last summer riots and looting occurred in major American cities. The May 31 edition of the New York Times, described the destruction in Manhattan. “Protestors threw Molotov cocktails at the police. Broken glass littered the streets and rioters filled garbage bags with designer clothing and shoes. Trash was emptied next to police cars and set on fire.”

What did politicians say in response? Defund the police. It’s happened in many areas and it could happen where I live. If it does, I am going to defend my family. That’s why I decided to get a concealed carry license and take lessons weekly to become as skilled as possible with my 9mm and .22 pistols.

I am shocked that felons have been released from prisons because of Covid. I see politicians looking to release vicious people onto the streets because of a pandemic without mentioning the harm that can and will occur to law-abiding citizens with these convicts on the street again. I don’t want to shoot anyone, but I will protect my wife of 45 years.

My wife taught first and second graders for 36 years. Now she’s retired and the love and learning that she instilled in so many children is a testament to her character. Criminals prey on seniors like us because some of us are frail.

I won’t let them harm my wife and family. And, I still enjoy plinking. I finally managed to hit the bulls eye on a target 50 feet away.

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    • With ammo prices out of control, I just recently took out my two Walther LG300 .177 air rifles again. It’s been far too long…

  1. CCW permit? The right of the People to bear arms and carry in public, even concealed? Hope you don’t live in one of the Ninth Circuit states, like I do.

  2. 50 feet?… 16 2/3 YARDS? Really? Two suggestions, (1) get a better instructor that emphasizes shooting technique and (B) practice, practice, practice… If you plan to defend your wife with a .22 you REALLY need to hit something vital several times…

    • Depends. One of my good friends was killed instantly by a single .22LR to the head.

      Use what’s comfortable for you, and train, train, train.

    • I think he’s talking about a pistol. No mention of the size of the target or the discipline he’s following. If it is NRA Precision Pistol, that’s shooting offhand at a 3″ bull from 50 feet. And that is quite an accomplishment for a new shooter with old eyes.

      • He could mean metres. International rules for bullseye is targets at 25 and 50 metres (165 feet) offhand.

  3. It’s much different between punching a hole in a stationary harmless piece of paper under zero stress, and punching a hole in a charging person, or multiple persons, intent on doing great bodily harm/killing you or a loved one. Try it sometime, take a crash course……join the military.

  4. “I finally managed to hit the bulls eye on a target 50 feet away.”

    As Laozi wrote, “a journey of 100 yards starts with 50 feet.” Or something like that. I’m not sure. It was in Chinese.

  5. There are all manner of things that can go horribly wrong in our world. We do our best to manage the thousands of risks that are out there.

    Sometimes, in spite of a great job managing risks, our time is up. Make sure you are in good shape if that happens.


    • Yup more ammo. Gunms prices are going to drop because of no ammo. I just bought a Winchester M70, 270ShortMag for $300. Cant find no bullets.
      Thought I’d make some money selling some brass I have. I can sale it for more of a profit at the salvage yard. The reloading buddy I know has no need for more brass he cant reload. He said hed take it off my hands but wasn’t going to pay much.

  7. Good for you, Mr. Hammond. I applaud your decision and actions to keep you and yours safe, especially at a time when so many of our elected leaders have fecklessly chosen to abdicate their responsibility to protect the citizenry.

    • This article is not about marksmanship. However, TTAG is swarmed with twisters no matter the topic.
      Mr Jim Hammond is doing the right thing and no matter his skill level he should be congratulated.

  8. If you have a 10-22 and are in free state get a couple of Bx -25 mags. Look up the .22 case mod to ensure function. .22 HV out of 16″ barrell carries the same ft-lbs as a .38 special out of 2″ barrel. Or so I have been told. You or your wife can easily fire the .22 rifle one handed.

    I wouldn’t feel undergunned with the above setup. Shot placement is key and is much easier with a rifle. Even in untrained hands.

    Just remember to triple tap and give yourself room so that medicine can do its job.

  9. Jim, last year about this time, two Massachusetts residents were arrested at a golf course in Rhode Island. The misdemeanor crime they were charged with was posing as a Rhode Island resident. It was illegal by executive order for out of state residents to play golf in Rhode Island. Pathetic, to say the least.

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