Sunday, November 25, 2007


(He ain't a chick, he's my brother!)

My brother Sean hasn't handled a gun since he was a kid, spending summer holidays with family in Ireland. He and a cousin would go out plinking with a little .22 rifle in the fields surrounding the farm. (note: Irish rabbits make a "plink" sound) Naturally I was excited about teaching my big brother how to shoot, but the experience turned out to be more educational for me.

I went through the entire 4 Rules lecture, showed him the guns, how to load them and expected some sort of hesitation. Instead, he smiled, shrugged, picked up the gun and shot it - no big deal. I'm used to seeing the the initial nervousness and apprehension that new female shooters have, but he was as casual and calm as picking up a new hammer or wrench. Even with the .357 magnum. He shot 5 rounds and deadpanned, "Wow, that sure has some kick."

And, gosh, he's a good shot. Really good. He shot the .38 snubby, with the laser sight and the bullet went in the exact spot where he aimed the red dot. Dammit. I've been fighting with that gun for months now. Mike said that a man's better upper body strength can make up for imperfect technique, where a woman has to have really good technique to make up for less upper body strength. Not that this is a contest, of course, but - arrgh! very frustrating. (I am making quite a lot of progress with the .38, I've recently had a breakthrough. I've learned the importance of keeping the thumb against the frame. More on that later.)

He tested all of our pistols but Sean really enjoyed shooting the Ruger Mk II. I think he likes competing against himself, always working to improve his aim. He did very well.

While reloading, I asked Sean about what plans my nephew Daniel and my niece Maeve had for today. Maeve, who is 4, had a playdate in one of those kiddie habitrails they have at fast-food joints and Daniel, who is going to be 10, was curious and wanted to come to the range. Sean wasn't sure how young is too young for a visit to the range, but Mike said that, if properly supervised, Daniel would be fine. We'll see. I have brought my mother to the range (she loved the experience and was recently asking when she can try again) and I would also like to teach my sister-in-law. The whole family shooting together! Wouldn't that be fun?

It was really nice to be able to spend some time with my brother. We don't see each other nearly often enough. We were discussing perhaps meeting at the range one afternoon during the week, just the two of us, dinner and beers after. I can't wait.


comatus said...

Know what, I don't think it's overall upper-body strength as much as it is hand strength, or even hand "leverage," a function of the length of hand and finger bones. That makes good handle fit and trigger pull length (not the trigger's movement, but how you reach it) more important. You don't have to be barrel-chested (not that you're not, but we're talking different barrels here) to have a firm wrist & forearm combination.

Ten is certainly not too young for a rifle that fits. For handgun, the above applies. Coach closely--and don't start .357 with the +P's. (!)

DirtCrashr said...

I'm jealous, that's *quality* family time! My big Bro' lives too fare away, and it's probably just not a good idea for my big sis to own one, due to the sort of company she keeps...

Ian Argent said...

By 11 at the most I was happily putting .22 holes in paper and soda cans at summer camp

montanabob said...

A lot of the bullet not going where the pistol is aimed is two things--grip and follow through. I have started to shoot bullseye pistol (indoor). Use only .22s for this. I have my fathers Hi-Standard that he became a distinguished expert pistol shot with. Anyway, one must grab the pistol very firmly-very very firmly. After breaking the shot, follow through is very important. I have found that I can shoot a 5 shot rapid/timed fire string, and know before even checking the scope and seeing a shotgun pattern that I was not following through and holding the gun tight. Next 5 shot string, grip and follow through and they're all in the 9, 10 and X ring. When you grab that snubby, GRAB it, hold it, squeeze it so it can't move. Then think about squeezing that trigger all the way back to your palm for follow through. It has helped me tame my 44 mag, 35 Rem Thompson contender and a host of other pistols. If you're ever in Montana and want to go shooting, You have someone to take you to the range.