A Nurse with a Gun

Monday, February 04, 2008

Postive Presentation of CCW Class

Armed But Not Dangerous

On a cold and early Saturday morning, the class at Scarlet Oaks in Sharonville begins the usual way. Students take their seats and the instructor introduces himself. Then he makes an announcement: "No guns today."

"Did anyone bring their gun in?" he asks. Nobody raises a hand. Good. The shooting starts Sunday morning. A few plan to bring .22 revolvers. A man with a neatly trimmed gray beard says he and his daughter will use .38s. Others mention Colts, Smith & Wessons, a .32 Beretta. A big man across the room says he's bringing a 1911 Colt .45, and he's not talking about malt liquor.

Government Model in Neoprened Summer Special type holster"That's a man's gun," says the instructor, retired FBI agent Dennis R. Lengle.

I don't have a man's gun. I don't even have a woman's gun or a "mouse gun," which is what serious shooters call .22s. I don't have any gun at all. But the Great Oaks Police Academy Concealed Carry Course has a great deal. For $25, I can rent a Smith & Wesson .38 revolver and get 200 rounds - cheaper than cartridges alone.

There's a 20-something couple in the back, but most of my classmates are 40s and 50s, I'd guess. A man in bib overalls wants to legally carry the gun he uses on his farm. A husband and wife own a business. One man tells me his kids are grown and he's interested in shooting. Another guy says during a break that he worries about being mugged when he goes for walks. He says he has no doubt he'd use a gun if he has to.

But a few hours later, after we've been through the legal minefield and gritty details of what "controlled expansion" hollow-points do to a body, someone half jokes, "I'm not so sure I want to do this anymore."

I understand.

The course is excellent. We start by naming the parts of a cartridge, a revolver and a semi-automatic pistol, then move on to 25 true-false questions on dozens of topics. "Being armed is a tremendous responsibility," it says. True.

And while police cadets open fire at the indoor range across the hall, making muffled bangs like someone pounding a file cabinet with a ball bat, Lengle targets safety, safety and more safety.

He tells true stories of stupid gun tricks by trained lawmen who shot the carpet in their office, or put a 9mm round into their neighbor's car - through their own house and the garage next door. Lengle has our attention. During the state-mandated 12 hours of instruction, all 17 students are riveted.

In cover and tactics, Lengle warns that a doorway is a "vertical coffin," a "fatal funnel" for anyone silhouetted in its frame. If an intruder ignores warnings and keeps coming, "immediate incapacitation is your only goal."

And that requires accuracy.

So Sunday morning we go to the range. I start out jumpy, but get the hang of it and pass all the tests, hitting paper outlines of bad guys from five, 10, 15 and 20 feet.

Safety is drilled in as loud and clear as that booming 1911 Colt, which barks with deep authority, even through ear protection. Everyone passes. Nobody gets hurt. From what I can tell, legal concealed carry is nothing like the anti-gun crowd made it sound when Kentucky and Ohio passed laws in 1999 and 2004. There are no cowboys. No wild shootouts. No blood in the gutters, as gun-banners predicted. Just law-abiding adults who want to exercise their Second Amendment right to self-defense.

As we're leaving, classmate Jim Hansel, who lives "out in the country," tells me about the night he woke up to a break-in. He called 911, told his son to take cover and waited on his couch with a shotgun. He warned he would shoot, but the guy kept coming until the cops arrived, 40 minutes later. "He had seven outstanding warrants for automatic weapons use," Hansel says, shaking his head.

Now Hansel has a certificate to get a concealed carry permit from his county sheriff. "It gives me knowledge and confidence," he said. "Most people are afraid of guns because of what they don't know."

If every gun owner took a class like this, we'd all be safer. But meth-heads, crack junkies and street muggers don't take classes. They don't get permits or certificates like the one Lengle gave me Sunday. They just grab a "nine" and use it against defenseless victims. Each month another concealed-carry class graduates from Scarlet Oaks. And the bad guys are a little less sure their next victim is defenseless.

By Peter Bronson, Cincinnati Enquirer

E-mail pbronson@enquirer.com or call 768-8301.

Thank you Peter!

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Blogger daddymax said...

just wanted to drop you a note and tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog.

I am also a pawn shop hound. Here in Jackson, MS the pickings are slim. The only shop we have that will trade in older guns is the kind of place where you can buy 'singles'. They have small bins of 9 mm and 40 S&W behind the counter and you can buy just what you need.
They occasionally have an old Smith and Wesson in the rack but it will be beat to death and well north of $200.00.
Good luck and god speed to you


10:56 PM  
Blogger Jerry The Geek said...

Very nice post, Xav. Thanks for the contribution.

12:10 AM  
Blogger Hyunchback said...

Even when a report does something truthful they have to screw it up.

'If every gun owner took a class like this, we'd all be safer. But meth-heads, crack junkies and street muggers don't take classes. They don't get permits or certificates like the one Lengle gave me Sunday. They just grab a "nine" and use it against defenseless victims.'

He has to link the people in his class to obvious criminals? Because both have guns?

I'd like to smack this reporter and amend his words which he uses less responsibly that a meth-head's gun.

If every REPORTER took that course we'd all be safer. Some of them would stop reprinting Brady Center press releases like they were original work. Some would question cops about blanket statements.

6:17 AM  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

Rock on, Peter! Thanks for posting this. Gotta get my ass in gear and take my class.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Bob Brennan said...

I enjoyed the refreshingly honest article. But the picture of the IWB-holstered pistol left me puzzled: Those brass rivets and the bulging leather are in the way and would complicate a fast draw. Wouldn't it be better to reverse the construction so the leather straps fold over the belt and are riveted on the downside? I'm just sayin'...

10:18 AM  
Blogger Pozono said...

here is something you might find interesting, though its a little bit off topic


12:14 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

They are not Rivets Bob, they are snaps that allow the Summer Special holster to be placed IWB without removing the belt. Placing the snaps beneath the belt would have required holes in the tousers.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another great article X, you were kind enough to share with the law-abiding folks of this great country, thank you.

I couldn’t find your email so I’ll post this here if it’s okay? There is a gun auction up in Maine I believe (link below) and I thought you might want to gaze upon the firearms, some fine items indeed.

I picked out one that tore my heart out when I saw it but no way I could afford it. Take a gander when you get a chance.

# 395 *JOHN MARTZ BABY LUGER. SN 9692o. Cal. 9mm. 2-5/8" bbl. These guns were handmade in limited numbers by John Martz. This example is in near new condition and was safely preserved since it was made. The frame and magazine have Martz' initials and Martz has added the number "175" on the frame. CONDITION: Grips are beautiful high grade walnut, highly checkered with wide borders. Mechanics are nice, bore is mint. 4-33010 BS23 (3,000-4,000)

All the best,

Auction link: http://juliaauctions.net/auctions/233/div_catalog_233.asp?

4:28 PM  
Blogger thorn said...

I don't think the reporter was linking CCL citizens with the criminals. Rather, he was illustrating the stark distinction of a licensed, trained citizen with the lawless gangbanger.

IE, carrying a gun isn't the problem - it's the person carrying it which may be (or may NOT be) the problem.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Breda said...

Great article, but.....

"That's a man's gun," says the instructor, retired FBI agent Dennis R. Lengle.

Excuse me? That sort of talk - well, it really irritates me. The instructor should know better. I don't shoot a .45 but I will, and I can, if I ever choose to do so!

11:20 AM  
Blogger Matt G said...

Superbly written piece.

Breda, don't take offense just out of hand-- even reading the story third hand, I can hear the gentle joshing in the instructor's voice. "A Man's Gun," "A Man's Job," "A Meal Fit For A Man"-- this is just part of the vernacular of humorous masculinity.

I don't blink twice when I see my stepmother packing a Colt's Officer's ACP lightweight .45. Why should I?

Hyunchback, I gathered that the writer was pre-empting the associations that the hoplophobes would make, and was pointing out that responsible gun ownership means being able to defend one's self even against those who share none of your sense of responsibility. We must thus be that. Much. Better.-- While those we defend ourselves against will willingly spray their bullets indiscriminately, we responsible armed people must stop them with quick aimed fire.

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...


Thanks for this article! I subscribe to the Cincinnati Enquirer, and enjoy reading Editor Peter Bronson's columns / stories for a while. I agree with Thorn. Having read Peter's work for 10+ years, he is most definitely referring to the stark contrast between those who want to protect them selves with guns and those that want to hurt others with guns.

It's ironic that a great blogger in Louisiana pointed out to me what sounds like a great CCW class here in my home city!

Thanks for the tip, Xavier!


10:18 PM  
Blogger Gandalin said...

I took this class with Dennis Lengle when Ohio first adopted its new CCW law, a couple of years ago.

He is a great instructor. Don't make too much about the "man's gun" remark, he does some colloquial bantering with the students to break the ice in the early part of the course, and he was just being cute.

If I recall correctly, he recommends a full sized 357 revolver as a house gun.

The class is excellent from a technical standpoint, covering safety, marksmanship, and some thoughts on the realities of a gunfight.

It is particularly good on the latter. He shows a video made by the LA County Sheriff's office that highlights some awful tragedies that occurred to off-duty deputies who were not in uniform, didn't have a badge, didn't have back-up, didn't have a radio, etc, and although trying to do their utmost to serve & protect the law-abiding public, didn't adapt their actions to the situations they were in. The Sheriff suggests that off-duty deputies concentrate on being good witnesses, and only act like police officers when in dire need.

The implication for the civilian, is that lethal force should be used only when the alternative is your own (or another innocent's) imminent death or severe injury. That's why, for example, a snubby in 38 or 357 is adequate for most social engagements civilians will encounter; it is difficult to think of a situation in which a civilian in the ordinary course of events will "need" to hit a target more than a few yards away. And that's why speed is critical.

Anyway, Peter Bronson is a good guy, and a good writer (his book on the recent Cincinnati riots is very good, too) and Dennis Lengle is a thoughtful, experienced teacher with 20 years of FBI experience behind him.

Mr. Lengle also recommended an excellent book, which I would like to pass on to the readers, here, "In Defense of Self and Others" by urey Patrick and John Hall. They were FBI instructors at Quantico, and they cover the whole post-Miami-shootout changes in FBI practices, the practical aspects of marksmanship, tactical considerations, legal issues, and psychological and personal, spiritual issues associated with the realities of the use of deadly force. Highly recommended.

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Breda,

Dennis would be the first to defend your inclusion in any group you would like to try for. He would have had in mind a number of realities that make the Colt Model of 1911 .45 Auto inappropriate for most women of average size and strength and for that matter a goodly number of men.

*first among these realities is the size of the circumference of the grip. The average ladies hand and fingers are not long enough to reach around the rather large grip sufficient to hold it properly and reach the trigger.

*likewise the size of the grip combined with the length of most ladies fingers makes it difficult to impossible for them to reach the slide release, magazine release, and safety without using two hands and physically turning the gun sideways.

*the recoil impulse of the .45 Auto cartridge is such that many many and most women find it unpleasant. It is certainly not the place for a beginner to start.

*the weight compared to more modern firearms makes much practice counter productive due to exertion and carry difficult due to the size. It is hard to hide a Colt .45 on a ladies hip.

*the hammer cocked/safety on/chamber loaded design also allows for hammer uncocked/safety off/chamber unloaded carry. Either style makes the Colt one of the MOST INAPPROPRIATE concealed carry handguns there is. It is too large, to heavy, to recoily, and has too many buttons and controls for defensive use.

*Mr. Gaston Glock has provided a far better answer with his series of excellent pistols. The Model 19 9mm holds 16 rounds of a recoil managable cartridge in an intermediate size handgun of carryable weight. The ergonomics of his designs allow women to master the mechanism easily and to secure a proper grip without effort. (men too)

So while you are free to try any pistol you desire and I would applaud you success, you might wish to actually handle one before making too many firm opinions.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Breda said...

dear anonymous -

I shoot a Smith & Wesson model 642. Weekly, at a range where I am a member.

Please try to resist making idiot, sexist assumptions.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I gotta say I disagree with you there too, anon......

My daughter transitioned from a Star Model B to a Government Model in 45ACP this Winter. She's 14 years old, 103 pounds.

Only an oranguatan has thumbs long enough to reach a 1911's slide release with the strong thumb without shifting the grip. This is why novices tend to try the extended slide releases. They usually give up the extended release when the slide no longer locks back. They then either sell the gun or learn to use the left thumb on a standard slide stop to release the slide after resuming the firing grip on a reload.

It's easy enough to hide a 1911 on a feminine hip. Many women do.

A 1911 has no more controls than a dishwasher, a washing machine or an iron. Women use those appliances competently most of the time, and in fact, a few men manage to accomplish such a high level of dexterity as well. Why should a pistol be any different?

Ah yes, oh Uncle Gaston. Yes, I agree, he developed a far better pistol for those who can not manage to handle a 1911 competently. That black plastic pistol should be the man's gun, as an interested woman will learn to handle a 1911 far faster than the average hard headed male. Every time.

8:59 PM  
Anonymous richard a. arendsen said...

Perhaps Dennis was saying more about the man who carried the gun than the gun itself.........

9:05 PM  
Anonymous PedroP said...

"I shoot a Smith & Wesson model 642"

Well and good. But this snubbie revolver experience translates to a Colt Auto how exactly?

"resist making idiot, sexist assumptions" Ouch! Play nice.

Even our Army and Marines got rid of the Colts due to a general inability to train troops. With no information, that fellow spoke of general machinery useage considerations. Perhaps if there are relevant details, you could be a taddish more verbose so we understood your experience.

10:19 PM  
Blogger thorn said...

Even our Army and Marines got rid of the Colts due to a general inability to train troops

I would submit that the problem was with the trainer, the trainee, or the training regimen... not the gun.

As evidence, I'll point to the AR15... the standard military rifle, which by my count has at least twice as many commonly manipulated controls as the 1911.

11:29 PM  
Blogger Breda said...

pedrop, Mr. Anonymous was implying that the recoil from a larger caliber auto pistol would be too much for me, a mere woman.

But, in fact, I have found every auto pistol I have ever tried to have easier recoil than my snubnose airweight.

And as far as the 1911 having too many controls - have you ever used a sewing machine? Those things are crazy with the buttons and levers and widgets...and women seem to be able to use those just fine.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There would be no disagreement that an airweight snubbie revolver is the most nasty brutal recoiling handgun most people can dream up to use. Fired with wadcutters they are in the realm of comprehendable.

An airweight snubbie fired with defensive full power .38 Special, +P, or +P+ JHP loads or Heaven forbid, .357 Magnum loads for which some are chambered, is more likely to be fired once and then thrown before you run. The airweight snubbie with defensive loads is upon calm reflection the MOST inapropriate handgun there is for a pro or a beginner and anyone in between. Yes, while a Colt 45 is way down my list of desireable, an airweight snubbie makes it to the bottom.

If your hand/fingers can fit around the handle, a Colt .45ACP would be far preferrable to an airweight snubbie fired with real loads.

There will always be the arguement over a small lightweight revovler being adequate with its double action and heavy recoil but capable of no thinking needed simple pull and shoot with no controls


a large service automatic in .45ACP with several controls, grip safety, manual safety, to disengage before firing. It is also a function of the one being light and carried versus the other being heavy and left in the car. Tradeoffs. An airweight snubbie is better than an empty hand, for true.

But another point of view, mine for a fact, says a Glock M26 9mm is about the same size and only modestly heavier than that snubbie. But the M26 holds 13 rounds of full power service 9mm in a package that is a pussy cat to shoot with more power than the 38 Specials.

So if hideout and small and light is the criteria and you can work the slide, Mr. Glock's M26 is the superior answer. Exactly 2.6 times superior with no broken hand bones.

So then the real question for such an experienced lady shooter is why in the world use such a old fashion hand beater when modern superior tools are there painfree? Or do you always expect to be in knife fighting distance?

Having fired umpteen steel snubbies with full power service loads, I would not even consider an airweight one to stake my life on through 5 yards whereas a M26 Glock hammers them home into an IPSC A zone through 25 yards effortlessly.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous PedroP said...

"a mere woman"

Adding the mere woman is of your own inclination and bias. It is not readily apparent from the other fellows efforts to explain his point of view.

"Those things are crazy with the buttons and levers and widgets...and women seem to be able to use those just fine."

Sewing machine stress is not the same as the stress of things hitting a fan when some one wishes to punch your ticket or you are clinched up with a hugger-mugger.

What seems easy in practiceing sessions is suddenly empossible under stress because fine motor skills go out the door leaving very gross motor skills in their place. Things easly sorted through in the calm become forgotted in the fog of super stress.

The simplier a gun is the lesser the number of things to forget or to do wrong.

With the safety on, a cocked Colt does not fire. A cocked .45 Auto of good make when the safety is puched off leaves 3.5# between you and an accidental shooting. A slim margin of effort in gross motor skill times. No matter what happens, you are on the hook legally for your every accident.

This is part of why police departments and skilled shooters stay away from external hammer single action automatics. Plain danger and liability issues.

Your revolver, however light of weight, and the Glock are both pull and shoot in relative control. Both are needing deliberate trigger pulling. There is nothing to remember with either and each has a reasonable trigger pull to initiate firing.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Breda said...

I'm sorry, I thought I was reading Xavier Thoughts...but it seems I've somehow stumbled into a Glock advertisement. How strange.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous PedroP said...

Yes, this post spot is about Bronson's excellent column. It is nearly unique in the print media for its accuracy and fairness. We all should applaud him loudly. I do.

This is not a Glock add.

You chosed to hijack the topic with your picking out a single line to display your personal itch over, namely:

"That sort of talk - well, it really irritates me."

By fussing so over a trivial side issue of your own making, you interferred with the topic.

The people here may try to educate you, but they are on your side of the gun issues. You should realize that.

The fact that you can post your own thin skinned idea here does not mean that you have to or should. Your arguing here distracts from the work you apparently try to do with your own blogging site.

Play nice when visiting other people's sites.

Enough said.

O'le Pete

9:20 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

pedrop, and all,

Often we fail to see something that might offend another person until it is out on the table. If we knew it would offend, then we would never have put it out there in the first place.

Once it is there to be seen and examined though, and a person takes offense, we do ourself a disservice if we fail to honor their feelings. The legitimacy of the feeling of offense is not a tangible thing. It cannot be peeled away and disected like the layers of a head of lettuce until it is no more. With each attempt to peel away and examine the offense, it creates more offense.

It is far better to accept the objection as legitimate, learn from it, and agree to try to refrain from making the error in the future. That is the best anyone can do. Feelings of offense lie in the intangible realm of emotion, not in the empirical world of logic. This does not make them any less real. If anything, it makes them more destructive.

Back when I blogged on Male Nurses, I was not surprised that only other male nurses understood what I was talking about. I blogged on it because I hoped that maybe one or two people would think twice before they used the phrase again.

Making the statement that causes offense is not a grevious fault. Often we can not prevent that. Refusing to acknowledge the offense is something we can do something about.

Breda, I am sorry you took offense at these words. I rarely use them myself, and never in regards to firearms. Please feel free to post your thoughts on any subject, including this one in the future. They make a difference to me.

With honest and humble admiration,

7:47 PM  
Blogger Breda said...

Xavier, you are a true gentleman.

Thank you.

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Breda u need to get a life. Remember free speech. . . Dennis can say what he wants. You werent even there to be or get offended by his stmt. Shut the f'ck up.

10:46 PM  

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