Transition To Revolvers
"Oh man! That's an old man's gun!" laughed QJ.
"Perhaps...... But an old man can clean your clock with this thing."
The gauntlet had been tossed. QJ had been shooting only at the target on the right side of his frame at seven yards. I eyeballed him with my best Clint Eastwood eye twitch, and he stepped aside. As I slowly filled the old blue revolver's cylinder with 22 long rifle cartridges, I silently prayed.
As QJ watched, I placed six holes together on the left upper arm of the X.
"Damn. Let me try that!"
"Think you can handle it?" I asked. He smirked.
I showed QJ the basic manual of arms for a wheel gun, how to open and close the cylinder, how to load it and eject cartridges, and advised him on the double action trigger. I allowed him to dry fire the gun in double action. During a cold range, we changed to fresh targets. When the range was again hot, I told QJ "It's the same principles. Keep the sights aligned as you pull the trigger smoothly backwards."
QJ loaded the weathered old Model 17-3, brought it to sights, and pulled the trigger. He peered at the target. "There," I pointed. "In the cardboard about a foot underneath." QJ squeezed off the remaining five shots, and his results were not much better.
"This thing won't shoot."
"Do you need me to shoot it again?" I asked. He shook his head. "Look Q, once you can shoot a double action revolver accurately, there will be very few handguns that you cannot shoot well. It's all in the trigger control. Marksmanship is 10% sight alignment. Any chimp can do that. Ilsa can align sights if taught how. Marksmanship is in controlling the fingers on your hands so you don't pull the sights out of alignment while pulling the trigger. 90% of marksmanship is trigger control."
I extended my hand, cupped my lower three fingers and then curled my index finger slowly back. My lower three fingers remained in place. "You must train your index finger to operate independently of the rest," I said. "It must do it's job alone. I want you to try again. Think less about aligning sights, more about controlling your hands and your fingers. Make the pull smooth, steady, sure. Do not let your sights wander, but keep the trigger pull consistent. Don't jerk it, and don't fret over it. Just pull it." I picked up the revolver and showed QJ the rate that I wanted him to pull the trigger.
QJ loaded his tormentor again, and raised it to sights. This time he was on the paper with a couple of hits in the black. "Work on it," I told him. "When you can get all six in the black with this revolver, you will be blasting X rings with your Buckmark. A double action revolver accepts no excuses. You must have your fundamentals together to shoot one well." As I watched, QJ continued to put lead down range. I was pleased to see him quickly improve as he worried less about sight alignment and more about trigger control.
As QJ continued to shoot the 22 caliber revolver, I returned to my range bag. I pulled ou a stainless Model 67-1 and laid it on the bench. I placed a box of .38 specials beside it. "I think you are ready," I told him. QJ emptied the 22 revolver and laid it on the bench, cylinder open. He opened the white box of thirty-eights.
"Wow, these are big."
"The fundamentals are the same," I said. "Steady, consistent squeeze to the rear with the sights aligned. The gun firing should be a surprise. There will be more recoil. It won't hurt you."
QJ loaded the revolver, raised it to sights. His grip on the gun wasn't perfect, but I did not correct him. Too much instruction can be a bad thing, overwhelming a student. QJ managed to get all shots on the paper, double action. Today's mission was accomplished. After a few more cylinders on the Model 67, he decided to return to his Browning. Bulls eye! He was transferring over what he had learned on the revolvers to the pistol.
As we were packing to leave, a man showed up with an long barreled X frame Smith & Wesson. "Let's watch him," I said to Q.
We settled on the bench behind the firing line and observed the loading of the weapon. The shooter rotated his shoulders a couple of times and raised it to sights. BLAM! "Jesus!" exclaimed QJ. X ring.
"Keep watching Q....."
BLAM! Dirt in front of the target frame. BLAM! Berm. BLAM! Cardboard. BLAM! Cardboard. "Remember QJ, you need to be able to consistently put all rounds where you want, no matter what." We continued to watch as the man put away his over sized hand cannon and opened a box containing a black Sig P229. We watched him fire a couple of magazines through the gun, peppering the paper. I instructed QJ to watch the double action/single action function, as well as the shooters trembling hands.
As we were getting up to leave, the fellow firing the Sig offered to let QJ fire a few rounds through his pistol. QJ was surprised, but accepted the opportunity. Not being greatly familiar with Sigs, I quickly inquired as to the caliber. 9mm. Good. QJ shoved a magazine into the pistol, and methodically fired off ten rounds. When he laid the pistol down and turned back around, a huge grin was across his face.
Q's safety consciousness and concentration on marksmanship paid off. His targets were good. His attitude and progress was even better. We stopped at a truck stop on the way home to get a Coke for me and an Icee for QJ. As we discussed what he had learned and accomplished, QJ asked me "Why did that guy let me shoot his gun?"
"People who shoot want other people to shoot," I replied. "There isn't a more inclusive group of Americans around. He recognized you as a good guy, someone learning to shoot. He wanted to help. You exercising your rights helps him preserve his. We are all partners in preserving the second amendment."
So, for QJ, here are a couple of "old men" firing their "old man guns." Enjoy.
Labels: Neophyte Shooters