What a fantastic day. I’m willing to bet that I had a better day than almost all of you. How? I got to take two new shooters to the range and teach them to shoot. Neither of them had ever shot a gun before. In fact, neither of them had ever even TOUCHED a gun before. How can that be? Because they are Belgians, and they are here in the US as foreign exchange students.
In addition to being a great shooting student, she’s also very pretty. She’d seen guns in movies, but until today, she’d never actually put her hands on one. She proved that she could listen well and apply her training. She did awesome for her first day out.
Peter asked me not to tell you his full name. He doesn’t want to show up in a Google search.He’s a lawyer from Belgium who’s here at Duke University’s law school for a year. Like Marthe, his only experience with guns is from Hollywood. He said that in Belgium, if you’re a criminal, you can get a gun in 10 minutes on the street. If you’re a law-abiding citizen, it’s very difficult. It’s considered “shocking” to have a gun in Belgium. How shocked would they be if they found out that Peter is actually quite a good shot?
I met Marthe and Peter last week at the range safety class. Wake County requires you to attend a 3 hour class to learn the rules of the range. I knew right away that Peter wasn’t from around here, and as soon as I heard them speaking, I heard the accent. I asked, and they told me that they came to the class so that they could shoot guns. They were in America, and the one quintessential American experience is shooting a gun.
They didn’t know that the Wake range doesn’t rent guns, so I offered to meet them tonight and let them try out my Ruger 22/45. It’s the perfect gun for beginners. It doesn’t beat you up and it’s accurate and easy to handle. They both were happy with it.
We spent the better part of two hours shooting 50 rounds each. The range safety officer was really supportive. Having a female RSO worked to our advantage. Peter, after looking around the range, remarked that shooting seemed to be a family sport. There were women and children on the range. There was a really nice African-American woman in the lane next to us when we started. She really had that famous Southern charm. She though it was fabulous that these Belgians were here learning how to shoot. The Wake County range sure put its best foot forward today.
After shooting, we talked outside. Peter and Marthe both told me that they found that the biggest thing they learned was that shooting is about concentration and focus and not about excitement. It was fun for them, but it was a sport that required discipline. Peter pointed out my favorite thing about shooting. It has instant feedback. You know right away if you did it right or wrong. You don’t get to make excuses. You do it right and you are rewarded with success. You do it wrong and you see the results. The instant feedback forces you to focus and do it better each time.
We’ve made plans to meet up again on some future Tuesdays and shoot some more. They are even interested in taking a full day shooting class with a professional shooting school. They even gave me Belgian beer and baked goods!
Like I said, I had a fantastic day.