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This is a diary about "gun control." I enclose the phrase in quotes for two reasons:

--I believe that, in a nation with 200+ million privately-owned firearms, legal "gun control" is an illusion at best: gun laws are only obeyed by law-abiding citizens like us. At worst, "Gun Control" is merely one of the Left's favorite ways to lose elections. I agree with current Federal firearms law, but I oppose further efforts to "control" guns: they are mostly feel-good alternatives to reducing the societal factors that cause hopelessness, violence, and crime.
--I believe that "Gun Control™ means hitting only your target." This diary is about that kind of gun control. I work to achieve Gun Control™ the same way I might get to Carnegie Hall: I practice, practice, and practice some more.

I hope and pray that my practice and training turns out to be a huge waste of time & money, and that I never use a gun against a human... but I am a pessimist, so I am well-prepared for disappointment. This diary is about those preparations. I invite others to describe & discuss their own firearms training and practice routine.

First, the standard DailyKos RKBA credo:

RKBA is a DKos group of second amendment supporters who also have progressive and liberal values. We don't think that being a liberal means one has to be anti-gun. Some of us are extreme in our second amendment views (no licensing, no restrictions on small arms) and some  of us are more moderate (licensing, restrictions on small arms.) Moderate or extreme, we hold one common belief: more gun control equals lost elections. We don't want a repeat of 1994. We are an inclusive group: if you see the Second Amendment as safeguarding our right to keep and bear arms individually, then come join us in our conversation. If you are against the right to keep and bear arms, come join our conversation. We look forward to seeing you.

My job takes me to strangers' homes in unfamiliar neighborhoods, so I have concealed carry permits. I carry a gun everywhere I can do so legally; I carefully study the laws of any state I might visit to make sure I never carry illegally.
Of course, my gun is worse than useless if I can't control it. I consider it my duty as an armed citizen to maintain and improve my shooting skills. I've done that with training and practice. "Gun Control™" also requires safe handling, maintenance, and storage: everyone in our home knows how to safely handle, load, fire, and unload all the firearms we own, and they are securely stored.

My home state of Delaware required several hours of training, including range time, before I could obtain a carry permit. I considered that a mere starting point. I went to a three-day "combat pistol" class in Pennsylvania, where I learned proper techniques for drawing and firing my concealed weapon.

Both training courses spent hours on legal issues, and emphasized that conflict resolution and avoidance is far more important than mere marksmanship. Carrying a gun is like having two penises: if anybody sees your gun or your penis in public, without a damned good explanation, you're going to jail. This diary is about marksmanship, though, so I'll skip ahead to that...

The state-mandated range training was pretty easy: the instructor had me draw and shoot small targets at close range. I could already do that reliably, so I breezed right through the mandated 100 rounds without missing even once.
The three-day course was anything but easy: each of us fired 1200+ rounds from our chosen carry weapon. We fired from every position and stance we could imagine. We shot using both hands, one hand, and our 'weak' hand. The trainer taught the same techniques and tested us with the same "courses of fire" required of candidates for the FBI, Secret Service, Air Marshall program, and several state police agencies; I may be too old and too liberal to get such a job, but I shoot well enough to qualify.

At the firing range, I find that the combat training made me a much better shot. The "grouping" of holes in my targets became much smaller, and my performance was much more consistent. I don't want to lose my edge, so I shoot at the range regularly: I average about 1000-1500 rounds each year from my primary carry weapons, plus about 500 rounds from other guns.

It's an expensive hobby -- it costs at least forty cents to fire my 10mm handgun once -- but I enjoy it. Shooting is very relaxing, because there is no room in your mind for anything else while you're on the firing line. With a gun in your hand, you don't think about your job or the evil Republicans. When you leave the range, it's like waking up from a nap or emerging from a great movie.
The results of all this training? I hit what I aim at. I can walk into the range (after not shooting for two or three months), draw from the holster, and hit the target dead center every time. On most trips, I put about two hundred rounds of full-power 10mm ammunition near the center of a six-inch circle thirty feet downrange. The first round, the last round, and every round in between hits the target. I consider that my minimum accuracy standard for carrying a firearm; if the circle gets much bigger, I'll practice more... or give up my permits.

I'd like to hear about other folks' training and/or practice in the comments. I doubt that anyone thinks I practice too much, but I'm sure some of you work way harder at your marksmanship than I do.

I would also like to extend an invitation to my fellow Kossacks: if you're within a reasonable drive of this shooting range, and you would like to go shooting, drop me a line and I'll meet you there sometime. For once, I won't be the only liberal in the building. (If anyone in other parts of the country would like to make such an offer in the comments, please do so).

Originally posted to Tom Seaview on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 05:27 AM PST.

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