Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Conversation with Mom...

From a conversation a little while back:

MOM: that's why we have to go pick up Sister Catherine from the jail this coming Saturday.

ME: Uh huh. So the US Army doesn't take kindly to over enthusiastic nuns trying to play ninja on their bases, whodathunkit. I'm kinda surprised she didn't get a speed pass to go see the Big Man himself. Now, if she had been on a Marine Corps base...

MOM: Are you being sarcastic? You little...

ME: Nooooo.

MOM: ...Oh, when I think of all the times...

fast forward through guilt trip...

...all the sleepless nights and gray hairs...

keep going...

...wondering if it was anything that I had done...

oops, not quite far enough. resume fast forward...

MOM: ...Well?

ME: Huh?

MOM: *Loud Sigh* I said that being as your father is out of town so often, I was thinking that one of these days you need to teach me about guns and how to shoot. What do you think?

ME: (going ass over teakettle) *thump*

When I came to, I started thinking about all the times that I begged, pleaded, whined, and otherwise generally made a nuisance of myself when it came to anything related to firearms. "You'll shoot your eye out" was the standard response. Bleh. Looking back on it, I probably would have, but I'm sure that it would have made for a heck of a story. Nowadays, you probably would hear about it on the news or something.

So this puts me in an interesting situation. While I would probably be one of the last ones to say that I am an expert when it comes to shooting or teaching pistol craft, I am more than willing to overlook her grievous denial of my childhood happiness to show her a little bit when it comes to pistols. A few things to keep in mind:

Experience. Despite the fact that most of her brothers went into the Army and a few make me look like a dancing fairy man, she has almost zero experience with firearms. She knows which end goes bang, but that is about it. I'm not going to assume too much else either, when it comes time to teach.

Selection & Caliber. My own experience is somewhat limited (refer to childhood injustice noted above). I have only really started to scratch the surface when it comes to the subject and most of my earlier experiences was more along the lines of the plinking with el cheapo-cheapo pistola on a Saturday afternoon. I am working with all due haste to remedy this lack of knowledge and experience on my own part. Hmm, what to get for her, though? Heck, I could probably wait for the next family reunion, go into Uncle Bob's weapons basement (Arg!), and let her try out basically one of every weapon made since the wooden club (model #002). I figure that she's going to need something reliable, easy to operate, and something not completely overwhelming for her.

Practice. Already covered the ease of operation, but that really is going to come with practice and familiarity. Hopefully, I can show her a little bit in that area. As she likes to remind me, I don't make it down to visit as much as I should, but when I do I would like to have a few ranges picked out in her area, to take her to shoot and possibly to see if there are some real classes that we can get her into. If I go with her a few times, it should make it easier for her to go there when I am not around.

Of course, I am going to have to hit the range, force myself to shoot a wide assortment of different handguns, suffer through the cost of ammunition, all in the name of ensuring that I might not make a complete ass of myself when it comes time to recommending a good match for her.

Life's tough, huh.

Hope she doesn't shoot her eye out.


SpeakerTweaker said...

One post, sir. I've read one post and will be linking up now.

Thank you greatly for the link, and BTW, you gotta let me know when you link up, man! I'll be more than happy to spread the love.

On the thing with Dear Old Mom: go to www dot cornered cat dot com. Run by a lovely woman named Kathy Jackson who has many answers to many questions, FROM A WOMAN'S PERSPECTIVE. I assure you, you will find her words helpful in this, your time of need;)

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to read all your previous posts.


Murphy said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence and the recommendation.

Deborah Aylward said...

I have to wonder why, after all this time, your Mother has decided that she wants to learn about firearms and how to shoot...unless it's a new hobby.

Not prying, just a question. Thank you.

Veritas et Fidelis Semper

Murphy said...

Think it could be a couple of things.

She wasn't always so much anti-gun, just that she knew that I did enough stuff to risk my scrawny neck without introducing guns to the equation.

Most of her family is about as into firearms as you can get, but they live pretty far away.

I think a big part of it is the fact that where the folks live, in south Texas (a.k.a. el norte del Mexico) is exploding population-wise, bringing both good and bad elements to the city.

Could also be another means by which she and I get to hang out and bond, like discussing/debating religion, music, and the like.

Steve said...


I found your site via Ambulance Driver. Congrats on the opportunity to teach your Mom to shoot!

I will absolutely second Speakertweaker reco of corned cat, and also add Kim DuToit's page. I have self educated (and lost a lot of sleep) with all the data in there. Also, make sure your Mom reads Cornered Cat.

I am currently helping a friend throught the same thing, and I think she is pretty settled on a short barrel (not snubbie) .38 pistol with a shroud over the hammer, so it does not get hung up in a purse.

Whatever your Mom decides on, make sure she picks it out, and then make sure she is going through 100 rounds a month min.

Also, when she gets more comfortable, find an IPSC area near her and take her through some of the courses. Once allthat is done, if she can find a comfortable Gun Club, join! her knowledge and comfort will expand exponentially.

Additionally, and most importantly, your Mom HAS TO HAVE the mindset to pull the trigger on a human, well before he / she / it is in her personal space. Without that, all my thoughts above are for not.

Hope this helps!!

DW said...

Hi Murphy,
I teach some of the stuff you are talking about, not that makes me an expert or anything. I do have opinions, imagine that- a blogger with an opinion, about where to start.
First thought-to shoot good you have to shoot a lot, money becomes an issue. I lean to .22 autos like the Ruger MKII or MKIII, in stainless with a heavy barrel. Good pointers, reliable, available.
Second thought- If you can hit your target, anything will work, if you can't hit the target, nothing will work. Three .22 center mass will likely render all medical problems unimportant.
Third thought- My carry gun is a Sig P230ss in .380. Seven nasty little hollow point suggestions to bugger off. It is a decocker with a loaded chamber indicator. Nice rounded edges. The ladies like the size and relatively light recoil.
Fourth thought- keep it close, maximum distance for an immediate deadly threat from a knife in my state is seven yards.
Fifth thought- get her in a concealed carry class, if for no other reason, to learn about the rules for self defence, and the laws in your area.

DW said...

By the by, like tweeker, one post and I am going to link also.

Sevesteen said...

(I'll leave recommending long guns to someone else) I'd strongly recommend starting with a .22, unless there's a pressing need for a defensive gun. I like my Ruger 22/45--Size and controls of a full-sized gun, not too expensive, and 100% reliable so far, except for about 5% fail to fire, only with Federal bulk ammo. (I've shot twice as much of everything else)

To transition to a "real" gun, and for a house gun, I'd go with a full-sized.357 double action revolver, barrel somewhere between 3 and 6 inches. Start with light .38 target wadcutters, then standard .38, .38+p, and finally full-power .357. If a load is too much, drop back to the next lighter load. Even if she is OK with full .357, most of her practice should be with standard .38. I've been happy with S&W and Ruger revolvers, don't have experience with anything else.

Murphy said...

Hmm, good recommendations, good suggestions, good thoughts. Lots 'o stuff to chew on. Thanks!

The Duck said...

Browning Buck Mark 22
Sig has the mosquito

Work the Basic's first
Grip, Position, Breath Control
Sight aligment, trigger squeeze & follow thur

phlegmfatale said...

Get her a 1911. I fell in love with one of those last week. Who'd a thunk it?

Anonymous said...

4" Model 586. (Or similar.) Loaded with low-energy round-nose or similar.

.22s are not good learning guns for adults who might ever progress to anything larger -- although you can learn the basics well, moving up to a "real" caliber becomes much harder.

Semi-autos, no matter how simple their manual of operations, are:
- harder to learn,
- intimidating,
- vaguely mysterious to the mechanically disinclined, and
- have very complex failure recovery actions.

Worst of all, the "better" the semi-auto (from the point of view of the enthusiast) the harder it is to learn trigger pull. A "glass rod" break is perfect for us, and important for the student moving toward a semi-auto, and can be very destructive of learning a good trigger pull. Trigger pull is learned the fastest on a long, slow, smooth, double-action pull.

(4" as the good compromise between recoil control and total weight. Roundnose because it's fumbly to get wadcutters in until you're used to it. Model 586 'cause Colts run backwards. :-) )

Anonymous said...

An absolute must for teaching women to shoot!!! I specialize in teaching women beginners to shoot. My trusty referrals are 2 books "Women Learning To Shoot" & "Teaching Women To Shoot" by Diane Nicholl & Vicki Farnam. The blueprint for women's brains is totally different than a man's. You will be up against a brick wall in a heartbeat if you don't understand this. Their website is The books are very inexpensive and use lots of illustrations. BTW, Vicki & Diane specialize in teaching police instructors how to teach women recruits. Do not attempt what your a going to do without getting these books.