In today’s world we are taught to keep a sharp eye out for unfriendly or unwanted attention. Particularly the ladies. We’ve taken to carrying an assortment of emergency items; pepper spray, knives, even a hammer just in case. It’s impossible to know what shady characters are lurking around the next corner. However, really buckling down on self defense can be just as intimidating. I grew up going hunting with my dad and learned the basic rules before I was old enough to carry my own gun. 1. Keep your finger off the trigger unless the sights are locked on something that you actually plan on shooting. 2. Never, EVER point the gun at anything that you don’t want to destroy. Spending time around firearms operating under these rules while hunting deer and elk instilled in me a healthy respect for what they could do.
However, it’s possible to understand and practice gun safety without truly understanding the gun itself. Through hunting, I learned to operate an open sights .30-06 rifle but each firearm always seemed to have its own bells and whistles and keeping track of each distinction was a daunting task. I never felt totally confident at the shooting range or in a gun store without the careful supervision of someone with many more years of adulting under their belt. Obtaining a concealed carry permit was always a goal but I never knew how to go about achieving it. To anyone who has ever felt this way, I recommend the Pistol Basics class at Blythe’s shooting range in Valpo.
Half of the course was spent in the classroom reviewing proper gun safety and handling while the other half was spent practicing with different types of handguns. The instructor spent time with each student to ensure that everyone left with a full understanding of the variety of firearms available, how they function, and the pros and cons for each. I’m still no sharp shooter but I left this class with the confidence I need to get started. I have an idea of what I’m looking for in a self defense firearm and the knowledge to go to a range and try out a few. If walking into a gun store scares you or if you just want to learn more about how firearms work in general, Pistol Basics is a fantastic place to begin.