Part II: After My Concealed Carry Class
48 hours after shooting over 100 rounds of ammo at various targets through various drills in the middle of somewhere, I can honestly say I don’t feel like a different person. Much to my surprise, I did not get hurt, nor did anyone else, and it was a lot of fun.
We had a relatively small group of three women and one man learning to shoot and certifying to carry a concealed handgun in Colorado, should we wish to do so. Two of us had been waiting a couple of months for this opportunity, and to say we were excited would be an understatement.
I got up early in anticipation that I would have a long drive to the meeting point in Kiowa, CO, followed by another long drive (on a dirt road, this time) out to the shooting range designated for shooting instruction and drills. It was a friendly group consisting of four students, two instructors and a friend taking photos. It was a misty July morning and unseasonably comfortable. The scenery on the way there was absolutely beautiful countryside, complete with horses and cows, a sight I only dreamt of in my childhood growing up in New York. The further east we went, the friendlier drivers were coming from the opposite direction, waving to you as if you were a neighbor.
The shooting portion of the class came first before classroom instruction. I was a bit apprehensive taking out my brand-new ear and eye protection and ammo, laying it all out on the table in front of me next to what was to be my loaner weapon, a Glock 22, popular firearm used in law enforcement. Being that my instructors were retired officers and retired LEO, it makes sense. We were taught first how to be safe, how to hold the firearm, where to place both hands, as well as the trigger finger before you are ready to actually fire the weapon. We learned how to load a magazine with ammo, place it into the handgun and load the chamber and look at our target, all in preparation for our first drill. This was quite intimidating to me at first.
Then our instructor, Jon States, demonstrated the first shot. I nearly had an out of body experience and jumped out of my skin. Loud noises are not my favorite sounds. Less than a minute later, I was firing at a target. Each new drill brought with it a progressive number of challenges, with new steps added to simulate a possible real-life scenario. There is so much to think about, you couldn’t possibly do any of this automatically without any training, let along consistent practice. As Jon says, “You will not rise the occasion. You will only rise to the level of your training.” And I can totally see why.
We took it slow so we could grasp the seriousness of possessing and firing a handgun. None of this could be imagined in a strictly classroom setting. What none of us could understand was why anyone would even want to get their concealed carry permit – or own a gun at all – without proper instruction and practice. Knowing the law is great, but being educated about the practical application of it is an entirely different thing. Should you find yourself needing to protect yourself, you will almost certainly have an advantage over someone wishing to do you or your family harm. Protection is one of the main reasons people choose to carry.
As the day wore on, my loading, shooting, and reloading got faster and faster, and my aim got better. We were at close range. Let’s just say, I surprised myself that day. I always try to be a good student no matter what I’m learning, and this class made me more aware and more interested, not less, if I’m honest.
The classroom portion was just as interesting, though not as fun. We learned all sorts of information regarding the law, including how to handle a real-life situation, and how to react after a justified shooting to make sure it remains justifiable in the eyes of the law. We learned about reciprocal laws with other states that do and do not honor concealed carry permits, and so on.
All sorts of people take these courses for practical use, as well as their own curiosity and education, and Jon and Scott did a fantastic job of keeping all of the instruction as educational as possible and non-political. The questions, answers and interactions were all informative, friendly, respectful, and as eye-opening as all of the facts.
I learned a lot that day. Most of all, I learned more about my own strengths and weaknesses, and I now have more choices…