Sunday, June 16, 2013

Course Review: Introduction To Guns By Martin Cruz

A couple of weeks ago, my good friend Martin, approached me with concept he had designed regarding an introduction to guns. I consider this friend of mine to be a "gun nut" in the sense that he is extremely passionate with firearms and everything to do with them, including the education of people who are not familiar, who are afraid or simply curious about firearms be it through YouTube videos or hands on application. So when he came to me with this course concept, I thought it was a very good idea to help educate the general public when it comes to firearms. Being a fairly long time firearm owner and hobbyist shooter, I wanted to give this course a try despite my familiarity with firearms and the safety involved. So I agreed to enroll in his class.

The "school day" arrived and I found myself heading down South (Alabang area) as the designated location for the class was the BuCor (Bureau Of Corrections) Shooting Range in Muntinlupa. I met up with Martin and another friend at a specified rendezvous point and we took 1 car to the range. I was pretty excited because I haven't gone shooting in a very long time and I'm sure my CZ 75 missed being fired as well. We got to the open air range and thankfully, it was quite windy despite being sunny. We all got settled at the covered area of the range to begin the course.

To give you a brief overview, the course is designed for people who have never fired a gun or for those who are looking for an introductory course on guns. Jerick (the other friend we came with) was exactly that, he fell into both categories.

The first topic that was to be discussed was and will always be the most important one, SAFETY.

A laminated copy of the Four Rules of Gun Safety which is internationally known and applied was laid out in front of us.

The Four Rules Of Gun Safety:

1. Consider all guns as loaded.
2. Never let the muzzle of the gun point at anything you don't intend to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
4. Be sure of your target and what is around it.

Each rule was discussed in depth and very detailed along with actions and concrete examples and there was always room to ask questions.

After the Safety aspect was thoroughly discussed, we moved onto the next topic of the course which was the discussion of the basic parts of a gun, in this case, of a semi-automatic pistol. This was easily grasped and discussed thanks to the presence of firearms during the discussion, it was a simple "point-and-explain" kind of discussion using 3 types of firearms which differed in terms of some parts (Glock 17, CZ 75 and a 1911).

Basic Parts:

1. Slide
2. Barrel/Chamber
3. Sights
4. Hammer (for the 1911 and CZ 75)
5. Trigger
6. Safety (Thumb safety for the CZ 75 and Grip Safety, Thumb Safety for the 1911)
7. Magazine Well
8. Magazine Release
9. Slide Release/Slide Stop Lever
10. Magazine

After the basic parts were discussed, their functions shown and questions were answered, we moved on to the next topic on the course which was discussing how a gun operates. It was basically discussed by demonstration.

First off, the gun was safety checked (magazine check and chamber check to show clear) and then laid on the table pointing down range. The first area discussed was the magazine, it was a pretty straightforward discussion and a demonstration was shown on how to load it, it's quite similar for almost all pistols. Unloading was also demonstrated. Moving forward, the main firearm was now going to be discussed, it was safety checked again before moving on to the demo, the firearm discussed was the Glock 17, Martin showed the basic functions and operations of the pistol moving from loading the magazine (with a dummy round) into the gun, racking the slide to chamber the round, chamber checking the pistol to show that the round was indeed chambered and then proceeding to racking the slide again to unload the chambered round while explaining that when using a live round, after the initial chambering of the first round, once the the trigger is pulled causing the firing pin to strike the primer and cause the combustion to send the bullet out of the barrel the slide will move back (either by recoil operation for some guns or by blowback operation for other guns) to serve 3 purposes: ejecting the spent casing, cocking the hammer or striker for the next shot and loading another cartridge into the chamber which happens on the final motion of the slide (moving forward). This will continue to happen after each trigger pull so long as there are bullets left in the magazine, once all rounds are spent, the slide should lock back via the Slide Lock, which was also demonstrated. After discussing and demonstrating the slide and its functions, the magazine was unloaded to show the magazine release function and before putting the gun down, it was safety checked again. This demonstration was also carried out for the CZ 75 as well as the 1911.

The next 2 topics were discussed in combination which are composed of Basic Gun Handling and Dry Firing.

The Basic Gun Handling part was more for Jerick's benefit since he's never handled a firearm before, but I also reacquainted myself since there's no harm in doing so. The logic behind dry firing, for new shooters and those who've never handled a firearm before, it's to get a good feel of the trigger minus the gun shot. By dry firing, you would be able to familiarize yourself with the weight of the trigger as well as the length of the trigger pull before the shot goes off. For regular and professional shooters, the logic of dry firing is the cheapest way of practicing your trigger control and refining your technique and can be done even at home since no rounds are expended.

Once Jerick was confident and familiar with the firearm, it was time for the most anticipated area of the course, Actual Live Fire.

We started off getting Jerick comfortable for his first shot, situated at about 3 and half meters using the Glock 17. When he had his fill, he moved on to try the CZ 75 and eventually found more comfort with the Glock and continued to shoot at varying distances and at steel targets as well. After the instructional live firing was done and Jerick was satisfied with his performance, we all took a seat under a shed to discuss what was learned and how we felt after the course. We also discussed the purpose of owning a firearm, be it for personal protection, home defense or for a hobby, going through each in detail. And finally, to close out the course, Martin made some recommendations to Jerick to find what’s best for you and it really boiled down to what you’re comfortable with using and the practicality of what you’ve decided on when it comes to choosing a firearm for yourself, especially when it will be your first firearm.

If you’re new to guns, curious to learn in a fun and informative environment, I would highly recommend this course to you and I’m sure that you’ll have a great time learning!

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