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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was signed up for the Basic Pistol course at the NRA range for June, but I work nearby, they had a last minute cancellation and called me, so I started the two day course last night. Official name for the class is 'First Steps: Pistol,' and although they clearly tell you it provides you about 1% of what you would need to know to carry a concealed weapon, the course does meet Virginia's minimum requirements to apply for, and obtain, a CC permit.

I think 18 people in the class. Very nearly half were women. More than half were, seemingly, in their twenties. That surprised me for some reason.

Close to four hours, all classroom. Bring your guns, but no ammo. They gave us dummy bullets for the load/unload portion. I had the only revolver. :D

Presentations were lively in pace and packed with information. I liked that it was broken up with different presenters handling different subject areas in manageable blocks of time. Started off with an intro to your handgun. Parts, function, etc.

Next was shooting. Grip, stance, breathing, etc. I feel like this was a very useful, well presented segment. The description of how the hands work together, what parts of each hand go where and why. Where and how pressure can be applied for security/stability, without effecting accuracy when pulling the trigger. I think my grip was very close in appearance to the grip I came away with last night, but I am much happier with the small adjustments in placement and larger adjustments in tension (more in some areas, much less in others). I look forward to trying these, as well as the breathing part, tonight in the shooting portion of the class.

Next up: cleaning. A lot of more experienced gun people in the class probably snoozed through this, but I have always felt awkward and inefficient when cleaning my guns. I took a lot away from this portion as well, and made some notes about items I want/need that did not come with my cheapo basic cleaning kit.

Holsters. This is a good basic course for someone wanting to become familiar and comfortable with their handgun, but it is also a requirement for concealed carry. So the third presenter talked about different kinds of holsters, pros and cons of each, how they are used, and some considerations when choosing one. Also women-specific carry considerations.

The last portion of the class covered legal issues, liability, civil responsibility, etc. This was all very interesting, and likely weeded out some in the class who initially raised their hand that they intended to pursue their CCL. You come away from this, if you didn't already have it, with a sense of how very, very serious the responsibility is to carry a concealed weapon. I found it to be invigorating, personally. To consider the possibility that, with training and practice, I can join the ranks of the people here and elsewhere who can take a stand against the wolves if there are sheep in mortal peril. Last night was the first step toward getting my Junior Sheepdog badge!

Tonight I'm really looking forward to: one hour, one-on-one with an instructor on the range. Just dry firing with my improved grip last night gave me some confidence that I will be able to shoot better. We'll see, and I'll post an update after tonight's class!
 

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Great! Seems your getting quite a bit from this class! Be sure to check out the other NRA classes as well.
 

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Sounds like a dandy course. Very similar to what I took here. Maybe we had a stronger emphasis on the legal portion of the classroom materials. That took about half the first 4 hr class. We didn't have as much empahsis on the holsters and carry methods. It's interesting even for us old guys too. Good luck with it. The fun part is coming up tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. Yeah, I'm really looking forward to the hands on portion tonight. But already it's proven to be really valuable.
 

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What are people taking to class? More autos than revolvers? Many Rugers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Semi-autos vs. revolvers: 17 to 1! A few Glocks, two 1911 types, I didn't see all the rest. But saw no Rugers other than mine! However, as they were checking the guns going into the classroom (no ammo allowed), the instructor opened up my box and said, 'nice gun.' I have gotten a LOT of compliments on that GP!
 

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So how does a wheel gun man keep a straight face when the instructor goes thru those jam clearance drills for the benefit of the auto loader crowd?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
While he was doing that I was practicing with a speed strip that a guy had, using the dummy bullets. Two at a time, I can see how a person could get pretty quick with those strips. I have not tried a speed loader yet, and that was the first time I've handled a speed strip. Pretty cool.
 

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Eddie a speed loader is the way to go pal, just give the cyindler a little roll and thesheels fall right in. And you can never have enough speed loaders. I like HKS myself.
 

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EddieF...keep us posted on what the ladies are buying and carrying. In semi-autos, I sell them a Glock, Kahr or S&W.

In revolvers, I sell S&W Airweights, S&W model 60s, and Ruger SP-101s. I do not stock Taurus handguns.

Taurus does, however, have the best selection in semi-autos and revolvers, in both sizes and calibers, but not quality. In my opinion, Ruger should get into the smaller handgun market as S&W has for years. Perhaps Ruger is not interested. The P series pistols are just too big for the ladies and a lot of the guys too. I think Ruger would be suprised how the smaller guns sell. How many members of this forum have purchased SP-101s in the last two months! Quite a few! My favorite revolver!

Ladies also do not have the problem with the "cost" of a handgun, as some of the tire-kicker guys do. Nor do they bring in a trade that they picked up in a pawn shop that no one wants or maybe doesn't work...something that the guys try to do all the time.

Ladies expect to pay $400 to $500 for a decent handgun, because they are looking for quality and dependability when their life and welfare is at stake. In my experience, the more education that the ladies have, the more they are willing to pay for a quality handgun, probably because they can afford it. If she is a nurse, a doctor, a lawyer or a judge, she wants dependability.

EddieF, it did not suprise me at all that many of the gals are in their twenties or thirties. I find that true here also.

I will not sell a cheap "pot-metal" handgun to anyone who depends on it to defend themselves. There are some inexpensive decent handguns available. I am curious what the ladies are buying in your neck of the woods, EddieF. I appreciate reading your posts!

What bothers me is that Toyota has now taken over the nations's car sales. Will Brazil take over the nation's handgun sales, or have they already? American companies should lead the way in quality, selection and sales!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Okay, sorry it took so long to get back to this, kind of a bad day...

When I went back for day two I only saw a handful of other students there. They gave all afternoon and evening for people to sign up for their one hour time slot with an instructor.

My instructor was a nice guy (I got another compliment on the GP!). The course requires that we start seated. He had just plain paper with an orange stick-on dot, probably about the size of a tennis ball. all targets were only fifteen feet away. Seated, with sandbags, he had me shoot six rounds. All six hit the tennis ball dot and all were in the top left quadrant. He said okay that concludes the seated requirement!

Shot the orange dot standing up slow fire, then we tried some faster shooting. I did okay but not as good as when I was sitting down!

He put a silhouette target up and predicted that with a bigger target I would miss bigger. He was right, of course, but it's good to learn what your brain is doing to take away your accuracy, you know?

He brought the silhouette target back and stuck an orange dot on the left and right shoulders, half off the page entirely. Did two cylinders of bringing the gun up, shooting left dot, then right dot, bring the gun back down, repeat. Pretty fast. For me, I mean. Let me tell you something, that right dot was very hard to hit! Out of six shots at each side, I think I hit five on the left and one on the right. The best thing about that exercise, and the others, is it gives me fun stuff to practice on my own, rather than just sticking a target up there and aiming for the middle, reloading and doing it again.

I really think I'm going to enjoy this IDPA skills seminar I'm looking at taking next month. What's the difference between IDPA and the other one, IPSC is it?

I got my certificate, but they spelled my name wrong (I'm Edwin, they assumed Edward) so I have to pick that up later this week. But that's basically all I need to apply for my permit. I do know I need to learn and practice a lot before I'm ready to carry, but I might apply for the permit just to have it, maybe avoid accidental non-compliance while traveling with the gun.
 

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My view is idpa is less of an equipment race and aimed more at street carry.
Best thing to do is a web search on each and read up on them.
Go to a match and observe. Actually seeing what is going on will give you a better perspective.

Been to both and you will find friendly folks at either one of them.
 
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