The Shooting Arts

Today I participated in my first IDPA  (International Defensive Pistol Association) event.  It was a long day, longer than I expected, but a lot of fun.  It was really nice to make some new friends, be around people with similar interests and learn new skills.  Some takeaways…

  • I need a shotgun.  While IDPA is a pistol only discipline, the club usually sets up the patterns for multi-gun.  I shot under the IDPA rules/config.  But I could have borrowed someone’s shotgun, the guys are very generous and offered numerous times.  I just figured I would stay with a handgun for my first event
  • Shooting clay pigeons at 20 yards with a bullet is HARD.  I hit about 1/3
  • 2 magazines is definitely not enough for an event like this
  • I really like shooting my 45
  • Moving and engaging different targets is a lot of fun.  It’s like playing a driving video game with a steering wheel instead of a thumb controller: You are doing the same thing, but it’s so much more realistic
  • I need to practice speed on target and changing magazines from the hip
  • I shoot moving targets pretty well
  • Shooting from cover, to the left of an object is much harder than it looks (if done correctly)

After experiencing an organized match, juxtaposed to all the commentary around gun-control lately, I thought I would take a few minutes to address issues with specifics, that people never really understand in detail.

Why does anyone need more than one gun?  There are more guns in the US than age-eligible owners.

This makes sense only if you walk into a thought with the mindset that something is unnecessary.  I own 4 vehicles.  To someone living in NYC this makes no sense.  But one is for Taylor, one is for me, I need a truck for house projects and the bus is for football.  There is a reason and specific purpose for each.  Why do baseball players need multiple gloves and bats.  Taylor has 4 pairs of cleats.  Horse people have multiple saddles/bridles, bits, halters, crops, etc.  I own at least 10 hockey sticks.  I have 5 shovels and at least 5 rakes.  I own 3 cameras.  I could ask why you need more than 1 pet, or more than 1 kid.  Take this last one, if your definition of the purpose of having children is procreation, well then certainly 1 is enough.  Is that not preposterous?

Consider for a second that your definition of purpose might not be universal.  I own 4 firearms and each has a different purpose.  Honestly, I want 3 more to fill gaps in things I can’t do.  The guys on the range today all owned more than me.  One guy brought 2 shotguns and they were completely different for different scenarios.  He wasn’t sure what the competition set-up would focus on, so he brought both.  My 22 is great for leagues and practice, but it won’t knock down a steel plate target, and those are fun.  It’s the same fun you get from throwing horseshoes, bocce, cornhole or darts.  It’s an individual challenge of skill and accuracy with instant feedback.  The theory is no different.

Guns are unsafe and so we need to take them off the street, regardless of whether you are responsible or not.

Let me describe the safety process at the range.  A trained range safety officer (RSO) inspects each weapon in a metal 3 sided box with the owner, ensuring it is safe and secure.  He inspects the magazine slot, makes sure the chamber is empty, slide is closed and dry fired (de-cocks the hammer), safety engaged, then holstered.  No one touches their weapon until they are on the firing line.  We are 100% serious about this.  Everyone polices the waiting area and line. When their turn comes, all weapons are pointed down range (a dirt wall 20′ high on 3 sides), inspected again by the RSO.  They take their turn shooting while being watched by at least 2 people for etiquette and technique (I got some useful feedback from the scorekeeper).  When finished, the RSO goes through the same procedure.  Magazine out, slide back, chamber clear, cycle weapon, chamber clear, slide closed, dry fire, safety, holster.  Anyone who has ever gone to a range, knows the process.  We are those “law-abiding citizens” that you hear about but don’t believe exist.  We take it seriously.  We are responsible.  Remember when Plaxico Burress shot himself in the thigh?  Not responsible handling of a weapon.  Just like some asshole drunk driver is not a responsible vehicle operator.

Gun laws do not place a burden on people who follow laws.

The problem with gun laws is that they include language like “at the discretion of “.  That is when we are troubled.  What that means is that we have no liberty and a “bureaucrat” has control over our rights and freedom.  If Obamacare had language like “care facilities can apply treatment for cancer at the discretion of the hospital’s CFO…” people would go insane.  Why is this different?  When I applied for my license to carry in Massachusetts, I took the required safety class, filled out paperwork, and got 3 letters of recommendation: One of which was from the city police detective who was in charge of processing and investigating the applications.  But it took the state 4 months to process and send me a 3×5 piece of paper.  That sounds like an awful lot of “discretion” no?

You don’t need an assault weapon for self defense.

At this very second, no I do not need a firearm for self-defense.  But if you can accurately predict the future with 100% certainty, then PLEASE, do something useful like manage my 401k or tell me who is going to win the SuperBowl, or tell the military where ISIS is going to strike next.  Until then, SHUT UP.  Did anyone predict that Putin would invade Crimea?  Or that Hitler would invade Russia?  You do not know what my self defense requirements will be under any future timeline.  So while you may conclude that a 6 minute response time from the police is ok for your family’s safety, I prefer that I have the capability to try to actually keep mine safe for those 6 minutes.

There is no such thing as an “assault weapon”.  There are weapons, and there are people that assault.  No weapon is inherently more “assaulty” than another.  When you use an adjective, it must have a reason for being used to describe the noun.  If the adjective has no meaning in adding to the description of the noun, it makes no sense.  If you don’t understand the difference between an AR15 and a semi-automatic rifle that fires Winchester 223, then you are ignorant (those words describe essentially the same thing).  That is the same ignorance I display when I pronounce that a first baseman or catcher doesn’t need a special catching glove.  It catches a baseball.  Why is one ‘special’?

If anyone wants to come to the range with me and learn how seriously law-abiding gun owners take their responsibility in handling a weapon, I would love to take you.  Target shooting is an art.  It is enjoyable, it is something you practice, it is something that takes skill.  I wish I had more time to enjoy it and I wish more people would give it a try before unilaterally berating it for no rational reason.

About Josh Rutstein

I am an aspiring entrepreneur and hopeful political candidate. Father of 2 very special girls, husband to an amazing woman, and passionate American. I snowboard whenever possible and follow a 20x mentality for exercise. I also play golf and ultimate frisbee and am a die hard New England Patriots fan and season ticket holder. Everyday I wake up wanting to make this country a better place, someday I hope to actually succeed.
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