Friday, January 30, 2009

Preparing for the bad guys

Every Thursday (or sometimes Tuesday) evening you can find my wife, Bev, and me at Atwell's Shooting Range on Chestnut Street in Painesville.

We go there to punch holes in paper with our .22-caliber handguns - Bev's Browning and my Smith & Wesson.

It's all part of a weekly get-together with other handgun owners in an informal - but organized, if that makes sense - effort to become as familiar as possible with our shooting pieces.

The indoor program is a defensive-style shoot, using a variety of targets that in one way or another mimic a human torso.

Center-fire pistol owners fire a 25-round course while those of us who want to keep ammunition expenses down by using .22-caliber handguns fire a 50-round course.

They are timed courses and include both aiming and point-and-shoot ("rip and grip") handgun handling.

In one portion the target is "running" toward you.

The latest class is also doing the shooting in low-light conditions as a means to replicate when could happen in your home if you were to confront an intruder in the dark.

Scores are kept but only so that participants can see if they are improving.

All of which is developed and administered by Ron Paul Duning, the gunsmith at Mentor's Gander Mountain store.

For those who complete 10 of the $10 per session round, an invitation to a really great end-of-season party is in order.

While the shoots have proven helpful in developing our shooting skills and increasing our confidence level, Bev and I participate because it's just plain one heck of a good time.

You can stop by Atwell's after 5 p.m. on either Tuesdays or Thursdays. The latter typically sees smaller crowds.

New shooters are always welcome, and Ron Paul is the perfect host and helpful instructor who stresses safety and is always willing to share his considerable firearms handling knowledge.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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