A Great Gun Week…

This has definitely been a great gun week for me personally…

  • Saturday and Sunday was spent at Freedom Armory in Glen Rock taking the NRA’s “Basic Personal Protection In The Home” course.
     
  • Sunday morning before class I went to York Gun Show and bought my very first rifle. A 1945 Mosin-Nagant. (Gets me a bit more in touch with my Russian heritage.)
     
  • Wednesday I picked up a 2nd rifle. My first “new” rifle. One I’d been eyeing at a local FFL (Federal Firearm License a.k.a. “Gun Shop” for my newer listeners) for the past three months.  A Ruger Mini-14 Target…it is a beauty.
     
  • Thursday I participated in my first ever competitive shoot (also at Freedom Armory ). Did better than I expected. Learned a lot…mostly I learned that I have a LOT more to learn.
    Read More Here…
     
  • Lastly, my new “mini-cards” for advertising my blog arrived Wednesday. So I was able to pass those out Thursday night. 🙂
    Read More Here…
     

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All-in-all a GREAT gun week!

I hope to post further details on each of the above in the near future – so stay tuned!

– N.U.G.U.N.

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Parkour

Why is a gun blog talking about form of running? in particular “Parkour”?  Because I believe it to be highly relevant to self-defense.  Let me explain….

When a human being encounters a threat there is a “fight or flight” response. If you’ve taken any kind of formal handgun training or martial arts than you are familiar with this concept.

The use of firearms is a “fight” defense. However, this may or may not be your best course.  Deciding tactic to utilize in a given threat situation will be up to you if and when such a situation materializes. And we hope it never does.

“Parkour” is essentially the “martial art of flight”. Where as Kung-Fu, Ju-Jitsu, Karate, etc. are martial arts which focus on self-defense utilizing training and discipline to maximize an individuals’ ability.  “Parkour is a form of movement that stresses efficiency and speed. The point is to to get from spot A to spot B as quickly and efficiently as possible. Free Running is similar but it can also involve aesthetic movements such as flips, spins, and many other forms of ‘flair’ (traceurs, practitioners of parkour, usually frown upon movement “wasted” on aesthetics).” *  It was started in France (yes, I know, a multitude of jokes about “where else would the art of running away” come from).  And just like any martial art, there are people with a variety of skill levels.

EXAMPLES OF PARKOUR:

To witness Parkour at it’s peak, here are a few videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jquXcwooV6A
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x98jCBnWO8w&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JO8aWZnxrA8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVQNt64PxfE

These links include some more basic elements
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LREyzofKpT4&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkHPQPozDRs&feature=user

Here’s a bit more realistic version along with outtakes of failures at the end.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0T9ZBKE22Y&feature=related

And of course the sport doesn’t have to be played alone…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qhgIdP3l3I&feature=related

***

Fascinated yet?  If so, you might be asking yourself – “So how do I get started?”  I’ve found a few links. Now granted, this is something I am looking to start myself. I do not have any experience on the effectiveness of any of the suggestions. I’ve just chosen to include these links in case you choose to experiment with Parkour. Of course, with all these links, use your judgment – glean what is good and discard the bad.

“How to Get Started in Parkour or Free Running”*
http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Started-in-Parkour-or-Free-Running

“How to Become an Expert at Parkour”
http://www.wikihow.com/Become-an-Expert-at-Parkour

“Urban Freeflow”
http://www.urbanfreeflow.com/deep_end/index.htm

“How to Practice Parkour- A guide for those about to take the first step”
http://www.scribd.com/doc/3112391/How-to-Practice-Parkour-A-guide-for-those-about-to-take-the-first-step

Wikipedia article describing history, philosophy, and common movements.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkour

***

Lastly, I want to state clearly for the record, that I see the value in “Parkour” as a training and discipline for the use of escape in situations of threat.  While free running, acrobatics, etc. May be fun and are most definitely eye-candy for the casual observer. I see little use in these for the stated goal.

Get from point A (area of threat) to point B (area of safety). As such, I encourage the pursuit of “Parkour” from the angle of learning and improving your own bodies abilities to overcome obstacles in your path of escape.

– N.U.G.U.N.

Published in: on October 22, 2008 at 7:06 pm  Comments (2)  
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NRA FIRST Steps

It has been my intention for sometime to get formal handgun training and certification. I’ve desired this for two reasons.

1. In order to personally be a skilled and safe user of handguns for the protection of myself and my family, as well as others.

2. In order to gain knowledge so that I might be able to share it with others.

For starters I decided to go thru the NRA pistol courses. I was debating which to take first, NRA’s “FIRST Steps” or “Basic Pistol”. From what I understand, there is a fair amount of redundancy between the two.

In the end, I decided to take NRA FIRST Steps. I came to this decision based on an number of contributing factors. First, I want to pursue this education in order that I might teach and share with others. The fact that I was questioning how similar the two courses would be and if there was any relevance meant that I had a gap in knowledge. A co-worker of mine was likewise questioning the difference between the two classes and whether they were concurrent or redundant in their teaching. I figured the best way to gain this knowledge was to take both courses. This would qualify me to answer whether someone should take both courses or if they should go straight to Basic Pistol.

The second reason stems from the decision of my wife and I to take this first class together. And I felt that the one day course would appeal more to her attention span on this matter. My wife is extremely pro-gun, but is not one enraptured by all the knowledge. She just believes it’s our fundamental right, and a good thing to have and own.

So with that decided. I signed my wife and I up for the NRA’s FIRST Steps Pistol course at Freedom Armory in Glen Rock, PA. It took a few months before there was a class offered on a day that both my wife and I could attend.  All the weekend courses fell on days were were out-of-state or had a prior engagement.  But eventually I got us signed up for a course in early September.

(I also signed myself up for NRA Basic Pistol and NRA Defense in the Home as well. In part because I learned that our work’s tuition reimbursement program would cover 80% of the cost of my courses. Yes, I work at one of the best companies in Pennsylvania.)

So after saying all that, I am going to review the class. I want to preface my review with a comment I read. “If you learn just one thing in a class – then the class was worth it.”  While it may seem costly to spend $100 or even the $800 plus that a tactical handgun course may run; all to learn one thing. You must remember that if that one bit of knowledge makes the difference between a faster draw, a more accurate trigger pull, hitting the target, improving your threat determination or avoiding a fatal safety mistake.  And either your life or the life of a loved one is saved. Than the course was worth any price – was it not?

I will also state for the record Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”   Obviously there are no Scriptures on the use of firearms. But I hope you get my point. I am not an instructor, I am a layman who is simply regurgitating what I have heard and learned. And I am human, prone to mistakes.  So always use due diligence in what you read on this blog (or anywhere else for that matter). And make sure it checks out, that said – ONTO THE REVIEW!

***

The class was a one day course. With approx. half a dozen attendees. We received the related NRA book and pamphlets (which I believe are the same as used with Basic Pistol).  We started out with basic safety, the NRA rules, and covered the  basic terminology of handguns. It went over the meanings of single-action and double-action mechanisms. As well providing an understanding of revolvers versus semi-automatic auto-loading pistols.

We briefly covered cleaning and maintenance. And this is one area that I would have really liked more education on. Resources on this matter are not as abundant as I’d like.

We discussed various types of sights, aiming techniques and determined our eye dominance. The instructor talked about triggers and trigger pull. One thing in particular was the mention of trigger reset (seer [sp?] reset) on semi-automatic pistols. Trigger reset is the point in the release of the trigger in which the mechanism resets and enables firing again.  This was a fact which I did not have prior knowledge of, and found quite advantageous. When talking about stances the instructor taught us to lean a bit forward with my shoulders.  Letting our weight counter-balance the recoil of the firearm.  This appeared to affect my shooting positively as well.

We did discuss a few of the famed debates such as both eyes open and breathing. The instructor felt that the emphasis placed on these is not necessarily appropriate for many shooters. And I agreed to a fair degree. His point regarding breathing was that holding your breath for a mere moment may suffice for many.  As well as positing that a number of individuals may find it very difficult to achieve the desired open eye focus. Especially those with older or weaker eyes. Being one who stares at a computer screen for most of my life, I must confess that I have difficulty with such. I also suffer from an astigmatism (it’s like seeing double out of one eye).  I’ve taken the practice of doing what my eye can handle best on a given day.  He did mention that for some, especially those who may take further training, that simply closing one eye momentarily may reduce criticism from others.

When I took martial arts I adopted a philosophy of using what worked for me.  While I’d learn all the techniques. I knew that some of the techniques were awkward with my body and flexibility. Where as others were very natural. I knew some techniques I would never use, they were not for me. Where as others I would embrace. While I believe there are some basic tenaments to keep one safe, and some good techniques in general. I also believe there will forever be exceptions. We are all unique. So this attitude on the instructor’s part jibed very well with me.

Our instructor was very keen on getting us as much time on the range as possible. And I appreciated that fact. He had each of us fire a load. Then he had the whole group take turns firing, with everyone else observing as he gave instruction.  We were then allowed additional time firing. All-in-all I fired close to a 100 rounds. (I had just opened a new white box of Winchesters, and had about eight rounds left over.)

My wife benefited from the course as well. And it looks like my Glock 17, at least in my wife’s hands, aims a tad low. She did better with the instructor’s SIG.  I guess I should mention that I was using a Ruger P-345 in .45 ACP.

Overall, my opinions are that this was a very introductory course. But likewise, very beneficial because I walked away with a few bits of knowledge that I did not have before. So for a $90 course (-80% tuition reimbursement) it was definitely worth it.

Tomorrow I take Basic Pistol. I am very much looking forward to comparing the two classes. And I’ll let all of you know my experiences. And how they parallel or differ from my experience at NRA FIRST Steps.

– N.U.G.U.N.

Published in: on October 18, 2008 at 2:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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