Since there seems to be some discrepancy between the observed and “actual” dates for the summer solstice this year, it seems only appropriate that I’m marking a day late the one year anniversary of my very first handgun class.
History and Chance
The first and previous firearms training that I’d received was at Boy Scout summer camp when I’d struggled my way through achieving the Marksmanship merit badge (which also puts a time frame around this event, as that merit badge has a different name now).
I hadn’t really thought much about firearms since, although I had gone plinking with friends a few times. It was at an out-of-town company event last year where I had a chance conversation with a colleague about emergency preparation, and the topic of firearms came up. The colleague is a Coast Guard veteran who’d qualified with pistol and shotgun, which he maintains as part of his home/family security plan.
Be Prepared, Not Necessarily a Prepper
This is the bit where the New Gun Owner™ says something about not being a “prepper” or whatnot, but going back to the Boy Scouts and their “Be prepared” motto, it’d be remiss of me to not consider addressing self-defense in a natural disaster scenario when the “minutes away” emergency services may have lead times in hours or days (or don’t freakin' bother, Citizen).
This is also the spot where the New Gun Owner™ goes on about how dangerous present society is and how one needs to prepared to protect oneself and one’s family. And were this a social media post, here is we’d probably devolve into exchanging broadsides from our respective echo chambers about whatever else or another, but since it’s not, we won’t.
Wait, Y’all Do What Here?
For the day job, I had to get fingerprints done for a government project background check, and the most convenient place for me to get this done was at the Clackamas County Public Safety Training Center. Imagine my surprise when I set foot at the PSTC and discover that (a) they have a gun range and (b) they also offer training classes open to the public! Take my money and sign me up, I said that day! Oh, and don’t forget the fingerprints.
101 and On
The PSTC curriculum starts with the PST 101 course, an all-day affair combining classroom lectures and live-fire range exercises. As I did not own a firearm at the time, I was able to use one of PSTC’s Glock G19 Gen 5 pistols for this class.
Safety First and Last and Always
I’d continued to take a number of additional classes in that curriculum as well as participating in other educational events, and one common, steel thread that weaves through all these different courses is the emphasis on safety. Mama’s sage advice from “Folsom Prison Blues” rings loud and clear, even if that song’s narrator disregarded the “don’t ever play with guns” bit (and we won’t have that song if he did, but that’s art for you).
With the recent
surge influx of new gun owners into the firearms community (like it or not, if you have one, you’re in it baby), there’s been a corresponding increase of content on gun safety. It’d also seem somewhat superfluous and signaling to compile and post links where a quick Google search should get you what you need. And then some.
I’ll share this YouTube channel anyway, because the Liberal Gun Club are good folk, and their videos are informative.
It’s a Journey, Not a Marathon or a Sprint
One of the instructors had mentioned that firearms ownership is a learning journey, and I’m inclined to agree. I’ve learned a lot about the immediate subject matter as well as a ton of ancillary topics that go into politics, sociology, and history. I’ve also met a bunch of fantastic folks along the way.
Is “a way of life” synonymous with “lifestyle”? Learning about firearms and owning them has definitely changed the way I behave, hopefully in a situationally aware and safety minded way. And as life is synonymous with chaos, and chaos begets change, change then brings opportunities to continue learning and documenting, which is what I intend to continue doing.