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Old 05-29-2015, 11:51 AM
 
Location: NWA/SWMO
2,747 posts, read 2,611,020 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silent hypnotist View Post
Hello
I have only ever fired a real gun with real bullets once.

I was 14 and I went to a military rifle range. In those days [80's] the guns were SLRs [ self loading rifles] . The night before I was taught by a military guy how to put the cartridge in and so on. The next day I went to the range. It was an open rifle range. There were 10 of us in a line with no barriers in between. So in theory you could shoot to the side and ping someone. There was a military observer guy standing near the range. He said to us all "if there is any shooting to the side you will be knocked unconscious. You are firing a real lethal weapon".

Then I put the cartridge in that had the bullets. I held the SLR. Suddenly I felt like I had a ten ton block of concrete on my back; for the first time it dawned on me that I held something that could kill myself or someone else. It made my hands shake. I fired all 20 of the bullets but didn't hit any targets.

I didn't enjoy doing that. I decided that guns were not for me and I have never held a gun since. I wonder if an absolute beginner starting off with an open rifle range is a good idea. I was also amazed at how heavy/awkward the SLR was. It was a Vietnam war weapon. I thought "if this was what your life depended upon in a Vietnam jungle then I feel sorry for you".

So that was my first and only ever gun experience. This was in Australia at a military base. I don't know how it compares to gun clubs, bases in the US or whatever. I don't know if that was an unusual way to fire a weapon for the first time. A SLR rifle seems to me to be more complex to handle and fire than say, a handheld pistol.

How does that compare to your first ever experience of firing a gun?
Very different. My father's .22 bolt-action rifle was the first firearm I shot. I was shown on various occasions as he dispatched snakes and other pests, shot mud/dirt, etc. that it could indeed maim and kill. It was a solemn, serious occasion, and one with which I was impressed upon the gravity of the power a firearm enabled the user to possess. For both good, or evil.

What you did was not an unusual shooting situation, but your mindset was very different from many here in America. Many of us view a firearm as you might (I hope...) view a personal vehicle. Really, it's about 2 tonnes of speeding metal that you are guiding between nothing more than lines painted on the road, and at any minute you could swerve or zig a little and wipe out some bikers on the side-walk...maybe you should equate that to shooting at a target with someone standing a few feet to the side of it? The consequences are no less lethal. That said, I'd never shoot a target with someone standing next to it, but you see my point. A Vehicle is a useful tool...but you need to RESPECT what it allows you to do---both for good, or for evil, and the consequences of being careless with it are potentially enormous.

I am personally rather proficient with rifles, shotguns, and pistols. It took hours and hours and thousands and thousands of rounds of training. However, I still respect them. Just as I do my car.
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Old 05-29-2015, 04:26 PM
 
123 posts, read 70,521 times
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When I was between 3 and 5 years old I asked my Dad a lot of questions and took an interest into firearms and knives. He'd unload and let me handle them with permission in front of him with adult supervision. When I was 5 years old I got my first pocket knife while on vacation in Tennessee. It was a Schrade USA LB-1 lock-blade. Shortly after getting home from that vacation unknown to my Mom at the time, he pulled out his Colt Detective Special .38 Special revolver out of his dresser drawer and slid it into the back pocket of his Lee blue jeans. This was on a Saturday afternoon when my Mom was busy doing laundry and housework. He always told me years later that the .38 was the smallest thing he could get out of the house without my Mom knowing what was going on. He came and got me and we walked out into the back field and woods where he let me fire a few cylinders out of it. I was hooked big time and started to learn everything I could as fast as I could. By the time I was 10 I had a Marlin model 60 .22 LR rifle of my own. When I was 12 I got a HR single shot 12 gauge shotgun. When I was 13 I got my first handgun, a Springfield Armory Government 1911 .45 ACP. It was the Defender model, which is now basically the Mil-Spec many decades later.


I still have ALL of them today........and then SOME!

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Old 05-29-2015, 04:36 PM
 
123 posts, read 70,521 times
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Old 05-29-2015, 06:14 PM
 
Location: Australia, Melbourne
291 posts, read 185,681 times
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I suppose that it's worth saying that the rifle range in my OP was outdoors. People seem to have concluded that anyway.

I guess that I have to conclude that my experience was unusual compared to the other posts. As someone who is not American I think that I have learnt something about how American people see guns. I am not saying that in a critical way. It would be a lot easier to find a good gun instructor for a beginner in the US than it is here in Australia. I'm not sure here if we have the same farm/rural culture of kids being taught how to shoot by family members.

One thing that I did find as a bit of a culture shock was when I attempted a Microsoft Cert Exam. Because it was written in the US it had an instruction "no guns are to be taken into the exam room". That gave me a shock!

Anyway, I think that I come to understand from this thread why people in the US want to defend their right to have guns. Whether I agree with that right I am not sure. But I think that now I understand it.
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Old 05-29-2015, 06:31 PM
 
123 posts, read 70,521 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silent hypnotist View Post
I suppose that it's worth saying that the rifle range in my OP was outdoors. People seem to have concluded that anyway.

I guess that I have to conclude that my experience was unusual compared to the other posts. As someone who is not American I think that I have learnt something about how American people see guns. I am not saying that in a critical way. It would be a lot easier to find a good gun instructor for a beginner in the US than it is here in Australia. I'm not sure here if we have the same farm/rural culture of kids being taught how to shoot by family members.

One thing that I did find as a bit of a culture shock was when I attempted a Microsoft Cert Exam. Because it was written in the US it had an instruction "no guns are to be taken into the exam room". That gave me a shock!

Anyway, I think that I come to understand from this thread why people in the US want to defend their right to have guns. Whether I agree with that right I am not sure. But I think that now I understand it.
I was at a gun show a few weeks ago and ran into a Sheriffs Deputy and his 13-14ish son. He had just bought the kid a nicely customized used GLOCK 23 .40 S&W handgun. The kid was grinning ear to ear. I talked to the kid for probably close to an hour about it. I also gave them some special GLOCK .40 S&W reloading tips and advice straight from my extensive knowledge and background. They took down notes in their phones for reference later.

Some may think that kid is too young to own and shoot a handgun. I say both his Dad who is a Cop and myself after talking to him for an hour and getting to know him say he is more ready than a lot of adults....

The kid is ready.....he can even field strip the weapon from memory already. I know he plans to use it, he'll shoot it a lot and become proficient. By the time he is a 18-21 year old, he'll be a grand master. I teased him about still having this gun when he is 40.
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:11 PM
 
Location: TX and NM on the border of the Great Southwest.
11,769 posts, read 15,788,877 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silent hypnotist View Post
How does that compare to your first ever experience of firing a gun?
My first experience I think would have been about 1957/58. I was about 8 or 9 years old and I went out racoon hunting at night with an aunt. We hunted in a corn field in deep eastern Texas. I carried my aunt's .410 shotgun. We didn't shoot any coons that evening but my aunt let me shoot the little shotgun after we returned to the farm house.

Later my grandfather, a gunsmith for many years, gave me a Remington 22LR bolt action rifle.
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Australia, Melbourne
291 posts, read 185,681 times
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It varies across Australian states in terms of the gun/hunting cultures.

The state where normal people [ i.e not rangers] hunt the most with a gun is Tasmania. Their newspapers treat hunting as a sport with "hunting results" in the paper. No other state here has that sort of hunting culture.
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Old 05-29-2015, 09:03 PM
 
123 posts, read 70,521 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silent hypnotist View Post
It varies across Australian states in terms of the gun/hunting cultures.

The state where normal people [ i.e not rangers] hunt the most with a gun is Tasmania. Their newspapers treat hunting as a sport with "hunting results" in the paper. No other state here has that sort of hunting culture.
I'm surrounded by Amish and nearly all of them own firearms, shoot and hunt. It's not unusual for a Dad to walk into a gun shop, gun show or Wal-Mart and plunk down $600+ for a brand new Remington or Browning shotgun on a boy who is less than 12 years old. They also own handguns, though that is more on the down low and only people who really know them well know about that side. They favor old military surplus rifles as well. .303 British Lee Enfields, 8mm Mausers, 30.06 M1 Garands, .30 Cal M1 Carbines, 30.06 1903A3s, 7.62x54mm Mosin Nagants, 7.62x39mm SKSs, AKMs/MAK-90s and things of that sort as well as Winchester 1894 30-30s. Seems as though nearly all have at least one .22 LR rifle of some sort too.
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Old 05-29-2015, 09:55 PM
 
Location: Rural Central Texas
3,581 posts, read 9,000,834 times
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My early experience was mostly with rifles. I started at an early age with a BB air rifle and by 10'was permitted to fire my Dad's .22lr rifle under supervision. My next weapon was a .270 deer rifle at 13. I got to fire my cousin's 357 magnum pistol when I was 16. The deer rifle was the only weapon fired at a range. Everything else was on private property out in the country.

I got my first handgun when I was 50 and have been enjoying shooting at several ranges, both indoor and outdoor, with and without firing line dividers. It has been my experience at all of the open firing line ranges that the shooters are all relatively experienced and exhibited adequate safety ettiquite.

I have been quite comfortable in all of my shooting environments and never experienced the type of self doubt you described.
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Old 05-29-2015, 10:13 PM
 
Location: West Phoenix
769 posts, read 889,444 times
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I started with BB guns, then .22s, now I everything from a 22 to a 58 caliber Blackpowder.
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