Umm, Vice President Biden…?

shotgun_tlcI already knew that Vice President Joe Biden’s recent comments on the relative suitability of Modern Sporting Rifles and double-barreled shotguns were a bit silly. An AR-15 (something around 5.5 foot-pounds of recoil energy) is harder for a woman to shoot than a 12-gauge shotgun (17 up to a staggering 54 foot-pounds of recoil energy, depending on load and gun weight)? Hate to break the bad news, Mr. Biden, but in a contest between politics and physics, Newton’s Second Law wins every time.

But now, I don’t have to fall back on nebulous little trivialities like science. I’ve experienced the difference myself firsthand.

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“Focus on the Front Sight” – But Why?

“Focus on the front sight!” It’s often one of the first pieces of advice new shooters get. Sometimes, they get it nicely, as a suggestion; other times, so I’m told, they get it screamed at them when they’re not doing it. (Side note: screaming at students rarely seems productive to me, the only possible exception being a firmer “STOP” command when something immediate and unsafe is happening.)

But few instructors, in my experience, take the time to explain precisely why you should focus on the front sight. So, I thought I’d take a stab at it. Please note: This is my understanding, and I freely admit the limits of my knowledge and experience when it comes to teaching this stuff. Feel free to chime in and expand on this or clarify nuances.

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Choosing a Firearm You Can Control

I was at the range yesterday, and I noticed something which puzzled me. There were only a handful of women actually on the (crowded) firing line, and I was the only one of them not shooting a short-barrelled revolver.

One lady was shooting a Ruger LCR, and the other two were shooting guns that looked like S&W Airweights (though I wasn’t close enough to tell for sure). These other women had something else in common, too: Every single one of them was struggling mightily to control the recoil of their little guns, and their shots were landing all over the place as a result.

I’m not intending to start a holy war about gun selection, but it seems to me there’s a problem with that.

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