Lessons learned, from today’s Basic Pistol 1 class

Just returned from another day at KR Training, assisting with a Basic Pistol 1 class. The class had 15 people, 9 of which were female — a slightly higher number than usual. But due to this, we were able to really demonstrate the importance of gun fit as well as dispelling some myths about guns, especially ones that tend to get directed towards women.

What is gun fit? It’s not just that the gun has this nebulous “feels good” in your hand. To “feel good” is quite subjective: I had some folks in class that thought the big heavy .357 Magnum revolver felt good, and some that thought the little lightweight .38 snub felt good… at least, until they shot it. 🙂  Gun fit is ensuring the gun actually fits well and proper in your hand for your hand size, so you can properly grip the gun and reach the trigger. There’s much involved in selecting a first handgun, and this guide goes in-depth on the topic. The key I want to make is you must try guns and be willing to keep trying more guns until you’ve exhausted a good deal of them to find what actually fits you and allows you to shoot successfully. There was one woman in class whose hands were so small she could not reach the trigger on the .357 revolver. Double-stacked semi-autos could be an issue for her as well due to their thick grips. But a slim, single-stack 1911 with a proper trigger would be no problem.

Another problem that tends to get directed towards women is “small guns”, where the guy at the gun counter suggests they get a little snub revolver, or even the woman chooses the snub because it’s small and cute. Yes, one woman told me that she liked the snub, at first, because visually it was small and cute. What I’ve started doing in the BP1 classes is having everyone that comes up to my station shoot a big, heavy, .357 Magnum revolver: it’s heavy, it’s steel, it has big rubber grips — it’s a pleasure to shoot. I then have them shoot an airweight snub revolver. Both shoot the same ammo, .38 Special practice ammo, but even with “light loads” like that, the snub is still painful to shoot, stinging their hands. The intent is to show them that while little guns have their place, they are not ideal as a first gun. Now they know first-hand, and nothing the salesguy at the gun counter says or does will get them to buy one. Good. 🙂  It also shows them what a difference a heavy gun makes, and while their initial feeling may have been to avoid the heavy gun because it’s heavy, the heavy guns are actually what you want to shoot because they are a lot more pleasant to shoot. If they are fun to shoot, you’ll keep shooting them. If it hurts to shoot, you won’t shoot, you won’t go to the gun range to practice, you won’t take classes to learn and improve your skills… and what good is that? Finally, shooting these revolvers demonstrate another aspect of gun fit, because those triggers are long and heavy, and if you can’t reach them with a proper grip, they’re not for you.

I do hope to see the folks back for Basic Pistol 2 and beyond. From the questions they were asking, it sounds like we had a lot of people interested in learning more about firearms and how to safely and effectively deploy them in a self-defense context. That’s what we’re here for, and we look forward to seeing you at a future class. 🙂

A good day.

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4 thoughts on “Lessons learned, from today’s Basic Pistol 1 class

  1. I had a student have one of those “light goes on” moments on the line today that was absolutely awesome. Lots of first timer smiles too. Always a good day at the range.

    • I love those moments. Teaching BP1 is one of the most rewarding experiences, and one of the heaviest for us too… because we’re setting the stage and plotting the course for all their future experiences. We always have to do it right, and when you see those “ah ha!” moments, they’re great. 🙂

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