Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made: Our times are in His hand Who saith "A whole I planned, Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!" - From "Rabbi Ben Ezra" by Robert Browning

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ready... Aim... Would You?

9mm Smith & Wesson Semi-Automatic
"Concentration or the lack of it is what separates good shooters from mediocre shooters. Even if you know the fundamentals, it takes a lot of concentration to make yourself think about them for every shot. Shooting a handgun well does not take a great deal of strength, but it does take a great deal of concentration - it's simple, but not necessarily easy. You must block out external distractions and think about each and every shot before and, as you fire it, not afterwards." - Fundamentals of Handgun Shooting (Walton Co. publication)

John and I spent Saturday morning at the Walton County Sheriff's Office thoroughly enjoying a "Personal Self Defense and Handgun Safety" class. Captain Bobby Tribble led the class, and was a genuine wealth of information, and completely entertaining! Turns out he has taught in a Police Academy, and he was chosen to train a group of 72 citizens (out of 1000) from Haiti, who had come to the States to be trained as Haiti's first police force! How cool is that?
Captain Bobby Tribble, Walton Co. Sheriff"s Dept.

We spent the majority of the class going over the various situations in which we might need to use a gun to protect ourselves,and/or someone else, and the Georgia laws that address those situations.

We learned that we are "justified in threatening or using force against another when" we have a reasonable belief that "such threat or force is necessary to defend ... against such other's imminent use of unlawful force" and "justified in using force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if [we reasonably believe] that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury ... or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."  (O.C.G.A. 16-31-21)

In other words, we can use a gun to protect ourselves and others who might be with us. We can shoot anyone we think is threatening our lives. We cannot shoot anyone whose intent appears to be burglary or simple theft. We cannot shoot anyone who is causing damage to any part of our property, our pets, or our livestock. Pets and livestock are considered property. If, however, when confronted, a burglar, or those causing damage turn with an intent to do us bodily harm, then we can shoot them.
Class members, 15 yard range

There is a whole lot more, but these are the basic considerations when deciding to pull a gun on someone who is threatening our life or property here in Georgia.

One of the most interesting things we learned in this class is that in Walton County, GA, we can own as many guns as we want as long as we have a permit, and concealed weapons (on person or in vehicle) are encouraged.

We spent the final hour of the class out on the firing range. John and I didn't have our own guns, so we had to wait our turn to use one provided by the Sheriff's Department. Although we have a couple of rifles, we do not own any handguns at this time. I wanted to wait until after the class to choose and buy my own gun. I wanted to be clear about what kind of gun would be best for me. That's a good thing, because out on the firing range there were several elderly ladies who learned that the guns they had brought with them were too powerful for them. They had too much recoil for these ladies to handle.
John practicing with a semi-automatic

During discussions in class, I decided that I prefer a semi-automatic to a revolver. A small revolver, like a Saturday Night Special, has less recoil than a standard revolver; but a semi-automatic has even less recoil than the Special, and it's lighter weight. It doesn't require as much trigger pull strength either. A semi-automatic holds more bullets than a revolver, and being easier to reload, you can have a large number of rounds quickly and easily at hand. I also learned that the majority of law enforcement officers in America carry a 9mm semi-automatic. In Walton County, they use a Smith & Wesson. Captain Tribble offered that he thought the Smith & Wesson is a better made gun. In the three years our Sheriff's deputies have been using it, they haven't experienced the first misfire, jam, or breakage. You can't beat that!

Out on the range, I fired a semi-automatic, and it confirmed that this is the gun I want. I'm not only thinking about self-defense, I'm thinking toward the possibility of civil unrest brought on by an economic collapse or natural catastrophe, in which home defense might become a primary concern. (It could happen.) If our government were to break down, and/or the economy were to collapse, chaos would see the development of smaller pockets of society, and the possibility of roaming gangs with violent intent. (It could happen.) In such a situation, bartering might replace a monetary system. Because a 9mm semi-automatic is a very popular gun, and plentiful at this time, parts and ammo would be easier to find and barter for than most other guns and ammo.
#9: John's target. #10: My target

When I fired the first shot, I hit my target dead center. Not bad for someone who hasn't fired a gun since she was five years old. I've held plenty, I just haven't fired them. Oh, and I was only standing 15 yards from the target!

With that first shot I felt the power of the weapon in my hand, and I instantly, in that split second, thought about that target being a human being, and all the implications that pulling that trigger would mean if it were a human being I was firing at. Isn't that something we all ask ourselves, even if we've never held a gun? Can I do it? Can I kill someone?

My dad taught me how to fire a rifle when I was five years old. That was my one and only lesson, and I've never forgotten it. Dad was career Army. He served in three major wars. My brother served three years in the Army. He and my dad were in Vietnam at the same time. (It nearly drove my mother insane). My husband, John, was in the Navy for 10 years during the Cold War, and "rumor has it" a lot more happened during that war than the government wants us to know.
My target. Not bad shooting!

My point is that I have lived my whole life aware of guns, their power, and their usage. I've even been hunting a few times, although we didn't find any game, I was glad I didn't kill anything. I didn't have the heart to kill an innocent animal for sport; and I didn't need it for food. However, I have also known that if I had to, I would kill an animal to feed my family, and if I ever determine that it is the only choice I have, I will kill any human being I determine is threatening "bodily injury or death" to myself, someone I love, or someone I recognize is in immediate danger of life and health. I sincerely do pray that I never have to make that choice, but I have to make myself ready to make that choice, and if the day ever does come, believe me, I know what choice I will make.


  1. thanks for posting this! i am setting goals, and you have given me food for thought, and i appreciate your sharing about your experience in learning.

    1. You're welcome. My hope was that this post would give enough information to make people start thinking. So by your comment, I know I have been successful. Good luck with your goals ~ press on and keep praying!

    2. Good for you two for getting some training. I wrote an article about what to look for in your first or next handgun. It might be of some help.