Monthly Archives: May 2011

A Day in the Life of a Firearms Instructor

We started the day with an NRA Basic Pistol Course, one of my favorite courses to teach. One class member was the wife of a concealed carry guy. She had become interested in firearms from conversations with him and he wisely suggested she take lessons from a pro, rather than trying to learn from him. She was a delightful student, who after learning about firearms safety, the various firearms types and firing her first shots decided to buy both a target pistol and a defensive handgun. She’ll be in in one of our future CHL classes.

Another student, a elementary school teacher, is looking for a new hobby and thought this might be it. I hope so. She did well as a student.

Taurus 1911Then there was the young man who had recently purchased a Taurus 1911 and wanted to learn all he could about it. Great gun. He shot our 22 pistols at the range, then his own .45. Afterwards he came back to the shop where Jerry showed him how to take his gun apart, clean it and put it back together. I was cleaning some of my own guns at the time and he was fascinated by the fact that I took out my .45 caliber Springfield XDm, unloaded it, cleaned it and put it back together while Jerry was struggling with the bushing on the 1911. “How many rounds does that hold?” he asked. “Fourteen,” I replied. “Fourteen rounds of 45 ACP?” “Yep.” The Taurus 1911 is a fine gun, but you can see why some of us elect to carry modern, plastic guns instead.

After the NRA class a customer brought two very interesting guns in to have us teach him how to disassemble for cleaning. This is where the varying talents of the Texas Gun Pros comes into play. Whereas I enjoy the personal side of carrying and using firearms – defensive scenarios, carry options, holsters, ammo, etc., Jerry is really into guns and I’m glad he is. I continue to marvel at his knowledge and mastery of a variety of firearms.

The first of the two guns was an AR rifle, a DPMS Panther in 308 caliber. I learned about M16s in the Army and have owned an AR-15, but I don’t know these guns inside and out like Jerry does. He not only disassembled, cleaned and reassembled this fine firearm, but he taught the customer a lot about his gun in the process.

DPMS Panther 308

The next gun the customer brought out was a SAIGA 12 gauge shotgun. This is a Russian made gun based on the AK-47 platform. Again, Jerry seemed to know the gun inside and out and pointed out many of its features to the customer while taking it apart, cleaning it and reassembling it. He then had the customer do this as he had with the Panther.

SAIGA 12 gauge shotgun

Desert Eagle 50An added treat of the day was shooting Jerry’s 50 caliber Desert Eagle. You’ve seen the YouTube videos – well, if you hold onto it, the kick isn’t that bad. It sure is loud, though, and you feel the percussion as much as you hear the noise. I did manage to put three holes in the target, each touching the other. Of course they were such big holes, maybe that wasn’t much of an accomplishment after all.

Powerful Little Backup Gun

ITaurus 327 Magnm‘ve been watching the hype about the 327 Federal Magnum cartridge and wondering where it might fit in my personal defense strategy. I like to have backup guns in strategic locations – my truck console, my laptop case, even the pocket of my jeans. Last year I had a Taurus Ultralite revolver in .22 magnum.  It was just the right size and I figured .22 magnum would at least get someone’s attention, especially since it carried 8 rounds, but I didn’t like the heavy double-action trigger pull on that particular gun. A trade opportunity came along and I took advantage of it. That left a small revolver gap in my defense arsenal.

Cheaper Than Dirt in Fort Worth ran a Taurus sale one week and the advertised price for the little 327 Federal Magnum revolver was just too low to pass up. The cartridge is similar in size to the .30 caliber rounds I carried in the M2 Carbine I kept on the back of the seat in my helicopter in Vietnam. I read the specs and found the cartridge is loaded to around 40,000 psi pressure, making it have more impact velocity than even a 357 Magnum.

It’s a pretty gun – mine’s stainless steel – and fairly lightweight. It holds 6 rounds. I took it to the range and not surprisingly, it’s loud and it ‘s got a fair amount of recoil. It is not painful to shoot, but you wouldn’t want to shoot it all day. From approximately 10 feet away I put most of my rounds somewhere near the center of the target.

I find the gun is easy to hide and I expect it to be totally reliable. When you pull the trigger on a revolver you can usually count on it to go “bang.” This one will do that six times. If I place my shots carefully and make them count I have no doubt the 327 magnum bullets will stop somebody in their tracks!