Self-Care Challenge (Day 349): Learning About Gun Safety

West Coast Armory Indoor Range brochure cover

Yesterday’s self-care activity involved taking a firearm safety course at the local armory. While I know this topic often triggers some pretty intense emotions, being prepared is important to me. And that’s the same reason I renewed my CPR certification and took a self defense class earlier this year.

I truly hope that I never find myself in a situation where I have to use this knowledge in a practical way, but I want to feel comfortable and competent if I do.

When I entered the classroom, I fully expected to be in the minority. But to my surprise, the class was a near 50-50 split between men and women–and one of the instructors was a woman too.

I learned that some rounds can travel up to 4 miles, highlighting the fact that anyone who handles a gun–even if it’s just once in a lifetime–needs to have proper training. I learned that firearm laws vary greatly across the US, and I also learned how to best respond to a home invasion.

In addition to the classroom training, we practiced skills around stance, grip, sight alignment, trigger control, and follow through. We also had an opportunity to fire a number of handguns, which gave me a chance to explore the various weights and behaviors of different models. For example, some were much heavier than others, making it more difficult to grip with my small hands.

It could be argued that everyone should complete a gun safety course, no matter what their political views. The very same armory that offers this course is launching a program for kids in 2017–not one that teaches gun handling, but one that instructs them on what to do if they see or find a gun.

Clearly, there are benefits to understanding firearm safety that don’t involve actually handling them.

While it certainly isn’t for everyone, I found the experience to be a valuable addition to my self-care practice.

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