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Learn to Shoot  by Tim Siewert

​I have been asked a number of times what gun to buy for home defense and for different hunting scenarios.  My typical response to begin with is, “Do you know how to shoot?”  Almost every time I get an affirmative response to this question.  Then, I usually ask them, “Do you hit what you are aiming at every time?”  Again, almost every time the response to this second question is “No.”  My response to that is, “Then you really don’t know how to shoot.”  Normally their response is indignation, particularly from males.

I enlisted into the Marines to learn how to shoot. I had already been shooting for several years and owned several guns.  I, too, thought I knew how to shoot.  I quickly learned that I had a lot to learn about shooting.

Shooting is a learned skill much like riding a motorcycle or flying a plane.  The notion, so common today, that anyone can just pick up a firearm and hit an intended target without any training or practice is very ignorant.  Recently an acquaintance of mine and I were talking about my two books.   This friend admitted that he knew very little about guns and shooting yet he had a couple of guns that he had inherited.  I asked what he had and he said that he did not really even know.  He did say that he thought that one was a BB gun.  I told him that would be a fair gun to practice with.  He was surprised.  I told him that there are competitions with BB guns.  He was surprised about that also.  I then said that it is my opinion that everyone should own at least one gun.  He asked what that would be.  I said a .22.  He then asked if I meant a pistol or a rifle.  I responded “Yes.”  With that he laughed.

My point is that everyone should first learn how to shoot with a .22 for a few reasons.

     1) Before the craziness of this year, .22 ammo was economical and plentiful.  By next year we should see some return to normalcy.

     2) .22 cal. firearms are also reasonably priced with a very wide assortment to choose from.

     3) Even people that do have shooting experience do not realize that it takes a bullet much longer to travel down the barrel of a .22 cal. firearm as opposed to a center-fire gun therefore shooting a .22 reinforces proper marksmanship principles.

So, buy a .22 and learn how to shoot first.  Then step up to something reasonable like a .38 cal. revolver or a bolt action .223.  Yes I said it, a bolt action .223.  Spray & pray is for the movies.  After all you had to ride a tricycle before a bicycle with training wheels did you not?

Another piece of advice, if you have the funds, buy an air-rifle.   They are great fun; even more economical than a .22; and great for pest control.  And you can still buy air-guns directly through the mail.

And finally, pellets travel even slower than .22 cal. bullets so shooting air-guns reinforces proper marksmanship more so than .22s and you can shoot air-guns indoors.  All you need for a backstop is a paper grocery bag filled with newspaper.  Save the spent pellets.  You can use them when you start bullet casting.

​​That is all for now, live long and prosper,  -T.


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