Let's stick the ol' microscope up the pooper and take a look at this, shall we?
While I am not worried about the skills of most people in my class, I have got to echo what the instructor said. "This is not a handgun training course. It is a PROFICIENCY course." I would have to say that most of the thirty or so people there were proficient with handguns. The signs of skill were there. Proper and safe handling of the weapon, correct loading of magazines, obeying the RO, and being able to hit the target with accuracy.
The rest of the people there had no clue what they were doing. If the fecal matter ever hit the oscillating blades of a wind generating machine, I pray that the clueless are nowhere near me. One individual in particular was shooting right next to me during the qualifier. Somehow, I just bet he bought that gun only a short time ago. How do I know, you ask? Simple, in the case he brought, I saw all the paperwork and the credit card receipt. What really capped this guy's 'newbieness' was his complete lack of knowledge about the gun. I was ready to knock him over the head when he turns to me and asks how to load his weapon. I knew I should have picked another firing position.....behind a brick wall!
I am gonna break this down for you. A step-by-step log of his blunders will give you a good idea of the apprehension I feel.
- He turns to me with gun in hand and finger on the trigger to ask if I know how to drop the mag on that particular gun. For the record, it was a Sig P226. Probably had too many moving parts for him to comprehend.
- After I checked myself for wet stains and poo in the pouch, the RO instructs us to load 5 rounds in the mag and make weapons ready to fire. 'Missing Link Marvin' figures out how to insert the mag and jacks a round into the chamber.
- RO instructs us to de-cock and make ready to fire. Marvin de-cocks, but proceeds to cycle the action again. A round flies out and he bends over to pick it up.
- Homeboy tries to figure out the mechanical doohickeys that make this gun work. RO comes over and takes gun from his hand. Unfortunately, this won't be the first time.
- RO drops the mag and makes the gun ready to fire.
Let me take a minute to point out that Ramjet the Rookie never took his finger off the trigger!!! There were a couple of instances where he actually took up slack on the trigger.
- The cycle of load, rack, de-cock, rack, pick up brass, etc goes on for at least three courses of fire. The RO finally stood behind the guy and loaded his weapon for him for the remainder.
- At one particular point, dude had a misfeed. A round chambered and didn't clear properly when he did his wonderful tap-rack-decock act. I watched as he tried to fire the gun to clear the round. The RO came up and attempted to grab the gun from his hand. He could not because doofus boy had his finger on the trigger and a death grip on the gun.
- The misfeed was cleared and we proceeded to finish qualifying with the RO in his perch behind the gun goober.
Like I said earlier, I am more apprehensive than before I took the class. I am really amazed that the instructors would let this guy qualify without the sights and without a complete understanding of his weapon of choice. Based on what I witnessed, I would have tossed the guy without a second thought. Maybe the instructor and RO are looking for other safety factors, or are guided by some vague and ambiguous state mandates. Whatever the reasons, I think more care needs to be taken with respect to firearms proficiency.
I am hoping that we are only two ships passing in the night. If I never come across this guy, it will be too soon.
Having said all that, I feel more comfortable in my own skin. I have no doubt that I will be able to use this new tool in the manner it was taught to me. I came into the class thinking that I would be presented with that once in a lifetime opportunity to use deadly force and be the hero. Now, my thinking has been tempered by the material that was presented to me. I am no longer looking for the fight, but am looking for the solution.