On Girls and Guns

Discussion in 'Non-Fiction Stories' started by A_GIRL_NAMED_SAM, Dec 5, 2018 at 8:15 PM.

  1. A_GIRL_NAMED_SAM

    A_GIRL_NAMED_SAM Tom's Blonde Soulmate

    By A_GIRL_NAMED_SAM

    Those who have read my daily 'mind dump' posts and various stories may remember my extolling Uncle Ben, a retired police captain and currently an academy instructor in both firearms and personal defense hand-to-hand tactics. Uncle Ben trained both Dan (my older brother) and me in both of these disciplines. His objective in this training was to ensure neither of us would ever be helpless victims. In this, he succeeded.

    And before you develop a major case of the 'flutters' about a young kid actually shooting a firearm, know that both Dan and I were enrolled in three different youth marksmanship programs at the time, giving both of us partial exemption from some of the more onerous state laws regarding our sacred 2nd Amendment rights. That, plus the fact that all firearms training that took place, while we were minors, under the direct supervision of a highly qualified instructor and on a private range.

    He started training Dan when he was 10, delaying my training 'till I was the same age Dispute my pleas, I had to wait 'till my 10th birthday to start. Since Dan is 4 years older than me, he had the benefit of 4 years of instruction when I was just learning the basics. Uncle Ben was a hard taskmaster – hard, indeed! Failure wasn't an option, not with him and not with his students. I learned fast and I learned well. Otherwise, it was multiple bumps, bruises, or minor scrapes and cuts on my rather small 10-year-old body! When I would complain, he would laugh and tell me that these hurts were nothing compared to what a bad guy was willing and able to do to me.

    While his words of caution were meant as motivation, I found that his approval was a far better motivator than anything he could say about 'bad guys'. I felt that one smile of satisfaction from him after I had demonstrated my mastery of a skill was worth all those bumps, bruises, cuts, and scrapes, much as one smile from Mom, who was tutoring me in history and many other subjects was worth the seemingly endless hours of lessons and reading.

    When I was 13, I was allowed to train with Dan. We performed the drills in slow motion, with Uncle Ben supervising us every step of the way When we started, Dan had no trouble overcoming my every defense, throwing me with ease. Even at half speed, he could turn my defense against me and, if not for the training mats, I would have had many more bumps and bruises! As we progressed the speed went from slow motion to half speed and, while Dan could usually break my holds, he was really having a much more difficult time than he expected. I will never forget the first time I was able to turn his hold on him and actually make him land on his big butt on the mat! Uncle Ben stood there and clapped, while Dan sat there red-faced and sweating! I was 15 at the time, 5' 2" and about 100 pounds. Dan was 6' 2" and about 245. I must say, he made a very satisfying 'splat' when he landed!

    Training picked up nicely after that and I was able to overcome Dan about 35% of the time, even when he was really trying. We trained about 2 hours per session, three times a week. Dan and I set up a training facility complete with mats Uncle Ben provided, in our basement and would frequently work out down there after our chores were done. Because of my small stature and lightweight, Uncle Ben taught me some tricks that 'evened the score', as he said, tricks that involve leverage, surprise, using certain spots on the human body that induce extreme pain when properly applied, and the use of your assailants momentum to overcome his size and weight advantage.

    While all this is interesting (if you're a martial arts student), it does not get anywhere near the title of the story and, about now, you're asking yourself, “What the hell am I reading this for?” I just couldn't resist crowing about throwing my wonderful big brother and having him splat on the mat! Just watching him bounce a few times was worth every time he bounced my butt off those damn mats! Just the look on his face was priceless!

    OK, OK, here's the details of the 'girls and guns' theme. As I told Titus (our 120-pound giant dog) the other day, "Keep your shirt on! I'm getting there!"

    Dan had been introduced to firearms when he was 16 and was a pretty good shot. Now it was my turn. Uncle Ben had a firing range on his property and we started there. After about 15 hours of instruction on safe handling, pistol, shotgun and rifle maintenance (where I learned to clean every fricken firearm in his collection!), dry firing various pistols and revolvers to get the feel of them, we went out to the firing line. I was wearing 'ears' (for you non-shooters, that's hearing protection) and safety glasses, just as he instructed me to. He gave me a .22 semi-auto, had me load 3 rounds in the magazine, and stood behind me. For the very first time, I held a loaded pistol and I was so damn nervous! I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I didn't want to disappoint my uncle! I took the stance he had drilled me in, took the hold I had practiced and squeezed off the first shot!

    Well, that wasn't bad! Little or no recoil, a very dull noise, and I actually hit the target (well, it was on the paper and we were firing at the 10-yard line, but I still hit the target!). OK, the next two rounds were in the outer rings. Now it was a matter of getting control of breathing, anticipating the shot so as not to pull left, right, up or down, improving my grip, and on and on. When I could consistently hit the X ring, we moved on to a .38. Oh, my! A bit more recoil, louder sounds, and we started all over. Within a week, I was up to a Springfield XD in .40 S&W and that was a handful, but I managed.

    In between these sessions, he taught me how to clear a misfire by loading various magazines with live and dummy rounds and handing them to me. I would fire until the dummy round came up, run the 'slap, rack and clear' drill and continue shooting. By the next week, I was shooting near perfect scores out to 25 yards with that caliber and Uncle Ben promised me a special treat for the following week. He told me Dan had taken over a month to get where I was in 2 weeks, and I was positively beaming with pride!

    I was puzzled when our next session started with the .22 on the shooting table. I had already mastered this gun, so what was it doing out again? Had I done something wrong? “No, Samantha, nothing is wrong. You can shoot quite well standing there like a statue, but what would you do if you had to move? Now we'll cover that element of shooting – how to effectively hit what you're aiming at while moving from one spot to another.” And off we went, moving, stopping, shooting, moving again. Shooting while moving without stopping. Now, this was far harder than just standing there, running off rounds! It took me over a month to master even the basic skills required to accomplish these actions and, to be honest, I still have a little trouble with shooting while moving. Uncle Ben told me it's not uncommon for girls, something to do with our physical makeup and, like most things in life, it requires us to practice, practice, practice.

    By the end of that month, I was proficient enough to earn a big dose of praise from Uncle Ben and to move on to the next phase. When I showed up at the range, there was a .45 Colt M1911 on the table, a box of GI .45 ACP cartridges, and three 8 round magazines. I dry fired that pistol for 20 minutes, trying to get the weight and measure of this monster gun! It was heavy! Now for the test. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I had been well trained and confident that I could handle it. I loaded three rounds, lifted that pistol and fired on his command. WOW! That was some powerful recoil! I had completely missed the target! He explained I was both anticipating the shot due to the size of the gun and holding my breath as I squeezed the trigger. This is pretty much what he expected. OK, now that I knew what to expect I was very careful to breathe and squeeze the trigger on the out breath. In the outer ring on this one, in the X ring on the last shot! Now I had a field day! Round after round, tactical reloads, speed reloads, you name it – I got to do it!

    I was 16 by the end of that summer and I was set to go off to college. By that time, I had shot everything but the Desert Eagle .50, which I did a few years later. Now, that was a thrill – but way to big a gun for a small girl! After the .45, I was not all that eager to try that monster! I had shot most of his rifles and a few shotguns (I never liked the 'shotties', as he called them), but rifles were pretty neat, at least in the smaller calibers. Since I was 16, he decided to take me with him to the police range and let me run the police course of fire. He took a selection of pistols and enough ammunition to satisfy my thirst for causing mayhem with paper targets.

    When we got there, he cleared my presence with the police range master, who was a personal friend and, even though I was 16 and under the age limit, because of my membership in the youth marksmanship programs, I was good to go. He asked me which gun I wanted first. I chose the .40 S&W. There were several police officers shooting that day and they stopped to watch this little girl with this big gun (it was a standard duty 4-inch barrel service pistol the same as used by the FBI at the time). The officers gathered around Uncle Ben, some smirking and betting that I would wind up on my ass with the first shot. Uncle Ben just stood there smiling. The shot light when from red to green and I reeled off 12 perfect rounds, blowing the center out of the X ring at 20 yards.

    I cleared the weapon, leaving it locked back, placed it on the table and looked back over my shoulder. No more smirks, just wide open eyes. Uncle Ben was smiling this wonderful smile. He turned to these police officers and said, "This, gentlemen, is my 16-year-old niece. She can shoot better than any of you. Now, why is that, you may ask yourself. It's because of two things. First, she WANTS to shoot a perfect score, not just today, but every time she handles a weapon. Second, she actually PRACTICES and LEARNS something from her practice. I suggest you emulate her." That day was one of the best I've ever had on a shooting range!

    Well, I was off to college, where the subject of guns was not something tolerated or practiced. Uncle Ben had contacts with the local police department and I was invited to shoot their course whenever I wanted. He had supplied them with two pistols for my use and ammunition to match. These were held by the range master and all I had to do was phone ahead and ensure the range wasn't being used for police qualifications and that space was available for me. The guys got used to seeing this little girl with the .40 or .45 and I never had any problems (other than the first time I showed up and got the 'smirk' and 'bet she falls on her ass' routine). Of course, being the only girl civilian on the range, surrounded by these big strapping police officers, some of whom were single, was exciting – until they found out I was 16. Now I had a bunch of 'big brothers' again!

    Time passed. I was pretty well consumed by study (college was a lot harder than high school, even for me!), hitting the gym to maintain my training, where I took several courses from the martial arts instructor and learned a few new tricks that I used on Dan the summers we were home from school (with some very satisfying 'splats' when I was able to throw him!), and going to the range every opportunity I had, and the time just reeled along. I had some friends on campus and went to a few parties and 'meet-and-greets' with them. I met Peter about halfway through my 2nd year. This turned out to be a very unsatisfactory relationship, to say the least! Just before summer break, I bid Peter a heartfelt goodbye with much relief since he was going to Australia, as far away from me as I could imagine, and Lord, was I ever grateful! Nothing physical ever happened with Peter, who was far more interested in talking about 'women's rights' than in doing anything of a sexual nature.

    At the start of my 3rd year, I moved in with Nikki, and we roomed together all the way through my junior year. I met Tom that year, but it was one of those on-again, off-again things, neither of us sure of the other, neither of us willing to take the next step to move to a physical relationship. Still, study, gym, and shooting ate up my time, while trying to fend off Nikki with her incessant nagging to 'get a life' which, to her, meant 'open your legs, girl!' Much as I loved her, she went through guys the way most girls go through underwear! Summer break came and I went home to work and make a few bucks to have in my account for my senior year (unlike a lot of kids, my folks had a one time limit on my student charge card – spend it all and you're eating campus food until it comes out of your ears!). I found myself thinking about this great guy I had met and wondered if he would remember me when school started in the fall. Uncle Ben was still at it, after me to concentrate, teaching me to shoot in urban environments on the police range, using cover, spotting targets, shoot-don't shoot situations, paintball – all the things a police officer does and usually practices.

    That summer, Dan and I shot together, with me moving to the bigger and more complex rifles. I got my first taste of the AR15 in .223 and 6.8 SPC. These were very smooth running rifles! Since I'm on the small side at 5' 2", I really appreciated the adjustable stock and pistol grip. I got quite good with this weapon, even if I do say so myself! As Uncle Ben said, "This is the weapon of choice when you just have to 'reach out and touch someone'!" How right he was and, at 100 yards with telescopic sights, it was positively deadly and a force to be reckoned with. Dan and I continued to practice the self-defense tactics we had learned as kids, to shoot as much as we could, as often as we could and as much as Uncle Ben would let us, which amounted to just about whenever we wanted to.

    Fall came and it was off to school for my senior year. Tom met me in the parking lot as I pulled up and the rest, as they say, is history. Halfway through the first term of that year, we were living together and had already started to plan a future.

    Shortly after we 'shacked up' (as Grandma put it, laughing and with a knowing twinkle in her eyes, which made me wonder exactly how risque she had been in her youth!) I contacted the police range master and asked if I could bring Tom with me to the range. I told him Tom was a combat veteran, with two tours in Iraq under his belt, and knew his way around weapons. He agreed to meet Tom to 'size him up' and determine if he was suitable to shoot their range.

    Well, that went well, but the range master insisted he be in attendance the first time Tom handled a weapon. I took Tom on a little 'surprise' visit and, boy, was he surprised when we pulled up to the police range! He met the range master, they talked for about 10 minutes (guess he passed the 'size him up' part of the interview!) and we were good to go. I retrieved my pistols and ammunition (Uncle Ben had sent along a fresh supply for my use) and we went out to the shooting lanes. Now, Tom had never seen me shoot. In fact, I had never talked about knowing how to handle a pistol. We started on the 25-yard line and I ran off 12 rounds, blowing the center out of the X ring with my Springfield XD .40. I looked over at Tom to see the biggest grin I was to see 'till the day we were married!

    “Samantha, if I never thought I could love you more than I did yesterday, I was just proven wrong! You were perfect in every way before, but today you are even more perfect than I had any right to expect!” YES!

    Even now, we shoot every chance we get. As a reserve officer, Tom has unlimited access to the range while my past history and connection to both Uncle Ben and Tom grant me the same privilege. There are a few other wives, girlfriends and female officers who have formed a sort of informal 'girls club' that meets every few months and takes over the range for an all-girl 'shoot out'. It's great fun being in a 'no testosterone zone' during that time, without the guys standing there, judging every move we make and noting any mistakes (like they don't EVER make mistakes – yeah, right!).

    When I'm with Tom, I still get those looks and a few disparaging comments about 'little girls with big guns' from new officers who have never shot on the range with me there, but they fade rather quickly since I have never lost the skills that Uncle Ben worked so hard to teach me all those years ago. Like Tom will remark to these guys, "Good things come in small packages!"

    Tom and I still practice self-defense hand-to-hand tactics, keeping our skills sharp. Some of these turn into some very 'interesting' encounters, when I let him 'overpower' me. I'm sure you can fill in the blanks with that last statement! Usually, though, we are serious about this. No 'funny business' during the session, but there are those 'after session' times - oh yes, those 'after session' times!

    And that, my friends, is the story. A small girl can pack a mean wallop, with or without a pistol!

    Thanks for reading this. I had fun writing it and remembering these events! BTW – Uncle Ben is still with us and I had an interesting discussion with him at the Thanksgiving gathering of the families. He has several new pistols he wants to show me the next time we drop in on him and Aunt May. Maybe in the spring, when we can get out to the range....
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018 at 7:16 AM
    PABLO DIABLO likes this.
  2. PABLO DIABLO

    PABLO DIABLO Well-Known Member

    Well written story. It's always nice when you have someone you can trust to teach you the proper way to do something. It stays with you forever. Clearly Uncle Ben is a wonderful guy (and I'm guessing that Aunt May is also).
     
    A_GIRL_NAMED_SAM likes this.
  3. bistander

    bistander Well-Known Member

    Nice story about some good times and relatives. Thanks for sharing that with us all.

    I think you meant the

    Missing a word there.

    Not so much an issue for this, but it's always good to remember to watch for cliches when you're writing a story.
     
    A_GIRL_NAMED_SAM likes this.