Getting a grip on shooting

My dad was an engineer developing heavy industry machines and all. He was more likely to work on a car or renovating a house than being outside hunting and fishing. He never liked weapons either. So knives and guns were not something I've seen often as a kid.

So, basically what I knew of guns before, was merely what I could see on the screen, in films and T.V. shows. Car exploding with a single bullet to the tank and things like that. I was enthusiastic about their power and coolness, but also scared and ignorant.

Returning from a mission in Mazar. 

Returning from a mission in Mazar. 

Ultimately, I became more and more accustomed to all sorts of guns, machine guns and pistols and with time; being around the military and working on military bases around the world for years, the presence of firearms is no more intimidating than a photocopier -which I reckon could be hard to handle too. However, there is a huge difference between familiarity and practical knowledge.

My military peers in Afghanistan instructed me on proper handling and safety; but didn't fire a single shoot before my last years in the middle-east. The Italians Carabinieri were providing training to the elite police forces and special ops, so I had the opportunity to get personal with the Beretta 92 and my friend being an officer the 8000 as well.  

The Carabinieries are fantastic, good people and professional; those I've been around anyway. Giuseppe was nice enough to answer my curiosity and trained me on handling and shooting targets at the training facility off duty hours with the range's chief.  His name wasn't really Giuseppe I made this up don't want to get him in trouble.  

Joe started me up with some basic stuff; range rules and safety. The pistol's inner workings. Loading and unloading. etc.

Once that was out of the way; with a few reminders here and there. We were out shooting terrorists. Not actual terrorists, but targets representing hostage situations. From a standing position shooting at human silhouettes in black and then a modified version of the silhouette with the aggressor's  head extruding from one side. 

I was bad. I mean really bad. I would have shot the hostage, maybe, something around 30 times. Until he took on him to make me better at it. OK fun is over. You will shoot the terrorist at least once before you leave this range. I remember him saying all jolly.

Dominant Eye

I assumed that being right handed I would use my right hand; raise it in front of me, aim and shoot on the bullseye. Not quite.

My left eye is dominant and I'm right handed so it means I have to use my left eye to aim. Otherwise it always going to be off. 

To determine quickly which of your eyes is dominant pic a singular mark in the distance. An easily identifiable spot on the wall or anything else fix, like the centre of a clock. Aim at it pointing right at the centre with both your eyes open. Keep your finger on target. Close your left eye still aiming; now is your finger spot on or not? Try the other eye. 

When I did it; and all other attempts afterwards, My left eye was always the one on target  and my right eye offset.

Carabinieri range training

Carabinieri range training

I was puzzled by that. How can my strong hand being the right one and my dominant eye being the left one? That lead to an awkward firing position. How do I bring my eye to the right side? I was turning my head, rolling it. Nothing felt comfortable. So then, Joe said: "You must bring the weapon in front of your eye, not the other way. Move it in front of you good eye directly. It will come naturally right."

Good stuff. With the Beretta empty and the mag out I was practicing to aim with my left eye. All the sudden, like he just realised something was outragously bad. Joe came gesturing like only a real southern Italian can, repeating : "This is not good" I was wondering. What now? Joe added: "Its not a movie! You should not hold it like that" Mimicking in a funny way the cops in a movie with the supporting hand underneath. I always thought that was the right way. "Precision is not possible that way" he added. "hostage will always die". That made me laugh.

He then showed me how to handle it for more accuracy. You need a good grip that allows your strong hand to squeeze the trigger without moving the pistol sideways.

Take some time to observe it with your own hand. Put your hand sideways like you want to shake hand with someone in front of you and squeeze the "invisible" trigger. See How your muscles are moving near your thumb? If you do it again but this time holding something, you'll notice that the object moves with your trigger finger moving. Its more noticeable when you add pressure. To avoid that you need to use a grip with both hands that will allow you to relax your strong hand when pulling the trigger, keeping the weapon straight on target using your supporting hand. 

The weapon wasn't mine, but it takes a few shoots to adjust your sight. Once you're sighted-in at a certain distance you want to be shooting mostly from that distance. 

That! My friend was the tips I needed. The rest is practice.

That was all fun and all but for me to continue practicing I need to get my cards and all. It's been few years now since that day. But I'm on my way to be able to join the sport shooters club.  

I'm eyeing that IPSC Black badge training with a lot anticipation.