This is not really a "tactical training post" in the normal sense, but teaching two new shooters............
Twenty or so years ago we hosted a young man from Bavaria, Germany as an exchange student. Michael and our son developed a very strong friendship. Actually, we all became very close that summer, and when it was time to send Michael back to Bavaria, we were all emotional. Everyone cried, including the two 16-year-old young men. I’m sure it was quite a sight to see, tears streaming down everyone’s faces at DFW airport. Later that summer our son flew to Bavaria and lived with Michael and his parents, thus cementing the “Bavarian Connection” which continued for several years.
Michael and our son traveled back and forth, visiting each other whenever they could scratch together cheap airfare. Some of the visits were as short as a few weeks, some longer. These trips continued, off and on, for several years, and even continued into the college years and military service.
After our son moved to Boston, and met his future wife, however, the trips to Germany waned, and trips to France increased. His future wife, you see, lived in the French Riviera. They had a long distance romance for two years or so, and thus his trips to visit Michael tapered. Michael, likewise, became enamored with various women, and his attention wandered. The two, men now, became focused on wives and families.
Several years passed, and Michael and my son rekindled their friendship. Now including wives and children, they’ve vacationed together a couple of times, and this last August, they all visited Maine.
Michael, his seven-year-old son, his eleven-year-old son, and his wife visited us, along with our son and his daughter. The two boys spoke excellent English, but in a limited fashion. Michael is fluent in English, and his wife speaks limited English. Michael and the boys all wanted to “Shoot”, and shoot a lot! Neither boy had ever held a gun, and father’s military service had been several years before. Accordingly, Nancy and I had brainstormed, and developed a plan for a “Range Day” with both boys and Dad.
Nancy and I both have our NRA RSO Certifications, so range safety, range rules, and safe gun handling were all foremost in mind. We decided we’d both go as RSO’s (e.g. no shooting) and we’d rotate the boys through some “drills” along with Michael. Michael understood his primary obligation and role was to translate if needed, and to keep a wary eye on the boys. His actual shooting might be limited to non-existent dependent on the boys.
On that morning boy boys were as excited as kids at Christmas. Additionally, it was both of their birthdays, so they had birthdays and shooting driving their excitement to a fever pitch. They had a hearty breakfast while we loaded the truck to drive to the range. During the drive, we chatted a bit about guns, but I wanted to watch them during the instruction, rather than drive.
Our load out:
Two Beretta Bobcats
One Ruger 10/22 with a Four Power Scope
One 7.62 X 39 VEPR with a variable power scope
My EDC Colt
Plenty of ammo
Three adults including two RSOs and one Dad
Two excited boys
After we arrived at the range and signed in, Nancy and I distributed safety gear and helped fit it on everyone. Eyes and ears were ready. Before any guns came out, I took center stage and discussed the Range Rules as I watched them intently. They listened intently, and understood that if said anything, I expected and demanded immediate responses. We covered the four rules, down range, my role, Nancy’s role. Michael’s role, and their participation. Nancy and the two boys sat at a picnic table, facing down range.
After a wee bit of give and take and drilling on the rules, two 22 LR pistols came out with a block of 22. The two pistols were exactly alike, two Beretta Bobcats with tip up barrels. We cleared them (yes, they had been stored empty), and let the boys inspect them individually while watching their gun handling intently. Both passed the gun handling with some gentle coaching, while stressing the rules. We taught grip, some posture, sight picture, and the like with the empties.
At that time, I started having one boy at a time come to me on the firing line. Nancy had loaded one bullet in the tip up. I had them assume the firing posture, handed them the Beretta, and allowed them to shoot the one round. After each round, the tip up was opened, and the gun returned to Nancy empty. Nancy would hand me the next Beretta loaded, safety on, and the other boy would shoot. This allowed Nancy and I to maintain strict Range Control and carefully watch the boys for safety lapses, if any.
We used reactive green florescent targets, so at about six feet both boys had great success with the Beretta on single shot, DA mode. After several single shot cycles, when both boys were showing great safety skills, Nancy started loading two in the magazines, so each boy got three shots. We did that for several cycles, and increased the load outs to five total. The targets were getting riddled with holes to everyone’s gratification. There were huge smiles and bright eyes all around as the boys lit up like halogen lamps with excitement.
The boys needed a break, so we had a quick pop break (no Mountain Dew allowed) and proceeded to the Ruger 10/22 with a 4 X scope. Again, since we changed guns, we began with one round, and quickly increased it up to a five round load out. The boys were having a blast, zeroing in on the ten ring with the scope. There were more smiles, and the scope made it new and exciting as well!
Since the boys had done well with the 22 LR, I unpacked the VEPR with the scope. Their eyes got huge when they saw the VEPR, and even bigger when they saw the cartridges, and looked down the variable power scope. Again, we started with one round. The first boy with his first round produced eyes bigger than saucers! He was shocked by the recoil and sound, but the large hole in the target made his day! The younger boy shot the VEPR likewise, but he confided the Ruger was more fun. I truly think the VEPR just overwhelmed him.
We then rotated back and forth with the young boy shooting the Ruger five rounds at a time, and the older boy the VEPR five rounds at a time. A few rounds produced some tiring boys, so I pulled out four water filled two-liter pop bottles for the boys to blast. Each got two bottles each, and the finale was their dad shooting the VEPR, and me shooting the Colt XSE.
We policed up the range and collected the targets, and got another pop, and had a after-action. The boys loved the 22 LR, particularly the Ruger with the scope. The VEPR was fun, but heavy. The targets became keep-sakes to take home to Bavaria, and the blown up pop bottles hauled home to shown Mom.
A great time was had by all! Three hours or so, and the Bavarians have something to remember!
On another topic, Michael, his wife, Nancy and I were all on the same page politically. They are horridly angry with the open-doors of Germany, and agree that France has already fallen. The two kiddos asked if they can call Nancy "Grand Mom" and me "Grand Dad". How sweet is that! They know how to suck up. The two boys cried when they left too.
This has been about the most fun I've had teaching.
Look at that blond hair, and those smiles!
Please add your memorable teaching stories!