Summerville Citizens Police Academy

  • Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A.M. Sheehan/Journal Scene With complete confidence Shawn Owens fires the 9mm competition pistol at the target placing all his shots center-of-mass.

Class 8 – Part 2



Somehow the gun feels much bigger than the rubber one with which we practiced. And somehow I manage to have every other thing I learned immediately fly right out of my mind.

Peterson is surprisingly gentle, reminding me step by step what I am to do. He puts his hand on my wrist, tells me to put my finger on the trigger and smoothly pull.

I do. The gun shoots, and then I hear him say, “you closed your eyes. Let’s try that again and this time force yourself to keep your eyes open.”

He gives me little time to process what I just did including the fact I apparently closed my eyes. I then hear him say, “take your finger off the trigger – straight along the barrel.”

I quickly move the errant finger.

I am now concentrating on keeping my eyes open, worried it will happen again because I do not remember shutting them the first time.

“Relax, shoulders back, head back, finger on the trigger, pull.”

Bang. This time I see the hole in the target…right next to the first one.

“Move your finger off the trigger.”

Damn! Why can’t I remember that?

“If you were a recruit you would have one more chance and then I would throw you off the range…,” he says.

I take a deep breath, and take a couple of more shots. We then head back to the tables so the next group can take a turn.

The first shot from them is twice as loud and we realize they are shooting with .40 caliber rounds. They have all shot before and most own guns.

It is my group’s turn again and this time we are using the big boys.

When it is my turn Peterson has me stand holding the gun in combat firing position for a minute. This time the gun is heavy. My arms spend their days resting on a keyboard so this is difficult for them.

It is time, once again he places his hand on top of my wrists and instructs me to pull the trigger. Boom. The gun goes up in the air in spite of his hand. Wow.

This is a huge difference and makes the .22 feel like a midway game at the fair.

The second time, I grip the pistol a bit tighter, Peterson’s hand leaves, my eyes are open and I shoot. I manage to put my second round fairly close to the first one.

“Take your finger off the trigger.”

Great, now I am going to get thrown off the range because my finger seems to be attracted to the trigger.

After everyone else has shot the .40 we switch to the 9 mm.

This is not as heavy as the .40 but still makes an impressive sound.

The recoil is there but not as surprising as the .40. Or maybe I am getting used to it.

Once again, I find my finger not where it is supposed to be.

However, both my feet are intact which tells me I am better with a gun than with my mouth.

After everyone has had a turn we gather around the tables. Hand cleaner is passed around. Peterson tells everyone to wash their hands and arms to get rid of any lead residue.

We gather up our brass (spent cartridges) and throw them away, leaving the range clean for the next person.

I save one to show my kids…just so they will believe I actually shot a gun.

As I drive home, the primary thought I have is that I am not sure how I feel about any of this.

The one thing I have learned…it is just too easy to kill someone.

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