Sunday, April 09, 2006

Tales from the Range: Teaching An Old Dog An Old Trick

So I was terrorizing some innocent paper targets with my BAG Day Purchase No. 2 (details on that one to come) after work yesterday at my friendly local gun club. Man, but it's nice, accurate as all hell, well worth the exorbitant amount I plunked down for it. Anyway, I was about to close up my gun case and hit the gate, when an older guy, had to be in his 60s, came in, with a little snubbie .38 Special (I don't remember what make, it might have been S&W) and a Springfield 1911, the GI .45 -- which, if you'll remember, I commented on a couple of days ago. He'd just bought the 1911 a few days earlier; this was the first time he'd shot it. We were talking about it, and he said that he'd need some help figuring out how to take it down. I said, "I can help you with that!"
"I was hoping you'd say that..."
Now, keep in mind here, I've been shooting now for just less than a year...and, on top of that, this guy was a Coast Guard veteran; the last time he'd shot a 1911 was the last time he qualified with it, sometime around 1985, when the govt. stopped issuing the .45 and converted to the Beretta M9 with its little 9mm Europellet. I'll admit it was more than a little surprising that I, being the novice that I am, would find myself ever showing someone like that how to field-strip a 1911, even if he had not shot it since the last time he qualified with it in the Coast Guard. It was just a little surreal, but really only in a good way. He was quite impressed that I knew all the names of the various parts of the gun...slide, barrel link, slide stop notch and all that...and quite appreciative, too. I asked if he wanted to do it again just to make sure he had it down, more because of the difficulty of putting the slide stop pin back through the barrel link, and especially getting the slide stop fully back into place with the plunger tube partially blocking the hole. It took me a couple of days to figure that one out and I got the red-thumb doing it too. I thought I wasn't doing it right, but eventually I got it. He said he could do it, though, and he thanked me. So, here's hoping he got it. It just goes to never know what kinds of stories you'll come back from the ole firing line with...