Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pistol Qualification Time

Here in Texas we can have a concealed weapon as long as we can show a proficiency with the weapon and a background check doesn’t turn up any skeletons in the closet. If you happen to be a retired police officer the process is a little easier; just show up at the police pistol range with your favorite pistol and put some holes in the target. They even supply a box of ammunition; how easy can they make it?

I just had to update my driver’s license and noticed my concealed weapons card was due. Yesterday I had a locksmith job over by the police academy so I decided to take advantage and kill to birds with one stone, or is that kill a silhouette with fifty rounds of lead, not much difference as long as it dies a slow and painful death.

I had my Star M40S&W in the center console of my truck; but had never fired it at the police range, at least not as a retired officer qualifying for a permit. All the other times I’d used my duty revolver, the one I carried on the street. I filled out a form and the range officer entered the information into the computer while asking me if this were the only weapon I was going to shoot. I explained how I normally would have shot the 357; but this would have to do since it was in the truck and it was convenient since I was already there.

I shot five rounds from the 25 yard line and they all hit the middle of the target. I think the purpose of going back each year isn’t so much to see if I can hit the middle of the target; it’s more to see if I still know how to aim it down range so as not to shoot myself, one way or the other I managed to convince the range officer I still had my faculties and might not be a danger to the public were he to sign off on my card.

The rest of the box was spent, mostly by the range officer trying to figure out why it was jamming up now and then; but I think he mostly wanted to just shoot my pistol. He had a good grouping slightly high and to the right of dead center, even when he was in rapid fire mode.

I went home with the idea that the jam ups were caused either by a worn slide return spring or by a worn out magazine. I got on the internet and discovered that it would be difficult to obtain parts for the M40; but that there was a place I could order a replacement magazine, it will be shipped out and I will have it in a couple of day.

Later in the week, maybe today if I get a job close to the pistol range, I’ll take my revolver and shoot some rounds into the target and have another piece of paper faxed over to the Houston Police Department’s Personnel Division. I’m supposed to fill out another form and send it off to the State of Texas, same as last but with this year's date. Unlike a few gun enthusiasts; shoot, I reckon the next time I have to take my pistol out will be when my card requires another update.

I had a conversation with a friend from church and was telling him about my having “qualified”, a loose interpretation if ever there was one, and how I keep my concealed handgun permit up to date. He told me that if someone wanted his car he’d let them take it rather than risk his life or have to take the life of another. I figure if the criminals are less sure of who might be “packin”, adding to their risk of being shot while in the commission of their special crime, it might make things safer for the general public.

I’m glad I’m retired; all the same I feel a certain responsibility to remain armed for that unlikely day when my skills might be needed. It would be a sin and a shame to sit back and let the bad guys get away simply because I didn’t bother to keep my card up to date or keep my pistol ready and close. I’d feel even worse if my family was harmed; no, I think I’ll keep the powder dry and the rest of the gun well oiled.

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