As a firearms instructor for a large academy, I tend to see a lot of people from all walks of life and with a broad range of experience and skill. Some come to us having never touched a firearm in their lives. Others have had quite a bit of professional of training and they just want to learn the latest and greatest techniques. Those people are there by choice and typically are pretty well balanced and focused on safely learning. Sometimes we host events for corporate demonstrations or team building. It is at this point where the people we see start to vary widely. Many are not gun people, some have little experience and a few are well trained and safe. Every once in a while we run across the unpredictable variable. This recount is about one of those variables.
It was a corporate event with about 60 people. There was a table set up on each of the different ranges; this allowed us to separate out the full auto stuff from the rifles and the handguns. The way we handle something like this is to keep things controlled. Generally we permit only one to two shooters at a time to approach the table where they receive some basic instruction. They then get to fire the weapon of their choosing. I was working a table with handguns. There were several out on the table and ammunition was controlled. Each shooter was permitted to fire as much or as little as they wanted with fun and corporate bonding being the primary goals.
The day went very well and nearly everyone eventually gave in and tried it. No one left without a grin. Most people had divided themselves into sub-groups, which is normal for something like this. It was the one that was alone in the back of the crowd all day that seemed odd to me. I remember feeling sorry for him, as it seemed he didn’t fit in with the others for some reason. Was it age, experience, personality or any other host of things that caused him to separate from the groups, who knows? All I know is that what he did in the last 15 minutes of shooting will stick with me for quite a while.
Things were winding down and no one was near the table any longer. He walked up to the table and without even acknowledging that I was there picked up a full size, 9mm DA/SA pistol. I went through the basic function of the pistol with him and then the safety rules. At no point in time did he ever make eye contact. In fact, with the benefit of hindsight, I’d say he looked over at me maybe twice the entire time I was speaking with him. He simply stared down range. Odd? Yes, but people are people and maybe he never developed his interpersonal skills. In my mind at this time was that as long as he was safe, he was going to be allowed to shoot.
After finishing the briefing, I handed him a magazine with 10 rounds and watched as he loaded the weapon. He had proper muzzle management and trigger finger discipline so I was happy to let him release the slide and commence firing. He raised the pistol, took no time to even look at the front sight and fired off the DA shot into the berm. He brought the pistol back to a sort of a high ready and looked at it. Then without flinching, he did it!
…he rotated the muzzle of the cocked 9mm pistol up under his chin with his finger on the trigger.