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The Hook

 
by Rick Chisholm -- guest contributor
   
It is often asked, do you remember where you were and what you were doing when certain events took place. It’s usually pretty easy to recall, in perfect detail, those memories formed when JFK was shot, when the Challenger exploded or when those events unfolded on that fateful day in September 2001. However, being shooters, hunters and gun lovers I bet there is something else squirreled away in the back of your mind, something special, something sacred -- that precise moment when you took that first shot that changed you forever.
    I remember that event vividly, I may have been seven years old, and we were attending a small party at my uncle’s place. I had one of those uncles, the kind that was easy to idolize as a child, the kind that could produce some manner of amazing gadget at the drop of a hat, the kind that drew a crowd of wide-eyed children whenever he reached into his pocket. A family gathering never went past without the appearance of a deactivated hand grenade, or a switchblade, or the ever-popular pyrotechnics of questionable legality. Yeah, I had that kind of uncle, it was pretty awesome. Did I mention the guns? 

He was a bit of a gun nut, or maybe just a nut, although hindsight is 20/20, it’s also biased so it’s safest just to say he was an interesting fellow with a decent collection of firearms. Getting back to my story, on that evening in question in the dwindling light of a chill late summer evening a gun was introduced to the crowd. It was a strange contraption, a .22 rimfire that was fed by a sizable magazine and fired from an open bolt. Later in life I discovered this to be a French Gevarm semi-automatic, an interesting firearm to say the least. I should also say I use the term “semi-automatic” loosely, as most who have had the Gevarm experience will understand.
My uncle’s house sat near a cliff and a couple Javex bottles had been tossed down into the surging wash of the Great Lake below. Bobbing in the surf, the bottles made for frustrating targets. Several men took turns alternately sniping and cursing at the elusive quarry as my cousin and I looked on in eager anticipation. To my astonishment, I was also to get a turn. I got the usual coaching you receive as a young, first-time shooter -- butt-stock to shoulder, hand here, hand there, look down the sights, shoot the bottle.
The small firearm was heavy and unwieldy to my younger self, I think the stock ended up in my armpit as I struggled to gain a sight picture of the small, white blob, floating so far below. My small finger squeezed, the bolt slammed forward and a small lead projectile spat forth to the water below. To this day I swear I hit the bottle, but more importantly, I fell in love. I was never to be the same from that point onward, I was hooked and guns would forever have a special place in my heart. It was a defining moment that I remember like it was yesterday, a moment that is largely responsible for who I am today.
What was your first gun experience, what made you love guns? Share your story with the Beretta Nation or shoot us a tweet or comment on Facebook, we would love to hear from you.

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Rick Chisholm is an IT Security Officer and guest contributor for the Beretta Blog. He can be reached on Twitter


This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

The 10 to 2 Rule

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest contributor

As an avid duck hunter I get to spend quite a bit of time in the blind with different people from all walks of life.  I have had the opportunity to hunt with professional sports stars as well as with average Joes that have never sat in a blind a day in their life.  One thing that I can not stress more is SAFETY!

When folks whom I've never been hunting with get in the blind with me, we always go over safety and shot selection, first and foremost.  The basic rule that I give is what I call the "10 to 2 Rule."  Basically what the hunter has to understand is that his window of opportunity will present itself between the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock position as he or she directly faces the front or rear of the blind.  If the bird happens to get outside of that range then that bird is off limits to the hunter and is in play for the person standing next to them.

If I have a hunter deviates from this rule, I will give a fair warning on the first instance.  I love this sport and I completely understand that we get caught up in the adrenaline rush sometimes, so if the infraction wasn't blatant or reckless I will give a little leeway.  My delivery will definitely make them think about the shot they took though.  If it happens again, the hunter will be asked to unload his weapon and set it down.  In all the years I have been hunting I have only had to go to this extreme one time.  After a few vollies, it was apparent that he understood where I was coming from and after a little pep talk we agreed that he would be WAY more careful.  I didn't have another problem all morning, and he learned a new respect for his weapon and the other hunters around him.

One exception to this rule is the hunter on the end of the blind.  I normally like to put more experienced hunters on the end because typically their shooting skills are far better than a novice's and thus they can "cover the end" of the blind.  I typically sit on the end where the door is, so I can work the dog on retrieves and cover that end of the blind.

One thing we all should remember: a hunt with no safety is nothing more than a game of Russian Roulette with accidents waiting to happen.  Whether you are in the duck marsh, the deer woods, or just having fun at the local range, safety should be your first and foremost concern at all times.  Always understand that "you are your brother's keeper" and not speaking up about unsafe acts is just as bad as if not worse than committing the unsafe act yourself.

Happy hunting and stay safe!

Brad Wilson is an avid outdoorsman targeting waterfowl and saltwater fish and is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog.  He can be reached on Twitter and YouTube.


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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Passing the Torch: Freedom to Fire Part 2

 

By Austin Selph –Guest Contributor

(Part 2 of 4)
As I mentioned in part one of the Freedom to Fire series, I didn’t grow up with guns in my household (a tragedy, to say the least). Luckily I had some outside influences in the form of extended family and friends to help push me in the right direction.

Generally (and hopefully), most people don’t just stumble upon a firearm and try to “figure things out.” At some point in time, the majority of us have had a specific person or group of people to mentor us in to the world of firearms.

So, let’s talk about being a mentor. This is the guy or gal who teaches you the dos and don’ts of what being a gun owner and operator is all about. Almost every gun owner had a mentor at some point, and most have or are in the process of passing along their tips, tricks, and experience to someone else.

So here’s my story:

I grew up in the concrete jungle of suburban Dallas. Believe it or not, the cul-de-sac is not the most appropriate location for a kid trying to squeeze off a few rounds. Go figure! My parents weren’t gun owners and the few friends I knew, who grew up with guns, didn’t have parents willing to put a firearm in my hands. Can you say rough life?

My mentor, cousin Jeff
Then, one fateful day, my family took a trip to Arkansas to visit a few extended family members. This is where my journey begins. My cousin Jeff (well, second cousin if we’re getting technical) took me out to some family land to do some shooting. I truly felt the freedom that comes with a single pull of the trigger. It was an experience like none other that left me hungry for more. Since then I have taken every opportunity to hit the range or get in the deer stand, even when other activities should probably take priority!

Over the last 15 years, Jeff has mentored me in areas of gun safety and protocol and continues to pass on the multi-generational firearm and hunting experience that his father passed on to him.

The mentor/mentee relationship builds a lifelong bond through a passion for firearms. It almost sounds silly to say that guns bring people together but, trust me, it works!

And... one question: who mentored you? Or who are you mentoring? Remember your skills are only one generation away from extinction if you don’t pass it on. Find someone to mentor!

Austin Selph is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog. He can be reached on Twitter or Facebook.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

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