Illinois Shooter — Part I

Illinois Shooter Magazine

Firearms Training — Shotgun Course — Part I

Summer 2010

ISRA Second Vice President

Thursday, I got up much earlier than my usual 5:00 a.m. for work. I had a lot to do, and had to get it done quickly, as I had a plane to catch for my second trip to Front Sight this year (an hour southwest of Las Vegas). We had planned this trip a couple months before, and the day to leave had finally arrived. Surprisingly, I was able to get all the important things done a little early at the shop, then left for what I thought would be a quick stop at a customer’s house. I should have known better. I had a problem to fix that took longer than I had anticipated. I sped home and got there right at the time I was to be picked up. We left about five minutes later than planned so we really were on schedule. I was still mentally rushed on the drive to the airport, hoping all eight of us would be on time for the flight. Somehow it all worked out, and everyone got to the airport with time to spare. We checked the guns and ammo in with security and even that worked out smoothly and quickly. We were then on our way to Front Sight for more firearms training.

Illinois Shooter’s Steve

Originally, 12 of us were scheduled to go, but as is typical with any group outing, things came up. My great friend from California, who took the handgun course with me in February, had an unexpected medical problem right before the class was to start, and two business associates from Pennsylvania had a schedule conflict arise just a week before the class. So there were a total of nine of us who attended. Eight of us were from Illinois and one from another gun unfriendly State of New Jersey.

Five of us took the fourday defensive handgun course, three of us took the tactical shotgun course, and one took the two-day defensive handgun course.

Front Sight Prone Range

After arriving at our hotel in Pahrump, we all met for dinner and everyone got acquainted with each other. The cast of characters in this trip were Richard Pearson, who is well-known as the Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA), who was taking the four-day handgun course for the second time, and was staying the fifth day to get his concealed carry permit for Nevada and Florida, along with his wife, who took the two-day handgun course. Steve, a friend, who installs home and commercial security systems and who also took the handgun course with me in February, decided to take the shotgun course with me. Bob, who is a retired teacher and neighbor and who previously took the handgun course, was eager to take the shotgun course with us. Bruce, a long-time friend and business associate from Jersey, was taking the fourday handgun course, as was my co-worker (and cousin) Lee, and my grandson, Tyler.

Friday, we got up real early to meet for breakfast, which included their famous $1.99 steak and eggs, then off for the 20-minute ride to the training site. When we got there at 7:00 am, there was the largest crowd I have seen there on all my trips. I wondered how we would all get checked in and assigned our guns and range in time for the always prompt start. Well, it happened, and exactly at 8:00 am, the classroom with all 600 plus started in a complete organized manner. After some classroom time explaining Front Sight and their method of teaching, etc. we went to our assigned ranges.

Our shot gun range was at the second farthest location on the 550-acre tract that comprises Front Sight. It is a good eight to nine minute walk or two minute drive from the classroom. With all the guns, ammo and equipment, everyone drove to the range. It was brisk outside every morning—in the upper 30’s, but within a couple of hours it got up to the upper 50’s every day. So the weather worked out OK. It got to tee shirt weather the last afternoon, but with a long sleeve shirt and jacket, it was comfortable each day.

Illinois Shooter’s Bruce

The shotgun course had a lot of similarities with the handgun course, and the M16 courses I had taken previously, but it also had a lot of differences. We started out patterning the guns with #7-½ birdshot to see how the gun would shoot, and how the birdshot would spread out at different distances. We shot some #00 buckshot to see how it would pattern at different distances, and also shot some slugs to see how they would shoot.

After we finished for the day (due to the precise and detailed timing of the curriculum for all the classes, all the classes get over within minutes of each other), we drove back to the hotel, tired, but happy. Later we met for the all you can eat seafood buffet, which we took full advantage of, and we began comparing notes on the different classes. All the Front Sight first timers were really excited about the class. Soon it was time for bed, so we could get up early and do it all over again.

Continued in Part 2