Monday, November 13, 2006

Man, that was a busy weekend, and a long time between posts.

This last Friday, because the public school system doesn't give the kids Veterans Day off, I had to go in early to teach my dual credit classes in Florence. I basically blew the classes off, letting the kids study for other stuff while I surfed the web and checked my email. I went home after that strenuous morning and took about a three hour nap. On the way home I passed the local Veterans memorial where there was a large celebration going on, and the new local federal veterans cemetery, where a burial was taking place. Made me think about my dad and uncles, and all of their experiences and sacrifices for our freedom. A sobering drive.

At about 5pm, I set off to pick up dear old Dad for our regular trip to Dynasty in Temple to eat excellent Chinese food, as per our regular Friday custom. The food there is very good, and we have a good time eating there. The waiter told me that he knows it's Friday when he sees us coming. After pigging out and taking dad home, I drove up to Ft. Worth to spend the night with a buddy and his wife (the folks I rafted the Colorado with last year). My buddy's wife was out of there by 6am Saturday morning to go to work at Harris Hospital, where she's a nurse and takes care of very sick premature babies. It's a horrible job, which she does with amazing skill and courage. I know I couldn't do it. My buddy and I were up and out by 7am and drove up to a hotel across from Alliance Airport where we took a 10 hour class to qualify for concealed handgun permits.

Now, I'm really not much of a pistol guy. I have two (.380 Makarov semi-auto and a .22 Vaquero revolver), which may sound like a lot of pistols to people who don't own guns, but believe me, that's not a lot at all. My buddy has about a dozen pistols, no rifles, and a few shotguns. I've got about two dozen rifles and one old shotgun to go with my two pistols. From what I've seen, most people who have one gun are gonna end up with a few of them. It's like peanuts, or sex, or anything else that's good. You can't stop after just one, or in my case, one dozen.

The thing is, I don't have a huge desire to carry a pistol around, so I've never felt a big need to get certified to carry one. Most people I know carry one with them in their car on road trips whether they are certified on not. I did that once, after getting the Makarov, on a road trip to Colorado in the early 1990s. Didn't feel good having it hidden there, like I was borrowing potential trouble, so I never did it again. I was relatively new to being a gun owner then, and it probably wouldn't effect me that way now, but I still don't feel a huge need to carry a pistol.

Now, if I could carry one of these things around over my shoulder...

and cut loose with a celebratory fusillade on occasion, that would be a totally different thing. I guess then, my problem is I can't readily conceal the stuff I want to carry. Anyway...

We got to the hotel a bit early to make sure we were not late, and to take advantage of the ever present complementary breakfast. It was pretty pissy, but the biscuits were ok. Soon, the dozen or so students had converged, and the class began. We went into a conference room and set down to start the class. The first part of it went from 8am to noon, with a few breaks in there for the obvious needs. We spent the first few hours filling out the required state government paperwork that came with our packet, like finger print sheets and things, and they took our picture for the I.D.

Usually a person has to handle all this stuff themselves aside from the class, but this guy and his wife, who together run the class, do most of that stuff for you. Their names are Ricky and Helen Wilson, and Helen's sister Diana Fundis. If you are interested, their number is (817) 838-2626. They do everything you need to set the paperwork up to send in to the state, including serve you pizza and donuts for lunch and snacks, all for the price of $110. Many other classes are cheaper, but you have to go somewhere else to get your fingerprints done, or provide your own passport photos, or find someone to notarize the paperwork. They do it all. I recommend them highly.

After lunch, we drove about a mile and a half over to their property and qualified with our pistols. They used to live on the property there, but then the airport was put in and the government went to all the people who had houses under the flight path and bought them out. They still have the land, and raise cows on it, but can't live there any more. Several abandoned houses line the street, and some of the farm or grazing land is for sale there. We drove on to the property and down to a range they have set up in front of a natural burm. Silhouetted targets were stapled to particle boards and the first half dozen of us stepped up to qualify.

The class requires you to shoot 50 rounds at the target from 3 , 5 , and finally 15 yards. You need to be able to score about 150 points to qualify. The center of the target (about 10 or 12 inches in diameter) provides 5 points, the next ring 4 points, and the rest of the figure 3 points. I walked up and took the far right position on the line, along with 5 other shooters who stood to my left. I didn't realize at the time, not having shot in that sort of situation before, but being on the right meant that as I tried to shoot accurately I was going to be pelted by spent shells from all the other shooters. A bit of a distraction. I shot well, considering that I hadn't shot that pistol in about 3 years. One round out of 50 went slightly outside the 5 point circle. The center of the target was eaten almost totally away. Felt like Dirty Harry, with my .380 smokin'.

Those of us who shot first then moved back and the next 6 folks took their turn. One guy was havin' real trouble. Every so often one of his rounds would impact above the targets on the hill side. And also, a few people had trouble with their semi-automatic pistols misfiring or jamming. The few guys who shot revolvers were always grinning at that. Thing is, if you qualify with a revolver, you can only carry a revolver after you get your card. My little Russian Makarov performed well. One of the guys made a joke that we should have shot in the 5 point circle until we were assured of qualifying, and then made all the others head shots. The instructor probably wouldn't have been amused. In the end everyone who shot qualified nicely, even the dude with the occasional wild aim.

After that bit of fun (and it was really fun), we went back to the hotel for the rest of our instruction, the rest of the finger printing, and the 50 question exam. The exam was one of those deals where they basically tell you everything that's going to be on it ahead of time. Some people were taking down all the answers as we went along, but I figured I could wing it. Sure enough, I missed one question out of 50 when the time came to take the exam. Happily though, it wasn't one of the questions pertaining to when and wear you can legally shoot someone. I paid attention when that stuff came up.

So now I have to finish a few items on the paperwork, get a money order for $140, and sent it all in to the state office in Austin. Supposedly, within about a month and a half, if everything works out right, they will send me a card with my picture on it, like my drivers license, that will allow me to begin to carry a concealed hand gun. Chances are I won't carry one, but it will be very nice to be able to buy guns at gun shows and such without having to go through the background check. That is basically the reason I'm doing this. Maybe I'll take somethin' along on road trips. Who knows. Anyway, it was a fun and informative 10 hours, after which my buddy and I spent about 2 hours walking around the nearby Cabella's. We thought, "what the hell, we're here."

After that it was back to Ft. Worth, a stop by a place on Camp Bowie Blvd, across from the old theatre, where we picked up a couple of fajita wraps for dinner, and then back to his place where we ate, visited with his wife, who came home from work at about the same time that we got back, and then we watched about the last half of "The Outlaw Josey Wales" on their nice high def TV. I was on the road back home by 10pm, got to the house by about 1230am, and was in bed by 1245. Slept till about 930am Sunday, spent some time surfing the web and catching up on emails, and then drove my folks and sister to Austin to eat Mexican food at Papasito's. Back home by 930 or 10pm. Like I said, it was a busy weekend, but I don't feel tired. Anyway, I'd recommend anyone in the area who is interested in the course to call Randy. He's a cool guy, cowboy type, who lays it out pretty strait for ya. No bullshit at all. Enjoy.


Mushy said...

Wow, $110! I got off cheap - the local sheriff gives carry classes free of charge here. I was only out the $150 state license fee.

I suppose every area is a little different.

Like I told you in an email...follow through don't wait until you have to take the class again like my brother-in-law!

Fathairybastard said...

I'll send it in as soon as I have the $140, after I get paid on Wednesday. Now I'm thinkin' about getting a gun that fits my hand a little better than that Makarov. Like a Kimber .45, or a 9mm. Guess I'm turnin' into a pistol guy.

Anonymous said...

I took my class last weekend with a New Springfield XD that I had never fired before. It workd really well but my makarov was in the truck just in case.

You are right. Pistols are worse than popcorn and potato chips combined. They tend to multiply out of control, especially when you have your CHL and don't have to do the backround check any more.

barista grazioso said...

'Bout time you got back in here! Glad you had a good weekend. I have nothing to say about the weapons since I don't know the first thing about them.

Goddess said...

Dang. You were the kind of teacher I LOVED to have...;)

DirtCrashr said...

Sounds like a fun way to spend the weekend, I fired a Mak a couple times, that's a pretty snappy little hot-rod!
I've only got a few hand-guns, no chance around here to get a CCW, das ist streng verboten. Kinda like the look of the sub commander-sized .45's by Para Ordnance , and the USFA .38 Super is also pretty cool.

Becky said...

Damn, you were all over the place. I miss Papasito's and all the great restaurants in Fort Worth. I had more favorites there than any other city so far.

Fathairybastard said...

It's grown a lot since I lived there in the early 90s. You'd be amazed.

NWJR said...

This last Friday, because the public school system doesn't give the kids Veterans Day off, I had to go in early to teach my dual credit classes in Florence.

Veteran's day was Saturday. All the public school kids had Saturday off! ;-)

Actually, our kids did get Friday off.