Yesterday, I had the pleasure of running into an old customer from a range at which I worked some years ago. It was really nice to see the old guy still kicking. And he’s still at the range every weekend. We’ll call him, Mr. Dean.
Granted, all Mr. Dean is doing is poking holes in paper. His targets don’t move or shoot back. He’s on a “square” range. Practice consists of the same weekly routine. It’s not sexy, cool, or especially challenging. He comes in, gives the guys behind the counter a box of kolaches and donuts, then proceeds to burns 150-rounds at 3, 7, and 15 yards with his everyday carry gun. No timers. Just him, a box of ammo and his gun. He works to maintain/improve his accuracy and keep the gun running without fumbling or stopping to think about it. It may not be much or optimal but, it’s more than most.
There are those who will argue he’s fooling himself. He’s an old man more likely to shoot himself or a family member than defend himself. He’s not working from his holster. Not practicing much in the way of movement to “get off the X” as the saying goes. But let’s be honest, he’s not trying to jump out of burning helicopters or be Batman. At least two of his ten digits including the right index finger have been reduced to nothing more than the proximal phalanx. He’s at least 80 years old and probably fighting his bladder as much as he is anything else. Still, he’s is determined not to be a victim again.
Mr. Dean is no stranger to violence and he’s not fooling himself. He’s a survivor. A man determined to fight for his life by any means available. About ten years ago, he was walking his dog when he was approached from behind by a young man accompanied by several friends in a near by car. The young man, not more than 20-years-old, called to Mr. Dean saying, “Hey!” The moment Mr. Dean turned to face the young man, he was shot in the face. His jaw was instantly shattered but, the fight wasn’t over.
Folks, this is Texas. You try to kill a Texan and we’ll kill you back. That’s our policy and Mr. Dean lives it. Jaw shattered, ears ringing, it occurred to Mr. Dean that this turd aimed to kill him. In those days, Mr. Dean carried a seven-shot .380 caliber pistol and he managed to keep his wits about him well enough to returned fire. Seven shots goes amazingly fast. Fortunately, when those seven shots were done the turd and his friends, though alive, realized they had somewhere else to be and departed in a hurry. Mr. Dean survived and today has upgraded his equipment a bit…Bigger bullets and more of them. Funny how that happens.