Michael Russo, Instructor
FEELING AT HOME ON THE RANGE – PART TWO
In part one of Feeling at Home on The Range, we talked about preparing for your first handgun class. We discussed what we considered to be the best type of gun to bring to your first class and how many magazines you should bring.
In part two we are going to discuss the ideal gear list to consider for your first handgun class. The following gear is recommended for your first class:
Holsters: A holster made from Kydex or a comparable material. The holster should be sturdy and be capable of retaining your handgun either by an adjustable tension design, friction or by mechanical retention device. We do not recommend Holsters using the Serpa retention device. Serpa Holsters require a dedicated amount of training and are not recommended for beginner shooters. Your Holsters should fit your belt appropriately. For example if your belt is 1.25 inches wide, 1.50 inches wide, or 1.75 inches wide, the Loops of your holster should be sized to match the width of your belt.
Magazines: We discussed magazines in Part One. We recommend that you bring at least five magazines to class.
Magazine Holders: It is recommended that you have at least two magazines holders on your belt. Your magazine holders, like your handgun holster, should be made from Kydex or a comparable material. The magazine holders should have built in adjustable retention. Like your holster, your magazine belt loops should also be sized in accordance to the width of your belt.
Belt: Your belt should be made from quality reinforcing material (Leather, Leather belt with kydex reinforcement inserted of spring steel lined reinforcement, Scuba Webbing or weaved Nylon). The main element of a good training gun belt is that it is STURDY and capable of safely carrying a loaded handgun and loaded magazines without sagging.
EAR PROTECTION (EAR PRO): Ear protection is very important and should be capable of a NOISE REDUCTION RATING of 25 decibels or greater. We recommend electronic ear protection over passive ear protection. Passive ear protection such as EAR PLUGS and EAR MUFFS are not recommended because this design dampens all or most sound, so the wearer can’t hear anyone speaking or any other important sounds. Because you are going to be receiving instructions while on the firing line it is of the utmost importance that you are able to hear the instructions. For this reason we HIGHLY recommend that you purchase ELECTRONIC HEARING PROTECTION. This design incorporates an ear muff style and integrates it with electronic technology that reduces the noise down to a level that isn’t harmful to the human ear. The entire sound dampening process takes place faster than the blink of an eye as the suppressed sound is transmitted to the wearer almost instantly. The best feature of electronic hearing protection is the ability to hear everything that is going on around you while you are shooting. These headsets allow you to protect your hearing from loud noises while still being able to listen to INSTRUCTION from your course instructor. Be able to hear instruction is a key factor in staying safe while on the firing line.
EYE PROTECTION (EYE PRO): Be sure your eye protection is rated Ballistic Protection. Typically this means the eye protection is made of a polycarbonate material. When purchasing eye protection, look for Safety glasses meeting military ballistic standards. These standards can only be identified by reading the manufacturer’s product description. Sometimes, you’ll get lucky and see a “Vo” marking on the frame or lens. However, this marking appears to be falling out of favor with most manufacturers. The best bet for those required to wear ballistic-rated eyewear is to only buy those listed on the Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL). This does not mean the eyewear is going to be expensive. You can find inexpensive ballistic rated eyewear at most sporting goods stores.
Collared Shirt: This is not mandatory. However, in our experience we have found that a collared shirt is better at keeping hot ejected shell casings from ending up inside your shirt or from landing on your neck and burning your skin while creating a possible unsafe reaction from a shooter while on the firing line. The collar will also help to prevent sunburn.
PANTS: We recommend pants over shorts, regardless of the temperature. Loose fitting, Comfortable, Athletic fitting pants are best. Stretchable pants are even better! Why long pants? We recommend long pants to prevent hot ejected shell casings from landing on and sticking to and burning your skin. And long pants will protect you from sunburn.
HAT: A brimmed hat is recommended. The brim will protect your face from a hot ejected shell casing from landing inside the frame of you eyewear or from possibly landing on your face. And it will also protect you from sunburn.
SHOES: We recommend a Sturdy, Supportive, Athletic style shoe with good arch support and soles appropriate for unstable, rugged terrain.
WEATHER APPROPRIATE GEAR: Common sense dictates what gear will be suitable. Check the weather forecast the day (or more) prior to class. Bring the gear (Jackets, Rain Protective Gear, Wind Protective Gear and whatever gear/clothing is best suited to protect you from the elements be it Heat, Cold, Rain, Snow.
Remember shooting gear are mechanical man made devices that can and do fail. If you are able, it is always “best” to bring spares of any of the gear mentioned above, be it a Handgun, Parts for your handgun, extra Magazines, Holsters, Magazine Holders, Ear and Eye Pro, and appropriate tools.
We look forward to seeing you and training with you and hope that now you are “FEELING AT HOME ON THE RANGE.”
“BE TRAINED or BE CHAINED.”
"TRAIN OR BE CHAINED"