Saturday, October 22, 2016
Today was my class for the Texas LTC: License To Carry a handgun, either concealed or open carry. The class is required for the license. Along with a background check (I have to go through that for the Captain's License TWIC credentials), getting fingerprinted (again, ditto for the Captain's License), and, of course, paying the fee.
We have a small, but excellent, gun shop on South Padre Island, run by a nice couple. He teaches the class, she helps with the paperwork. About 5 hours of class time, including a frank discussion of legal and the emotional ramifications, followed by taking a written test... then, out to the gun range to qualify.
I don't mean to be immodest, but I test well. I listen; I take good notes on the significant topics; and I'm not generally confused by the questions. The test was 25 questions, covering some state laws, scenarios, safety, and some common sense stuff. I scored 100%.
I had some concerns about the target shooting qualifications: it has been years since I've fired a gun. Without going into a lot of details, I have a large revolver... everyone else in the class had Glocks and other similar (smaller) automatic handguns.
The qualifying: 50 rounds, at varying distances. Shots in the center three rings are 5 points. Next two rings are 4 points. Anywhere else in the shaded area is 3 points. 250 possible points, you have to score 175 or higher to pass. The instructor said it would be pass/fail. He was aware that I haven't fired a handgun in years. He asked, "Would you like to take a few practice rounds?"
Some things you can't learn from a book (or the internet), but I used to shoot pretty good. I'm not a whippersnapper, but I still have good hand/eye coordination, reflexes, and eyesight. And, steady hands. I refreshed shooting techniques last night... I said, "I think I'm good to go."
After the first ten rounds, he had us all keep our weapons unloaded while he checked the targets... "Damn, Jim! Keep that up and you'll be able to just throw that gun through the hole in the middle!"
Not bad for the oldest guy in the class.
40 more rounds later, I had every shot in the inner two rings. Head of the class!
Last hurdle: paperwork. Fill it all out exactly right, or it will be rejected... and no refunds on the application fee.
And what was Joan doing during my all-day gun fest? Playing Josephine the plumber... she scraped the "popcorn" texture off the ceiling in the smaller bathroom (eventually changing to a trowelled texture). I know - fun, right? But, wait - there's more! She also changed out all the innards in the toilet in the other bathroom. She was happy with what she accomplished today... without having someone under foot, whose name I won't mention, but he's quite a marksman. ;-)