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Hearth and Home

Ivan Loomis


yogapants1.thumb.jpg.71020f3b71a2384ec21e59ec1bf4167a.jpgWhile the dynamic of today's nuclear family has changed some in recent decades, the ruts of historical roles of family members are still deeply etched. Hopefully, the tide of the two income household will reach a high water mark, and more families will try to see to it that one parent can stay home with their children.

Whether roles within the family fall along gender lines or not, the roles are usually well defined. Myself, being the man of the house, find I feel ultimately responsible for not only being the provider but also being the protector. As the protector we want to don the sword and shield and protect our family should the need arise. But therein lies the rub…

As the provider for my family, I am often gone. My work takes me far away and for lengths of time. And whether your job is across town or across the world, and regardless of if it is for few hours a day or weeks at a time, you are gone. And who then is left to protect your family? No matter how much we want to be there for our family, we are often gone for large swaths of time throughout the day. But for example, in my case, my wife is…

Personally, I love training. I love shooting. I love spending days on the range. I enjoy the pursuit of knowledge and development through professional firearms courses. But all of those come with a substantial time and financial cost. And while I should practice, maintain and further develop my skills, I have found those costs better spent if spread between my spouse and me.

While I am with my family X amount of time, my wife is with them nearly ALL the time. So it only makes sense that an investment in the safety of your family is an investment in the training of your spouse. Sometimes this can be tricky.

Some people are afraid of or don’t like firearms. This often stems from a lack of knowledge and experience on the subject. But at any rate, it needs to be dealt with delicately. Usually, this does not involve you taking your spouse to the range. Here is where a professional course is worth its weight in gold…

About 3 years ago my wife and I attended a 3-day level 1 pistol class. It took the students from no skills to shooting dynamic drills by the end of the course. It isn’t to say it was just for beginners, but it was structured in a way that everyone, regardless of skill level, was pulling information out of it along the way. But it wasn’t throwing new students into the deep end either.

The class was phenomenal. Not only in the information covered (there are only so many ways to teach sight alignment, trigger control, etc.) but in how the information was put into perspective. The drills were often put into the context of a scenario. Such as being in the checkout line at a grocery store when someone starts shooting the place up. Or a parking lot at the mall…

The instructor did a great job of bringing the reason for the skills home to the students. He did this in a way that made sense and touched on the reality of the world we live in, regardless of how we may perceive it at times.

In talking with the instructor off line, I was thanking him for putting on such a great class and commenting on how much my wife not only enjoyed it but also how the lessons were driven home in the examples he gave. He, in turn, brought up a funny analogy that seems to have held true with respect to shooting.

To paraphrase: “Someone’s first experience shooting is like losing their virginity. If it is a bad experience it leaves a long lasting impression. And conversely, if it is a good experience, people get hooked.”

Two days after that first pistol class we took, my wife woke up that morning and said to me, “I keep having dreams about shooting since that class.” She then left the boys with me for a little while, went across town and bought herself a Glock 17.

Go talk to someone that has been shooting and doesn’t like it though… It will usually come out that their first experience was not a good one. And for some reason, someone usually thinks it is a good idea to hand a new shooter a 12 gauge shotgun right out the gate. Don’t do this… Set them up for success.

While you can most certainly impart the firearms knowledge you have, it is money well spent to find a legitimate class. There is a reason Professionals have made a Profession out of teaching firearms skills. With this in mind, choose that first class wisely.

My wife has since been to a number of classes, some great, some ok and some sub par. Find a reputable instructor. There are some great ones out there and a number of them travel. Chances are you can find something relatively close. Do your research as well and look for After Action Reports and reviews from students. And of course don’t be afraid to contact the instructor directly and ask if the class your looking into is a good fit with respect to skill level.

While there are a lot of teachers out there, two that my wife and I have experience with that stand out are Matthew Graham of Graham Combat and Chris Costa of Costa Ludus. Both are highly recommended.

And lastly, should you go through a course with your spouse, go to opposite ends of the firing line. You are there for your individual learning experience. You can chat and compare notes during lunch. Get the most out of the experience you are paying for.

Stay armed and stay proficient…

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I have a tomahawk that I brought back from the dead with this system – totally rusty, dull, abused, etc. Now it took me some time because I was working the entire head; stripping paint and rust with 60 grit paper handheld, but it worked. Again, once you get past the first grit you use to get the general shaping done, the rest goes quickly.

In your case, it depends – how far are the axes gone? Do you have other sharpening means? If this is your best alternative, then go for it!

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