I took my two older daughters to The Shooting Edge this weekend to practice some pistol and rifle drills. I just got a new compensator for one of my Glock 19’s from IPSCSTORE.com and I wanted to test it out.
Some important takeaways related to compensated pistols:
1. Adding a compensator to a Glock 19 AND increasing the weight of the slide by adding an optic will either require changing to a lighter recoil spring or shooting hotter ammo;
2. A compensator may change the point of impact and it’s important to re-zero your optic after adding one;
3. Wolf Remanufactured and Remington UMC 9mm FMJ won’t reliably cycle a compensated Glock 19 with an RMR mount, even with a 13 and 15lbs recoil spring.
I did not shoot very well, but, as they say “A bad day at the range is better than a good day at the office.” It was especially nice to get my 5 and 7 year old girls to shoot a couple rounds of through their single shot bolt action rifles. This was probably their 5th or 6th time shooting, and I am always so proud of them when they safely pull the trigger. It also fills my heart with joy to see them excited to take the shot.
It took longer than I thought to sight in my Glock 19 and run my kids through the range, so I missed out on doing rifle drills. My girls left the range with a positive memory, and really that’s all that matters.
When your kids are first born, the amount of available time you have to shoot (or do anything else you love) falls through the floor. Take that into consideration, young fathers (or “soon-to-be” fathers). When you have a child, you have to get very effecient at how you plan and execute your range times because no new young mother wants to be left alone for an extended period of time with a baby.
It’s a sad reality but in Canada these days, NOONE wants to be left alone with babies for any period of time. People these days would often rather be with their pets than their children (there are times when I’m at my worst where I’d rather sit in my gun room with my cat than deal with my kids).
For men, unless you are a terrible human being, you can expect having your FIRST baby to severely cut into your trigger time. Think LONG and HARD about having children, because if you are anything other than a complete scumbag, you won’t leave your child’s mother alone while you’re having fun at the range (especially if she is a Millennial). If you are married or commonlaw, expect doing that to lead to lifetime alimony payments soon after if you make a habbit out of that (expect a divorce of breakup if you don’t have kids).
If you are insistant on going to the range after having a baby, MAKE SURE YOUR CHILD’S MOTHER HAS HELP IN YOUR ABSENCE.
Provided your kids don’t have any cognitive developmental disabilities, it’s not until they are about 4-5 years old that they will be able to come to a range, listen to your instructions and pull the trigger of a rifle you load, aim, unload, and safely handle for them. It’s an absolute joy when that time comes, but it comes first with the sacrifice of 4-5 years of their complete and total dependance on you and you cutting back on your trigger time.
Maybe knowledge of that sacrifice is what makes your child’s first shot so joy filled. For me, it marked the turning point where my kids weren’t helplessly dependent on my wife and I. It was a major step towards them becoming independent – something every decent father hopes for.
As I had more children, Young Guns and 3-Gun stayed in my list of commitments while working at The Shooting Edge, reloading, volunteering on the Board of Directors of my club, participating “Outlaw” leagues, and shooting IDPA were struck. I was very active with IDPA, in particular, before my kids were born. I shot almost every match between 2008 and 2010 when my oldest daughter was born. I shot fewer and fewer matches until 2013, when I stopped altogether when my 2nd daughter was born.
Having kids means losing personal time, hence you develop techniques to most effeciently maximize what you do with your now scarce personal time. This comes at a financial cost but good time management skills tends to increase your labour market value. That in turn leads to more and better employment opportunities and greater discreationary income to spend on things like nanny’s, baby-sitters, or compensation to family members who watch your kids while you’re out on the range.
After being a father for 7 years (a father of 4 for 10 months), I’ve gotten pretty good at multi-tasking, time management, prioritizing objectivs, and process improvement. I don’t have very many “wasted minutes,” in my days and most times that I’m occupied with a task, I’m actually mentally tracking and managing several concurrent processes, simultaneously.
That skill set is both relevant to and developed by action shooting sports.
Imagine a simple course of fire, moving left to right to engage multiple paper targets. Once the timer goes off, you need to mentally process your body positioning, initiate the process of acquiring and neutralizing a target, keep track of the remaining ammo in your gun and remaining targets to engage, remember and prepare to perform a stoppage drill if necessary, maintain situational awareness of fault lines, boundaries, and safety protocols, all at the same time while eliminating unnecessary movements to avoid adding unnecessary time.
This is analagous to life in general.
To be succesful at any undertaking in life you have to manage complex processes, often concurrent to one another, in such away that a desired outcome is achieved with the least expenditure of time and energy.
Parenting isn’t the most complex proceses we as individuals can undertake, but it certainly is one of the most time and resource consuming.
The hope for every sane father, I believe, is that the consumption of time and resources will lead to a desirable outcome: for many that is well adjusted children, capable of functioning independently and being succesful themselves.
The expenditure of that time and those resources and/or the failure to attain an outcome like that is often stressful to the point driving a father insane.
Enter a conversation I had with an acquaintence I ran into at the range this past weekend. An older gentlemen who I used to frequently bump into at the range, gun shows, and IDPA matches.
“I haven’t seen you since your older girl here was a little baby.” He initiated our conversation with.
From there we traversed the gambit of friendly range banter topics that is often more rejuvinating than hours of quality rounds down range. The highlights of our conversation definitely were how hyper-competativeness ruins the shooting sports and the health and condition of our children.
At least half of our conversation revolved around my 3rd daughter, who at 3 years old, is showing symptoms of developmental delay, possibly autism (although as of yet, undiagnosed). To be honest, I almost felt moved to tears of both joy and sadness as I received great wisedom from this older acquaintence, who had a wealth of information on the topic.
One of the reasons I’m so into guns is at times, it’s an escape for me from the hardship of seeing my 3rd daughter’s struggle as a special needs child.
My wife and I don’t ignore her condition. We expend an enormous amount of time and resources in the pursuit of the outcome of her overcoming them. At times, it seems as if no amount of time or resources have any effect on achieving our desired outcome of just having her grow and mature like a normal, healthy child. I find it to be a release that I can spend a little time and money on tweaking, modding, or practicing with one of my guns and see some kind of progress, whereas I can spend weeks or months and large sums of money to treat my daughter’s condition and see nothing happen.
At times, it is maddening, and our lives as parents feel like unending torment and heartbreak. I most see my eyes in my 3rd daughter and in those eyes at times, I see the innocent, uncorrupted version of myself. At the worst of times, I see her robbed of the best future I had intended for her by her condition and feel completely helpless to do anything to change it. At other times I feel guilty at getting frustrated because her condition is “not that bad.” There are other people going through worse problems and there still is hope that she could recover.
Not knowing if she will live a healthy, normal life or never develop past her current state is torturous. So much so that range time is the only release that puts me in a state of mind that is hopeful for the future and ready to carry the burdan of the present.
I say to the potential Millennial father (who isn’t a dirtbag), provided you can do so in a way that doesn’t drive your child’s mother crazy – don’t cut our your range time. Hire help for her in your absence, and don’t just leave her alone with your child. Spend your time on the range purposefully, venting off the stress and anxiety that accumulate through the normal and predictable struggle of having kids. Come back from the range with an attitude of gratitude and humility. With a renewed sense of purpose and a commitment to be the guiding light in your children’s lives, for the greatest good you can lead them to.
Even if you blew it. If your guns had catastrophic failures, you made a fool of yourself on a stage, or you had a “bad day” on the range.
Come back from the range ready to shoulder the burdan of being a father.
The timer and the targets don’t lie and at times when you’re running and gunning you won’t get the outcome you wanted. You could get down over that, but you won’t learn anything from the experience and figure out better ways to spend your time and resources to be a better shooter. Either that, or you could do the more difficult task of changing your expectations.
In the same way, your kids will (sometimes habitually, and through no fault of their own) fail to live up to your standards. In the same way, you could get down over it, or you could learn from the experience abd figure out better ways to spend your time and resources to be a better father. Either that, or you could do the more difficult task of changing your expectations.
I went to my first IDPA matches in 4 years last summer.
I told the lady doing the PractiScore registration that, “I shot a lot 5 years ago, but stopped after having kids.”
“Yeah, we see a lot of that.” She replied.
“A lot of young men get serious about it, quit once they have kids, then get back into it when their kids are a little older.”