Friday, January 27, 2012


I've been shooting since I was a boy. My grandfather, a Deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department taught me. It's one of the reasons I wanted to become a Sheriff's Chaplain and why I volunteer to work with the weapons and training unit. Yesterday I was down at Biscaluiz Range rebuilding shotguns for Court Services. While I was there, one of my fellow Chaplains, Rabbi Ben-Tzion (pronounced Bent-zee-own) Kravitz, arrived. We've become friends since we shared the platform for the Sheriff's Memorial Service two years ago.

Ben is both an Orthodox Rabbi AND a reservist. He is also assigned to weapons and training. He was upstairs, test-firing a new handgun for the department and invited me to join him on the range and fire a few rounds. During a lull in shotgun traffic I took him up on his offer. The gun in question is the Smith & Wesson M & P (Military and Police). This was the nine millimeter version. The department is phasing out Beretta's and replacing them with M & P's.

The targets are man-sized, but set twenty-five yards--seventy-five feet--away from the firing line. My first two rounds were my usual low and to the left hits. I've been attributing this to my advancing senility and degrading eyesight.

Ben had another answer. "You're jerking left when you pull the trigger," he said.

"But I'm not "milking the grip," I protested.

"Okay, he said. "Try gripping tighter with your support hand. Thirty-percent grip with the right, seventy-percent grip with the left."

So I did what he said. BLAM. Ten ring. BLAM. nine ring. BLAM, BLAM, BLAM. I threw a few, but found myself hitting consistently in the nine and ten rings. Wow. Rabbi Kravitz is a good instructor. I've always been told to relax my trigger hand, but no one had ever told me to grip harder with my support hand.

I guess an old dog CAN learn a new trick.

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