Mrs. Melobi, packin' the M&P, 19 October 2008

Mrs. Melobi, packin' the M&P, 19 October 2008

Mrs. Melobi and I did the Defensive Edge Handgun I class yesterday – an all-day adventure covering the basics of handgunnery, from the draw stroke to trigger control, at distances from 3 to 25 yards.

Melobi thought she should take a class like this for three reasons: one, since there are guns in the house, she figured (rightly) that she should know how to use them. Two, she wanted to do something outside of her personal comfort zone, and shooting a handgun all day certainly falls into that category. Three, she knew that going to the class with me would please her right-wing gun nut husband. And she was right!

She shot the M&P in 9mm (as you can see) and I used the default handgun of planet Earth, the Glock 19 in 9mm. The Glock is certainly easy to use and was boringly reliable, but the fierce checkering on the backstrap made my hand look like I’d been gripping a waffle iron all day.

The class was taught by a pair of local cops, and in many ways their perspective was quite different from that of the instructor I had for my first carry permit class, five years ago. That instructor was a civilian and was one of the only people who was able to get a carry permit under Minnesota’s old law, which basically excluded any civilians (except uniformed security guards) from carrying a handgun.

Most notable was their opinion on what a citizen’s reaction to the police should be following a lethal force incident. My first instructor’s answer was simple: “I do not consent to any search and I want to speak to a lawyer.” His reasoning was that the police, as much as you would like to believe otherwise, are not there to help you, and until the facts of the situation are firmly established, it’s best not to say anything, lest you say something that could be held against you later. On the contrary, these instructors talked about the “asshole” citizens who refused to say anything until speaking to a lawyer, and said such an attitude would put you in jail overnight.

Another bizarre comment came about during a discussion about how to make your vehicle less appealing to criminals. One instructor suggested not leaving any valuables out to attract the attention of thieves (sensible advice, indeed); the other suggested not leaving any gun magazines in your car, because it might lead a criminal to think you have guns in the car as well (which is also reasonable). He then went on to say that having gun magazines in your car could also be probable cause for a vehicle search if pulled over by the police. Say what? So having a stray issue of Guns & Ammo in my back seat could be probable cause for tearing my car apart, looking for contraband? Good luck holding that one up in court, buddy.

The final weird comment came when talking about non-lethal means of self defense; particularly, pepper spray. One instructor said it was great for getting rid of panhandlers and other bums while downtown – just give ’em a spray, and walk away! A student asked if that could get you charged with assault, and both instructors basically dismissed that idea – their stance was that you could more or less pepper spray anyone, as long as you felt they were getting too close to you. It seemed like too much of a police-oriented perspective, because I doubt that any male of normal physical capability could justify to the police why you sprayed some random guy on the street because you didn’t like how he asked you for the time.

But, of course, we didn’t attend the course for the discussion – we went for the shooting, and shoot we did. Between the two of us, we shot about 700 rounds during the day, which made it a bit of an expensive outing, but it was worth it for both of us.