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Back to Instructing post COVID

June 23, 2020

by: Frank Tait

The 3 month hiatus, imposed by the Governor of PA due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that blocked us from providing firearm safety and marksmanship classes is finally over here in PA.   


We held a Revere's Riders Rifle 125 class at Lower Providence Rod and Gun Club in Audubon PA.  12 students (below the maximum capacity of 25  people as dictated by our Governor), 6 youth and 6 adults were assisted by 5 NRA certified instructors.  Students included: a Vietnam Veteran from the Air Force who recently purchased his first rifle, a student who will be entering the United States Naval Academy next month, a mom brought her 2 children, a young couple came down from NY, 3 youth and 1 NRA Apprentice instructor who regularly attend these events and 4 students who had never shot rifles before.  7 students used loaner rifles (S&W M&P 15-22's with red dot sights). We had students from PA, NJ and NY.


This is one of my favorite classes to teach is it has lots of shooting combined with safety and marksmanship instruction and we also weave in the history of April 19, 1775 and how marksmanship made a difference in the founding of our country and why our firearm rights are so important. 


This was our first class with COVID protocols in place, items had to be sanitized before and after use, the seating and firing lines had to be setup with social distancing (family members could be closer than 6 feet).  Masks were required if standing less than 6 feet apart.  


Knocking the rust off in the heat, humidity and threatening thunderstorms was a challenge.  We also had gear challenges as both wires holding the target line up got shot and had to be repaired/replaced, 1 rifle extractor broke and 3 red dot optics needed new batteries for optics after sitting in the safe for the past 5 months.


The group drank 72 bottles of water as well as many other personally provided drinks to keep everyone hydrated.  Even with this, 6 students dropped out in the afternoon due to the heat and humidity.


The students that had never handled rifles before did extremely well.  "G" had amazing flexibility and got into a very stable (although not competition permitted) seated position.  2 of the youth earned Battle of Saratoga commemorative quarters for hitting the  250yd shingle shot.


There is a large volume of pent up demand for quality firearm instruction from this lockdown and other current events. Gun ranges and firearm instruction need to be treated as essential businesses just like gun stores.  In person instruction with practical application by putting rounds downrange after learning a new technique shows people that they can master the firearm as they master themselves.