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Couples Shooting Guns

Less strenuous than vacuuming living room is appraisal of expert woman shot who urges men to take their wives shooting. Above, young couple enjoy skeet at Sun Valley, Idaho.


HAVE YOU EVER WISHED that your wife, daughter, sister, or lady friend enjoyed shooting? Have you often thought she might enjoy hunting with you if she would only try it a time or so? It is almost a sure bet that you have. It may surprise you, though, to learn that she has very likely yearned to shoot and hunt with you, but feels that this is a sport strictly for the men. It may surprise both of you to learn that regardless of what precepts you have formed about women handling a gun, she can learn quickly to shoot and -hunt as well as any man.

If the lady has never had a gun of any kind in her hands, so much the better. She will have the advantage of starting from scratch, and she will learn faster than a person who has already accumulated a batch of incorrect shooting hab its. Due to this factor, the lady probably will become a better shot than you are, especially if you are self-taught.

Most women have the idea they are physically handicapped when it comes to shooting a gun and hunting. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The average shotgun weighs less than a new baby, so a woman need not be a muscle-moll in order to handle it easily. Before I was bitten by the gun bug, I had believed that I should be just short of All American football timber in order to be able to take part in either clay target shooting or to make a hunting trip. I was amazed to find the whole business is less strenuous than vacuuming the living room.

Iris Stowers, husband Henry and Junior receive from Joe Bryan of Pilot Life and Al Tufts, Pinehurst, some of her trophies (right) at 1956 N. Car. shoot.

Don't make mistake of starting girl on too-small gun. Double Fox 16 would be good starter; Remington 870 with Cutts is good advanced rig when she learns skeet.

Another fallacious idea of mine was the belief that in order to become an expert shot with a gun, I would have to spend many years of hard practice. Actually, a beginner can become an excellent marksman within a few weeks if taught properly. When my husband would urge me to try a few practice shots at the skeet range, like most women I'd shy away like a skittish colt. "Why, I couldn't hit a bear in the backside with a bass fiddle, f've never shot a BB gun, much less a real gun. And, besides, I'd probably appear so ridiculous that I'd be laughed off the field."

However, the seed had been planted and was germinating. Sitting disconsolately around the gun club, chatting with other shooting widows about cold remedies, measles, recipes, and other brilliant chit-chat reputed to be popular among women, I could not rid myself of the feeling that I was missing out on something that was a whale of a lot of fun.

Then one day I made the plunge; that is, I decided to allow myself to be persuaded to try a few shots at seven station on the skeet range. As f remember, my instructions were: stand like this; place your feet about so far apart; shift your weight slightly to the left foot; hold your gun like this; the muzzle like that. Place your left hand about here on the forearm; put your safety off; call for your target; cheek your gun like this, with the stock in the hollow of your shoulder like that. Bring the muzzle up crisply under the target, and pull the trigger. With these instructions racing wildly about in my head, I called, "Pull," and shot straight up in the air before the target came out of the trap house.

"That did it," I thought, as I looked about belligerently. I'd made a royal loon of myself and everyone would be laughing their fool heads off. But no one had paid the slightest attention. I felt a little better, and grimly decided to try another. A few shots later I broke a target. Two weeks or so later I was hitting 17 or 18 out of each "round"

On Caracas, Venezuela, skeet field af last Pan-Am shoot, girls like Mrs. Igor Pezas, Egypt, compete for top honors.

(25 targets). Three months later my pride was almost scandalous when the experts began inviting me to shoot on their squads. Soon afterwards I won the state skeet championship and several other trophies. Now, nine years later, f have won three state women's championships, and enough silver to start a fair-sized pawn shop if times become that hard.

Better than ever, I have learned a new language and have learned the strange customs of a great fraternity—the twenty million people who comprise the shooting and hunting group, f know their argot; their language communicates to me when they speak the shooting jargon. I break out my crying towel and commiserate with the wailing duffer who tells me he "stopped his swing on low three," and "flinched his doubles on high two." The shooters display a brand of sportsmanship seldom seen in any other sport. I've noticed many times such famous shooters as Alex Kerr giving advice to a competitor at an important tournament. Can you imagine a fighter giving his opponent advice and help; or a baseball player giving the other team his signals?

Assuming that I have, perhaps, sold you on the idea of teaching the lady to shoot, and that you have her slightly intrigued with the idea of learning (don't let her fool you— she's more interested than you could possibly imagine) she will probably have some questions. Since she is a woman, the first question will pertain to clothing. That is easy. An old dress or skirt; a shooting coat that will cost about $5.00; flat heel loafers, and a pair of sun glasses is

Have you ever wished your wife or girl enjoyed hunting? Read; then act. You'll never know till you take her out.

the uniform of the day. A baseball or golf cap can be added, to shade eyes from direct sun. The equipment can be your old field gun and a box of shells if there is a nearby gun club, and there probably is a good club in your vicinity. If not, never mind. A cheap hand trap that you can purchase for about $5.00 and a case of clay targets will do nicely.

You do not have to belong to a gun club to be welcome at one. They will be delighted to have you shoot their fields. Nor do you need to invest heavily in equipment. Fancy equipment is usually the mark of the amateur. My friend, Jimmy Robinson, tells in his excellent book, "Wing Shooting, Trap and Skeet," of a 60-year-old man who won the Grand American in 1936 with a $20.00 rabbit gun. He received $5,000 in cash besides his trophy, incidentally.

As to the fit of the lady's gun, a corps of highly efficient engineers have taken care of that detail for you. If she is of average size, the standard gun will come close to a perfect fit. If she is the bean-pole type, or if she is so short her ears grow out of her shoulders, she may have to be especially fitted. Normally, the standard drop, pitch, and length of stock will suffice until your lady begins to get so accurate that she crowds Carola Mandel, the national ladies' champion.

I would recommend the 20 gauge for the lady to start with. It's large enough to pack a wallop, and light enough to swing crisply. Don't, for gosh sakes, make the mistake of starting her on a pip-squeak (Continued on page 48)

1950s Funny

The right decision to shoot—or not to shoot—can only come with complete, familiar confidence in one's revolver and oneself. Target is at average man-killing gunfight range


ONE OF THE BEST pistol shots in the nation is Gordon Selby. a detective with the police department of Phoenix, Arizona. Not only is he a consistent winner as a match shooter on the target ranges of the Southwest, but he is a master marksman with the .38 revolver either on the combat range or in his work of law enforcement.

During the Sports Show in Phoenix in 1957, Selby challenged one of the famous "fastest guns alive" to a quick draw match but the challenge was declined. Selby is extremely fast, as the duel contests have proven, and he shoots using either hand. He has been involved in numerous gun fights, in three of which the criminals were killed. He apparently is one of those rare men who can shoot well under stress as on the range at a target match. The firing program on the modern range of the Phoenix police trained gun expert Selby to be one of the country's best shots with the revolver.

Police of Phoenix have an unusually high department average in shooting weapons necessary in law enforcement. The minimum score in monthly qualification must be at least 65%. Any officer failing to shoot this well must practice until his average is brought up to this minimum. But the department average at present is much higher, 87 per cent. Detective Selby is one of the more consistent shooters and has maintained an exceptionally high average of 99.08 for 1954-5 and 99.72 for 1955-6. Recently he won the annual Phoenix Police Pistol Championship. Most unusual about the handsome trophy he took home for this contest was the name of the trophy's donor: Chief of Police Charles P. Thomas.

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