Hillsdale College, Shooting Guns, and More

 

From left to right: Sheila Brey, instructor; Gena Grant, event coordinator; Shannan Chada, instructor; and Sheila Hoekstra, lead instructor

Trust me: if you love to shoot pistols, trap, skeet, archery, 3-D archery, and sporting clays, you must check out Hillsdale College! I’ve been here for just under a week, and I have grown in so many ways. It’s so satisfying to visit a college that is so deeply committed to the Constitution and is preparing our young people for the future; to be with people who share my values and where I’m supported in practicing Judaism; and where I have excellent instructors who have improved my shooting skills dramatically.

As I wrote in an earlier post, we scheduled attending this workshop, not realizing that Yom Kippur fell right in the middle of the week. I asked the Hillsdale representative if there was anyone who would be holding Yom Kippur services—at a Christian college, right!—and they found a group that was holding abbreviated Erev Yom Kippur Services and morning services. Even though both services were short, I was so moved to be praying with other Jews and they were so welcoming, too. I did fast from sunset until lunch the next day. I do not think in any way that this was a “replacement” worship—there are no substitutes—yet I was so contented having Hillsdale College support my faith.

In the evenings, our meals were preceded with saying a non-denominational grace and we said the pledge of allegiance to the flag. In addition, we had excellent talks that were related to the Constitution. My personal favorite was by Ivan Pongracic, Professor of Economics, who was from the former Yugoslavia (later Croatia) and left when he was 14 with his parents, who hated socialism. His talk was not only extremely informative, but his passion about having lived under that regime was deeply moving. And I believe everyone at this workshop appreciated his determination to educate people about the horrors of socialism.

The focal point of the Couples for Liberty: Seminar and Shooting Camp, though, was the opportunity to be with people who shared conservative values and who were interested in improving their shooting skills. With the well-designed program that gave people a great deal of shooting time, one-on-one coaching from highly skilled and friendly instructors, and valuable instruction on gun safety, I was having a great time. I was intimidated, however, by shooting shotguns, but was persuaded to try. The darn shotguns weighed more than I weighed!—okay, that’s an exaggeration. The gun was not only heavy but even with ear muffs, it was more power than I wanted to handle. I was glad I tried it out, and there was no pressure to continue that activity. Later in the workshop I used a PCC (carbine) with a red-dot sight, and we shot at a steel plate rack — I sure put those suckers away! But even that gun was a bit heavy.

My favorite part was using my own Glock 19 and getting plenty of feedback. I have lots of corrections to make to my stance, all of which were very helpful adjustments. Now I just have to convince my body to obey my mind! I think I’m on the verge of integrating what I’ve learned: slightly bent knees, relaxing my elbows, leaning forward like I really mean it! And of course, keeping my finger off the trigger when I’m not shooting … along with the other safety directions. I was tickled when the instructor told me I was a good shooter! We had various exercises for practicing and I loved them all.

At the end of the Camp, I asked our pistol instructors what they thought was special about training at Hillsdale, since they had trained in other locations, and this is what they said:

Sheila Brey: “The couples who come really like each other and they encourage each other and the other participants. These are like-minded, principled people.”

Shannan Chada: “It is such a unique opportunity to meet and teach different people from all over the country. I like being able to spend several days really getting to know them and learning their ‘stories.’”

Sheila Hoekstra: “What other event can couples do together where they can learn something new individually and then come back together and share this amazing experience. It’s a learning experience that they cherish. It’s also a life lesson they can share together once they leave.”

This Hillsdale workshop, this facility and their shooting programs created a life-changing experience for me. They are fun, challenging and the food is good, and plentiful, too. The setting is beautiful. I’ll be ready to practice my new skills at my home shooting range.

Just call me Annie Oakley, Jr.

Published in Guns
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  1. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    I’m surprised that shotgun didn’t blow you about 3 feet back. Have I told you I have only shot a shotgun once in my life? Never, ever, again.

    Sound like you had a wonderful experience.

    • #1
  2. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    My wife is 5’3″, 70, and 110 lbs., and has no problem with a 12 gauge.

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    I’m surprised that shotgun didn’t blow you about 3 feet back. Have I told you I have only shot a shotgun once in my life? Never, ever, again.

    Sound like you had a wonderful experience.

     

    Thanks, @kayofmt. It was great!

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    My wife is 5’3″, 70, and 110 lbs., and has no problem with a 12 gauge.

    Most of the women had trouble holding it up. Your wife probably has more upper body strength than I do, <span class="atwho-inserted" contenteditable="false" data-atwho-at-query="@randywebster“>@randywebster , and that’s great! I wish I had more but haven’t made the effort to work on it. They’re considering acquiring some smaller shotguns; several of the women had difficulty holding them up.

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn: Just call me Annie Oakley, Jr.

    Susan Quinn, Gunslinger.

    • #5
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    How long are you going to be at Hillsdale? It’s a nice day’s bicycle ride from here, and even less by car. I’m thinking Ricochet Meet-Up! However, the wind is blowing in a different direction tomorrow, so I’ll be heading to a different corner of the state.

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    How long are you going to be at Hillsdale? It’s a nice day’s bicycle ride from here, and even less by car. I’m thinking Ricochet Meet-Up! However, the wind is blowing in a different direction tomorrow, so I’ll be heading to a different corner of the state.

    Ah, too bad, @thereticulator. We knew they’d have us working hard so we had little extra time. We left this morning after breakfast. And it was windy. The leaves are already changing, too. Barely.

    • #7
  8. danys Thatcher
    danys
    @danys

    What a wonderful experience. Thank you for writing about it.

    • #8
  9. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Great post, Annie.

    • #9
  10. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    My wife is 5’3″, 70, and 110 lbs., and has no problem with a 12 gauge.

    Most of the women had trouble holding it up. Your wife probably has more upper body strength than I do, <span class=”atwho-inserted” contenteditable=”false” data-atwho-at-query=”@randywebster“>@randywebster , and that’s great! I wish I had more but haven’t made the effort to work on it. They’re considering acquiring some smaller shotguns; several of the women had difficulty holding them up.

    I did think about buying her a 20 gauge.

    • #10
  11. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Conservatives don’t “visit” Hillsdale. We go on pilgrimage there.

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Great post, Annie.

    Thanks, Boss. That’s high praise from you,

    • #12
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