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BC Stars "Snow Day" Firearms Safety Session

BC Stars "Snow Day" Firearms Safety Session

British Columbia
Sunday, February 3, 2019 -
10:00am to 2:00pm
Port Coquitlam
British Columbia

BC Stars “Snow Day” Firearms Safety Session

How do you plan a February winter event in Vancouver, when the weather is so unreliable? Few of us wanted to drive our SL’s with the roof up, and even fewer wanted to take them ice-racing on frozen ponds. It was decided that it was far better to play indoors. What better than a Sunday drive out to Port Coquitlam for a Firearms Safety course at the DVC Indoor Shooting Range?

 As it turned out, February 3rd was not only the celebration of the Chinese New Year but also Prez. Matt Peck’s 40th Birthday. Oh, how things seemed to fall together, a morning at the Shooting Range, with a Birthday Luncheon to follow at a Member’s home, close by. It seemed natural. What could go wrong?

That previous week leading up to Sunday, was unseasonably warm and even sunny. Some of us had the arrogance to pull our precious cars out of hibernation. Sunday was this winter’s first day of snow. Jeff Shindler doggedly showed up early at the shooting range in his SL550, but even by then the snow had made a good start.

Most of our group arrived early for our private instruction session despite the fast falling snow. The majority of us were very much gun-novices. We gathered in the lobby, peering into glass display cases of .44 Magnum revolvers, amidst the Chinese New Year decorations and comical, fluffy, Year of the Pig, toys for good fortune.

Some of the Members we were waiting for, courteously texted us that they were no longer coming because of the snow.   However, in due course, the rest of us were ushered into a room for our Safe Gun-handling and Procedures chat. “Finger off the trigger, muzzle always faces downrange.”

We were then issued our ear protection and safety glasses, and led through a locking antechamber and then into the firing range. Nobody gets in or out with weapons, without strict supervision.


Our group was given four lanes for shooting. We had simple targets in the outline of a man, at various distances. The weapons were a good variety of higher calibre, 9mm, .40, and .45 calibre automatic handguns, along with the now infamous AR-15 rifle with laser sighting. We all started to take turns, with little hesitation. It took a little while before everyone, including the Instructors, felt comfortable. However, some of our Members appeared to be real naturals. Linda “Dirty Harry” Pullyblank was firing the 9mm with abandon. The first bursts of the AR-15 were startlingly loud, with an impressive muzzle flash that lit up the range. Everyone had to have a go at that one. Quite an intimidating weapon.

We fired off a lot of ammunition, comparing the traits of different guns against each other. Some had a lot more recoil than others, and some had a healthy “kick”, raising the muzzle with each shot, until you got used to it. Once the noise died away and the last shell casing fell to the floor, the Instructors asked us slyly, “Would you like to try something a little more fun?” There was much bobbing of heads.

With a grin, they produced the “Desert Eagle” .50 calibre, automatic handgun. Those of us who stepped forward were shown how to brace our bodies, and hold our elbows to handle the recoil and stop the shots from going wild. In honour of the event, a fresh target was selected. That was so we could clearly see where our single shot hit on the body outline. We soon found out that it was loud, fearsome, and accurate!

Next, they brought out the AK-47, the favourite of Cold-War guerillas, everywhere. It was light and simple, and we were warned that it heated up very quickly. We were shown how we could quickly and simply change magazines. Again, some of our numbers were very proficient. Toyen, one of our visitors from Los Angeles, was another natural!

The final “fun” weapon was the 12-Gauge pump-action shotgun. Apparently, they felt the most suitable target was the very graphic, flesh-eating zombie figure. The shotgun and the zombie were probably the most popular combination of the day, with our Members gleefully plugging away and ejecting spent shells.

It was an interesting and yes, fun, introduction to firearms for many of us. As to gun safety, the range followed very safe procedures. They were firm about holding weapons properly, removing clips and making sure we didn’t shoot ourselves and others around us. However, it was most useful in teaching us some respect for the danger of these weapons used carelessly or incorrectly.

Naturally… a morning of blasting away at zombies makes one feel hungry and ready to go for lunch. However, as we left the Range and headed outside, we were greeted with a great dumping of snow on our cars and on the roads. Gary and Linda Pullyblank’s S550 was to face its first winter challenge. They hadn’t driven it in the snow before, and there were unploughed hills to climb. Undaunted, Jeff cleared off his SL550 and set off.

It was only a short drive to lunch. We all made it safely, though Jeff was a little late and we feared the worst for a bit. Joseph Anthony joined us too, arriving in his ‘unstoppable W140 S500. Hostess Saras Mudaliar and Charlotte, her helper, greeted everyone who trudged through the snow to the front door. Saras had a good table full of snacks and beverages. Matt’s mother, Michelle, was once again visiting from California, and she was happy to be here to celebrate Matt’s birthday him and the Club.

It was great to have everyone together for some cake and a little wine for a Birthday drink. Unfortunately, we could see through the windows that the snow was still quickly building up, outside. It was enough to make everyone who had driven a long way a bit anxious to be going.

We look forward to the next time we can get more of our Members together when the roads are clear and dry.