The Jersey Pistol Club has always encouraged members of the public to come up to the range and try pistol shooting. This is a challenging sport that is neither age or gender specific, so to see Mum & Dad together with young John and Jane on the firing line attempting to master the art of placing 10 rounds of .22 rim-fire ammunition into a standard PL7 target at 13 meters is not at all unusual, in fact as Jersey is a holiday destination for many, the amount of people who turn up every single weekend hoping to experience this challenging sport can be quite daunting.
We at the club recognize that in order to make the experience as pleasant and safe as possible a qualified Range Officer will always be assigned on a one to one basis to all inexperienced shooters, a service that we have provided for many years with excellent results.
Late last year, the JPC made the decision to go that extra mile, and through the good offices of Dave Froggett of the National Small-bore Rifle Association, the governing body for small-bore pistol shooting in the UK., we were able to arrange for Bob Dickie from Dragon Coaching, England Shooting Sports Academy, to fly over to the island, and conduct a two day Pistol Instructors Course for 12 of our range officers.
So on the 5th March 2014, at about 9pm I met Bob upon his arrival at Jersey’s Airport, he arrived very late having failed to make his scheduled flight from Manchester due to traffic congestion resulting from an RTC and as a consequence being required to fly to Southampton from Manchester and from there to Jersey, he was indeed a very tired man, so I didn’t mention that I had spent the previous day loading up a few hundred .38, 9mm, some .45 and a few .357 the purpose being, to take him up to the range and letting him have a blast with some real pistols, but of course the original plan was for him to arrive in Jersey at about 11am and not 9pm.
The following day, after a good night’s rest, Bob was transported from his hotel to the JPC club house in the North of the island, and for the next 16 hours with a gap for sleep, he managed to impress 12 very experienced pistol shooters with his depth of knowledge on all things relating to shooting, both small and full-bore, together with all sports that result in projectiles being propelled down a range, the man’s knowledge was indeed impressive, his style of delivery and presentation technique was both professional and down to earth making it comfortable for all to absorb.
So after 12 hours in the classroom we spent the last 4 hours doing a practical application of all the gems of wisdom that we had absorbed over the previous 12 hours, and (I suspect) as a result of managing not to shoot anything other than the targets we were aiming at using the skills and techniques that we had learnt, Bob must have taken the view that we had actually taken on board the content of the course that he had presented, and thus after assessing the ability of all candidates, signed off on 12 new NSRA Pistol Instructors.
So whilst acknowledging that most holiday shooters that we teach will not go on to take up the sport in a competitive club on their return to the UK, although on occasion this does indeed happen, elements of the Instructors Course are extremely relevant to them, and as a bonus the Club Instructor can also use his newly acquired skills to assist our regular members that do shoot competitively locally.