First up, PAL stands for Personal Arms License. It’s the first step to hunting, or the first step towards being legally armed come the apocalypse. I figured it was a good thing to have for my Bad Girl DIY, even though the only reason hunting appeals is the prospect of hanging out in the woods in the fall, wearing plaid and hugging a thermos. (Plus I eat meat, so feel I should be real enough to deal with where it comes from. Or go vegan.) Here’s what I learned.
- Taking a PAL course does not teach you how to shoot. It teaches you how not to shoot yourself or another person, but getting to the point where you could successfully take down a zombie will require lots and lots of practice in your personal time.
- The single most important thing when owning or operating a gun is muzzle direction. Point it at a person, fail the class. Point it at a person in real life, get smacked.
- Judging by the amount of practice time, the second most important thing is learning how to cross a fence. I can’t remember the last time I had to get over or through a fence in my daily life, but duly noted.
- While not pointing your gun at anyone, you must then PROVE (acronyms are handy!) it’s safe. Point it safely, Remove the cartridges (the ammunition), Observe the chamber (where the bullets are held), Verify the feeding path (where the bullets travel from magazine to chamber), and Examine the bore (the muzzle).
- Depending on the type of gun, examining the bore means staring straight down the nasty end of a gun.
- Looking down the muzzle of a gun isn’t fun.
- The sound of a pump-action is.
- Hunters are really afraid of bears.
Of course there’s lots more covered in a Firearms Safety Course, like the history of modern arms, components and types of guns, safe transportation and storage, plus lots and lots of trivia about bullets, but at the end of the day PROVE forms the basis of gun safety. Now, to the range!