A Day at an Indoor Shooting Range

Spend a few hours at your local indoor shooting range

You can only learn so much from YouTube, movies, video games, and websites.  This is especially true when it comes to firearms.  When learning to fire guns and rifles, nothing can replace experience and professional instruction.  Putting rounds downrange with your own finger on the trigger is the best way to learn – then supplement with books, online courses, and even quality YouTube Channels.

This past weekend I decided to head off to the indoor shooting range in our city.  This gave me the opportunity to get familiar with and try out various handguns, shotguns, and even some carbines.  Whether you are just getting started with shooting and aren’t sure it’s for you, or maybe you are just trying to decide between a few different weapons for your next purchase – a trip to a gun range is likely the right move for you.

Firearm safety starts with education

Too many people are simply afraid of firearms for no good reason at all.  People should respect them, not fear them.  But this is a hard message to convey if you were not brought up with guns in the house, or had exposure to them in some way.  Truly understanding the power that most guns are capable of – both good and bad – is only fully understood after squeezing off some rounds yourself.

Another bonus of this experience you gain in shooting is that you will never look at video games, TV shows, or movie scenes the same way again.  You will certainly be more critical of the shooting scenes, more understanding of the effects caused, and you will definitely find yourself trying to call out the make and model of the guns you see.

As I have heard before, there is no such thing as an accidental discharge, only a negligent discharge.  Guns do not fire just by themselves, and if it seems that this is the case, it is still a negligent discharge due to the fact that the weapon was loaded when it ought not to have been.

Rule #1 The weapon is ALWAYS pointed downrange

Rule #2 You finger is off the trigger until the weapon is on target and you intend to fire

I will add some more that I have heard:

Rule #3 Treat all weapons as if they are loaded.  There is no such thing as an unloaded firearm.  A weapon can only be considered safe once it is cleared, trigger lock applied, and safely inside of a locked case.

Rule #4 Do not point the weapon at anything that you do not intend to shoot (or destroy or kill).

Rule #5 Complacency & Sloppiness Kills

Getting this exposure and trigger time will increase your safety if you are ever again around firearms, as well as allowing you to help others to be safe around them too.


Compare firearms that you are considering

An indoor shooting range that has firearms there for you to use is a great place to compare models.  Say you’re looking for a 12 gauge shotgun for home defence and some hunting, well you’re likely reviewing two of the more popular units that accomplish this: Remington 870 and the Mossberg 590.  You can go a long way with watching YouTube videos, review blogs, or listening to your friends.  But nothing can compare to picking up the weapon yourself and sending some shot into targets.  Maybe one is balanced better for your hands, or you constantly short-shuck another.  Perhaps the 870’s stock sights work for you, while you find it easier to get at the safety on the 590.  How would you know this if you haven’t tried them out.  Go to the range and try both of them out side-by-side.  It may cost you a bit more than just buying ammo at the store, but then you can be certain that you bought the right shotgun for your needs.

The same can go if you are considering a handgun.  A common pistol caliber for civilians is the 9mm.  Some of the common choices in this caliber are the Beretta M9, Glock 17 (full frame), Glock 19 (compact), CZ 75, Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm, or the small Glock 26 (sub-compact).  Fit in the hand, weight, balance, recoil, and overall feeling are very important when purchasing a handgun, so you really do want to try out as many as possible before making a purchase decision.

Because of the restrictive hand-gun laws here in Canada, it may be difficult to find people that own these weapons and to make trying them out available to you.  A good range will have the most popular models available, and running a box of ammo through each is the best way to make your own decision.


Try your hand at handguns

Canadian firearm law is very restrictive on handgun ownership.  Though it’s not easy to get a licence for a rifle, shotgun, or other long-gun; getting a licence for a handgun requires you to jump through more hoops.  Plus the usefulness of a handgun is much reduced when you compare them to rifles and shotguns, making it much less of a necessity for you to own. But handguns can be useful and fun.  There’s a definite feeling of coolness that accompanies picking one up, slamming in a mag, and hitting some targets.  Whether you are new to pistols and revolvers, you just want to try something new, are getting into competition, or have this as a hobby – going to a handgun range is a reasonable alternative to owning your own.  This is especially true if you only want to fire one periodically and do not want to take on the safety & storage responsibility of owning such a tool.


Finish up with some fun

Did I mention that shooting can be fun….A LOT of fun?? Don’t let the media or teacuppers in your life convince you that enjoying shooting is evil.  It most certainly is not.  If you are anyone but the most die-hard of hippies, yuppies, or ignorami, then you will have a perma-smile on your face for the first 48hours following your first visit to the gun range.  How do I know, well because that’s what happened to me.  I went around showing videos on my iPhone of me shooting to all my friends and colleagues.

But what do I mean by “finishing up with something fun”?  By this I mean firing off a few rounds of something big, loud, fun, and ultimately not something that you are likely ever to own yourself.  Me, I fired off five rounds in the Smith & Wesson Model 500.  This is the most powerful handgun in the world and not a likely candidate for purchase by someone simply looking for a revolver for home defence.  At the DVC Range, other ‘just for fun’ firearms included the S&W .460, .454 Casull, and the Desert Eagle 50.  Finishing up some of your range days with a few rounds from one of these guns will leave you with a smile on your face, tingle in your hands, and a bit of a ring in your ears. This is to your 9mm and .45ACP shooting as dessert is to your meat and potatoes.  Something to savour at the end in smaller quantities – but leaving you looking forward to the next time.

Me firing the S&W 500 and DVC Vancouver Gun Range

Smith & Wesson 500 – World’s most powerful handgun

By now it should be obvious that I enjoyed my time at the indoor shooting range.  There will be more throughout the country, but for those of you near Vancouver, I recommend you try out DVC. If you’re curious whether firearms are for you, want to try something new out, or are just looking for a last minute gift for someone special in your life, a trip to the range is likely just what you’re looking for.

One warning though, this is highly addictive.  Visit only as you budget permits.

Do you regularly visit an indoor shooting range?  Or perhaps my experience has peaked your interest to give it a shot yourself?

31 thoughts on “A Day at an Indoor Shooting Range

  1. Mr Nobody

    A firearm (or many) is pretty much a prerequisite to self-reliance and personal liberty. Which is why you can’t and don’t really have either in Canada.

    Also, it’s “piqued”, not “peaked”.

  2. Pingback: Can we have Personal Liberty in Canada? | Sovereign Canadian

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  4. Chris

    I own several restricted firearms and have enjoyed going to DVC on several occasions with several of my friends, I found your article interesting but you need not call firearms weapons as they are really just a tool. I can pick up a pen and use it as a weapon. With our gun laws in this great country being a bit difficult, it is not impossible to own and enjoy restricted firearms. Patience is the biggest thing when applying for your RPAL and also having to be part of a Gun Club or Range is also essential to being able to acquire Handguns, which being a member at DVC entitles you to get.

    1. Sovereign Canadian Post author

      Hi Chris, Thanks & I’m glad you read the article.
      These are definitely my feelings and knowledge from my very first visit to the range – and first use of handguns.
      In October I visited DVC for the second time. Capability & confidence increased. Definitely enjoy that place!

      Since then I took and passed my CFSC & CRFSC at Silvercore in Delta. The knowledge and confidence you get from 12-16 hours of training is amazing.

      PAL/RPAL application is in the mail and it’s now time to research firearm purchases and further training.
      I’m leaning towards CORE hunting education & further handgun training.
      I plan on taking my time and finding decent sales as they pop up.

      Cheers!, -Andrew

      P.S. Very true, a pen can make for a good weapon.

  5. Pingback: Shooting the Smith & Wesson 500 Magnum | Sovereign Canadian

  6. Derek Spratt

    Calling handguns weapons and discussing acquiring them for ‘home defense’ are both problematic issues. The only legal use of handguns in Canada is for target shooting. Whether you agree with Canadian gun laws or not you need to understand the risks of contemplating ‘home defense’ as a motivation for acquiring one.

    Just for the record, if you pull out a gun (any gun, but especially a handgun) to defend your home and person, you are already in big trouble in Canada. If you shoot it in the air, you are in bigger trouble, and if you shoot at someone, anyone, you are really screwed. The issue is mostly that you elevate the intensity of the encounter and therefore you are responsible for the outcome. As far as I can tell the only way you won’t go to jail is if the threat of violence is high and your life and/or a family member is clearly at risk. Only then can you even think of pulling out a gun.

    I am an owner of many handguns and long guns. I enjoy DVC and many other ranges. I don’t talk about my guns and never show them around to people at home. I keep a very low profile. That is part of the necessary security involved. Guns attract attention and yes, people who would like to steal them.

    1. Sovereign Canadian Post author

      Hi Derek,
      Thank you for the insightful comment. I appreciate the summary of some of the usage restrictions. Getting into trouble and having our guns confiscated isn’t a good way to enjoy shooting. Being in jail is an even worse way.

      Having recently taken my CFSC & CRFSC, I have learned a lot more about firearm possession, storage, and usage laws here in Canada. Silvercore Training in Delta did a great job with this. Good enough that I have booked the BC Hunting CORE course for this coming weekend. Stoked to continue my learning.
      Skills & Safety Training and in-depth purchase research are a key components for firearm ownership – looking forward to more of this in 2014.

      Secure storage and theft prevention are also very important to me. This is made even more important in the GVRD where our population of low-lifes is quite high. Unfortunately you are correct, you can’t be showing your entire collection, especially valuable handguns, to just anyone outside of your close circle. Yes friends could even plot to steel your property.
      At the same time I am looking foreword to promoting the shooting sports by taking friends and colleagues out for target shooting once I do decide on a rifle and shotgun. Show others that there is nothing wrong with enjoying guns – that you are allowed to enjoy yourself when shooting. Robust security is something I would like to ensure before I make a significant purchase.

      Glad you enjoy DVC. It’s a great way to introduce people to handguns and other firearms we may not normally own on our own. I’m looking forward to visiting again soon, doing some more research, and trying out more guns.

      Let’s hope that none of us are ever faced with that imminent danger situation you describe.

      1. Cal

        While I agree that our highly restricted use of firearms in Canada for self or home defense is problematic at best, I would assert that the discussion of such and the naming of tools for what they are…weapons…shouldn’t be an issue. Call it what you like, it is what it is. Hunters don’t kill deer with rakes or shovels, they use weapons. Police don’t shoot criminals with hammers, they shoot them with weapons…aka guns.

        So let me clarify and by no means am I preaching but giving an informed response to a desperately flawed reply.

        I would hope that any responsible gun owner would already understand the repercussions associated with their unlawful use. That said, in the direst of need I guarantee I won’t care what law says what. If my family or I is threatened by an intruder armed with a baseball bat, knife or even the prybar he used to gain entry to my home…I ain’t pulling out a prybar to even the odds. It goes up a level from there and I am now assuming because he didn’t turn tail and run at the knowledge of being discovered that he is there to do us harm.

        I am not trying to say I’ll shoot and ask questions later or any such thing. And I understand as I’m sure most informed gun owners also know that by bringing a firearm or “weapon” out in any such situation, will land your sorry butt in jail, at least temporarily. Agreed, our Canadian gun privileges (note privileges here not rights…what sad statement that is) don’t allow for home defense and self defense is questionable at best.

        So then what? Derek, I noticed you didn’t really state your position on this. I’ve given this much thought over my many years of ownership and have prayed it never happens. But you can bet your grannies undies that I know the risks and would gladly go to jail to keep my family from harm. How about you?

        Please don’t misunderstand me, but you’re not the only one who knows the law and has well considered the potential life altering consequences of such a confrontation. As far as flashing guns around…only a person who deserves to lose them does that. Notice I don’t give my last name? It’s because I value my privacy and don’t want to attract attention to myself or my hobbies.

        Even if my name was Derek Spratt who visits DVC in Port Coquitlam, BC and is…”an owner of many handguns and long guns”. I call BS…you’re either a poser, a flat out liar or at the very least grossly naive about your gun owning brethren.

        People who are afraid to call guns what they are should just surrender them to their local police now before they hurt themselves or someone else. It’s this kind of left wing pandering and politically correct nonsense that got us these restrictive laws and the now aborted long gun registry in the first place. Did you ever have to register your long guns Derek? Explain to us the process if you will. Perhaps you could further enlighten us on your PAL and RPAL courses and application processes and the CORE program you attended with your fellow hunters as well?

        Don’t bother posting unless you’ve something constructive and meaningful to say on such important issues. They are far too important to people like me, who take it far more seriously than you. I have much to lose and would not risk it on being misinformed or in a trivial situation. You’re not doing the rest of us gun owners any favors by trying to wag an internet finger at us uneducated miscreants. Save your advice for someone who doesn’t actually own a gun and maybe you can discourage the poor soul from owning one and shooting themselves in the foot or groin or some other place where guns shouldn’t be pointed.

        It may be a fun hobby to you, if indeed it actually is. But to some of my friends (sustenance hunters = rednecks in liberal speak…you might understand that term better) and many others it is a means of survival and putting food on the table. They’re not shy about calling their guns “weapons” and other terms I’m sure you would call “problematic”. You’re doing them a disservice by posting this kind of garbage.

        1. Sovereign Canadian Post author

          Hi Cal, as always I appreciate the detail you put into your posts and comments. I really respect that you speak your mind with an educated & experienced opinion; and that you also speak from the heart with conviction.
          You can bet your bottom dollar that a home invasion by an armed perpetrator would be met by a very, very determined Andrew; ready to protect the lives of my family and myself by any and all means.
          I kind of saw Derek’s comment as advice, loosely directly towards myself, to not be publicly saying that my future gun collection will be built primarily with self-defense in mind.
          Yes, hunting, sport, and collecting are the main reasons to make most gun purchases. But, It would be hard to imagine any gun owner purchasing a firearm and not at least considering the security it would give to them. To know that you can do your best to protect your family if the worst of circumstances did occur. I know that you are that type of man Cal, and to me that is a very honourable trait to have. Unfortunately the media and many others feel otherwise.

          The weapon thing. I want to say that I am tired of people telling me I ought to not call a firearm a weapon. I see what they’re saying, I understand, and, like you, Cal, I don’t see the point in it. A gun can be a tool for harvesting animals, a weapon for self defence, or a toy for target practice. It is what it is, regardless of the restrictions we have in this country. Now someone else will have an issue with me calling it a toy, even though in my context I mean something that brings enjoyment, not something that can be mishandled and without the care and diligence it demands. So to all the word Nazis out there: It’s time for a new clip for my weapon.

          I don’t want people to think I mean for them to not post if their opinion differs from the one that is in the article.
          I feel that if someone has read entirely through a post and has a comment that doesn’t include a personal attack, then they are welcome to post it. A personal opinion that is different, less informed, etc. from yours, mine, or others is welcome – but yes, uninformed, propaganda-spewing, progressive-utopia selling, big-government promoting, freedom-limiting comments are of zero use or interest to this site. And if such comments are posted, I know that you will be right there to put them in line. I am glad to have your very informed, experienced, and well-worded answers to the comments that aren’t toeing the party line of this site. With these discussion threads I am hopeful that passers-by & less-informed readers will learn a lot about a topic. Or at least learn to think for themselves instead of regurgitating media induced ignorance.
          Detailed responses to shot-from-the-hip comments could do wonders for onlooking readers. Very much like having Uncle Ted Nugent on the Piers Morgan show, or Dr. Ron Paul on any show. That is opening a lot of eyes and ears to a different way of thinking.

  7. Cal

    Hi Andrew,

    Didn’t mean to say not to post at all, but I guess what I was driving at is there is so much misinformation and liberal blathering already on the net and media in general that I dread reading more tripe. Opinions are like @$$holes, everyone has one…right? Trouble is people don’t often take the time to understand the impact or import of the subject matter they expound upon. The net is a great source of information if you are astute enough to read between the lines, the lies, misinformation and BS.

    Anyone whom the Canadian government deems fit to own a firearm may do so, it doesn’t however preclude any understanding of the issues intrinsically associated to it or with it. Here in lies the nexus of poorly educated owners and those who simply don’t care or don’t care to know better. If any gun owner in Canada thinks there is no correlation in the heated gun debate raging south of the line and our own anti-gun lobby here…do I have to spell it out?

    **Want to know some of the nonsense anti-gun lobbying being thrown at Ottawa? Check these out:


    I encourage you also to go and look at what is happening in the states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, and New York…they have all passed significant gun control laws at the state level. These Democrat (liberal) sates represent a population of about 75 million Americans, of course not all are in agreement. However, California, New York and Illinois are in the top 5 largest states by population in the US.

    What do I mean by this? Well if you don’t know already, the US is the last bastion of freedom and liberty with regard to gun ownership in the western world. All the other big players have fallen to gun control. The UK, Australia and Canada…all WWII powerhouses that all made huge contributions to liberating Europe and pushing back Imperial Japan. What’s the link? I’m not totally confident I have the whole answer, but it has something to do with getting soft and no clearly identifiable common threats. Kind of like a spoiled teenager, not knowing how much his parents sacrificed for him and how hard they worked to provide him a good life.

    What is not earned and fought for is easily thrown away by an ignorant and ungrateful heir.

    What is your freedom worth to you? Do you want to hide behind political correctness and the liberal “anything goes” mentality until someone decides to find fault with you too? Then what? Who will you run to then? What will your PC crap and non-committal attitude be worth to you then? What would you then give to regain what you squandered? Squandered you say? What do you mean? I mean wasted, gave away and turned your back on the hard won freedoms bestowed upon us by our forebears.

    You may not agree with me or my guns, but you should agree with the freedom to speak opinions and own those guns. If you don’t, go to some police state where they will “protect” you and order your days for you.

    So Derek, you are welcome to call guns whatever you like, tools or what-have-you. I will defend your right to say it, but I don’t have to agree. And for the record, if you do own guns…good on you for exercising your privilege to do so. I am going to be joining one of our Canadian gun associations and am seriously considering contributing to the NRA as well. I would seriously encourage any gun owners that want to remain as such to do the same.

  8. Sovereign Canadian Post author

    Good one Cal, man that guncontrol.ca site sure is doubleplusungood.

    I agree that we have collectively allowed our firearms liberties here in Canada to be eroded by more and more restrictions and regulations being added by the government. These restrictions are sold in the typical Liberal/Progressive/Democrat/Socialist way – and I do see this gaining momentum in the USA too.
    “Wouldn’t it be nice if there were no guns? Then violent crime would virtually vanish & we would all be safe”
    “We should ban Glock 19s – who needs to fire 19 times (sic)”
    “Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a standard minimum living wage and free food for the less fortunate”
    “Shouldn’t we have guaranteed medical care care for every person in this country”
    “Tiered income tax is a good thing, it forces the wealthy to pay their ‘fair’ share”

    I used to just ignore this stuff as inevitable media propaganda. Now it makes me cringe and gives me a stomach ache.

    I like your idea of also supporting the NRA. Sure we aren’t American, but if they allow their rights to be further eroded, then we surely will see more too. I, too, plan on joining the CSSA and NFA.
    I encourage firearm ownership to every person I run into with an ounce of personal liberty left in their minds. Even if it is just a $100 .22LR or a cheap 12-gauge. Then there is another PAL on the books, a greater percentage of our population as gun owners, and another firearm in our country. All good things.
    And when these control nuts try to further restrict our liberties, then these people aren’t just onlookers. It is a piece of their property that is being stolen.

    That the UN is calling for further regulation of small arms in countries such as ours is very disturbing. But then again, they are in the business of entering countries in order to take them over and police them. Gun restrictions make this a less dangerous action. I don’t see how my own rights should be affected by the UN. But it appears as if that is a goal of theirs. That’s a great thought for starting the day off.

    Why is the only political momentum I see restricting rights and freedoms? Nobody is willing to make the government take a hair cut.

    Thank you for your strong stance on our gun rights!

  9. Cal

    I couldn’t agree more with this…

    “I encourage firearm ownership to every person I run into with an ounce of personal liberty left in their minds. Even if it is just a $100 .22LR or a cheap 12-gauge. Then there is another PAL on the books, a greater percentage of our population as gun owners, and another firearm in our country. All good things.
    And when these control nuts try to further restrict our liberties, then these people aren’t just onlookers. It is a piece of their property that is being stolen.”

    I’ll take it one step further and forcefully suggest that any group who supports the powers that be, entering private homes to seize firearms whether stored properly or not, and further erosion of our abilities to remain gun owners are just plain IDIOTS!! It’s one step closer to tyranny. Guns now, then what later? Your books or computers, or other communications devices that you use to communicate about such subject matter? These people are so BLIND!!! They are literally attempting to throw away their freedoms, saying “Please take them, I don’t need them!!”

    Our forefathers and neighbors and relatives in other countries who fought for our freedoms and that of the western world in WWI and WWII and even back to the founding of our nations would be ashamed of what we have done and what we have let happen to us. This is not with just respect to guns, but all of our nonsensical laws and PC shenanigans that hamstring us from doing the “right” thing. When leaders and authorities continue as ours have for the last 50 years (US and Canada) and to try to grab more power for the executive and push the envelope of government reach and interference into our private dwellings and activities…we should be alarmed.

    And this…

    “That the UN is calling for further regulation of small arms in countries such as ours is very disturbing. But then again, they are in the business of entering countries in order to take them over and police them. Gun restrictions make this a less dangerous action. I don’t see how my own rights should be affected by the UN. But it appears as if that is a goal of theirs.”

    IMO, this is not a local problem anymore…we need to be aware that there is a move afoot to disarm people globally. DON”T BE NAIVE!!

  10. Derek Spratt

    I am very real, Cal. I enjoy guns as much as any one else. I just don’t want to get in trouble with them and I don’t want anyone else to either. And I really don’t want to give the government any further reasons to take our guns away from us, therefore my words of advice above.

    You might enjoy this youtube clip of me participating in the recent Vancouver emergency response team appreciation day shooting event. I am the final shooter at the end of the clip with the skeet shooting vest on, looking a bit like a dork! But I got all targets with all rounds with a good time. Fun stuff. I am loosely invoked with the VPD at the police board level and I keep contact with members of the tactile response team. They are a great bunch.


    1. Sovereign Canadian Post author

      Hi Derek,
      Great video – thanks for sharing. It must have been quite an experience!
      It’s great to see firearm owners on the police board level. I hope it is a wide variety of folks and opinions on a board like that.
      I would imagine that the professionalism is quite high on an ERT.

      Speaking of skeet vests, do you visit any of the local rod & gun clubs? I have heard that the golf courses are fun.
      Thanks for reading – and responding.

  11. Derek Spratt


    I am a member of several gun clubs around the province. For Trap and Skeet shooting I go to the Richmond club which is close to my office. I had my first PAL in 1979, and my first RPAL in 1996. My youngest son has his PAL now at age 15. My whole family belongs to several of these clubs as well.

    Your readers may be interested in the opinions around home defense of the VPD members who are mostly avid guns owners, especially the ERT guys: they know the stats and therefore pulling out a gun is the last thing they would contemplate doing – simply put, escalating the situation has the tendency of increasing the likelihood of family members getting hurt, so the cops play the odds and leave their guns locked up unless something really serious is going down. They generally like to be positioned behind solid objects before getting into gun fights and there aren’t many suitable objects to take cover behind in a typical home.

    There is the practical matter of safe storage to consider. I have heard of people who sleep with an assault 12 gauge under their pillow with shells in the dresser drawer. That is not safe storage and it would be hard to argue in court to that effect. If you have your guns and ammo stored safely, then there is the practical matter of getting to them quickly, loading, etc. – and only doing that once the situation merits. Pulling out a gun the moment you hear a forced entry (or think you do) can result in tragedy.

    Enough said. Guns are guns, calls them what you will. Most PAL/RPAL courses teach their students to not call them weapons. There is a great book on Canadian gun ownership rights and case law that you can find on amazon.ca. I have it at my office and will look the name up for your readers. It covers all of this nicely.

    1. Sovereign Canadian Post author

      Hi Derek,
      Thank you for the responses and for passing on responsible firearm ownership to the next generation.

      I would be very interested in even more advice from VPD officers on protecting our families, ourselves, and our homes. I mean that literally. Most of our exposure to home invasions is from Hollywood as well as people on either side of the gun debate: trigger-happy folks and extreme pacifists. But some advice (from the numerous examples they have seen) of how people get through it safely. In my mind it is likely getting your family together in a safe room, and it is not trying to clear your house. But you better be armed and ready for anybody that tries to enter that room. Thankfully I have only ever had to play that mind game and not the real thing.

      Please do share the title of that book with us. Very likely something worth reviewing.

  12. Cal

    Hi Derek,

    Thanks for replying. I have also read your other comment that is awaiting moderation at the moment. This kind of discussion is healthy as Andrew has indicated above.

    I don’t claim to be an expert by any stretch, but I do my share of reading and research on this issue. I also have many, many gun owning friends from varying walks of life and varied experience and they have some interesting perspectives as well.

    You should understand that IMO your advice was not particularly bad advice, but it carried a flavour of…don’t rock the boat…lest we offend someone or have our privileges suspended for some airy-fairy nonsense foisted on us by the anti-gunners. I don’t give a rip about placating the anti-gunners or the bleeding heart libs. Or, that somehow by speaking our minds that we bring the police to our doors. That already happened in High River, AB and their homes were unjustly violated. We should all be mad as hell!
    (You can cite emergency measures, public safety…I won’t agree. When locked doors were kicked in to gain entry, in a flooded out town already guarded by the RCMP. Guns or no guns, what happened in High River should be the rallying cry for every Canadian who believes in freedom. What happened there was a travesty of personal liberty.)

    I watched the video you posted, it looked like the PoCo Rod & Gun club on Burke Mtn. Also, looked like a lot of fun. I recently trained an RCMP ERT member for his class 3 license so he can drive their armored personnel carrier and one of my fellow instructors is a 30 year veteran of the VPD and ERT and another is a former Canadian Forces Tank instructor. They are an interesting breed and definitely much fun to hang out with. I quiz them regularly and have solicited their opinions on many of these issues.

    I also checked out your personal website and see you have been a very successful individual, well ensconced in various non-profit organizations and community groups. If you have a passion for firearms as well, perhaps you could do some good for the gun owning and shooting community as well. Far too many of us sit on the sidelines of the gun debate. Our silence will likely lead to the eventual loss of our privileges. We need our voices heard in Ottawa and contributing to our own Canadian gun associations is a great place to start. I hear the NRA (don’t know the veracity of this) has also been somewhat involved in our gun lobby here as well. I am thinking of contributing there as well.

    Those of us who wish to retain our firearms and perhaps continue to purchase more in the future should be anything but silent on these issues. I think we’ve collectively been silent for far too long and it’s time to get vocal. I wrote letters to my MP, etc with respect to scrapping the Long Gun Registry and also over the High River incident. I am also not under any illusions that my name isn’t on a “list” somewhere. I’m quite sure it is.

    As far as naming firearms what they are. I’ll be honest, I’ve never much cared for splitting hairs when it comes to terminology…especially if the use of specific terms is frowned upon because it might offend someone’s sensibilities. Politically correct I am not. So, someone please hit me up-side the head if I ever become a pompous PC moron. I believe in being straight forward and gut honest to the very best of my ability…probably to a fault.

    I don’t believe for one second that if we tip toe around the issue of gun ownership and gun control we will further our cause or the privilege of remaining owners. In fact, I believe silence will eventually achieve the opposite result.

    I believe our gun laws are far too restrictive for law abiding, approved, and licensed owners. Gun control measures beyond a background check and licensing will never keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to use them for nefarious purposes. I also believe that I have a right as a human being to defend myself, my family and my home if ever “invaded”. The Ian Thompson case from Ontario is a prime example of how backward our laws are and how law abiding people are unjustly put through wringer of our legal system for simply defending themselves and their homes.

    Your comments regarding safe storage and legalities of accessing your arms…the very heart of the Thompson case. And, it is complete bunkum as far as I’m concerned. Any legal technicality that is applied to a terribly stressful and life threatening situation “makes the law an ass”. We have a duty to stick up for our fellow Canadians being railroaded by the “justice” system for a supposed technicality that cannot be proven or dis-proven, as there are no witnesses to the alleged infringement of the safe storage laws. A law abiding citizen, with no criminal record (and a firearms instructor in the Thompson case) should be given the benefit of the doubt if he/she can show they have met all the necessary requirements for storage in their home.

    I will not be bullied by words and will not cow to popular opinion or the flavour of the month. I will not cower from the arrogance or delusions of the anti-gun lobby nor the milktoast blatherings of the PC leftists. I would however support and advocate for harsher sentences, for those who commit wanton crime with firearms or any other weapon for that matter.

    FWIW, in a home defense/self defense situation I would always opt for a lightly loaded shotgun over a pistol any day. I have my unloaded shotgun in the bedroom, in a soft case, with a combo (no keys) trigger lock on, ammo locked in same room. Not that difficult to get at in a desperate situation. Of course, always as a last resort. I don’t trust my nerves or aim in that situation, I don’t think a pistol would be of much benefit to me or anyone else.

    Sorry for being long winded, but I do not want to be misunderstood either.


  13. Cal

    PS – I should state for the record that while we have these onerous laws imposed upon us, I do my utmost to abide the laws regarding safe storage / transport, etc. People who flout the law do nothing to further the cause of easing our restrictions. In fact, they harm us by giving the impression that gun owners are reckless, non-law abiding and do not care to follow the regs. This makes us all look bad and fuels the fires of the anti-gun lobby. I would encourage all gun owners to obey the applicable laws however ridiculous they may be, in order to show the public at large they have nothing to fear from us…..’nuff said.

    1. Sovereign Canadian Post author

      Completely agree Cal: “…they harm us by giving the impression that gun owners are reckless, non-law abiding and do not care to follow the regs. This makes us all look bad…”
      The more ethical we handle our firearms, the fewer restrictions that are needed.

      Even though we should ALWAYS follow them, around non-firearm folks, we need to embellish our adherence to Colonel Cooper’s Gun Safety Laws (basically ACTS but more natural wording):

      -All guns are always loaded.
      -Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
      -Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
      -Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

      Also, not following firearms laws ourselves is not the way to voice our opinion on the restrictions. Gun confiscation and jail time is not a particularly good approach to enjoying your guns more.

    1. Sovereign Canadian Post author

      Thanks for sharing Cal – this sure is shameful.
      Charged with careless use of a firearm? I would say he showed tremendous restraint.

      Some excerpts I liked:

      “Canada’s leading firearms lawyer Ed Burlew represented Thomson, and said the decision is a significant victory for Canadian gun owners.
      “We all have a fundamental right to protect out property and our families,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to defend yourself without fear of prosecution, and I think that’s well established now.””
      —Now this seems to be one of the good lawyers

      “Thomson said he came under intense pressure from police to enter a plea and accept a weapons prohibition, but refused due to his belief he was innocent.
      “I would not cut a deal because I did not break the law,” he said. “And – to use a pun – I stuck to my guns.””

      “Thomson said he racked up about $60,000 in legal costs during the trial, but said much of that was paid by donations from members of the National Firearms Association, the Canadian Sports Shooting Association (CSSA) and readers of the popular pro-firearms online message board CanadianGunNutz.com.”

      1. Cal

        It is heartening to know that fellow Canadian gun owners supported Mr. Thompson with both encouragement and financial aid for his defense. I wish I had been aware of this at the time, I would have gladly contributed to the legal fund.

        Maybe, there is just a glimmer of hope for the future and maybe future court challenges will bring about some of the changes we need to our restrictive system. And, not to mention the arbitrary labeling of guns that get classified as prohib, restricted and non-restricted. There is no definable rhyme or reason to it. A gun is a gun, is a gun, is a gun…what’s the diff? Any determined shooter can turn a non-restricted weapon into a killing machine. Heck, a piano wire for the assassin right? This is more about appearances and politics than public safety…of that I am sure.

        1. Sovereign Canadian Post author

          It is very promising to see that the CSSA, NFA, and CanadianGunNutz.com were very supportive. Supporting them is still supporting their position on this fiasco.
          Political posturing is to blame for many restrictions. They can sell this to the sheeple as progress and get enough votes that way.

      2. Cal

        not only charged with careless use of a firearm but when that failed they tried the next one instead….as follows below:

        “Soon after, Crown attorneys charged Thomson with careless use of a firearm. These charges were later dropped, and he was charged with two counts of unsafe storage of a firearm.”

        So then the judge finally ruled the following:

        “Crown prosecutors argued Thomson had fallen afoul of safe storage regulations because, on the night of the incident, Thomson had a box of .38 Special ammunition in his bedside table. The judge ruled this was irrelevant, Burlew said, since Thomson’s guns were all securely locked away in a gun safe.”

        Notice, his ammo was unsecured…a precedent has been set. I’d love to see these laws challenged again under similar circumstances…another win in favor of the defendant would really help to make it stick.

  14. Derek Spratt


    You have put a seed into my head around being more active around promoting our rights. And I think you make a solid point that being passive and appeasing we risk trouble. I am known amongst friends as a gun guy. Most everyone who knows me well knows about my interest/hobby around shooting and owning guns. My staff knows and any visitors to my office know because I keep a long row of shell casings lining the edge of my desk in about 20 different calibers … I also keep charts of ballistics handy to ‘talk shop’ with anyone who show interest …

    And I run people out to the range when they show interest – trying to get them into the sport. But some people are strange as they are afraid of guns and won’t go anywhere near them. But my wife who is a lawyer can handle guns and seems to enjoy shooting whenever I drag her to a range (including US trips).

    One thing I noticed about RPALs and handgun registration is how much easier the paperwork and process is these days for us relative to 20 years ago – in some aspects our lives are easier. I travel around the province with my guns and even with prompting to the RCMP to ask them if I am OK with the way I am managing things they respond ‘no issue from us’. So I find them supportive in general.

    Hey, I have to boast about my first attempt a gun smithing this weekend: I hand fit a custom 6″ barrel to my 1911 format Colt Delta Elite 10mm. I want to shoot full power 10mm rounds which means I need to hand load as few manufacturers even come close to the max pressure specs so many 10mm rounds are no better than 40cal rounds. But my stock Colt DE has a ramped barrel and is profiled for smooth feeding such that the base of the shell isn’t fully supported – resulting in ‘smilies’ at the base when high performance ammo is used. So I got a fully supported barrel ordered in and it worked after a bunch of filing and test fitting. I went out to DVC and tried it – not perfect feeding but good enough for me to now start to cook up some hot rounds and then bench them with a chrono – I am looking for 1250fps with a 200 grain bullet which is around 750ft-lbs. My .357 has delivered some 785ft-lbs performance (1400fps with a 180 grain bullet) and I want to get a semi-auto to match it … a bit much for home defense, I’d say, but fun! My 44 Magnum has seen >1800ft-lbs.

    1. Sovereign Canadian Post author

      Hi Derek,
      Welcome to the club. Cal sure is enthusiastic and energizing when it comes to promoting firearms and gun rights. It’s contagious.
      I certainly agree with running people out to the the gun range when they’re interested. Many people aren’t actually afraid, then just don’t know how to properly handle a firearm and ensure that it’s safe. A day at the range if there’s a passing interest, and a run through a PAL/RPAL course if there’s a chance they have an interest in being a gun owner. The more safe & experienced gun owners there are the better. It’s basically a flywheel effect in my mind. Once the shooting sport momentum builds, it takes much more political force and energy to apply the brakes.

      Gun smithing projects! That’s great! Building/modifying parts, customizing you guns, and hand loading are real skills that take time to acquire.
      In my mind, hand loading rounds is a major way to really get to know your gun. Plus it is a personal exercise for your own concentration. I don’t hand load yet, but I’m quite certain that you want to be in the moment and not daydreaming while doing it.
      Was there a particular book or video you found to be extra helpful? Do you have a favourite recipe book?
      This is something totally new to me.

      It makes me happy to hear that the RPAL paperwork, ATT, etc. has become easier. I have no yardstick to measure with over that time frame. 20 years ago I was just learning to do ‘pest control’ on my parent’s farm. FACs and ATTs were not on the radar.
      Your non-issues with the RCMP is likely a result of: a) being a respectable citizen, b) following transport & storage laws to the letter, and c) being respectful to them.
      Many of them have to be personal firearm owners as well, and they are probably happy to have members of the citizenry promoting the shooting sports. I sincerely hope that this High River incident was just a very poor lapse in judgement, and not a true attempt or ‘dry-run’ at seizure. The biggest likelihood is probably somewhere in between.

      A revolver man! I like it. A first handgun purchase for me would be an autoloading pistol, but there’s something romantic and distinctive about a nice S&W revolver.

      An analogy to shaving just came to mind.
      The Glock 17 is your Mach 3 – robust, utilitarian, and everybody has one.
      A nickel 1911 is your double-edge safety razor. A bit retro, something of beauty, you take a bit better care of it, and gives you some pride of ownership.
      A classic revolver is your straight-edge razor. Something for the new renaissance man and quite distinctive.
      Or maybe not. But that was fun to come up with.

    2. Cal

      Hi Derek,

      Ok, you’ve been holding out on us! Not only an owner and recreational shooter, but a downright junkie…don’t deny it!! When did you come down with the dreaded disease? Andrew here hasn’t been exposed to the bug yet but as soon as he holds his first purchase in his virgin hands…he’s done. This is not one of those take a few antibiotics and be done with it afflictions…no, no!! This is a chronic condition, it’s terminal!

      I myself, was bitten in about 1995 when I inherited my first hunting rifle. It’s been downhill ever since. My infection seems to deepen and worsen every time I stop in at the local gun stores.

      Congrats on your gunsmithing endeavor and I hope she performs well for you. I think a group range trip is in order soon! I take possession of my IWI Baby Eagle 9mm in a few weeks.

      I’m glad I piqued your interest in a little activism. I think we all bear some responsibility to let Ottawa know how we feel and I’d love to see our restrictions eased for those who qualify. I believe those who have been vocal all along have done an admirable job so far, but with things going sideways south of the border…we need to step up our game here now. I mean right away.

      I’d love to see open carry permitted for outside of city limits for starters…not with a special permit either. The RPAL should do the job. Also, love to see restrictions eased on the AR-15’s, so many options with that platform…it’s ludicrous that so many other semi-auto “black” rifles are non-restricted but those are not. I’d love to see the restrictions of hand guns used in ranges only lifted as well. Hunting rifles used for target practice or otherwise are far more deadly out in the open country than a handgun. These again are arbitrary restrictions in my opinion.

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