Due to a series of incidents over the last couple years, I’ve learned a lot about vulnerability,
being realistic, and fear. I have carried through a variety of injuries, but these last few had me
too unsteady on my feet to practice with consistency, and my philosophy has always been if my
skills aren’t sharp, I don’t carry. In the course of 15 months I have both hips replaced. Then as
I was just about ready to start back to the range, I fell and fractured my femur. Surgery, metal
plate, screws. And months of crutches. All of this adds up to significant changes in my personal
I miss going to the range, but I’m just not steady enough on my feet, or crutches, to be
comfortable shooting. Actually, I could probably shoot, it is dragging the range bag with all its
assorted heavy objects that is really slowing me down. But I’m close.
For now, I’ve tried to ramp up my situational awareness even more than my normal, which was
pretty high. Because I have trouble walking or standing for any length of time, I’m at home
more, so my exposure is less. I still know how to swing a crutch and use is to extend my punch,
but with the plate in my leg I’m more fearful of falling. That, and I don’t bounce like I did when I
I will be returning to the range soon. My plan is an hour on my own, stressing fundamentals,
starting at 8-10 feet and just concentrating on grip, shot placement and not falling over. The
next time I will likely enlist support from another instructor to help me spot anything I need to
correct, they can always see it faster than I can, just like I can spot something they’re doing
almost immediately that they aren’t even aware of. Good instructors are great allies!
Then, since crutches are in my future for a few more months…appendix carry will be my new
best buddy. I’ve always been a strong side hip, but the sound made when the crutch hits the
gun is pretty obvious.
This is new territory for me. I’ve carried through lesser injuries, and worked with people with
severe limitations. But I believe, if I’m not practicing, I’m not carrying. It isn’t worth the risk to
innocents. I need to know exactly where those rounds are going.
Be Safe, have wonderful holidays, and for those of you getting something special this year,
happy shooting! My gift to me was a new AR (but that will be a while unless I shoot sitting down.