In every persons life, there is something that they keep near to them because it makes them feel safe and whole. It’s human nature to form attachments to physical objects to give emotional stability. For a soldier out in the field and in combat situations, we don’t have the luxury of having a “blankie” or a special key chain. We have our guns, and we become bonded to them through all of our training because they are the objects that make us feel safe and give us hope that we will make it out of combat and to our families. To read about the bond we have to our guns, please read “For Love of the Gun” below.
When I was first issued my firearm, I’ll be honest that I did not know very much about guns. I didn’t know the complexity of their build, how powerful they could be, and how tempermental they often were. I learned about all of those things very quickly as each day of training went out.
It was a absolutely beautiful day outside and I was at the gun range for the very first time to shoot my MP5. The instructor was going through all the checklists to make sure that we were handling our firearms safely; we had goggles, ear protectors, and we made sure that our gun was on full safety. Then, he gave us the instructions to start shooting at our targets. I will just say that it was an eye opener because while the MP5 doesn’t have the biggest recoil, I was still not prepared for the force that it pushed back onto me. To say the least, my accuracy was not very good on that first day of being at the range. After a while, I did get used to the recoil of the gun and I was able to improve my accuracy.
But, it’s important to know that without treating your gun with care and attention, you may not even get the firearm to shoot. I was amazed at how much attention the gun needed for it to be as dependable as we needed it to be. The evening after we had been at the gun range, we came back to base and we were tasked with cleaning our weapons. As we were provided instructions, I began to break down my gun, piece by piece, and by the time it was completely taken apart, there had to be several hundred small and intricate pieces strewn around me. I took a look and sighed because now I had to clean every one of those pieces, oil the gun up, and put it back together. I was not looking forward to the task, but it needed to be done. When it was all said and done, it took me about an hour to complete the whole task. That’s what I call attention and love!
After having been in the military for about 15 years, being able to take apart, clean, and put back together firearms has become second nature to me. In fact, I’ve become one of the best in my company at doing it. Through the years I’ve learned how to become a gunsmith and apply my skills to work with firearms with hands on training, and that is something I hope affords me opportunities in the future. I may not be an expert at every aspect, but I do know enough to be considered an amateur gunsmith.