Pistol Essay feedback


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Frank P.
September 17, 2003, 03:00 AM
Hello, I am new to this forum although my friend has sent me quite a few threads over the past few months and i have found them highly interesting. However the real reason im posting now is that i have very recently written an essay for an college composition course. The essay assingment was to pick an artifact that has some meaning to yourself, describe it, write a short story about it and analyze what you have learned from your artifact. Naturally i chose my S&W 9mm pistol since, shooting it is one of my favorite past times, so i turn in the essay and my Proffesor gives me a B on it and writes, if you make some of the corrections on the essay perhaps a Gun magazine would publish your essay. I then sent my essay to my friend who visits this site often and told me i should post it on here, so thats what i wish to do, i would like any feed back, negative positive on the essay and your thoughts if it could make it into a gun magazine. Thanks alot, Frank.

I stand there, hands perfectly fitting the cool, coarse grip; the polished black steel reflecting the sunlight off the four-inch long barrel. The weight feels strangely comforting in my sweaty hands. A surge of excitement rushes through my body. I look downrange through the back sight until I spy the front sight perfectly in tune with the target exactly fifty feet in front of me. My pointer finger tentatively moves from the trigger guard until it is gently caressing the curved piece of steel that is the trigger. I take a deep breath and hold it, my hand slightly shaking with the uncertainty of how this will feel. I slowly squeeze the trigger, letting my breath slowly exit my lips as the loud “bang” rips through the peacefulness of my thoughts. My heart misses a beat as the smoke of the gunpowder fills my nostrils with the acrid smell of exploded gunpowder. My heart is beating twice as fast now from the excitement of the power in my hands. I love the feeling. I need more. I squeeze the trigger again. The feeling of excitement increases; the feeling of uncertainty diminishes rapidly. I fire six more rounds and every round expelled from the barrel seems to heighten my excitement. No longer am I shaking from nervousness; now it’s pure excitement and adrenaline rushing through my veins as I press the magazine release button. I reload the magazine somehow with shaky hands, savoring the feeling of pushing each round down until all eight rounds are in the magazine and I slam the magazine into the grip, ready for the next round of adrenaline.
Many people disapprove of or even hate guns. These people claim guns are nothing more than tools of murder and mayhem, used by heinous people to slay the innocent, or young ignorant kids to maim or kill their friends by accident. I, however, do not share this point of view; in fact I totally disagree with this point of view. Guns are just tools used; like matches that start forest fires, it’s the person who is the problem not the gun itself. I look at my nine millimeter Smith & Wesson semi automatic pistol as a tool, a mentor of life’s lessons for me. Important lessons from my pistol, lessons in safety, responsibility, discipline, respect, and the privilege of being an American and enjoying all the rights I am given by the Constitution.
Many deaths from guns are by accident and from the misuse of the firearm stemming from ignorance. A person must know all the rules of shooting, and at least the basic features of the gun before handling it. I learned every one of the rules by going to a class, along with shooting with expert marksmen who have been shooting for most of their lives. While shooting a gun I prefer to follow all the rules, using responsibility just as I do while operating other potentially deadly weapons like my car or speedboat. I try to drive the speed limit and buckle up, or to always wear a life vest in the boat. Using my gun and following all, the rules like never aiming the gun at anyone, loaded or not, enforces my use of rules everywhere else in my daily life.
Another important lesson I learned from my pistol is respect. After firing the pistol and feeling the unadulterated power unleashed from the firearm I found a deep respect for it. No longer is a gun just a toy to have fun with; and it is now much more, and it cannot be treated dismissively. I practice this respect with everything that is dangerous, not only with the pistol itself. Consider a car for instance; one must have utmost respect for the power and dangers it can bring. A person must not push his luck in a car or he may cause a life- threatening accident to himself or others on the road; this is just the same as a shooter at a range who must have respect for the gun, or he could cause an accident to himself or other shooters.
I have also learned a lot about discipline from shooting my pistol. I learned discipline mostly in practicing with my guns to improve my marksmanship. At first my shooting was dismal; I was frankly embarrassed as bullets strayed all over the range-- I even hit another shooter’s target a few times. However, the embarrassment and the fact that I was less then perfect at shooting didn’t stop me from going to the range and blasting a few hundred more rounds. Slowly, I have become a better and better shot; no longer do my bullets stray their courses to other targets. Now I always hit my target, but not always in the bull’s eye. This discipline of sticking to it and not giving up has helped me in many ways, from sticking to a healthier diet to staying on track with my schoolwork. No matter what gets in the way, I take the challenge and overcome it.
Perhaps one of the greatest things I learned from my pistol is how fortunate I am to be living in the United States of America and the importance of the Constitution to the citizens of this nation. I enjoy all my constitutional rights; I like to write what I feel, without the fear of governmental punishment. I like to practice whichever religion I feel like practicing without being burned at the stake for heresy. I am fond of the idea that I can speak my mind without being labeled a threat to the government and hanged for treason. I love the fact that I can own and shoot my pistol without being arrested. This is what makes the United States of America great, the constitutional rights of the American citizen.
In conclusion, the manufacturing of a fine firearm accurately depicts what I have learned from my Smith & Wesson Pistol. A gunmaker must make sure the gun is safe enough for sale, just as a person must make sure he knows all the safety rules before handling the firearm. The manufacturer must have the discipline of overcoming all challenges in the production of the firearms, no matter how big or small the problem they face is, just as the new shooter must have the discipline of keep practicing no matter how poor he might seem at hitting the target at first. The gunmakers must have respect and pride in their firearms, as the shooter must respect the power of his pistol. The manufacturer also must know that they are selling the guns to citizens of a nation that have the rights to own and use the firearm the company makes, just as the shooter must know that the reason he or she is able to own that gun is because the Constitution states that he or she has certain unalienable rights, that include the right of free speech, free press, freedom of religion and the right to own a gun. I have learned a lot about life and myself due to my pistol and I am thankful for it and the knowledge and experience it has given me.

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abdrdude
September 17, 2003, 03:12 AM
Frank, I enjoyed your essay. I would have no problem seeing your works in any of the popular gun magazines. Scott

Hand_Rifle_Guy
September 17, 2003, 03:37 AM
Woohoo! First reply!

Ah, nuts, second reply. OK, first lengthy critique. Brace yourself.

Hokay, firstus: Frank, Welcome to The High Road. I think you'll enjoy this place. come back often, all opinions are encouraged!

Secundus: Nice essay! I'm quite surprised that a professor would give a B to an essay on the enjoyment of guns. There have been LOTS of threads here complaining about the Liberal Re-Education system in America lately. It's nice to know that there's a few out there that aren't corrupted.

That first paragraph of yours is a doosy! That kind of detailed emotional response is usually reserved for the think-with-their-emotions, save-the-children-type liberal ranting, but THEIRS is all about how that power they feel is trying to take over their brain and drive them to violence. You made no such allusions, and it's good to see someone writing in a style we usually criticize as lacking in restraint and indicative of a pro-violence bias, WITHOUT going into any violent references at all. (8-round single-stack, eh? 3913?)

Nicely written, with strong personal tie-ins, and good hooks for reader empathy. Unfortunately, I don't think the gunrags'll get too excited about it. They like things that 1) have commercial tie-ins to advertisers, and 2) they're more about things (i.e.: products) than concepts or ideas. Is your essay gonna help a magazine sell issues? Or it's advertisers move products?

Not to say your essay's in any way bad. Just that it's not a piece of commercial writing. I don't suppose you wrote it for an advertising class.

All in all, I really liked your piece. It emphasized all the right things. discipline, respect, rules, Constitutional rights, American Citizenship, and also dipped into the hedonistic "guilty-pleasure" part of shooting that we don't talk about much, because we have a tendency to get jumped on by anti-gunners about it whenever they see parallels to their own flawed thinking.

That means we just enjoy shooting. Anti's enjoy it, and that scares them. I guess they just have no self control, and therefore cannot entertain the idea that ANYONE ELSE might actually have self control. Seeing comparable enjoyment in others MUST MEAN others are at the same "on-the-edge" point as they are. Psych-folks call it "projection."

I'm no english teacher, but I'd give it a B in a heartbeat. To get an A, it'd need a bit more "readability", "better flow", "smoother phraseology", a bunch of sort of buzzwordy concepts like that that are really tough to actually explain. Maybe it'd be "Sounding smoother if you read it out loud."

The paragraph breaks need to be better defined. I dunno if that's a factor of the forum format or not, but that'd help the flow a lot.

Hard to define. I dunno. It's a monolog. Monologs have to flow like a river, smooth with no lumps, like good cake batter.

Oh yeah, I'm a big help. I should leave grading papers to people who do it for a living. We have a few here. Me, I'm one of those annoying folks who can write well without thinking about it much. That doesn't make me all that great a critic.

But Hey, it's free. It's worth what ya pay for it. Glad to have you here, and once again: Welcome to The High Road!

Edited for my LOUSY in-a-hurry typing. Sheesh! :rolleyes:

Frank P.
September 17, 2003, 03:49 AM
Thanks you two for the feed back, your right i dont think theres much in there about commercial stuff so i doubt theyd publish it but ill give it a try i think just for the odd chance to see my work in a magazine. Thanks alot for the feed back i hope more people give me feed back for i really like to know what people think about it. And yes i am very passionate about shooting my pistol and i have no problem writing like a stinking Liberal LOL.

Hand_Rifle_Guy
September 17, 2003, 04:12 AM
YES! Check back. More will chime in.

I wasn't good enough. You don't write like a liberal. You borrow from their technique. That's a good thing. No criticism of that intended AT ALL.

As you said, passionate writing. We on the pro-gun side of the fence need MORE of that. Appealing to passionate thinkers is something that cold analytical facts utterly fail to do, and cold facts are the pro-gunner's stock-in-trade.

'Nuther reason you need to stick around. We need more of your stripe around to critique OUR essays. Getting passion outta the likes of ME is darn difficult.

And I would LOVE to hear some of your ideas for captions on Oleg's posters, which you will find out about if you hang out.

It's midnight here on the Wrong Coast. Most "normal" folks are asleep. Expect heavy response within a day.

Brian Dale
September 17, 2003, 01:46 PM
WELCOME, FRANK P. !

Good essay. I expect that you'll have a lot of good feedback from members here. Some of us on the east coast will be offline until Isabel's gone through; please stick around. I concur with Hand_Rifle_Guy; good things come to those who wait.

I'll be happy to give you my comments; I have to ask you to wait for them until I'm back online. I write and edit for a living (math and science texts and workbooks; no magazine articles yet), but I don't claim to know anything about your target market. I do love the language, though.

If you don't mind, my custom is to include a lot of piddly comments about style and wording. These are not corrections, per se; they're just thoughts that I'll want to pass along. Your part would be to use or ignore them as you please; no offense intended, ever, and no offense taken if you ignore them all. I recommend that you follow that approach with any editorial comments from anybody who isn't from the actual magazine you're selling the article to. It's your essay, and should be in your writing style. Let your assessment of my advice reflect the fact that most of the people here at THR know more about guns, shooting and the RKBA than I do.

{edited to add: and you can tell that quite a few write better than I do, too. :D }

Some of my thoughts are similar to yours; one of my posts is the eleventh in the thread at
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=37931

TonyB
September 17, 2003, 02:53 PM
After the first paragraph I needed a cigarette...:D
Seroiusly though,nice essay....keep up the good work and writing..:cool:

Gus Dddysgrl
September 17, 2003, 04:32 PM
I don't have a lot of time to write a response, but I did want to reply. My dad said I had to read your essay and critque it.

I would say it is B work, but there are some changes grammatically and a few small style changes I would make to give it an A. (If you want I can go through and change all the minor things to make it an A and send it you, but I don't have time now.)

I'm not a big magazine reader so I wouldn't know where it would go. I think if edited and rewritten it would make a good opinion column. I liked reading it alot. The details were great. One thing is did accomplish was it connected with the readers. Being able to connect with your audience is key to good writing.

I am an English major with a minor in writing and I have to learn to write to connect to the audience and get my point across to people who don't agree with me. You did a very good job of that. It is much like an essay I have to write later this semester for my Avdanced Composition class. I will post mine when I eventually get to it. Hope it all works out for ya.

Welcome to the High Road btw.

Gus

M2HMGHB
September 18, 2003, 01:26 PM
Hey bro sorry I didnt get to postin earlier. Welcome to The High Road and as I said i like your essay, the first paragraph is the most realistic.

Scott

P.S. see ya on AIM

MuzzleBlast
September 18, 2003, 01:51 PM
I love the fact that I can own and shoot my pistol without being arrested. This is what makes the United States of America great, the constitutional rights of the American citizen.
I agree with the other posters here that because of grammatical errors and problems with flow, this essay does not rate an A. But I gotta tell you, kids who think like you reaffirm my optimism for the future. :)

M2HMGHB
September 20, 2003, 02:04 PM
Hmmm I'm wondering why no one else has replied.

Brian Dale
September 20, 2003, 02:58 PM
A lot of us on the east coast are outdoors picking up tree branches. We stop in at THR for a quick read when we come in for more coffee. Back soon.... :)

geekWithA.45
September 21, 2003, 12:54 AM
You show promise, keep it up!

Welcome, welcome, welcome!

Some (subjective) pointers, in no particular order


Shooting style:


My guess is that you may have already learned these things by now, as it appears to have been written from a "first timers" perspective.

FWIW:

-Train yourself to pick up the front sights first, and not the back sights.

The general algorithm is look at your aim point, and practice raising your pistol from your side until you reliably and automatically put the front site on the target. With practice, and a consistent, correct grip, your rear sights will align automatically. Once you've got that down, start practicing from a draw. Lots of dry fire, unloaded practice will get this down pat for you.

The other thing is to remember that handgun skills deteriorate. If you haven't shot or dry fired in a while, you'll lose that ability to automatically get the sights on target.

-Releasing the half breath: It depends on what kind of shooting you're doing. If it's bullseye target shooting, well and good. If it's combat shooting at ranges < 25 yards, don't bother.


Writing style:

-It's a tad dense. spread it out some, and remember that less is more.

-Remember to vary phrases that mean the same thing...I think I saw "Point of view" a few times in close succession.

Content Selection:

It depends on your audience and objective.

If this is pure expository writing to a general audience and it's objective is to relate your subjective emotions/take on things, well and good.

If any part of the intention here was to convince anyone of anything, you probably need to deal with some aspects of the experience with a bit more sensitivity to the general public. (in other words, don't frighten the sheeple!)

This essay seems to have a lot of imagery centered around excitement, adrenaline, and power rushes, which doesn't play well with the soccer moms. Anti gunners have a peculiar psychology, in that they have an entirely ambivalent relationship with power. They want power, they fear power, they are fascinated with "the power of death" while at the same time projecting their distrust of themselves with power onto everyone else. There's a couple of hot buttons that set them off, and you dance pretty close to a few of them.

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