Rifles and ’Rithmatic and NRA's Mentor Program

posted on March 31, 2015
gsagi2015_fs-1.jpg (3)

You’ll be reading a lot about the NRA Mentor Program—an effort that launches in May—in the next few weeks. Those enrolled in the Mentor Sweepstakes could take home some sweet prizes, although I have personal experience that leads me to believe everyone who participates is a winner.

My grandson Isiah, who became a university student a couple years early, is a sterling example. He’s majoring in physics—only because the school doesn’t offer mechanical engineering—and is in the ROTC program. He’s an unusual young man who understands hard, grimy labor, too. He rebuilt the old truck he drives to school. A combination bookworm and grease monkey is a rare commodity.

This may sound like bragging, but honestly, I had nothing to do with his accelerated education. I was just lucky enough to get to watch that Blitzkrieg of academic curiosity take roots while he was behind a trigger. He’s great with a handgun, but long-distance is his passion and even at the age of 12, he was eager to understand bullet drop so he could hit the target consistently. We started with ballistics charts, but it wasn’t long until he graduated to doing a lot of the calculations longhand. After a session with Shooting Illustrated Rifles Editor Steve Adelmann, he started doping wind and rarely shoots without a notepad and pencil nearby.

For years my contention has been that the discipline involved in shooting helps build solid citizens—people who understand responsibility and always consider safety first, and foremost. Concentration on those sights translates into better focus in schoolwork and the calmness and breath control required to squeeze a good shot aids in maintaining composure in stressful situations—on the job, at school, or on the street. Isiah is far from an anomaly. I saw that when covering the NCAA pistol championships and followed the MIT team, which had several members faxing in their calculus assignments from the range. 

Trigger time isn’t required to excel at school, but in Isiah’s case it was one of the academic catalysts. The seemingly boring stuff of school can come alive when it has a practical application at the range, where the final grades may be measured in ability to average groups, comprehend why that bullet drops or the geometry of minute of angle. That’s how it started with Isiah, many years ago, and a great reason to take a youngster to the range this May. undefined

Young shooters don’t have an exclusive on the NRA Mentor Program, though. There are thousands of new, adult gun owners who can use an experienced tip or two, so download a copy of the NRA Guide For New Shooters and share it liberally. Then invite someone to the range in May, although if one of the firing lines is 300 yards or longer might want to bring along a slide rule—that acceleration due to gravity calculation gets a bit cumbersome without it.



Rifleman Q&A: Bullet & Primer Sealant

From the archives of American Rifleman, one NRA member questions the importance of the colorful or black-colored paint-like coating around the cartridge necks and primer pockets of surplus ammunition.

Preview: Zero Tolerance Knives 0357BW

The U.S.-made Zero Tolerance 0357 Black Wash liner lock features a 3.25" blade of hard, wear-resistant CPM 20CV steel treated with a scratch-hiding blackwash finish best suited for everyday carry.

The French FR F2 Sniper Rifle

Conceived during the Cold War and after thirty years of service, the French are beginning to phase out the FR F2 bolt-action sniper rifle, with the surplus rifles available for sale from Navy Arms.

SIG Sauer P210: The Long-Lived Swiss Service Pistol

First designed in 1947, and formerly the official sidearm of the Swiss Army, the SIG Sauer P210 is still in production today, with a few modern upgrades.

The Winchester Model 94: History & Disassembly

Compact, reliable and powerful, Winchester's Model 1894 lever-actions may not have the popularity it once had with Western settlers, prospectors, law enforcement officers, hunters and ranchers, but its legacy remains today and is a fan favorite in Winchester's current product line.

NRA Gun of the Week: Fabarm USA Autumn

On this week’s “Gun of the Week” video preview, American Rifleman examines a first from Fabarm, a side-by-side break-action shotgun called the Autumn.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.