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Some of my friends back in San Francisco might be surprised to know that I’ve bought a couple of guns since I moved to North Carolina. But I haven’t the slightest guilt about it. Being able to competently use a firearm is a great skill. Though I was a pretty good shot when I was a boy, I had not shot guns for years. I’m pretty much teaching myself, with some advice from friends. I believe a reasonable standard for pistols is being able to hit a 10-inch target at 25 yards. I need more practice; I can achieve only about 60 percent. This is a Ruger Mark III semi-automatic, .22 caliber. The magazine holds 10 rounds. Some people don’t consider .22 caliber pistols to be serious weapons. But the ammunition is affordable, so they’re great for target practice. And when loaded with hollow-point high-velocity long rifle cartridges, I don’t think you’d want to be hit by one.

My part-time neighbor at the end of the road comes to his cabin to hunt. He has a very nice shooting range down in the little valley below his cabin. That’s where I go to practice shooting.

Those of you who’ll be coming to visit from San Francisco after the house is done: You know you want to go down to the shooting range and fire away, don’t you?

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