Safety First, Last, and Always

John Beaty trains shooters like Kylie Vincent, who want to improve their confidence and skill while maintaining high safety standards.

Story and photography by Jefferson Bryant

Traditionally, Oklahoma has supported the Second Amendment, which it seems is constantly in the news, with both sides being pitted against each other. The problem with this is that it never actually gets us anywhere. The main thing we can all focus on to make significant change is safety training. Firearms are inherently dangerous tools, but they are tools. Learning how to properly utilize any tool is the first thing that you do when you get a new tool. A hammer can smash your thumb or drive a nail, you learn that pretty quickly. With firearms, you don’t often get a second chance to revisit the safety process after an accident. Whether you are a casual gun owner, avid hunter, or competition shooter, firearm safety is paramount, and must be practiced every single time your firearm comes out of the safe.

No matter where or how someone learned to shoot there is nothing wrong with the occasional refresher course on firearm safety. Training is very important, and under pressure when adrenaline kicks in, nearly every person in the world will lose an average of 30 IQ points. That is where gross motor skills take over, and if you don’t train regularly, you can easily miss your target even from 5 feet away. The Oklahoma Self-Defense Act (SDA) course is designed to give you a very basic understanding of Oklahoma’s self-defense laws and requires you to shoot a few rounds. These classes often do not clarify safety issues or provide training for actually firing your gun. That is all on you, so where do you turn to find a qualified firearms trainer who has the experience to teach beginners and professionals?

Here in Stillwater, we have one of the best resources for firearm safety. John Beaty, owner and operator of JB Shooting Sports, is an NRA Certified instructor, Anti-Terror Force Protection Officer, member of the Oklahoma National Guard, and former OSU ROTC rifle trainer, and leader of the Oklahoma State University Practical Shooting Team. Beyond just the basic SDA course, JB Shooting Sports offers Gun Safety 101 classes, competitive shooting training, and even adventure classes such as ropes courses and rock climbing. We recently had the opportunity to take the Safety 101 course, and having been through multiple safety courses, this is one of the best. John is knowledgeable and thorough, running you through the basic mechanics of the firearm, how they work, how to properly grip, how to stand. John guides you through everything that you need to know so that you can practice and become a good and SAFE shooter.

John Beaty provides Jefferson Bryant with some tips to improve his skill and accuracy. Photo by Ammie Bryant

Classes are held at Camo Corner, which is located a few miles west of Stillwater on Highway 51. Besides having an excellent shooting range, available at an hourly rate of only $10, Camo Corner is your only local resource for many of the best outdoor adventure products, including the coveted and hard to find Fjallraven brand of Swedish outdoor gear. From military surplus, to backpacking gear, and the on-site gunsmith and firearm sales, Camo Corner is a place you need to visit.

Camo Corner staff are friendly, courteous and professional. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, they are there to help.

We enjoyed our experience with John at JB Shooting Sports, and the staff at Camo Corner were very courteous and knowledgeable, something that is hard to find in the firearms industry. Not every customer knows exactly what they need or the proper terminology, so shopping can be intimidating for the beginner. These folks don’t make you feel dumb for not knowing the right word to use. More importantly, there are never any stupid questions when it comes to gun safety either.

We highly recommend that anyone who owns a firearm, or comes into contact with firearms, schedule a Safety 101 class with JB Shooting Sports today. Whether you are a newbie or your dad taught you to shoot when you were six years old, it never hurts to take a safety refresher course. Once you have completed the course the next step is to practice. Then practice some more, because when it comes to gun safety and shooting skills it is not “just like riding a bike.” It is absolutely vital to your safety and the safety of those around you that you not only keep your shooting skills sharp but your safety skills too. Because your right to bear arms comes with a responsibility to do so safely.