St. Clair News Aegis (Pell City, AL)


January 10, 2013

Pell City Police offering handgun classes

Pell City — Pell City’s police department is getting an early start to its annual handgun safety courses.

Designed for beginners and concealed carriers alike, the intention is to offer ways for people to understand more about firearms at no charge to them.

The one-time courses have been improved from years past to include members from the legal community and local FBI office so that all questions and concerns can be addressed.

The first course will be offered January 19, with three following on April 13, September 14, and November 9. Class times are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Many people—especially now with what’s going on with the government—have gone out and bought guns who wouldn’t have bought them before, or received them for Christmas,” Officer Jimmy Woodard said.

Woodard, a certified firearms instructor, said the  class is typically taught in the spring and fall, but due to the demand, the department is starting them early.

Those wishing to take the course may use any caliber handgun. For those without a handgun, the police department will provide them but asks that one box (approx. 50 rounds) of 9mm hardball, full metal jacket target ammunition be brought for the shooting portion of the course. Woodard said that the class will go over what type firearm would be right for different individuals.

For those who bring their own weapon, 50 to 100 rounds of hardball, full metal jacket target ammo should be enough for the shooting portion of the course, Woodard said. Eye and ear protection is required for the range.

“This is a basic introduction to this,” Woodard said. “We’ve seen people from skill levels who have never fired a weapon—a lot of people are scared of guns—and due to the way things are panning out now they want to learn how to fire a weapon. We’ve seen people who are on shooting teams and things like that, too.”

The first portion of the course will involve classroom instruction. It will include a talk from a legal professional as well as going over a weapon and any problems someone might have with theirs.

“A lot of times people will find the weapon that they bring—especially with women—it’s typical that someone has gotten them a revolver,” Woodard said. “But what we’ve found is that the hand strength for someone to shoot a revolver is sometimes too tough, so sometimes a smaller, semi-automatic weapon is a lot better for them.”

Point shooting will be emphasized during the shooting portion of the course. “With your body’s natural reaction to stress, you’re not going to be looking for sights, especially if you only fire your gun once a year. What people usually do is leave feeling more confident and more educated about guns.”

Class sizes are limited. For more information or to sign up for the course, call the office at 205-884-3334 or e-mail:

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