01 Apr

Road to RPAL, Part 2

Written by TehGunky Published in Read 1 time

As you may recall from my previous post (Read it HERE), I decided to apply for my Restricted PAL this year using my tax return money. Well, things don't always go as planned, particularly when you're me.

I hit the first barrier when I applied for the gun club membership at the beginning of March. The club meets on the second Sunday of every month, and as it happens, that Sunday was the morning after the switch from Daylight Savings back to regular Eastern Standard Time. I woke up what I believed was nice and early, and ended up being an hour late for the meeting, catching up with my friend (who is a member in good standing) just as he was leaving. I gave him my friend the paperwork and the check, another member signed the paperwork as a sponsor, and I should be good to go for the April meeting. Which is fine, really, because it's too swampy to do any outdoor shooting right now anyway, and I don't have a pistol for the indoor range. 

The club meets again on the 12th of April, and this time I'm not going to get fooled by a time change. 

Another complication: impulse buys and expiring licenses. I had to renew my plate sticker and my driver's license, which I did on my birthday. That was a hefty chunk of change. And I had another unplanned expense when I found a Squier Affinity Telecaster in butterscotch blonde the day I got the tax return. And I had to finish paying off the SVT-40 I had on layaway. So, yeah. Cash-poor this month, and into the foreseeable future until I land another job and/or sell some shit. These expenses cut into the other big expense for the RPAL plan - the fee for the safety course. The course is $175 and takes 10 hours spread over 2 days. A local fellow was offering the course on the last weekend in March, so I signed up. Had to do a cash advance on my credit card, which I don't like to do because of the interest, but I see it as a needful expense. So I paid the fee and took the course.

It was an interesting 2 days. The class was way larger than my PAL class, which was just me and a bored teenager. This one was 8 people, including myself.

The instructor was a nice dude, a former gold medalist archer who competed internationally in his youth. The course itself was mostly really boring - nearly all of the material was still familiar to me from the PAL course from 2013, with a few differences in regards to storage and transportation. The handling is also different, because the gun is much smaller and way, way easier to swing around and point in a careless and unsafe direction, and to accidentally slip your finger inside the trigger guard during handling. You have to be a little more "present" when handling pistols. Not that you should be fuckin' around when handling a long gun, but the size and design of pistols makes it so much easier for negligent handling to result in bad shit happening.

I got 99% on the tests. I lost one mark during the practical because I forgot to examine the bore of the semi-auto when going through the motions of packing it to transport from the range to home. I knew I was skipping a step somewhere during that procedure and I remember pausing and trying to think what it might have been. I'm not going to sweat the one mark, because in practical terms, examining the bore at that point was entirely extraneous - I had just finished the "prepare to fire using a 2-handed stance" procedure and the gun was still in my hand and had not been fired. Magazine and cartridges removed, chamber and feed path inspected to make sure no cartridges remained in the gun - what could possibly have been in the barrel at that point? And why would it have mattered? 

I didn't argue the point. It's about the practice, not the practicality. I dicked up and knew it, so I'm not going to fight the penalty. And I'm not going to sweat 99%. That's a score I can be more or less proud of. 

In 30 days, I'll have my certificate saying I passed the course, and I'll be able to apply for the license. That'll be 80 bucks which I'm going to have to scrounge up from somewhere. Then I'll have about 6 months or so to save up for all the guns I wanna get when the license arrives - luckily my wishlist is short and most of the guns on it are cheap. Hopefully by winter, I'll have my RPAL and my first handgun(s).

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.