Full Auto Uzi Incident
Sep. 22nd, 2014
I have given this a lot of time and thought before actually sitting down to write how I felt about this situation. Giving that a lot of firearms professional trainers decided to put their two cents in and they do not even work with full automatics and tourism really hit me a little bit and upset me. This is my industry, I travel nationally to instruct and locally in Las Vegas, and this is how we make our money here. So wording this is my utmost responsibility to keep it worded safe and it will probably offend a lot of people.
I am a full automatic tourism instructor for my 9 to 5 job and I’m a Naval Veteran, whose job was guns. What Full automatic tourism entails is show casing machinery and letting people, who sometimes, can’t even speak English or understand real machinery details or understand basic body positioning (i.e.: leaning forward means hips to the rear, and not leaning back). These people will also be weak, misunderstanding, hard of hearing (its really loud in an indoor range with full automatics running), and not believe the machine is real. These people will most likely be from outside of the country and have never seen a real firearm before. Something America is blessed with. No matter how many times we tell them. Hence why, safety is always and will always be, my number one concern and my range’s number one concern. I have helped write our safety policies and training policies, we go in the deep into protecting our staff from events that can happen and to also prevent mishaps to customers. Preparing for the worst in any situation or place of employment is how everyone stays safe. Just like a fire drill, how many times does everyone have that drilled in their head before it really happens and people just muscle memory move out of the building?
We, as instructors, have thirty minutes to an hour to help an individual have fun and be extremely safe experiencing this machinery being full automatic, semi-automatic, or even bolt action (fires one at a time). Which IS totally safe, when done appropriately by a trained and experienced staff. We give multiple safety briefs prior to their presence on the range, prior to the gun in their hands and go over questions before and after. Every now and then you will have a stellar customer who listens to everything you say and really absorbs what you say about handling the firearms, aiming, and controlling the firearms with your body and using basic physics. These customers are generally about 3 out of 5 odds. I work with people who don’t speak English, using body language and some common words that are similar and relatable. You get these details only from experience, or knowing other languages. When customers are acting difficult and not cooperating then we can politely ask them to reschedule or leave. Which is unfortunate, seeing as how they came in to have a good time and they are ruining it with a bad attitude. As a full automatic instructor and as an instructor for any kind of firearms, you are the boss. You (the instructor) are in charge, and YOU are the primary safety to the non-experienced and unknowing. Ignorance of the customers abilities and your own does not and will not save you. We receive awards, tips, and even written reviews on our safety at our range highlighted on our business reviews, yelp pages, trip advisor, facebooks and more.
I have worked with kids younger than the young female (9 years old) who did lose control of the full automatic Uzi that hit Mr. Charles Vacca. I have helped and instructed a U.S. Citizen female 5 year old to handle a full automatic firearm, and she did fine. I have instructed young females and males from other countries and some of them even barely speak english. It is all handled by an individual basis, and judging the customer is a primary safety that we do as instructors. If our first gun is a semi-automatic together and they can barely handle that one, then I will suggest other firearms for the customer that are EASIER for the client, or basically handle the firearms for them while they pull the trigger. I have also assisted handicapped individuals and veterans who have come back from supporting our country and can not physically handle the firearms themselves but still want to shoot and participate. I put that in simple terms, they will still hold the firearm, but I will be holding it stronger than them and assisting them keeping it straight while they pull the trigger. These talents again, come with experience and appropriate training.
I do train and instruct, both defensive classes (I teach CCW and more shooting classes, pistol, rifle, shotgun, etc.) and these full automatic tourism dates, and there is a definitive line that is crossed. One is fun and solely pure fast entertainment like a roller coaster. The other is a defensive or practical gun training where one is expected to learn and spend more than 2-4 hours minimum with an instructor learning ONE or two basic or advanced skills with one gun to help with shooting hunting, competitively or shooting for defensive training purposes. This is why some instructing courses are one WEEK long! One could design a course on just how to draw out from the holster training for two hours, and it would take the whole two hours and then some for some students! Instructors understand that talk, it is the same to be said about a math skill. Some will pick it up, and some will be confused until it is broken down into tinier pieces and simplified into laymen terms. With full automatic tourism, you do not have that time to break it down with the clients, they are in town for fun, and they came to your range to just get some trigger time! So we assist them, as safe as possible, to let them enjoy a right they do not receive in their own country, afford to do at home, or let alone in their county (even US citizens come to shoot full automatics for fun and are not looking to sit in a eight hour class).
In comparison, full automatic tourism is like experiencing your first roller coaster ride. Is it functional training? No. Is it necessary? It could be, if you pay for the time to be appropriately trained on the physics and mechanics of it all. If not, and you go to just for the “ride”, it’s an experience and there is little life lessons learned, and maybe people know how hard it is to actually handle and accurately shoot a firearm. This also giving them a respect for the firearms and walk out learning some safety rules, if they had an appropriate detailed instructor. Hollywood makes it look so easy, they all say. As instructors, and gun enthusiasts, we all know the truth behind the screen; Hours and days of training and possibly even blanks are being used or it’s just good old special effects. It’s entertainment, and everyone loves it. We all wish we were super heroes or maybe even have talents like “bending bullets” made popular by hollywood’s Angelina Jolie.
I do not solely blame the instructor, Charles Vacca for what happened. As a professional, I question his mindset on his body and hand positioning and his comfortableness being on the weak side of the girl upsets me. His lack of control on the firearm is also inappropriate, for his hand placement is underneath the full automatic, and seeing as with full automatic Uzi, when in motion during shooting full automatic, they do not move down, but move up and to the right or left. This is all from what “I can see” from the video, I was not there to first hand experience the situation. As a full auto instructor and with basic physics you would want to control the gun in a way to prevent movement and to counter what it could do if there is a loss of control. I put a blame on the facility mostly, for lack of appropriate safety training, their relaxed state of mind with full automatics, and for them not questioning his positioning either while handling and working with the girl. Safety should always be number one in everyone’s mind.
This is all tragic indeed, and I am neutral on the fact that it’s an inappropriate event. I do not blame the parents for taking the girl there, I deal with parents all the time of the same age children, sometimes if not younger. There are a lot of other unfortunate machinery events that happen, elevators break, cement trucks fail, cars crash, people lose control of tractors, etc. This one gets more attention because this machinery tool is a gun. It got blown up and people without knowledge and without experience blamed objects and people. Also, without having being there and first hand witnessing everything that happened, how can anyone give a real review and opinion over what happened? I pray for his family and hope they are okay. Also, I hope that little girl uses a gun again, and isn’t traumatized by her first experience. Which, unfortunately, will be a hard experience to shake.
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