LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The son of a Marine, Kyle Beeson learned how to shoot at an early age.

When he joined the Navy, he relearned many of the skills his father taught him.

Jessica Sottile, Beeson’s girlfriend, had no such training.

When Beeson returned from a ROTC stint at a San Diego naval base, he couldn’t wait to share his experiences with Sottile.

“I did a whole bunch of shooting out there,” Beeson said. “I came back and showed her pictures and videos and she got kind of hooked.”

That was about a year ago.

“I like the thrill of learning something new,” Sottile said.

Beeson was willing to teach her.

They purchased a membership at Applied Ballistics and now make weekly trips to Olympia Drive to fire rifles and pistols at the shooting range.

“We both kind of got hooked on doing it consistently,” Beeson said. “We got a membership and started doing it as more of a fun thing rather than just to learn.”

For those who are wishing to learn, Applied Ballistics offers tiered classes based on experience, starting with a relatively affordable two-hour introduction course for $30 per person and advancing to a three-hour intermediate handgun training course for $60.

The classes became so popular the store had to hire another instructor.

Then there’s a third class for more advanced shooters that practices tactical reloads and focusing on targets rapidly based on colors and shapes as they are called out.

“It’s an exercise to help them think more under pressure,” said Dan Quesenbery of Applied Ballistics.

“I want to be good and I want to demonstrate the proper sticktoitiveness to be a good role model,” Thompson said. “I want to practice and be consistent with them and demonstrate that I am holding myself to the same rules. But mostly, it is just about going out and having some fun.”

More importantly than teaching his children archery, Thompson sees the skills from a broader scope.

“Whenever kids do something new and different, it gives them a new perspective,” he said. “Anything they have that’s not (video games), they grow. If they’ve done things before, they are more likely to put themselves out there to do other things and be a leader or a teacher in the future.”

Thompson uses one of Geneo’s two archery alleys for practice when he’s not doing it outdoors.

But owner Gene Mills and USA Archery team member Caleb Sorrels offer instructional courses for both beginners and advanced bow shooters at the facility as well for $45 an hour, which covers range and rental fees.

Other stores, such as Four Guns on Earl Avenue, sell firearms. Quesenbery warns that anyone wishing to purchase a gun, or learn to shoot one, needs to do adequate research beforehand.

“Take anything on the Internet with a grain of salt,” he said.

A year ago, Sottile had the research done and was ready to learn.

She turned her curiosity into a regular hobby.

“I like knowing how to feel confident with one,” said the Purdue senior. “There was the apprehension of trying something new. It is nice to come here and not be cooped up in the apartment doing nothing.”

Ian Thompson remembers being 12 years old and shooting sling shots, throwing knives and learning how to shoot a bow and arrow.

Thompson now has two boys, ages 11 and 5.

He wants to expose his children to the same things he did as a child and regularly will fine tune his skills at Geneo’s Hunting & Fishing on 16th Street.


Source: (Lafayette) Journal & Courier, http://on.jconline.com/2ub8nis


Information from: Journal and Courier, http://www.jconline.com

This is an AP-Indiana Exchange story offered by the (Lafayette) Journal & Courier.

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SAM KING
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