Personally, I consider a range trip one of the more therapeutic activities I can do on my own time. Something about the relationship between myself, the firearm, and the target, in that literally nothing else in the world matters and can come in between myself and making that round go where I want it to go. I’m physically untouched from my time overseas (apart from my ankles, my knees, my hearing loss, my shoulders, and my back) but a number of friends, and an even greater number of servicemen and women who are back home, can’t say the same thing. I can only imagine, if enjoying the shooting sports in a somewhat normative setting would do for someone, then being able to enjoy them in the worst of physical conditions would do for someone with burns, amputated limbs, or eyesight.
These stories happened before Veterans Day this year, but they were published on Wednesday. One is of a Marine who received a number of burns on his face from a grenade, and is currently a successful competitive shooter. Another is of a Soldier who lost his right hand and recently became a CMP Distinguished Marksman through the help of his coaches. And yet a third is a Marine EOD (bomb disposal) tech who lost both of his hands and a gunsmith in Florida seemed to have put together an M40A5 rifle for him, and modified it so that it could be fired through the use of his mechanical appendages.
These stories probably represent the very tip of not only disabled American veterans, but all veterans worldwide who have found a new avenue in life, despite their crippling disabilities.
While I was still stationed at Lejeune, I came to know of a gunshop called Stumpies, ran by two EOD techs who had one working leg between them. The tech who had no legs, would be wheeling around the shop working on guns and talking to customers as if nothing was wrong.