US Vacation Summer 2016 and Firearms Safety insights from Y-man…

Apologies for the long silence, its been a bit of a tough year. With increased work pressures, and even MORE restrictions related to firearms in my country, I have not been able to write much. Mea Maxima Culpa!

I have been thinking of the wide parallels between my country and the United States as related to firearms ownership, and I continue to envy you guys in the US.

Here are a few updates for you all, including my last trip to the US for vacation in the summer of 2016.

Extreme Trigger-finger safety…
I have for some time now become very careful when it comes to keeping my finger off the triggers of firearms. I have gotten to the stage now where my index finger is instinctively outstretched when I pick up a Hair Dryer, or a Power Tool, or even a toy gun. Talk about muscle memory…
It has become part of my psyche now: not to ever put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to DRILL. Hahaha…
I told a workman not to point his spray paint-gun muzzle at me the other day, and to take his finger off the trigger – he must have been wondering where I could have gotten what I must have smoked that day…

Extreme Trigger Discipline1

But seriously, this is something that means a lot to me, and I am glad that I have been able to teach my kids this. You should see their stance, muzzle control, and trigger discipline when having Nerf battles: and they are 7 and 5-year-olds. My eldest is 12 going on 13 years old, and he even teaches the younger brothers firearms safety, especially when they forget… He has been shooting a bit, he started with my shotgun when he was about 7 years old [With me holding on tight, of course.], and since then has fired my 12-ga shotgun Mathilda a few times and recently had also been getting some practice with a Benjamin Trail NP .177 Air Pistol we have access to. This helps both of us keep our hands in while living within city area, in a country where we almost do not get to shoot real firearms. What am I saying? START THEM YOUNG, and you will have a generation that understands and respects safety with firearms.

Has any of you had experiences relating to instinctive trigger discipline, even on non-firearm activities that you would like to share?

Family US Trip Summer 2016
My eldest son recently got the chance to fire some real Pistols, a SMG and an AK47 on a family vacation trip to Atlanta this past summer. While the wife and others where shopping their hearts and wallets out, my eldest and I went to the Stoddard’s Range and Guns: visiting both their locations. They have exceptional facilities in the Downtown as well as the Douglasville areas of Atlanta, and I am sure anyone visiting would have a good time.

After the usual warm welcome, we got to shoot some good old fun firearms: the HK MP5 full auto, Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm Compact, the Ruger .22 pistol which my son loved, and the CZ 75 in 9mm. With the latter, he took one shot and then BEGGED me to let him stop: I guess 9mm recoil shocked him in a pistol. We then shot the same 9mm in a HK MP5, and he just could not get enough of it – semi-auto fire only though. I personally fired auto, but the staff there seemed disappointed that I did not do mag-dumps, and kept firing only 2 or 3-round bursts…
Then when my son fired ONE shot out of an AK47 – 7.62×39, you could see the SHOCK in his face. He then calmly “safetied” the rifle [Just like I taught him] and carefully placed the gun [pointed downrange, like I taught him] on the counter. He turned to me, mouthed “Never!” and practically forced his way out to wait in the store seating area – to watch me through the bullet-proof glass. Hahaha! He will come right round soon; I know…

One shot of 7.62×39…
Igoche shoots AK47

Picture shows surprise on his face…
Igoche shoots AK47- He was surprised at recoil

It was all fun: especially being able to tour the Gun Repair and Building shop at Stoddard’s Downtown Atlanta store, and witnessing their first edition of the Zero-Hour shooting competition. This had teams of 4 shooters, shooting Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, and Machine Gun [RPD] at very challenging targets, including a 75-foot shot at a balloon as a hostage taker right behind his hostage [Don’t hit the hostage!].
Good one all the way.

Summer 2016 Stoddard's Range Visit (a)

Summer 2016 Stoddard's Range Visit (7)

Summer 2016 Stoddard's Range Visit (6)

Summer 2016 Stoddard's Range Visit (3)

Summer 2016 Stoddard's Range Visit (2)

Summer 2016 Stoddard's Range Visit (1)

Igoche loads a magazine

Igoche shoots MP 5

Igoche shoots .22 Pistol

Igoche planning strategy Day 1

We really had fun hanging out with Gun owners…
We enjoyed hanging out with a lot of nice shooters and firearms owners at the ranges: they let us shoot their firearms, and took time to even coach my son… NOICE!
On the way back to the hotel, we had a further reminder of what we are missing back home. The taxi guy who picked us up, a nice gentleman named Jake, was really knowledgeable about firearms, and we had a very good 25-minute drive. We talked about home defense, and he told me stories from his experiences from 35 years of driving a cab [He owns his own cab company now – THE AMERICAN DREAM!]. My son and I looked open-mouthed as Jake [SAFELY] showed us his EDC: a nice handy semi-auto pistol in .32 ACP caliber. I still wonder where he pulled it out from, and so fast too. He carries this caliber in expanding bullets so as to avoid over-penetration to the fuel tank, if he has to use it. These experiences got me thinking, and the lighter weight of my wallet also.

I would say it was a good vacation, and a good trip as always: I think we might have boosted the finances of Sears, Macy’s, Walmart and Amazon more than just a little bit…

Now back to the Air Pistol.
We [My kids and I] have had a LOT of practice in the accuracy department with this Benjamin Trail NP .177 Air Pistol we have, it gives us .177 [4.5mm] pellets, single-shot capacity at up to 500fps to practice INSIDE the house. We shoot into a padded steel box pellet trap, and collect the expended pellets for recycling. We have a lot of the “Splatter” visible targets, which we bought quite a lot of in the US.
The Benjamin Trail NP Air Pistol came with crappy [For me!] sights, and I did not really enjoy using it as a pistol. Sometimes I could hit NOTHING as large as 12 inches wide even at 15 feet. ALL me, not the pistol, and not the pellets…

So, in my typical “McGyver” fashion, I did some modifications to the air pistol:
I added a stainless steel sleeve on the barrel, then fixed some home-made front sights and adjustable rear sights from an old, hoarded set from a Ghost-ring sight that I never used…
I have also turned the pistol into a sort of “carbine” with an improvised stock. The stock is made of light steel, as there is no recoil to worry about.
It shoots GREAT now… I kid you not: I was able to shoot the eye out of a dove at 30 feet. [Okay, okay – I was plain lucky – though I WAS aiming for the head, though…] And before the PETA guys get their panties in a bunch – I ate the dove for dinner: it tasted like chicken… Haha!

Original Benjamin Trail NP:
Benjamin Trail NP Air Pistol

After my improvised modifications:
Modified Air Gun Barrel Sleeve

Modified Airgun Stock

The Steel Pellet trap I use indoors…
Airgun Indoors Steel Target Trap

KARMA can be a B****…
There’s this little trick I have been playing on my cousins and friends for about two years now, and it finally backfired on me. A few times a year, I would go up north to my hometown, and I normally would go out shooting on the farm with some friends and or cousins… For most of these outings, I would usually shoot slugs – and be hitting my targets and making big, single, powerful holes in them… Time after time…
When it would come to the turn of my friends or cousins to shoot, I would then surreptitiously load birdshot shells instead of slugs for them to fire. Especially for those who do not know much about shotguns and firearms in general. I would load the shotgun, and hand it over, then step back after making sure they were following the 4 rules of firearms safety.

What they do not realize is that I have a RIFLED barrel on my shotgun…

Everyone knows that birdshot fired out of a rifled barrel forms a doughnut spread of pellets that would practically never hit the actual target of up to 2 feet dimension at 30 yards. The pellets would spread out into a doughnut shape, with no pellets in the center – so all pellets would normally hit AROUND the target, and nowhere directly ON the target itself!
So my friends and cousins would always leave the range dejected that they did not hit any of the targets.
So on my last trip shooting back at the farm in the village, I played the same trick again. I forgot I had my GoPro Hero 4 camera placed about two yards from the targets at a bit of an angle. So at a point while my cousin was shooting [And “missing”!], a 5mm birdshot pellet hit the view screen of the camera, and broke it, but was stopped by the metal back of the camera.
It still works! Barely.

The view screen is a loss there, but with a lot of fiddling, it does shoot videos still…

GOPRO HERO4 Hit by Shotgun Pellet

Lessons learnt –
1. I will continue to play this same trick as long as I can get away with it. [My cousins don’t read TFB!]
2. In future; target-cams will be protected by some wood or something…
3. GoPro cams are TOUGH…

No animals were harmed in the writing of this update. Well, I did shoot the dove… [And I ate it!]


Y-man is based in a firearms restricted environment in West Africa, he is really interested in shotguns [Which is all he can legally get], and he makes the best of whatever he is able to lay his hands on.

Y-man had some training at an early age in the “Gentleman” forces of the Air Force in his country, including some weapon training…

He also appreciates your advice, comments and feedback almost as much as the air he breathes…


  • alex waits


  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Glad you guys could enjoy some southern hospitality.
    Y’all come back now.

    • iksnilol

      *Luckily the kind of southern hospitality of the kind that doesn’t include accompanying banjo music.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Never get out of the boat.

        • iksnilol

          Justr keep paddlin like you’re paddling away from perdition… ’cause y’all most likely are.

      • Dougscamo

        Lewis Grizzard stated that he was offended by the book…and movie…said that his hillbillies might kill them but would never….well you know…

        • iksnilol

          Have extramarital affairs with city slickers?

          • Dougscamo

            Dang! Man! You sly yet succinct!

  • Toxie

    The Y-man is a great guy, love reading his stories.

  • FLdeepdiver

    Glad you had another good experience with Stoddard’s in Atlanta! Sorry I was so busy with the event, although it was great meeting your son!

  • Anonymoose

    Better than my summer vacation.

  • Maxpwr

    What are the MORE restrictions they are putting on you back in the home country?

    • Harry’s Holsters

      I’d also like to here this.

    • Y-man

      We have had an increasing level of “Bandit” attacks practically all over the country. People abducted and ransomed on the highways, people attacked and killed in their homes in some of the villages. Farmers attacked and shot or hacked to death on their farms. Increased numbers of home invasions etc… Security has really gotten bad in the country at this time.

      1. The Military is winning the fight in the North-East against Boko Haram: they are getting better arms and good logistics: using drones, and more air strikes and heavy artillery [We have more 155mm G-5s, and 81mm mortars deployed now]. With the last corrupt government gone, the soldiers are better catered for now, and have taken the fight to Boko Haram.
      So the Soldiers kill one or kill fifty every week, who cares… BUT where do the surviving bandits go? They start to run down South, and spread out into the forests to the central part and everywhere. And from these places: they rape, pillage and loot. Remember this is the same way fighters from Libya tricked down into Chad, then when defeated there: trickled down into Mali. Many of the so-called Boko Haram are fighters trickled down from North African wars…

      2. With the new government cracking down on THIEVES in former government who stole 2 BILLION Dollars [And counting!] their cohorts: thugs, hangers-on, touts are no longer getting free money. So they are going back to criminal activities: robberies, kidnappings, assaults…

      Then the Government has [In trying to curb these issues] issued new edicts requesting re-registration of all privately held firearms, approval to hold on to which must now ultimately be by the PRESIDENT himself[!]

      Some delegation has been put in place: ownership of shotguns [Only single-shot, or double-barrel, or pump-action – NO Semi-Autos!] must be validated by the State Commissioner of Police’s signature on the permit. And only permitted 100 cartridges max at any time per year.

      Any other firearms: Pistols, Revolvers, semi-auto shotguns, center-fire Rifles [Bolt action] must go for permit re-validation to the PRESIDENCY. And these are usually only permitted for former or ex-military or police [OFFICERS only], and the really big shots: Senators, Representatives, governors etc.

      So what happens to someone who knowingly or un-knowingly flouts this? And possibly is met with an un-re-validated firearm at a checkpoint, or on a Police raid after your vindictive neighbor snitches on you?

      * At the EXTREME end: SHOT out of hand. Killed and displayed on Television as a “Notorious Armed Robber and Kidnapping Kingpin” who was fatally injured [Yeah, 3 times in the back of the head, and each limb shattered by bullets first.] during a 10-hour fire-fight with the gallant men of the Police…

      * A bit MILDER: Arrested by the police: if unlucky: limbs shattered by bullets first, and still displayed on television as a “Kingpin” who was overwhelmed by the gallant men of the police after a multi-hour siege during which the criminal fired many thousands of bullets. Of course, he is displayed with his break-open 12-gauge shotgun, 3 kitchen knives and his grandfather’s pocket watch [Which must be a dastardly “charm” to enable him disappear into thin air…]

      * Most MILD: you have enough money to avoid a beating or shooting, and they take you for practically everything they can get: I have seen Police guys tell people they arrested to sell their cars to come give money, or even follow arrested people to the bank to collect large sums for “bail”.

      [Why the limbs almost always shattered by bullets, you may ask? Remember my article on Firearms and Superstitions in Africa? The cop arresting already has the belief that if he does not shatter the limbs, the criminal might clap his hands 5 times and simply DISAPPEAR into thin air!]

      So now: everyone is circumspect and even more discrete. I was in a neighborhood watch meeting the other day, and one of us landlords suggested that maybe we need to think of “arming” ourselves… Almost all 14 of us there chuckled mirthlessly, but none of the 12 I KNOW have arms at home volunteered the fact that they had at least a shotgun at home. Instead, in the neighborhood: we have now paid for permanent presence of two AK47-armed police to man the estate gate, and patrol. We also pay a little stipend for bullets – so at night, about 1 am to 3 am: these guys would stand out in the road in the middle of the estate and fire off 3 to 4 bursts to remind the bad boys that this area is “NO-GO” for them!

      I assure you on Scouts’ honor – all I have said here is REAL: not an exaggeration.

      Phew! [Fingers got tired there…]
      Sorry for the long-winded reply!

      • Porty1119


        • carlcasino

          Sounds like the Politicians are just as stupid in Africa as the Continental United States.

      • jamezb

        Wow. Personally I feel that being as you are a much loved writer for a worldwide firearms website, the president ought to permit you a few rifles and pistols … 🙂

  • USMC03Vet

    Y-man, Ayyyyyy!

    It’s been too long.

  • Glenn Smith II

    Delightful write-up!

  • Harry’s Holsters

    Glad to see you all had a great vacation and even better to see your son is continuing to take an interest in the shooting sports!

  • Vitor Roma

    I had a similar experience in a shooting range for tourists in Vegas. The staff would recomend the clients to do mag dumps instead of bursts, on guy even told me that controlled bursts could jam the gun. I suppose it was all for getting things done quickly so they could move to the next clients and their money. Of course I did bursts, had to appreciate the moment.

    • FLdeepdiver

      I assure you that the Stoddard’s staff is fine with any safe method of firing machine guns. Customers can take all the time they need. Probably just hoping for a “Machine Gun Smile” that typically follows a mag dump…

  • Hensley Beuron Garlington

    Keep up the great work Y-man. Love your personal experiences. Always puts so much in perspective and what we take for granted here in the USA. You are like a missionary for firearms.

  • Arie Heath

    I really liked the modifications you made to the air pistol, makes hitting the target a lot easier.

  • Cymond

    I hope your son can keep am open mind. His reaction to the AK sounds like my childhood reactions to my father’s Winchester 94. One round and I was done. I could finally handle it when I was 16.

    • Dougscamo

      Ah, the iconic 94 Winchester….the first center fire rifle I ever saw….was hooked from that point on and the rest is history. I should have taking up whittling, it would have been a lot cheaper….

  • DanGoodShot

    Teach them young indeed sir! I have 4 kids and all of them take bi monthly trips to the range… well not the 2 year old… yet. Ha! Soon though. Your an excellent father and your articles are always a welcoming sight. Hopefully one day you and your family become permanent and welcome American citizens. I know the gun community would be better with more people like you. I love the enthusiasm you bring to your articles. The best to you and yours.

  • Dougscamo

    I wish everyone had the mindset displayed….it would keep my vocal chords from becoming strained while I’m at the range….

  • Art out West

    I’m glad to hear from you again Y-man. I always enjoy your posts. I wondered what you have been up to. Best wishes to you and your family.

  • jamezb

    As always it is great to hear from you Y-Man, I’m happy to hear you got to do some shooting with your boy there,

  • wetcorps

    I do the finger discipline on everything thing, but I’d be lying if I said I do it subconsiousy because I’m big on safety.
    I do it on purpose because it makes me feel operator.


    Glad to hear you had a great trip to the US!