Hans Deutsch is a German citizen living in Bavaria. He is employed in the field of education and a member of German Army Active Reserve and conducts self defense classes for civilians. He is also gun owner and avid sport shooter. In this part of the interview, Hans talks about his personal relationship to firearms.
Rozhovor v češtině si můžete přečíst zde: Zbraně & Hans Deutsch, bavorský záložák, instruktor sebeobrany a sportovní střelec
Zbrojnice.com is a Czech language web that deals with practical, legal, cultural and social issues of civilian firearms ownership. This interview was conducted in English and thus you can read it also in original language version below.
Hans, when were you introduced to firearms?
I have always been fascinated with guns. As a minor, my experiences were limited to the toy cap revolvers of my childhood and the the airsoft and pellet guns of my youth. Like many young men of my generation (and the majority of young men of earlier generations), I was introduced to live firearms when I joined the Bundeswehr as a conscript more than 15 years ago. My first shooting experiences were with the HK G36 rifle and the HK P8 pistol. They are very forgiving, easy-to-shoot and all-out solid weapons. Lateron, we also trained with the MG3 machine gun and the G3 rifle, which demanded a little more effort to master. After my compulsory service, I joined the reserve, so I still had the possibility to train regularly and also had the chance of firing all sorts of foreign weapons during joint exercises. Unlike Swiss reverists, we aren’t allowed to take service weapons home, so the day came when I decided to acquire a civilian firearms license.
What was the process of getting a German firearms license like for you?
I didn’t like that I had to train at club for a year despite the fact that I was already familiar with firearms though the military. However, it didn’t bother me too much. As a German, you are used to dealing with bureaucracy and strict regulations, and the prospect of being able to own a firearm at all made it worth the effort.
How often do you shoot? What kind of drills do you do most often?
I used to shoot at least once a week. I’ve had to cut back a little for job reasons, but still try to make it to the range at least once a month. Shooting regularly is advisable for German gun-owners, because theoretically, the government could take away your firarms if you don’t.
As for the kind of drills I do, we have to differentiate between the shooting I do as a reservist, dressed in uniform and carrying a military gun, and civilian sport shooting. When I shoot as a civilian, I am by law not allowed to train defensive shooting. Don’t expect any drills that have to do with defensive situations on German shooting ranges. Instead, the focus is on precision shooting. Imagine everybody on the range firing very slowly, deliberately at 25m distance. If you started double-tapping or training quick magazine changes, you would turn heads on the average German range.
However, there are clubs offering IPSC that allow for more dynamic training – they are just very rare and membership is pricy. I joined one a while ago, but haven’t got into IPSC yet due to time constraints.
What are your favorite firearms? Could you describe why you like them and what are their strong and weak sides?
In terms of military firearms, I have fond memories of the G36 despite the bad press it has gotten lately. It’s a relatively cheap, solid weapon for the largely untrained conscript and sported a 3.5x scope as well as a red-dot sight at a time when standard issue rifles of other armies still featured iron sights. Personally, I haven’t experienced any problems with overheating, but I have to admit that it wasn’t the best design choice to embed the barrel trunnion right into the polymer frame.
My favorite handgun series is the CZ 75 family. I love heavy all-steel pistols and find them a little easier to shoot well than handguns with polymer frames, especially when shooting rapidly. I use a heavily customized CZ 75 SP-01 Shadow for competition purposes. f I were allowed to EDC my handguns, I might pick a lighter design.