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Old 12-31-2012, 17:59   #1
audiomechanic
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Wife is a new shooter & wants advice

So I'm posting this for my wife using my account.

Back-story (shortened): my wife grew up in a very oppressive household that put fear of guns above that of death and taxes. Her mom was controlling and had mental problems herself. Then she met me. I had a few guns when we dated and got married, but I'm not a 'gun nut' (not that there's anything wrong with gun nuts ). She did not even want to be in the same room with a gun. I never pressured her to shoot, handle, or otherwise like my guns or any guns.

After 4 years of marriage and me not pressuring, her attitude and outlook on guns has radically changed. She shot my old .22 Luger pistol and then shot my .380 Sig P230 a few times. Then this year for Christmas I got her a G19 (which she picked out and tried out by renting at the range first) and she really loves it. However, she's having a bit of trouble at the range and she's becoming discouraged and down on herself.

The main problem is she's anticipating the trigger. She flinches just before firing which causes the barrel to drop and her to shoot low. She's on center for the most part, just low. The range guides have given her tips and tricks and whatnot to help her, but it hasn't really. She's been working on taking her time to shoot and notice what she's doing incorrectly.

She went to the range by herself today and was told that she needs to stop shooting the Glock and solely shoot the .22.

My thought is this shooting thing is all still so new that she's still having a bit of sensory overload (her words) and she's just not used to it yet. I told her she just needs time and practice. More time behind her Glock and many more rounds to get her used to not only the gun, but the recoil, the noise, and being in a loud environment with other guns. She does better after she's been shooting for 30 minutes or so. She does worst when she first arrives. She's only shot at 7 yards and is concerned about being ready for her CHL class (womens only at the end of Feb).

Any other ladies out there can offer advice? Am I off base with my thoughts? I've got firearms experience, but I'm no expert.

My wife thanks y'all in advance.

Last edited by audiomechanic; 12-31-2012 at 18:05..
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Old 12-31-2012, 18:36   #2
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Both recoil and noise can detract from the shooting experience - in a negative way - so that advice to stick with .22LR until able to shoot good groups with it is solid advice. Double-plug to mitigate noise - with quality maximum-attentation ear plugs combined with quality maximum-attentation ear muffs - and shooting outdoors on quieter ranges. For best results, in addition to the preceeding, also find a qualified trainer - pistol instructor or pistol coach - for some formalized one-on-one shooting instruction.
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Old 12-31-2012, 20:19   #3
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Advice doesn't get better than 4Rules!! Have fun with your wife and a .22, and I mean a lot of fun. Her shooting and confidence will only get better, yours too.
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Old 12-31-2012, 21:22   #4
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Best training aide I have found is a laser. You can put it on the g19 and she can do dry fire practicing anytime and anywhere. Teaches great trigger control.




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Old 12-31-2012, 21:32   #5
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... dry fire practicing...
This.

She should do hours of dry fire practice every month. On the order of several times more trigger presses than actual rounds fired at the range.

Then, when she gets to the range, trigger control is much easier, because it is a mental discipline and the dry-fire practice gives you an easier ability to shoot the same way you dry-fire without moving the gun.

And yes, a good instructor is worth his pay for an hour of live-fire training.
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Old 12-31-2012, 22:35   #6
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I agree 100% with what 4Rules posted. Here are a few things that really help(ed) me.
#1 Dry fire with an empty case on top of the slide. Start with a 45 case and when she can consistently dry fire without the case falling off. Move down in case diameter. I still do this with an empty .22LR standing upright. It is harder then you would think.
#2 Chase a hole. Put a blank piece of paper up as her target. Have her shoot towards the middle of the paper for the 1st shot. Remaining shots out of the mag using the 1st shot has your aiming point.
#3 The pencil trick. While dry firing. Put a sharp pencil down the barrel eraser end 1st. Start at about 4" away from a blank piece of paper at eye level. Pull the trigger. the 1st mark is your aiming point. As the group tightens up, move back. This works better with non-striker pistols, but it still works ok with GLOCKs.
#4 Chapstick. Take a tube of Chapstick, put one end on the pad of the the trigger finger and the other end at the webbing between the thumb and trigger finger. Simulate pulling the trigger. If the tube is going at an angle either way when pulling the trigger. The trigger pull is wrong. Hell it's the only reason I carry chapstick in my pocket. You can practice trigger pull anytime anywhere, without having a gun in your hand. It keeps me sane in rush-hour traffic 5 days a week.
I dry fire way more then I live fire. It's all about a good sight picture and feeling the break of the trigger.
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Old 12-31-2012, 22:40   #7
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I agree 100% with what 4Rules posted. Here are a few things that really help(ed) me.
#1 Dry fire with an empty case on top of the slide. Start with a 45 case and when she can consistently dry fire without the case falling off. Move down in case diameter. I still do this with an empty .22LR standing upright. It is harder then you would think.
#2 Chase a hole. Put a blank piece of paper up as her target. Have her shoot towards the middle of the paper for the 1st shot. Remaining shots out of the mag using the 1st shot has your aiming point.
#3 The pencil trick. While dry firing. Put a sharp pencil down the barrel eraser end 1st. Start at about 4" away from a blank piece of paper at eye level. Pull the trigger. the 1st mark is your aiming point. As the group tightens up, move back. This works better with non-striker pistols, but it still works ok with GLOCKs.
#4 Chapstick. Take a tube of Chapstick, put one end on the pad of the the trigger finger and the other end at the webbing between the thumb and trigger finger. Simulate pulling the trigger. If the tube is going at an angle either way when pulling the trigger. The trigger pull is wrong. Hell it's the only reason I carry chapstick in my pocket. You can practice trigger pull anytime anywhere, without having a gun in your hand. It keeps me sane in rush-hour traffic 5 days a week.
I dry fire way more then I live fire. It's all about a good sight picture and feeling the break of the trigger.
#1. Try balancing a penny on the front site while dry firing.
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:45   #8
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Thanks all for the advice!!! I will run this past her. She's really discouraged right now and I'm trying to encourage her and just reaffirm that this takes practice. Her CHL class is Feb 24th and she's very concerned she won't be ready in time and won't pass the shooting proficiency part of the class. I think she'll do fine, personally, but she does need practice.

There's not really a good outdoor range around (there is one but it sucks and is stupid expensive) but she will try doubling up on hearing protection and shooting the .22. We'll check and see how much an hour of firearm training will be at the range we frequent. Otherwise, when she signed up for her CHL, she also signed up for a 2 hour basic handgun training course and will be taking that prior to the class as well.

She's being really hard on herself (a side effect of growing up with and learning from insane mentally ill parents) and it sucks watching that.

Thanks again everyone!!!
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:13   #9
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Solid stuff from 4Rules.

Is your wife's upcoming course an NRA First Steps Pistol course, by chance? That is the NRA's most basic class and recognized in many states for CCW carry permits and the target distance is 5 yds. The student must get 15 rounds on a paper plate-sized target and .22s are generally used.

Where are you located? (I wish everyone on GT would list their location - it's really helpful in responding.) I'm an NRA instructor and lead the womens programs at my Florida (outdoor) club and am happy to offer extra (free) help to women when needed.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:15   #10
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Solid stuff from 4Rules.

Is your wife's upcoming course an NRA First Steps Pistol course, by chance? That is the NRA's most basic class and recognized in many states for CCW carry permits and the target distance is 5 yds. The student must get 15 rounds on a paper plate-sized target and .22s are generally used.

Where are you located? (I wish everyone on GT would list their location - it's really helpful in responding.) I'm an NRA instructor and lead the womens programs at my Florida (outdoor) club and am happy to offer extra (free) help to women when needed.
Hey there. We're in Texas (Katy specifically). Sorry about the location, will update that ASAP.

The class is not an NRA class, but is a Texas approved CHL course. Most of what the class teaches is about Texas law, but some sceneros and handgun handle is discussed as well. The firing test IIRC is 50 rounds from at least a .32 cal at 7, 10, and 15 yards. Not that hard, but the wife is stressing about it.

Thanks for the reply!

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Old 01-03-2013, 10:29   #11
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How is her grip and stance? I would recommend she read this if she hasn't :

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob85.html

I can also virtually guarantee she will pass the shooting portion of the Texas CHL class if she can operate the weapon safely and hit paper at 7 yards.

Also, for a good outdoor range check out Hot Wells in Cypress. Its my regular spot to practice. Worth the drive. No rapid fire, but great covered, segregated, and large outdoor pistol range with nice people working there to boot.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:33   #12
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I'm, sure she is learning just fine. Just impatient with her progress.

The advice posted here will help her considerably, don't give up. Sometimes it just takes a little longer to get the hang of it.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:49   #13
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How is her grip and stance? I would recommend she read this if she hasn't :

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob85.html

I can also virtually guarantee she will pass the shooting portion of the Texas CHL class if she can operate the weapon safely and hit paper at 7 yards.

Also, for a good outdoor range check out Hot Wells in Cypress. Its my regular spot to practice. Worth the drive. No rapid fire, but great covered, segregated, and large outdoor pistol range with nice people working there to boot.
Yep, sent her that article about 2 weeks ago. She read it.

Her stance is good. Not as dramatic as in the article, but sturdy with a forward lean. The gun is definitely not pushing her backwards. Her grip leaves a little to be desired, especially in the grip strength category, but she's not limp wristing. She'll get a stronger grip as her forearm muscles increase in strength.

What she's doing the most is flinching before the trigger (anticipation). This, of course, is causing the muzzle of the gun to drop just before fire and she's hitting the paper low. Her grouping is actually not that bad, especially horizontally, she's just low. When she doesn't anticipate, she's pretty close to the bull.

I've been meaning to check out Hot Wells. A coworker of mine shoots there and likes it. Thanks.

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Old 01-03-2013, 10:58   #14
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I'm, sure she is learning just fine. Just impatient with her progress.

The advice posted here will help her considerably, don't give up. Sometimes it just takes a little longer to get the hang of it.
This is what I'm thinking too. She's doing something that was strictly forbidden (and beat into her) growing up so she's having to battle herself just to do it, let alone improve. She just needs practice and time and to do the things mentioned here.

I'll keep y'all posted on her progress.

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Old 01-03-2013, 11:02   #15
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Yep, sent her that article about 2 weeks ago. She read it.

Her stance is good. Not as dramatic as in the article, but sturdy with a forward lean. The gun is definitely not pushing her backwards. Her grip leaves a little to be desired, especially in the grip strength category, but she's not limp wristing. She'll get a stronger grip as her forearm muscles increase in strength.

What she's doing the most is flinching before the trigger (anticipation). This, of course, is causing the muzzle of the gun to drop just before fire and she's hitting the paper low. Her grouping is actually not that bad, especially horizontally, she's just low. When she doesn't anticipate, she's pretty close to the bull.

I've been meaning to check out Hot Wells. A coworker of mine shoots there and likes it. Thanks.

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Hmm. Try buying some snap caps/dummy rounds and load the mags for her. When she gets to one it will be very clear what is happening and it will almost be embarrassing, but in a good way ("did all those people just see me flinch real bad? I don't want to do that again"). She will then be focused on making sure she doesn't flinch. With an explosion covering up a flinch its hard for anyone to really accept that they're flinching, but its just part of shooting and we all have to deal with it. The snap cap drills are one of the best and cheapest ways to correct the problem.

I'm really glad that she is a convert. Gives me hope that mine might eventually see the light!
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:37   #16
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Hmm. Try buying some snap caps/dummy rounds and load the mags for her. When she gets to one it will be very clear what is happening and it will almost be embarrassing, but in a good way ("did all those people just see me flinch real bad? I don't want to do that again"). She will then be focused on making sure she doesn't flinch. With an explosion covering up a flinch its hard for anyone to really accept that they're flinching, but its just part of shooting and we all have to deal with it. The snap cap drills are one of the best and cheapest ways to correct the problem.

I'm really glad that she is a convert. Gives me hope that mine might eventually see the light!
Funny you mentioned that, she sent me an email about an hour ago with a link to thewellarmedwoman.com website with those for sale. I'm sure they can be found locally too.

I hope your wife converts over too. Mine sees what's happening to this country and wants to be armed. She no longer feels safe, even in Texas. :( She's worried (as many of us are) about what's coming politically.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:42   #17
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Funny you mentioned that, she sent me an email about an hour ago with a link to thewellarmedwoman.com website with those for sale. I'm sure they can be found locally too.

I hope your wife converts over too. Mine sees what's happening to this country and wants to be armed. She no longer feels safe, even in Texas. :( She's worried (as many of us are) about what's coming politically.

AMSS gun shop off Jones and 1960 definitely has snap caps. I think Gander Mountain does as well but I refuse to pay the high prices there.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:43   #18
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Thanks! Will check 'em out!
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Old 01-03-2013, 13:09   #19
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After 4 years of marriage and me not pressuring, her attitude and outlook on guns has radically changed. She shot my old .22 Luger pistol and then shot my .380 Sig P230 a few times. Then this year for Christmas I got her a G19 (which she picked out and tried out by renting at the range first) and she really loves it. However, she's having a bit of trouble at the range and she's becoming discouraged and down on herself.

The main problem is she's anticipating the trigger. She flinches just before firing which causes the barrel to drop and her to shoot low. She's on center for the most part, just low. The range guides have given her tips and tricks and whatnot to help her, but it hasn't really. She's been working on taking her time to shoot and notice what she's doing incorrectly.
Get her some training.

I said "get" not "give" - you should not even be at the range when she gets training.

Aside from you, in particular, not having much training or experience, a husband or relative is one of the worst things that can happen to a new shooter (especially a female new shooter). Find her a class with a good instructor (not a class that is being run just for people who need to put in X hours to get a certification of some kind). A "women only" class would be best, if it's available.

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I told her she just needs time and practice.
No, first she needs competent training. THEN time and practice might help. Practice does not make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect. Many shooters start with poor training and learn bad techniques that actually make it much, much more difficult for them to learn to shoot.
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Old 01-03-2013, 13:12   #20
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Get her some training.

I said "get" not "give" - you should not even be at the range when she gets training.

Aside from you, in particular, not having much training or experience, a husband or relative is one of the worst things that can happen to a new shooter, esepcially a female new shooter. Find her a class with a good instructor (not a class that is being run just for people who need to put in X hours to get a certification of some kind). A "women only" class would be best, if it's available.
The first I've heard of it being a bad idea for a spouse to teach the other spouse to shoot was very recently. I have to ask why? Not that I'm trying to be Mr. Knowitall teacher because I'm not, I'm curious as to why it's such a blanketed bad idea is all.

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Old 01-03-2013, 14:02   #21
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The first I've heard of it being a bad idea for a spouse to teach the other spouse to shoot was very recently. I have to ask why? Not that I'm trying to be Mr. Knowitall teacher because I'm not, I'm curious as to why it's such a blanketed bad idea is all.
I don't know all the reasons, but here are a few :

1. Wives don't fully listen to husbands. Some do, but in the "yes, dear" sense.
2. Some guys are know it alls.
3. Most of us aren't qualified firearms instructors trained to see and correct problems.
4. Wife will take a training class more seriously since it costs money and she will want to follow the instructor more closely because, after all its what he does for a living.
5. Wife may not want to let you down or feels pressured to do well to impress you. Might not ask questions to risk embarrassment.
6. You'll be too nice with commentary or won't point out what's wrong for fear of hurting her feelings.

Just some thoughts. FWIW the Hot Wells trainer does pistol and self defense classes, forgot his name but its the same guy that did my CHL class. I can't speak for his defensive pistol course, but his CHL class was well run.

The stuff I offered was more for DIY and self correcting, since she sounds interested and like a go-getter. I'm in agreement that formal training is best ultimately.
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Old 01-03-2013, 14:45   #22
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The first I've heard of it being a bad idea for a spouse to teach the other spouse to shoot was very recently. I have to ask why? Not that I'm trying to be Mr. Knowitall teacher because I'm not, I'm curious as to why it's such a blanketed bad idea is all.
The first you've heard? It is very well-known among firearms instructors who teach civilians.

The "why" is because a husband/wife relationship makes it much harder for the student to take advice and correction and much more likely the 2 will get mad at each other and want to quit - beyond that, most husbands think they know how to shoot and most don't know crap. Not being actual instructors, they don't know how to shoot or how to teach, so they screw up their student.\

Basically, what xidica said, above.
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Old 01-03-2013, 14:50   #23
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I failed to point out in my post #9 that I am a female NRA Instructor/RSO. Our club's Instructors are all volunteers and instruct for the altruistic reasons many instructors may have long-since forgotten.

Our women's programs are run by female instructors with additional assistance from the male instructors when necessary. Our monthly Women's Shooting Group is taught and supervised by female instructors/ROs only and our quarterly ladies-only class and annual ladies' day is organized and introduced by our female instructors with much appreciated help from the male instructors. In each of these events – monthly, quarterly, and annually - gentlemen friends of the ladies are uninvited. If they would like to come to the range, they are required to be way back off the line or invited to go to our open (public) range. Male spouses/BFs/SOs can get abusive and loud. I RO our various competitive matches and have told more than one gentleman to get away and go sit down when they were badgering their SO at the line.

Not only that... it is absolutely true that many men do not know proper fundamentals themselves and get the ladies headed down the wrong track. We teach the NRA book.

Okay, many SOs are not like that...but too many are so we leave the ladies' events and classes to the ladies to enjoy, and with female instructors if at all possible.

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Old 01-03-2013, 14:51   #24
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I don't know all the reasons, but here are a few :

1. Wives don't fully listen to husbands. Some do, but in the "yes, dear" sense.
2. Some guys are know it alls.
3. Most of us aren't qualified firearms instructors trained to see and correct problems.
4. Wife will take a training class more seriously since it costs money and she will want to follow the instructor more closely because, after all its what he does for a living.
5. Wife may not want to let you down or feels pressured to do well to impress you. Might not ask questions to risk embarrassment.
6. You'll be too nice with commentary or won't point out what's wrong for fear of hurting her feelings.

Just some thoughts. FWIW the Hot Wells trainer does pistol and self defense classes, forgot his name but its the same guy that did my CHL class. I can't speak for his defensive pistol course, but his CHL class was well run.

The stuff I offered was more for DIY and self correcting, since she sounds interested and like a go-getter. I'm in agreement that formal training is best ultimately.
I can respect those reasons. We had planned for my wife to go through instructor training soon and may do it through Hot Wells.

My wife says she doesn't feel presured by me and feels that she can ask me questions, and has, many questions. I'm no expert shooter, nor am I an instructor but I try to help the best I can. And what I don't know, I default to guiding her to ask those who are professionals and know much more than I. A training course for her always sounded like a good idea in my mind and hers.

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Old 01-03-2013, 14:54   #25
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I failed to point out in my post #9 that I am a female NRA Instructor/RSO. Our club's Instructors are all volunteers and instruct for the altruistic reasons many instructors may have long-since forgotten.

Our women's programs are run by female instructors with additional assistance from the male instructors when necessary. Our monthly Women's Shooting Group is taught and supervised by female instructors/ROs only and our quarterly ladies-only class and annual ladies' day is organized and introduced by our female instructors with much appreciated help from the male instructors. In each of these events monthly, quarterly, and annually - gentlemen friends of the ladies are uninvited. If they would like to come to the range, they are required to be way back off the line or invited to go to our open (public) range. Male spouses/BFs/SOs can get abusive and loud. I RO our various competitive matches and have told more than one gentleman to get away and go sit down when they were badgering their SO at the line.

Not only that... it is absolutely true that many men do not know proper fundamentals themselves and get the ladies headed down the wrong track. We teach the NRA book.

Okay, many SOs are not like that...but too many are so we leave the ladies' events and classes to the ladies to enjoy, and with female instructors if at all possible.
That all makes perfect sense to me!

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