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Picks and Pans Review: A Woman's Guide to Firearms

updated 08/24/1987 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/24/1987 01:00AM

This is a beginner's guide to handguns that just misses its target. Actress Lee (Stir Crazy) Purcell, wife of the 60-minute video's producer Gary Lowe, performs with understated calm as a neophyte who seeks firearm instruction to protect herself. Gerald (Simon & Simon) McRaney, a real-life gun enthusiast, fires off the Golden Rules of Gun Safety (rule number one: "Always point the muzzle in a safe direction"), and Clint Eastwood sidekick Geoffrey Lewis portrays a pistol-packing know-it-all in a subplot that merely serves as an unwelcome distraction. Those to whom guns are as foreign as Gilgamesh will learn, with the aid of first-rate graphics, how guns work and the differences between shotguns and rifles, revolvers and semi-automatic pistols. There is an introduction to various types of cartridges. A full metal jacket, for example, is a shell casing made of copper. A .22-caliber bullet is 22/100ths of an inch in diameter. Purcell also spends a lot of time at the firing range, where she is trained in the finer points of markspersonship. Purcell's instructors, Mickey Fowler and Mike Dalton, co-owners of International Shootists Inc. training school in Los Angeles, may be champion sharpshooters, but as actors they are from the See-Spot-Run school. Less plot, tighter editing and more information on such topics as the misuse of firearms and how to obtain a permit or make a choice of weapons would have given this unabashedly pro-gun tape more usable firepower. (Bianchi International, $39.95)

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