Fruitful Seasons owners are Debbie and Larry Jackson. He holds a Depression-era ceramic pitcher, and a toy Batmobile. She has her own handgun in a holster. She models a variety of gun pouches. Strapped around her shoulders are two all-leather cargo pursues. A colorful sticky holster belt pack is by her right hand. Behind the Jackson is a rack of belt packs. Photo by Pete Zamplas.
Tis the Fruitful Seasons for learning gun handling for self-defense
Debbie Jackson and her husband Larry Jackson run Fruitful Seasons Pistol Packing, LLC. They opened it last month. It is at 1927 Spartanburg Hwy. in Hendersonville, on the south side of the road. The entrance is between signs for Pet Source and George’s Stor-Mor. The shop is at right in a portion of Pet Source, which downsized.
The Jacksons sold groceries, meat, hardware and antiques in a store in Saluda until 2010. Larry, a retired apple grower, is an East Henderson High School alumnus. He handles antiques in Fruitful Seasons. He specializes in Depression-era glassware and pottery, has collected for over 30 years, and offers various collectibles including old postcards and dollar nicknacks.
Three-fourths of customers thus far are in for gun products, and many get custom orders. Debbie is the gun expert, and instructor of classes held in the store. She has taught eight eight-hour certification classes already.
Debbie is eager to guide others to protecting themselves against potential attackers, in her “concealed-carry” weapons (CCW) and self-defense (“refuse to be a victim”) classes. The basic pistol class is for people newer to gun use and includes gun safety and cleaning.
Debbie conceals her handgun when out and about. “Mine is with me all of the time,” she said. “It makes me feel safer. I can defend myself, if someone comes after me.” She has not yet had to use her gun. In her store, though, she brandishes a handgun on a holster to visibly deter would-be robbers.
Many female students and couples taking the class together said they like learning from a lady instructor, the Jacksons noted. “It’s unique it’s a lady teaching this,” he said. “She has a calming effect. Guns make us all nervous — especially if you haven’t shot much.”
Here are some of the guns Fruitful Seasons has in stock. The pink one is a classic .38 Special Plus P, by Charter Arms. The purple gun is the popular Ruger LC9S. The largest gun, top right, is a black Smith & Wesson M&P 9(mm). Left of it is a Ruger LCP, with a crimson trace laser and distinguished by a red-orange dot. Smaller yet, at lower left and below in the showcase, is a Ruger LCP-LM that also fires .380 bullets. Ammo boxes include, at left, by veterans-owned Defender Ammunition Co.. Photo by Pete Zamplas.
Debbie emphasizes that “the recoil is what usually surprises them, at first.”
When held, CCW classes are on a Friday 6-10 p.m. then Saturday 10-2 p.m. in class followed by qualifying at a private outdoor range. To get certified for gun proficiency in order to carry a concealed weapon, the shooter must hit the target on at least 28 of 40 shots. Target distances are seven yards, five then three yards. First, they warm up by firing five rounds.
She qualifies three or four students at a time. She adjusts their handling and aiming of the guns. There are typically a half-dozen or more per class.
Larry said “once you go through the class, you become like a family member.”
Most students bring in their own guns. Some might try newer guns. Others are considering getting a gun for the first time; the Jacksons have a few Ruger LC95 handguns for them to train with.
Debbie is “very knowledgeable about gun safety and laws,” Larry said. Two hours of CCW teaching is on gun law. For instance, a person is required to say he or she is concealing a handgun if approached or addressed by a law enforcement officer in this state.
Debbie is also an adept sharpshooter. She first fired a gun at age eight, using a .22-caliber rifle at a summer camp in her native Alabama. She still has the targets 50 years later, and vividly recalls that pivotal day. “We lay down on a mattress, at a shed in the woods.” She took after her mother, as an Annie Oakley. “My momma had a .22 pistol.” They practiced at a junk yard, shooting at old washing machines.
Debbie served two years in the Air Force, qualifying to shoot an M-16 rifle. She rated in the top 25 of 400, and “outdid the guys.” Debbie is a nationally-certified concealed-carry weapon instructor. Her training includes at the N.C. Justice Academy’s Edneyville campus. She first got a CCW permit in 2009.
She knows many locals who have their handgun with them routinely, except where prohibited such as in government facilities, at schools or where alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed or other businesses that post a gun-ban.
Her main handgun is a Ruger LC9S. The popular 9mm handgun is one of her best sellers. She has in stock a purple version, for a fashionable bonus. It is an example of a gun with a metal slide, and polymer plastic-compound frame. Charter Arms’ pink .38 Special Plus P is so named because it can fire .380 or bigger bullets.
Smith & Wesson is a longtime trusted brand. Its M&P 9(mm) is among largest handguns Fruitful Seasons has on hand. The Ruger LCP has a crimson trace laser beam. Smaller yet is a Ruger LCP-LM that also fires .380 bullets.
The Jacksons fill many custom orders for guns, ammunition and holsters. “There are so many guns out there,” Debbie said. Larry said “we can find anything you need in the shooting industry” — and typically at a competitive price advantage.
Ammunition in their stock includes by Raeford, N.C.-based Defender Ammunition Co., which military veterans began and own. The Jacksons like supporting them, among others.
Debbie gives tips on accessories, in some classes. A major choice for gun owners is what to carry their weapon in, when permitted to carry it in public. The Jacksons have some all-leather, large cargo purses with many compartments.
“I have a feel for what works for me. I tried a few things that haven’t worked,” she said. “Many advertise bands around the waist, below the belt line. They did not feel comfortable in summer.”
So she sells many varieties of what works for her, and sells well at gun shows and online. “I use a sticky holster belt pack. You can wear it around your waistline, without a clip. It’s like a fanny pack; designed specifically for guns.” It holds a handgun, and two extra magazine clips. An inside pocket is for one’s gun permit and drivers’s license. A front pouch can hold a cell phone.
The shop is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10-6. Call 290-3178 or check fruitfulseasonspistolpacking.com for further information.