18 February 2009

Mary Annie get your gun

At about this time last year my sister Barb said to me, "let's take a Tai Chi class" and when the local community college didn't have one, well, why not Handgun Safety?

I didn't grow up around guns. I had never even touched a gun. Never had the chance to either, except for during the summer of 2006 when my father-in-law showed me his gun. I was too scared to touch it even though he had taken it apart. Three discreet pieces were there in his hands and I felt like any one of them (disassembled and without any bullets) might explode right there and maim us all.

Because I wasn't ever exposed to guns as part of a normal life they occupied a sort of hazy indistinct region of my brain. On one side, guns were awful killing machines that ruined peoples lives. The nightly news proved that almost daily. And yet I had always been fascinated by marksmanship. I couldn't help admiring the skill of sharpshooters who could hit a target at 100 yards without even trying (or so it seemed). Even though I had a lot of apprehension about guns in general I also had this fantasy of being a really good shot, as in sniper good.

The class was eye opening, horizon expanding, and awe inspiring. Our teacher was this iconic older guy who had been teaching shooting (and winning marksmanship contests) for decades. He had an amazingly steady hand and I couldn't help envying how much he knew about everything related to guns.

Barb and I were probably the youngest ones in the class. Most of our fellow students brought their own gun(s). Barb and I borrowed the teachers'. Our classmates had enrolled in this class because it was the first of two courses required for the license to carry a concealed weapon. They bought guns because they wanted to protect themselves in their homes and neighborhoods.

I couldn't relate. Sitting in that class I realized I was surrounded for the first time in my life by people who thought having young children in the house wasn't reason enough not to own a gun. I thought that would be a reason no one would question. Not in this crowd.

Anyway, the class succeeded; not in turning me into the world's best sharp-shooter, but in demystifying the whole gun thing. I'm not paralyzed by the sight of a gun anymore. I'm no expert, but I can handle it safely. I can take the bullets out safely, and without bullets it's just an expensive hunk of metal.

A trip to a firing range was included in the price of the class and Barb and I did ok, just fine for first timers.

And then nearly a year passed. Barb and I kept talking about going to the range and talking about it and talking . . . .

We finally went last week. Here's barb at the range:

We were using an 8mm revolver. I like revolvers. They've got weight to them. They're straightforward and old school. They're big enough to feel powerful. I was so glad to go with Barb because I was nervous to be around guns again and she did a better job staying calm and remembering what we learned in class.

We had a great time shooting so we agreed to do it again SOON, and tonight was Ladies Night at the range. They wave the usage fee for the girls. Yeah! Only down side is that we're not the only girls who have figured out that the third Wednesday is the time to be at the range. We waited and waited, and got into the range about 10 minutes before Barb had to leave.

Just to shake things up, Barb and I rented a 22. Compared to the revolver, a 22 is light weight, fires effortlessly, is less deafening. Like other semi-automatics, it spits out the shell with every shot. I think that's annoying. But you can pack 10 bullets into the magazine and 100 of them cost less than $10. Can't say the same for the revolver.

Barb was able to fire about 12 shots before time ran out and she had to go. That left about 88 rounds for me, and I fired them all. Click on the picture if you want to see how I did.

Matthew and I are thinking about a family membership.


RainBOWS said...

Nice Shooting!! Keep it up and enjoy. I think you have Matthew scared.

I believe S&W makes a 12 shot .22 revolver.

Mary Ann said...

I'd probably fall in love with a revolver like that.

Josh said...

Remind me not to make you angry.

Mary Ann said...

what, little old me?

Terra said...

ah but the question is: at what range did you achieve your amazing acuracy?
I had loads of fun when I went out shooting with friends. I still don't want a gun in my house though. The skill to be a good shot is facinating.

Mary Ann said...

At the range beginners have to shot from 7 yards. Frankly, our accuracy should be much greater since we're so close to the target. But whatever.

I don't want a gun in the house either. If guns could bark maybe I'd consider it, but they can't. I think a dog is probably a better deterrent, if not a better defense, but I don't want a dog.