Tuesday, September 09, 2003

That's When I Reach For My Revolver

One of the notable things that happened during the blog hiatus was that I fired a gun for the first time. A couple I know invited me to Rangemaster here in Memphis to fire some pistols with them. It was a blast!

I am a Second Amendment absolutist. I believe that folks should be allowed to own whatever they want, possibly within certain very large limits, and use them as they see fit. Idiots who can't follow common sense should face the wrath of neighbors and a strict review by a judge. Government should be involved only to the extent of making sure gun-makers sell a quality product and to set whatever appropriate limits on storage and use as the local community sees fit. Folks should be able to wear guns wherever they want, as a deterrent to crime. Everyone should be encouraging gun owners and users to take training and safety courses. Guns should be a privilege of adults, with all the responsibility that comes with such a dangerous weapon.

But I've never fired a gun! None of my family or friends were hunters growing up. Few folks I was friends with own them, except for small handguns for self-defense. I've known a couple of guys with serious gun collections and have held some of their guns, but that's been it.

I have considered the personal safety issue, but I can't take the gun to work, so it won't help me when I go back and forth. Also, my apartment has thin walls and I worry that any bullet fired at an intruder will also visit my neighbors, with unknown consequences. And my size and hard expression tend to insulate me some.

Before we went, my friends made sure I read the Rangemaster safety booklet and knew to:
*pull, don't squeeze, the trigger*
*always point the gun down*
*treat every gun as though it's loaded, with a round in the chamber*
*know what's behind your target*.

You better believe that I was holding that Kahr 9mm pretty gingerly when it first came into my hand. It weighed a lot less than expected, but was still a solid presence in my grip. It felt a bit small, undersized. We set out the first target, about 12-15 feet down range, and I aimed carefully. BLAM

The kick of the gun was much less than I was ready for. The gun still jerked, and my shot went up and to the left, as did all my shots that night, but I came pretty close to where I was aiming. Damn it felt good, too. I fired off a few more rounds; all came close to each other, but high-and-wide. Still, not bad for a first time!

They next let me fire their sexy black Beretta. I don't know the model or type, except that it fired .40 caliber rounds. Unlike the angular, sleek Kahr, this one was slightly rounded in every dimension like a Roman column. It had a slightly larger kick, as I would expect. But it felt much heavier and a bit bulkier in my grip.

I also got to fire a .45 caliber pistol. I don't remember what it was not, and yeah, it had a real kick to it. Very large in my hand, too. I went back to the car for some more shooting. I did pretty well after a while, keeping my shots grouped moderately tightly, but still off. I guess that takes practice.

The thing that most impressed me, other than holding a death machine in my hands, was the noise. Guns are much much louder than I anticipated. Much. I couldn't believe the volume, even with headgear. Hollywood completely misses the mark on their depiction of the noise, no doubt. It's the loudest thing I've heard in a while.

I had a terrific time. When I left I had a mild buzz of excitement still. And I will definitely go back for more. I've even looked at a small gun (like the Sig P229), but at $500 it will have to wait a while.

No comments: