Growing up in rural Minnesota, in a family that views squirrel tails as acceptable Christmas tree decor, you would think that I would be seasoned with a six-shooter. You would be mistaken. The closest I’ve ever come to firing a gun is a rousing game of Nintendo Duck Hunt, and even then I was often the kid who’d get fed up with that smug laughing dog and end up pressing the barrel of my gun against the TV screen.But I digress.
Yesterday, I attempted to earn my stripes as a Minnesotan and go shoot some stuff. My lovely friends Annie and Matt know infinitely more about these things than I do. Matt gave me a briefing in the parking lot and I began to quietly freak out about the possibility of shooting myself or others. Puuuuuuke. Because that could happen, yo.
We all donned the deeply sexy eye protection and ear muffs and headed into the range. Matt loaded his .22 and showed me how to hold and site it and told me to have at it. And it was so strange, you guys. A .22 is a wee little whippet of a gun and there wasn’t any of the kickback that I’d been expecting. The only impact of the gun that I saw were little black holes peppering the target 20 feet away – it was disturbingly easy to lose sight of the fact that this? This was a real gun. And it could really hurt people. I couldn’t seem to make the connection between the thing in my hand and what we see on the news every day. The thing in my hand seemed more like the Duck Hunt controler than something used by the gangs that prowl around my school every night.
But then Matt gave me his 9 millimeter and all of a sudden everything became a bit more ‘Law and Order’ and a bit less laughing dog.
You guys? That business is intimidating! There was the kick I’d been expecting. And the deafening noise. And the giant holes through the paper target. I lasted all of two rounds with the 9 mm, feeling more Laura Ingalls than Lara Croft.
I’m not sure that the shooting range is going to be my new hang out, but I’m definitely glad I tried it. If for no other reason than now I’ll have something to add to conversations everytime I go back up north to my hometown.
Have you ever fired a gun? Would you?