Be a Man: Learn to Shoot
That all changed when I found this place. What they offer isn't cheap, but it is worth the price. Yesterday, on perhaps the coldest day I have ever experienced, I finally got an opportunity to learn how to fire handguns. I was able to try out various calibres and models of handguns, such as a Luger 9mm, a Glock .22, and a .38 Special revolver. As is to be expected for a beginner, I did all right shooting out to a range of 16 feet; but then when I tried hitting bulls-eyes at a range of 27 feet... yeah. Epic Fail.
Here's what I learned and/or reaffirmed:
- The vast majority of people who want to use and own guns are NOT swivel-eyed loonies. I'm not sure where this ridiculous stereotype comes from- probably the idiots who insist on going into schools and shopping malls and blowing innocent people away because they can't fight back- but nothing could be farther from the truth. The people in my class were all just normal, law-abiding folks, and almost all over 30, with the exception of maybe three girls.
- The NRA is made up of regular people like you and me, who also happen to believe ardently in private property rights and have no problem whatsoever with the concept of armed self-defence. Your average NRA instructor is likely to be much smarter than the average person, and will be interested first and foremost in your safety, not your accuracy. Listen to your instructor very, very carefully, don't cock about while at the range, and you'll have a great time.
- A shooting range is not actually a bad place to meet cute women. There were three in my class last night- well... two, really, one looked to be a bit heavy on the clown makeup. I didn't say a word to any of them- missed opportunities, it's true. Going to a gun range does appear to get them quite excited, judging by the amount of verbiage coming from two of them afterwards. Knowing how to talk to them is another important life skill, which I clearly need to work on.
- The demographic composition of my class was interesting. Most of them where white and close to middle-aged, and there were at least two married couples there. Most of them will probably never come back after the experience- they're weekend-warrior types looking for a new experience, not people who are serious about self-defence. Some might, though. There was one big black guy and two Indians out of a class of 15- and to be honest I was a little surprised to see other Asians there. Asians in this country tend to be politically liberal, which is not altogether odd given that they come from nations where filial piety and deference to the authority of the State is considered to be normal and acceptable.
- You WILL look a bit of a tool during your first live-fire session, even if you have perfect eyesight in both eyes, like me. (I like carrots. A lot.) I completely missed the target with half my shots during the 10-round shooting competition at the end of the evening. This annoyed me, which is why I'm definitely going back for practice.
- Personally, I found the lighter pistols to be easier to sight and use; the heavier guns tend to be hard to keep on target and are more about stopping power than accuracy. I personally prefer control and accuracy to speed and power- in most pursuits, not just this one. I particularly liked the feel of the 9mm. The goal, however, is eventually to get comfortable and accurate with the heavier calibres. Nothing says "Don't Tread on Me" like someone who can shoot accurately at range with either single or mixed grip using a .38 or .40 semi-automatic weapon.
- Going down to the range and shooting rounds at targets is some of the most fun that you can legally have. Seriously. It's therapeutic, it takes your mind off whatever BS you might be dealing with on a given day, and it can become a social activity if you want.