Yesterday I had quite the adventure. I’ve been wanting to learn how to shoot a firearm for a very long time (well, I did shoot at riflery a very long time ago at sleep away camp when I was like 10 years old but that’s so long ago its like another life). My “slight” zombie obsession and watching the Walking Dead weekly definitely had more than a little something to do with it (have to get ready for the zombie apocalypse that’s coming), as did watching society quickly go down the toilet within just 3 days after Hurricane Sandy. I felt like it was important not to be afraid of guns and to know how to use them. But I was and I didn’t. I just wanted to feel like I knew what I was doing, safely, and for protection whenever the shit hits the fan again. I’m no Michonne with a katana and I have next to no upper body strength so Daryl’s crossbow would be difficult at best.
The day before going to the range, I must’ve watched about 5hours worth of gun safety and range etiquette videos on Youtube. They were actually hugely helpful and I felt a little less nervous about going. But I was still really nervous! My friend who has much experience with firearms said he’d take me (I think he maybe thought I would just forget about it but for those of you who know me, know that is not going to happen. I think he was a bit surprised that I wanted to go so much and kept asking until he agreed!). He was an awesome “instructor”- going over all the safety rules, showing me how to clear each weapon, how to hold them, how to stand, how to aim, etc. He brought all the safety equipment, guns and ammo we would be using. He even brought some zombie targets along! Thank you again, friend. Still can’t stop smiling and being all happy about the day.
My first shot of the day (well, it was an hour only that we had the range for) was with a .22 rifle and has the red arrow pointing to it. My first shot!!! Then my second shot was the bullseye! The shot to the right on the 8/9 line was his (which he took before I fired at all just to show me again how to proceed) And you know what? I freaking loved it!!! SO much!! I had such a great time and felt really comfortable and not nervous anymore. In fact, I felt pretty damn badass! The target to the right was the rest of my time with the .22. Minimal kick, very easy to aim. I have to say that I really think the whole being a photographer thing really helped. The focusing, looking at the depth of field, pressing the shutter release vs pulling the trigger, and I shoot (the camera) with a “focus and recompose” method so when I wasn’t hitting where I wanted to I did the same thing with the gun. Focus & recompose which I’ve been told in gun terms is called Kentucky windage- exact same principal.
My next bunch of shots was with the AR-15. Had to go for the headshots cause thats the only way to stop a zombie you know. That was a serious and big gun. The sight on that one took me a little longer to figure out, but as soon as i “got it” that it was like a level and I had to move the gun accordingly- not just vertically, but horizontally and even twisting a little to be in the middle of the sights, I was good to go. It sounded sooo loud and had a lot more kick than the .22, but i still liked it. A lot. Last was the Mossberg 500 pump action shotgun with a pistol grip. My favorite target of the day was left lying on the floor down range as not only did I blow the zombie’s head off (really, it was just a big gaping hole in the target the size of the whole head!) but i blew the target right off the hanger. So bummed, cause that was a keeper! I only took 3 more shots with the shotgun- it was definitely my least favorite. So, so much kick my hands hurt a ton, and its more of a “spray and pray” (in photograspeak) type of shooting where you don’t aim thru any sights at all. And you shoot from your hip. And it sounds like a damn cannon going off. (not Canon; cannon). With the pump action it is by far the most badass (think Sara Connor from Terminator 2) but not something that I would want to shoot again I don’t think. The target below was after the 1st and really good shot. I was anticipating the recoil too much and my hands hurt. Not the gun for me.
I wasn’t able to fire a pistol at all due to the NYS gun laws (I don’t have a pistol permit so not allowed to play) but hoping I’ll get to do that somewhere, sometime.
Seriously, I had an amazing time- who knew I would love it so much and actually be good at it! I am so not interested in hunting (i like animals and that would require outdoor stuff in the cold. Ummm, no.) or killing anyone (well, unless you are a zombie) but cannot wait to go again and get better- further distance and moving targets at some point sound super fun. And in my head, I’ll continue to think I’m a badass. Oh, and after getting home I was online looking for ballet tickets for the spring. True story.