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Why I went to the shooting range

March 5, 2013

No, I haven’t suddenly become pro-gun. I don’t ever intend to own a gun, and I’d prefer a society without them. But the fact is, we live in a country where the right to bear arms is protected by the Constitution. Plenty of people own and use guns safely and for different, legitimate reasons.

But plenty of people also own and use them illegitimately.

You see it in the movies all the time. The bad guy has a gun. There’s a skirmish. The gun slides across the floor, and the protagonist picks it up and gains control of the situation.

If for some reason I’m ever in that situation, I want to know what I’m doing. That’s why I picked learning how to shoot a gun as one of my New Year’s resolutions.

On Sunday, my friend Kevin, a former police officer and current parole officer, went with me to a shooting range and taught me the basics.

Range1

Going in, I had no idea what to expect. Would I enjoy it? As it got closer to time, I grew more and more anxious.

Before going to the range, Kevin taught me how to hold the gun and what to do. At the range, he loaded it for me, which is good because I don’t think I was up for it.

Luckily, there wasn’t anyone using semi-automatic rifles while I was there. In fact, there was a couple next to me that was also learning.

Each time I fired a shot, I could feel the anxiety build. I can’t say it’s something I thoroughly enjoyed or that it’ll become a regular activity. But I’m glad I did it.

Range2

Kevin’s and my results

In all, I fired 16 shots — my first 12 were aimed at the x and my last four were aimed at the target in the upper, right corner. Kevin had to talk me into the last four because I was ready to be done after 12.

My healthy fear of guns has been fully affirmed, and at least I now know the basics of how to hold a gun and aim.

This is the first time in a while I’ve elected to do something that completely took me out of my comfort zone. Although I didn’t love the sensation of shooting, it was certainly a humbling experience.

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