As I said, hubby is incredibly comfortable with guns and enjoys opportunities to practice shooting targets. My step-mother-in-law, Beth, has taken a concealed weapons course and is now a proud, gun-owning US citizen who can shoot like a man. To make matters worse, Chris is a veteran marine – I’m pretty sure they were born with guns in their hands. I didn’t want to embarrass myself by being a baby and I certainly didn’t want to embarrass Steven in front of his family. I attempted to put on my *big girl panties* and pretended that I was excited about firing pistols.
Before we left for the gun range, Chris gave me some basic instructions about proper gun safety and how to hold a pistol. Never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot (Does that include hubby? Just Kidding!) Always make sure the safety is in the on position until you are ready to shoot. (Safety – that’s an appropriate name for that little switch!) And there was something about a magazine (pretty sure that holds the ammo), cocking the gun, lining up your sights between these little dots at the end of the gun and the acronym “BREATHE” which is supposed to teach you the steps you go through when firing a weapon. By this point in the instruction, the gun was in my hand and I was feeling a little light headed so the later part of the instructions are somewhere blurry. Chris and Beth both own a Beretta 9MM. – what a pretty name for a gun. Unfortunately the gun looks more threatening than “pretty” – but I guess that is the point of a handgun.
So we loaded up and drove to the range. When we arrived, Steven and I were required to watch a quick gun safety video before we were allowed to shoot in the range. (Does everyone realize what a clutz I am? Is everyone else as worried as I am that I might shoot someone in the foot???) The range was an indoor range – which for those of you who have never been to one – is incredibly loud! Everyone who enters the range is required to wear these hideous protective goggles and HUGE ear plugs. Great – not only do I feel like an idiot, but I get to look like one too. This is going so well!
We had barely entered the range when the gentleman closest to the door fired his pistol. B-O-O-M! I swear, my entire body jumped 3 feet into the air. Immediately my hands started shaking, my heart started pounding and I could barely control my urge to cry. But I had promised myself I wouldn’t cause a scene, so I slapped on a smile (or at least not a frown) and watched as Chris and Steven prepared the guns for us to shoot. Thankfully we were able to get two cubbies side-by-side at the back of the range, away from everyone else. Well this is good news – at least if I do shoot someone, it will be a family member. I’m less likely to go to jail that way.
I must say, Chris and Steven were exceedingly patient with me. As we entered the shooting cubby (again – pretty sure I’m not using proper gun lingo here) Chris loaded my gun for me, showed me the proper shooting stance and reminded me to “respect the gun”. So that was it – there I was, gun in hand, pointed at a target, nothing left to do but shoot. Okay, safety is off…not a good idea! Gun is cocked – they really expect me to shoot this thing! Pull the trigger Amber. Pull the trigger Amber. QUIT BEING A BABY AND PULL THE TRIGGER!!!
B-O-O-M! Holy crap I just shot a gun. And I’m pretty sure I hit the target. I’m also pretty sure I just wet my pants. As I peered behind me and to my left and right, I confirmed that everyone in the range was indeed standing and seemingly unpeturbed by my shooting. A quick glance down confirmed that I had not wet my pants. Thank You LORD! Chris encouraged me to shoot again. POW! Everyone still standing – go me! BOOM! This isn’t too bad! It was at this point that I realized I had not taken a single breath since my first shot. Perhaps that was the reason I was feeling so light headed. I reminded myself to breathe and finished shooting the remaining bullets in my magazine.
Everyone took turns shooting the targets. On my next attempt, Beth even taught me to load the gun myself! As I continued to shoot, I became more comfortable (or more accurately less afraid). My hands stopped shaking and I learned how to breathe while shooting (very helpful!) I hit the center of the target multiple times!!! While my target did not look nearly as impressive as Beth’s (she seriously can shoot – I would *not* suggest messing with her!) it wasn’t too bad for my first. Steven held my target up to his body and pointed out that if he had been standing behind my target, he would have been dead.
I’m glad I went and faced my fears. I am pretty sure I may never been one of those hard core girls who shoot ‘em up – but at least I am comfortable enough to pull the trigger if I had to. For now, I’m quite content with my ever obnoxious guard dogs who bark at everything while Steven is away. They will protect me from the bad guys until I find the courage to get a gun of my own.