On 4/1/17, MA and I went with a few friends to a shooting range at the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Fairfax, Virginia. These individuals brought their own pistols, rifles and ammunition. With their expertise, we were fortunate that they knew gun operations and safety and have even been to this range before. They helped us with loading, manipulating the gun, setting the target, positioning while shooting, and coaching us to correct our aim.
When we shot with the pistols, we would be in very short range, between 15 and 25 feet. I realized that even at short range, novices like me are very inaccurate with a pistol. I had some difficulty hitting our paper plate target at 15 feet. However, when we used the rifles, we would place another target out 50 yards. The rifles were much more accurate. Even being a novice I was able to get near the bulls eye (sometimes).
The range environment was rather interesting. With all the individuals in the range, it seemed like a smorgasbord of guns. Of course, there were the 22s, 308s, 45s, 9mm. I even saw an old fashion revolver. Some guns were real quiet (of course we had hearing protectors that eliminated almost all the sound), while others were real loud, even with the ear protection. They sounded like cannons. Then there were the spent shells – thousands of them on the floor, being swept into the downrange area. The people shooting were interesting. There were the young guys, the not so young guys, the guys there with dates (or maybe it was women with their male date?), and even a few families. Also, apparently shooting guns leaves gunpowder residue on your hands, your face, and even your clothes. We were to wash our hands and faces upon leaving.
Note: For blog followers that are wheezy about guns, the NRA is very serious about safety. They kept the shooting range safe. We were given the rules and we passed a test to be eligible to enter the shooting range. The rules ensured that guns were unloaded until on the shooting table and that all guns were always pointed downrange. An NRA member was constantly watching to make sure all the rules were followed.
One interesting thing about shooting guns is that when you mention it to a group of people, it seems like someone knows someone who owns a gun and practices shooting at some nearby shooting range. That opens the opportunity to shoot again. So if you do go shooting, give me a call. I would love to do it again.