Friday, August 20, 2010

target practice

I've always wanted to try shooting a gun; I think ever since I read a biography of Annie Oakley when I was about seven years old. At MIT they have a pistol PE class, but it's perpetually oversubscribed. I lotteried twice, didn't get in and gave up. Last year some friends talked about going skeet shooting, but we were lazy and it didn't happen.

About a month ago, a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go to the shooting range. I've known him for ages, but I never knew that not only does he like shooting, he owns a gun! Score!

We finally made it out to Jackson Arms a couple of weeks ago, and it was a blast. Three people brought their own guns (two Glocks, one Beretta), and we shared two lanes between six people. D didn't go; despite being from Texas, he objects to guns.

My impressions:
- It was louder than I expected. I was wearing my own Howard Leight disposable earplugs (usually for airplane travel), and I even rented over-ear protection, but still I could hear muffled booms quite clearly. (Also, it was quite amusing trying to communicate with each other with all of our ear protection on.)
- Apparently regular glasses are sufficient when it comes to eye protection. However, I had not planned ahead and was wearing contacts, so I had to borrow glasses from a friend.
- The casings fly everywhere! Once or twice I was pretty glad I was wearing eye gear. We also had to sweep the casings aside a couple of times so we weren't walking all over them.
- The actual shooting part was not as difficult as I'd expected. The posted rules stated that it was not allowed to shoot the hangers, the ceiling, the wall, or the floor. At first I was worried that I would do so accidentally, but it turns out that I have pretty good aim as long as I remember to keep both my wrists stiff.
- The hardest part was loading the magazines. Most of the time the guys would load them for me, but I tried it a couple of times myself and could only get about five or six bullets in before the spring loading mechanism became too difficult for my fingers to manage.

Overall it reminded me of a batting cage or driving range outing, or maybe of a bowling night. You practice a skill, in a lane, with friends. Fun!

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