A Beginner's Day at the Gun Range
|Sarah, master markswoman, shooting small |
bore from an AR-15 assault rifle.
Dramatic, right? Of course, my opinion of firearms likely illicits eye-rolls from folks who've spent time hunting, use guns as part of their jobs, or didn't grow up in a liberal town in upstate New York. This past weekend, I got to see firearms in a way I'd never seen them before - as powerful tools requiring complete concentration, an incredible amount of knowledge, and serious skill to operate effectively.
I had the chance to shoot long guns at the Delaware County Field and Stream Association with TerraMar Adventures and some incredible instructors It was my first trip to a range and the second time I'd ever picked up a gun in my life. Along the way, I learned a thing or two about how to shoot effectively and have fun doing it.
- Assume every gun is loaded
- Always point the gun in a safe direction
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire
|Shooting things that fly is...hard!|
Shooting things that don't move from a relatively short distance? Not so bad. Shooting things that move, particularly things that fly, is really hard. Trap shooting is one form of clay pigeon shooting and was our second stop at the range. We got to test out two double barreled 12 gauge shotguns, which had more kick than the .22 rifle and the AR-15. (Translation: I've got a little bruise on the inside of my shoulder!) Our experienced instructors could consistently place two clay pigeons into the spring loaded machine and shoot them both of of the sky. I, on the other hand, didn't hit my first single pigeon until the 10th try.
Though guns are dangerous, it takes an incredible amount of skill and patience to fire them accurately. When we arrived at the high power section of the range, we watched Al carefully unpacked his Remington 700 sniper rifle, remove the lens caps from the telescope, and load three rounds of ammunition, each as long as my pointer finger. He settled on to the bench, made a few corrections in his posture, held his breath and pulled the trigger. Evidently, breathing while pulling the trigger significantly decreases your accuracy.
|Good times with big guns! (S. Feidt)|
Aside from the important safety and how-to lessons of the day, I developed a complete sense of respect for those around me who were able to manage, care for, and accurately fire the guns we tried. I didn't expect trap shooting to be as challenging as it was, and after getting to try it, watching our instructors shoot target after target out of the air was mind blowing. Even more mind blowing was the complimentary lunch, door prize selection and free massages available as a part of the range's Ladies' Day event!
Have you been to a gun range before? Hesitated to go for any reason? Love or hate shooting guns? Leave a comment! And if you do decide to go shooting, make sure you practice safe behaviors!