The good news is that no one got shot. But the experience was so stressful I had to take to mah bed the next day–every muscle was sore.
I don’t know where this paralyzing fear of guns came from. I love explosion movies and Jack Bauer has hero-status in my eyes. But as far as having a gun or firing one? No Way! In fact, I’ve never even been around a gun firing so Shooting Day was Dies Irae as far as I was concerned.
I think the Instructor sensed I was a lost cause and even offered to refund our money and let me go home–no harm, no foul–but I was determined. It was going to happen. The Hottentots are coming and one must make all preparations.
I don’t think it helped much that Mr. T decided to dress like your proto cat burglar complete with black jacket and knitted ski cap. I was told to wear a belt so I did. The belt was not for fashion–it was to hold an ugly, hard holster on one hip and a funny little bucket for the bullet holders. There is no way such things do not make one look FAT. It was cold and the only thin gloves I had were cashmere and puce leather–yuck–and then the ensemble was topped off with huge blue headphones. It made the cute little wool beret with bling my daughter brought me from Paris seem out of place. Needless to say, there were NO pictures.
We were at an outside range and it sounded as if we had wandered into the Yankees firing on Atlanta again. My first urge was to go bury the family silver but there was no way out. Two “bad guy” targets with white paper plates stuck in the middle were set up about 15′ away from where we had to stand and the Instructor was putting on a bullet-proof vest. But no vests for us! Then we had to pick up the actual guns. Mine was black and heavy and its name was Glock.
Okay Dear Readers–this is where I have to warn you that if you continue reading you are going to join me in brain free fall. I had a friend who once described glimpsing my brain in this mode was like being in the stacks of a library during an 8.0 quake with all the books flying off the shelves. So buckle your seatbelts and hang on–or go play FreeCell.
First–the Instructor has us put the bullets in the magazines(not the kind you read) ourselves. I think they could hold 10 but the most I could force down its gullet was 4. Stuff magazines in ugly hard pouch on left hip. Put ugly black gun in holster on right hip and walk to one’s death the shooting line. Do not throw up. Using deodorant had been a waste this morning.
I don’t really remember much about what followed but the Instructor kept using golf terms: round, grip, target, aim, stance, line up, sights. Then I heard him say “Fire one round.” It seemed like it took 15 minutes for the thing to finally go off but it did fire. My heart only stopped momentarily and I closed my eyes. This is not good technique. BUT–I hit the target!!! The glock with green sights did it! Do you know glock means ‘bell’ to me? Bells along with organ pipes were always melted down to make cannons during wars–it was like a slap in the face. Do you know that when you fire a gun you never see the bullet go out or to the target? You don’t know if you hit Mr. Bad Guy Paper Plate!
I could not lose the golf grip with the glock. When I would hear “grip the handle and point your right index finger” I could only think PUTT! This went on all day with the result that my left index finger also tried to be on the trigger.
It took about 2 hours before I stopped jumping like Aunt Pitty every time I heard gunfire and calmed down a bit–not enuf to eat but at least to start regular breathing. Then I had to ask a question–I needed to get a kleenex. We’d been told to raise a hand if we had a question but the problem was that once I got that glock gripped there was no way I could un-grip it. I suspected waving the gun in the air would not be good form so I had to call for help. Patient Instructor came and talked me through taking my finger off the trigger and gradually letting each hand go so he could take the gun and I could get my kleenex. Next time I’ll just let the nose drip. Come to think of it, I remember him telling me quite a few times–in a very calm voice–t a k e y o u r f i n g e r o f f t h e t r i g g e r.
Every once in a while I’d glance over in Mr. T’s direction to see if I could see a bullet come out of his gun–nope. But I did see that “Yellow Eye” and it was a sobering thing to see.
I can’t write more–reliving the experience is still stressful. We had a superb teacher who was so calm through it all. The shelling of Atlanta didn’t bother him. Sometimes he would fire his gun and then I wanted to dive for cover but he knew what he was doing. I won’t go into how difficult it was to use the bathroom with all those things hanging on one’s belt. But here’s a video if you really want to learn proper restroom technique if you’re packin’ heat. It will only be of interest to women.
I’m determined to see this through so we’ve set up another lesson for next month. In preparation I ordered a fake ugly black gun and will put it on the computer. Maybe if I get used to seeing one just sitting around like a cup of cold coffee I won’t be so jumpy. Meanwhile, we brought our paper targets home and hung them on the Christmas tree. In some weird way it all kind of fits together in my mind.