This will be a departure from my standard EMS fare.
Few of you, if any, know of my interest with firearms. My mother, raising me as a single parent, was decidedly protective of me (suggesting to my grandmother, at one point when I began walking, that I wear a helmet to prevent head injuries) and anti-firearm - when I was young she kept me away from firearm toys, nearly going nuts when my grandmother bought me a toy raygun water pistol at a young age. My obsession with toy guns and GI Joe, however, eventually forced her to cave, results being that I had quite a collection by the time I got to be too old to play with toy guns. When most other young tykes were reading Clifford, The Big Friendly Dog books, I had my nose buried inside a military issue manual on Jungle Warfare.
My uncle and grandfather had both served as Marines, and my (necessarily absent...but this is a post for another day) father was a police officer. In fact, until I graduated I had just assumed I would join the military or serve as a law enforcement officer. I was actually in the city police department's Explorer program before getting into a similar program in EMS. Part of the program involved a week long camp at a military base in Gulfport...where one of the segments was at a firing range. I will never forget exiting the class room and loading and firing a police issue .38 at a target. My shooting was horrendous but the excitement remained with me all day. My mother wasn't much of a hunter, though, and other than a few trips with my godfather, another police officer, I never fired anything larger than a BB Gun....but it was enough to fuel my desire.
Since that time my knowledge of firearms has been mostly from books and the Internet.
I finally decided that now, as an adult of 24 years of age, I would venture forth into the world of firearms and test my mettle.
Which why, about a month ago, I found myself in the 6th lane of a local shop and shooting range near my hometown. I had requested and received a safety briefing and course in range protocol (because if I had a misfire, I didn't know what the hell to do), and had a rented Glock 22 in .40 and two boxes of shining, factory fresh rounds laid out in front of me. I'm happy to say that my book knowledge served me well and I was able to load my own magazines and operate the pistol without further assistance. I slid my safety glasses down, advanced my paper target down the range, and it began.
I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin, and I wouldn't say firing a pistol made me masculine or powerful. But I definitely derived immense satisfaction from the flash and noise, the recoil of the grip, the satisfying snick as I slid the magazine and chambered a round.
My shooting was atrocious, and I could not get my hands to stop shaking the whole time. I fired a box to get used to the weapon, and my friend Courtney, who had accompanied me, and I had a little competition after, firing in the following sets at 15 yards.
Center mass, 5 rounds, x2.
Head, 5 rounds.
Torso, 5 rounds in under 4 seconds.
Below is the target I fired at. The grin on my face is unmistakable.
Lord help me, I think I'm turning into a gun nut.