Sunday, January 18, 2009

Range report and a bit of applause for a parent worthy of it.

My partner, two friends of mine, and I decided to hit the indoor range this afternoon. It was rather crowded (not surprising), and lots of different individuals were filtering in and out. More on these folks later. I also gave myself a reminder to find a S&W Model 36 with a 3" barrel at some point...that, or the Taurus equivalent. The last time we were at the range we rented this, and I found it an utter joy to shoot.

We brought the house firearms with us, and our one friend brought two long guns and a pistol.

Hokay. So. Let's keep in mind for a moment that I am female, and rather petite (5'4", in thick-soled shoes). I also have short arms and small hands.

From the inventory we brought with us:
Colt 1911 Government in .45 = Big Effing Pistol. Fun to shoot, if you already know how. I don't think I'd have been able to handle it early on in my firearm experience. This thing is a bloody hand cannon. I think I may shoot it more, but I'm going to want to be wearing driving gloves or something similar to protect my hands. My partner installed an extra bit on the grip that literally makes my hand feel like ground beef. It works for him, though, so I will make do.

Stoeger Coach Gun in 12gauge = DO NOT SHOOT if you're built like me and don't want shoulder ouchies. Thanks to the shot size and the barrel length, I had a hard time controlling it, and only got one shot off before I handed it over to my partner. It rocked me back hard enough to deter me from wanting to shoot it again. I shot 2 3/4" shells...I cannot imagine the 3" ones! At least I know I can handle the recoil if I had to shoot it. Besides, it's not like one would need to aim a shotgun...with buckshot/bird shot, just point it in the general direction you want the pellets to go, and you'll hit ... well, everything in front of it.

Bersa Firestorm .380 - this is my pistol (my friend also brought his with him today). I haven't been to the range in over a year, and it shows. I really need to work on breath control and grouping. Must start picking up ammunition when I see it so I can practice more. I also hope to convince a lady friend of mine to come out with me sometime soon - she's expressed interest, and I think shooting the Bersa would be a good way of introducing her. I'm certainly glad I purchased this as my first pistol, as it fits.

Also shot a friend's old semiauto .22 rifle and Saiga .410:
The .22 is, as always, a blast to shoot. I can't wait until I get mine. These have no recoil whatsoever and ammunition is cheap, so it's easy to just blast through a full clip (or tube, in the case of this particular gun) in seconds. I believe it jammed once, but this is due to age and not being cared for or shot once in quite a few years. This belonged to my friend's girlfriend's father before he passed away, and it hadn't seen the light of day since. It has some rusting in the tube, and just needs a good cleaning.

The Saiga was fun, but it made me feel like a hobbit for having such short arms. I doubt my sweatshirt, long-sleeved tshirt, and coat had anything to do with that. ;) I need to work on my upper body strength before we get our ARs built...I know I'll need far better control than I currently have. It also seems to be a tad finicky with some wasn't ejecting properly, and my friend mentioned he'd had problems with that before.

Now, for my observations of the crowd today.

First of all, I saw two GSG-5 rifles in the span of an hour. Is it just me, or are people realizing how awesome these rifles can be? It's a rifle with the look of an MP5, but shoots .22LR, so it's CHEAP AS HELL to take to the range. I intend to get one of these eventually, assuming they're not banned.

There were a pair of ladies in the lane next to us who definitely drew my eye. They were shooting what appeared to be all 9mm handguns. The shorter of the two was teaching the taller how to shoot...I couldn't help but grin. I love seeing more ladies at the range, especially one as competent as the shorter of the two. The taller asked lots of questions, paid attention and adapted her shooting style based on the critique of her friend, and seemed to really enjoy herself. I like that.

In fact, there were maybe 6 or 7 ladies at the range today. Almost all of them were enthusiastic about being there, especially one young lady in particular.

While we were in the lobby, waiting for two lanes to open up, a gentleman came in with his 10-year-old daughter. It was her first day at the range, and as I watched her and her father, I noticed something different about her.

She listened.

Her dad explained the 4 rules in a way she'd understand, and she paid very close attention to every word he said. He pulled out a .22 revolver (I didn't notice a seemed either relatively new or very well cleaned) and showed her how to use it. He opened it, showed her where the ammunition goes, showed her how to open and close it, and asked her to hold it. She seemed rather comfortable with it, so they rented a lane, bought a couple of targets (the adhesive kind that shows neon green when it's been hit), and took their lane. They ended up 2 lanes down from us, so I was able to watch her. She never tried to take off her glasses or ear protection, never pointed the gun anywhere but at the target, and showed complete concentration when it was in her hand. She didn't appear to jump when the booms were more BOOM than CRACK. Her composure was better than most new ADULTS at the range.

All in all, I was impressed by this child...and her father. I mentioned to him later that I thought it awesome to see such a young girl behave so well, particularly when it was absolutely necessary. I also applaud his constant dialog with his daughter - he asked her repeatedly if she was having fun, if she wanted to leave, if she felt comfortable, etc. If cameras were permitted inside the range I'd have gotten a picture of them. It was just too cute. She had this mop of curly blonde hair, and she was wearing a SKIRT, of all things. I'm guessing it was probably an after-church father-daughter bonding day. In any case, she's not the girl I'd have expected to see at a firing range.

They left a bit before we did, but they were still in the lobby when we settled our bill...I recall hearing her father ask her if she wanted to go back. She answered with an enthusiastic yes.

I hope to see them again soon.


Conant said...

"Besides, it's not like one would need to aim a shotgun...with buckshot/bird shot, just point it in the general direction you want the pellets to go, and you'll hit ... well, everything in front of it."

This is a very common misconception about shotguns. You do have to aim, and should experiment with the gun to learn about just how it patterns with the loads you intend to use it with.

Laura said...

well, Conant, i'm going on what my partner told me...since this was my first time EVER handling a shotgun, i think i should be given some credit. at least i a - hit the target, and b - kept my hands on the weapon. can't tell you how often i see people buy something they've never shot and cannot handle.

WHEN i buy my own shotgun, i'm sure i'll find out for myself how they behave. until then, however, i'll just rest on my laurels for having the guts to shoot it in the first place.

Mike W. said...

I believe Saiga makes a 20 gauge shotty that's not too expensive.

You know, a youth model shotty might fit you better than something full-sized.

Laura said...

the length wasn't the issue, it's the LACK of length (and the caliber). :)

Mike W. said...

ah, well I wouldn't really know, having never fired a shotgun before. (or anything bigger than 5.56)

Unknown said...

Near the end of our time, I noticed that there was a young girl (13ish) and her father or grandfather in the lane next to us.

The were shooting some beautiful old style revolvers that I really would have loved to try. He was really great with her and she was a really good shot.

I need to start buying ammo to help offset the Stephen's range costs for me.

Laura said...

i'm really hoping more parents take their kids...particularly if they already own firearms, and want to ensure proper handling by all members of the family.

does your friend purchase at the range, or elsewhere? we've discovered Dicks has stellar prices when it comes to their sales. find out what exactly he buys, the specific caliber (and all other pertinant info), and pick up a couple of boxes before you go. :)

Unknown said...

He brought his own ammo for his guns but rented the Glock & bought the ammo for it there (It was sort of a test-drive for possible purchase).

I will ask him what to get & pick up a box or two before we go again (which will not be for at least 5-7 weeks).

We started out shooting a 22 Walther which I liked a lot.

Then we moved on to the Bersa and 45 Glock (I think he's wanting to buy the 40 Glock he tried on his previous trip). I liked shooting them but couldn't aim well due to not being as comfortable with the grip. Plus, it took me a bit to get used to the kick.

I think I'm going to have to try some grip and stance practice before I shoot again.

After we shot the Glock, we went back to the Walther and it felt so puny.

I'd like to try something in the 38 caliber if we can next time. We'll just have to see.

After all, this was my first time shooting.

Mike W. said...

Wendy - Congrats on your 1st range trip.

If you plan to make shooting a regular event I suggest buying ammo in bulk. You'll save quite a bit over buying a box or 2 a time at Dick's or at the range.

9mm for example I'll often buy from He's out of stock on the Fiocchi 9mm I usually buy, but it gives you an idea of price.