I shot a gun for the first time today. A real, non-videogame gun.
Let me back up and put some context into those last two sentences.
Sean and I are on vacation this week. My sister offered to take her vacation at the same time so she could take Flora for a couple of days. We gratefully accepted her offer and Flora has been whooping it up with her auntie and grandma since yesterday afternoon.
This left Sean and I with some alone time on our hands. So we decided to take advantage of it by going out to do stuff we can’t do when Flora is here. Sean has recently taken up target shooting as a hobby and joined a gun club to practice his craft. Sean has asked me several times to come shooting with him, but I kept reminding him that we would need a babysitter (something we don’t have outside of working hours when Flora goes to daycare), so I wouldn’t be going with him any time soon. With Flora away, and the range being quiet during the day, we decided to give it a go.
Those first sentences could make me sound tough and adventurous in certain circles, but I was a nervous wreck once we entered the shooting area. Sean was very patient as he explained the preparations he needed to make for each round of shooting.
Then he fired his first shot. And I nearly shit myself.
Gunfire is *loud*. Even with ear protection. Movies don’t get that point across, no matter how good your home theatre set up is.
I don’t do well with loud noises at the best of times – I scare easily – so I don’t know why I thought target shooting would be a good idea. Trying to bond with the husband I suppose.
Then Sean wanted me to shoot. I was starting to get really anxious and initially refused. Then after some convincing, he had me holding the gun and taking aim at the target.
Despite all the safeties the gun had (it had three: a trigger safety, and two internal safeties), it amazed me at just how easy it was to pull the trigger. I didn’t expect it to yield to my finger so easily.
When I finally pulled the trigger, the recoil scared me nearly as much as the noise did. It made me afraid that I was no longer in control of the gun and that made me fear for my safety. Once I had complete control again (it was only a few seconds that I didn’t feel complete control), I put the gun down and told Sean I would wait for him outside. He talked me out of that, and I spent the rest of our session with my hands over my ear protection every time he lifted the gun to shoot (that didn’t help).
Sean talked me into trying one more time, and I felt a little more confident the second time now that I knew what it was going to feel like. After my shot, I put the gun down and returned to my spot several feet behind Sean, well out of the shooting bay and waiting for him to finish shooting at his targets. His marksmanship is getting better. (Mine was terrible in case you were wondering – I didn’t even hit the target.)
I don’t think I’ll be going shooting with him again anytime soon. I think with practice I could get over my anxiety with the gun itself. But honestly, the noise kept me on edge the entire time and I’m not so sure I could get past that. I’m grateful that we were the only people in there shooting, although I’m sure the staff got a big laugh out of me on the security video covering my earmuffs and even squealing once.
But I took two shots. That’s more than I ever thought I would. At least I tried it.
I’m thrilled that Sean has a hobby he enjoys and can do on his own or with friends. We just won’t be the couple that shoots together.
I’m also thrilled that we spent the rest of our date doing things we both enjoyed: eating lunch and visiting the Harry Potter exhibition at the Ontario Science Centre. Seeing the props and costumes from the Harry Potter movies up close made me realize that set, prop and costume design truly makes a good movie into a great one.
**Since guns and gun safety can be a hot-button topic, I feel I need to say the following. I’m not a big fan of guns. The guns Sean owns (legally, with proper paperwork) are stored very safely in my house in locked safes with locked cases and trigger locks. Proper safety measures are always taken around them. They would not be in my house if they weren’t stored that way. Canada’s gun laws are strict and we follow them to the letter. No thugs around here.