This weekend it was my son’s 15th birthday. Here he is at day one, sweet little guy!
This year for his birthday he wanted to take me shooting for his birthday. He has done a bit of it with his father in Colorado and since I had never shot a gun before in my life, he wanted to take me. He wanted to spend HIS birthday money to do this with me! How cool is that? The other cool part…I mentioned to him that my mother had also really wanted to try it out and so we took her along too! How many 15 year-olds do you know that would spend their own money to take their mother and grandmother shooting? My kid rocks!
When we got to the Norpoint Shooting Range I told the guy at the counter that my mom and I didn’t know what we were doing but my son did. He asked, “So you’ve played Call of Duty?” I quickly interrupted with, “No, he’s actually shot real guns before.” And my son chimed in, “A lot!” We got our eye and ear protection and rented the first firearm. My son’s choice…a 357 Magnum. He would’ve gone bigger but they didn’t have any…my kid! He let me try it out…pretty awesome for my first shooting experience I say. And because I like taking pictures so much, here’s some ammunition for you.
Next up, my mother. You can read her view of the experience here. Her choice was a 9mm hand gun. I also got try this one out. Pretty cool, but certainly no Magnum! I really wanted to try out a rifle so I went for the 10-22. If I wanted to try an AK-47, I would have had wait to shoot it, plus I’ve been told the 10-22 is a good little gun, with cheap ammo so I went for it and got 100 rounds.
Shooting a gun is way more involved that they make it look on tv. You really have to be present and aware. You really have to think about what you’re doing, you have to focus, at least to be any good at it. There are so many tiny adjustments to make and each one makes a world of difference in how your shot will turn out. Not to mention, the condition of the gun itself…we didn’t even get into that part of it. Not only do you fire the gun but it also needs to be reloaded and cleaned. It is a precision instrument that must be handled carefully and not because it could break but because it could cause serious damage. Yet another perfect metaphor for life!
The entire experience was kind of surreal for me. I was there, taking in the new environment, the people there, the excitement of the experience but while I was shooting at the target, it never really occurred to me that I was using a weapon meant for destruction. That the thing in my hands could kill, even if only a small animal.
For years I prided myself in never having even handled a gun. I wasn’t against others using guns, I just never wanted to be in a place where it would be necessary. It also just didn’t appeal to me. But within the last few years it started to make sense to me that being able to shoot a gun might just be a good skill to have. Not because I’m worried for my safety, that I want to hunt or that I have some blood lust to fulfill. It just makes sense in my brain that in the very least, having had this one experience would put me at way more of an advantage, should the situation occur, to be able to adequately use one. Why would I deny that for myself?
One of the best parts of this family birthday outing was how great my son was at teaching my mother and I how to correctly use the firearms. Each one loaded and handled differently and he showed us all the ins and outs of them. He was very patient, started from square one and explained step by step exactly what and how we needed to do to load and fire the gun properly. And although, my son would have liked more time to actually shoot, my mom and I both showered him with immense gratitude and compliments on his actions for the afternoon. What a great kid I have!!