i just got back from an exciting day at the shooting range with my brother, the gun enthusiast. where i collect computers and hoard software, he collects guns and stockpiles ammunition. actually, he only owns a few guns, and hasn’t got much more than a weekend’s supply of ammo at any one time, but still – i know which uncle my kids are not allowed to visit.
certainly he’s no militia nut, living in a shack in the black hills writing a manifesto, but his recent acquisisitions worried me.
that is, until i had a chance to shoot some clays. damn, that’s fun.
the smell of sulphur on my hands and clothes, as well as the blossoming bruise in my shoulder are just the lingering reminders of what began as research, but ended up being an enjoyable, if long, afternoon.
you see, shotguns aren’t so bad. and neither are the people that shoot them. we met and chatted with several folks at the range, including families, and they were very friendly, even giving me, the novice shooter, pointers on how to better disintegrate the little orange clay pigeons.
safety rules were well enforced – “check your breach” and “is your safety on” and “goddamnit, point that thing downrange!” were uttered more than once. hell, even the sound of the barrage of shells wasn’t too loud, even when i took out my earplugs.
on the other hand, though, we walked by the pistol range on the way to and from the skeet ranges, and damn, those things are loud. sure, there was the pitter-patter of .22 and 9mm shots, rifles and such. but there must have been one guy with a .45 or larger, wailing away – the shots could be heard over the din of a family of four taking turns at trap shooting.
the guys on the pistol range, in the brief glimpse i saw of them, looked a good bit more solitary and singular in their concentration on putting holes in pieces of cardboard from as little as 5 yards away, it seemed.
also while we were walking around, i noticed a good number – too many, if you ask me – of random holes in various structures. i suppose it’s a good sign i didn’t see more, considering the gun club has been operating for at least 40 years. with so many guns around, there’s bound to be misfires, but, keeping in mind the stringent safety regulation, i don’t think i could have felt much safer, given the number of bullets and shells in the immediate area.
come to think of it, perhaps that was why everyone was so nice and polite to one another. they knew, without a doubt, that everyone else there was packing.