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Here comes da Judge


February 25, 2011
Last week, I went shooting for the first time.

Despite having lived in the South for a good four years now, I have only so much as held a pistol twice, and never pulled the trigger until some friends decided to go to the new shooting range in Roswell.

Growing up as a teenage boy playing way too many violent video games, it may be odd that I never had much to do with actual weapons.

My family and friends were never big on them. Some members of my family are dead-set against them. Their thinking is one I had until fairly recently guns are made to kill. Why would you have one if you didn't expect to kill someone? And doesn't having a gun for defense mean you don't trust the police people paid to defend the citizenry to do their job?

My views have changed considerably since I was an idealistic youth. Weapons are fine for self defense, and are probably a necessity in some areas.

Entering the gun range, I admit I was nervous about just holding a weapon, let alone using it. Disaster scenarios went through my head as soon as I committed to shooting. What if someone gets shot or, worse, killed? Holding a loaded weapon is a heavy responsibility, and one I was not sure I wanted to take up.

But I entered the range and was taken through getting set up to shoot a weapon. I watched a safety video full of common sense, but still important, information always face the gun forward, down the range; don't play around; wear head, eye and ear protection; keep your finger off the trigger until you actually ready to shoot.

Having never fired a weapon before, the guy behind the counter suggested I use a revolver. Easy to load, easy to fire and little chance of something going wrong. My shooting partner chose probably the largest one on display.

It was called "The Judge." It can apparently shoot shotgun shells. I thought this was a little overkill for the shooting range, but softened my stance when I chose our target zombie Osama bin Laden.

Firing a gun called The Judge suddenly felt appropriate. To paraphrase John Wayne, the only due process is by the bullet.

My hands were actually shaking as I loaded the gun with its six bullets and took aim. I really had no idea what to expect what would the kickback on the gun be? How loud would it be? There was really only one way to find out, so I squeezed the trigger.

It was definitely louder than I expected, and my aim was nowhere near what I wanted. The scattering of dust on the ceiling proved that.

But it was manageable and dare I say it exciting. I finished off my remaining rounds quickly and stepped back so my friend could take his shots. Like me, he had never fired a weapon before and was equally clueless in what to expect.

We quickly figured out how to properly use the thing and then fired away, our comically large pistol tearing gaping holes in the paper zombie bin Laden.

After all our bullets were spent, we compared notes with our other friends who came with us. There was no excitement or jubilation at taking advantage of our Second Amendment right. A few of us were less than impressed and had no inclination to do it again.

The rest of us enjoyed it, but it was similar to playing golf fun, but it's not going to blow your mind.

Will I now go out and buy my own gun? Probably not. But now that I know what to expect, I think I'll go back to get a feel for what guns I feel comfortable with. I might even try the Judge again.

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  1. report print email
    Sad
    February 26, 2011 | 09:53 AM

    I don't expect everyone to be an expert at everything but this is ridiculous. This is like reading a story of a middle aged person learning to turn the key on the ignition of a car for the first time. The guy expected to see someone shot or killed at a gunrange?? His hands were shaking? He was nervous? Where were his parents and why didn't they teach him the basics of being an adult? Wasn't this author told the Supreme Court ruled the police are NOT there to protect you and it's our own responsibility?

    This article is such a failure of a so-called adult who hasn't figured out what it takes to learn the basics of a simple skill away form hovering teachers.
    And no, I'm not just writing about shooting. I imagine I would have read the same hysterics if I was reading about carving a Thanksgiving turkey.

    Shooter 2.5
    Dallas
  2. report print email
    Keep it up...
    February 26, 2011 | 12:36 PM

    Good for you for trying. Best advice is find someone who knows what they are doing to help... or take a basic NRA class. I've fired tens of thousands of rounds, and outside the military, never at anything but paper. It can grow quite fun and challenging.

    Jack Burton
    Crown Point, Ind
  3. report print email
    Good for you!
    February 26, 2011 | 02:30 PM

    Please don't let the commentary of sad, judgemental people like "Shooter" (who ridicule everyone whose life experience differs slightly from their own in order to feel good about themselves) bring you down. I was also nervous around guns -- after a sleepwalking episode with a roommate's gun in which I almost blew away a living room lamp at 4 a.m. -- and totally relate to the newbie shooting-range experience. I was also trembling at first, but persevered to discover I'm an excellent shot with a revolver, even from the other end of the range. Now I have the confidence to defend myself from those of my armed, angry neighbors (if need be) who blame ME for all their problems because I dare to think for myself in a hard-right, pekoe-headed political environment. Have a blessed day!!

    KMac
    Roswell
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