Monday, March 16, 2009

Surviving the Apocalypse Task # 1: Learn How To Use a Gun

For our loyal blog readers, you know that Gender Fatigue spends a lot of time talking about the apocalypse and how we're getting ready for it. Some would argue that we are in the apocalypse right now but that's another post for another day...

Part of our journey of preparation is learning how to shoot a gun properly and safely. The only time Bent shot a gun was as a child and mothershiester has shot guns in her dreams. But a couple of weekends ago, we made it to the gun range at the Virginia based National Rifle Association Headquarters.

Bent had been in contact with the Pink Pistols, a gay gun rights and shooting group that organizes shooting get togethers. They organized an outing to the NRA range. One of the members said he would provide the guns and the bullets so there we went.

We needed a bit of food fuel to get through a morning of shooting several rounds so we went to this greek family owned diner near the NRA. We almost passed up the Have A Bite eatery, but thankfully we didn't because they served the tastiest potatoes. Potatoes with lemon are very tasty!

Thanks to milmo, we were able to make it to the gun range full and without incident. We were were one of the first cars of the morning. "Early to bed, Early to rise"...Actually, just kidding, we went to sleep super late but we still woke up super early for this moment.

The gun range is located in the lower level. It kind of set the mood for Mothershiester who was starting to regret coming. Images of accidentally shooting herself or other folks at the range bombarded her mind while Bent walks giddily.

We definitely didn't know what to expect when we got there. Both of us are just excited to demystify the gun. Below is us 'excited'!

Once you enter, you can't take photos. Since we'd never been there, we had to read through a gun safety and NRA rules manual plus take an open book test before we could set foot onto the live fire part of the range. After taking the test, you buy some targets, and pick up a set of eye goggles and ear muffs--and you definitely need those. Once you walk into the range, it's pretty surreal. It's set up like a bowling alley because each shooter is in their own lane. In front of you is this huge empty space with walls riddled with bullets and each lane has a target at different distances from each other depending on how far you want to shoot.

The sounds of the guns firing scared the hell out of mothershiester. It was much louder than she expected and it seemed like the shooting would never stop. At one point mothershiester wanted to run out before she could even hold a gun. Bent handled things much better. Some of the loudest guns that were being shot were shotguns and assault rifles.

Our pink pistols contact gave us a mini practice session before using the real things. We started out with a .22. Bent graduated to a 9 mm and a colt .45 with a type of precision that should make any person scared.

5 things that surprised us from our gun range visit:

1. Gun enthusiasts/users are not gun wielding vigilantes that want to shoot first
and ask questions later.
2. You should not focus on the target to shoot the target accurately. Instead the
target and the back of your gun should be blurry while the front of your gun
should be clear.
3. Guns are fucking LOUD.
4. Limp wristing is not just a joke on the gun range. It can apparently happen.
5. BENT and MOTHERSHIESTER are obsessed with shooting! We will be back!!!


gender fatigue said...

This was a very intense experience for both of us i think. For me, it was quite scary, the anticipation, and i really didn't know what was going to happen when i held that gun in my hand! But it actually was a lot easier than i thought it would be. The images of the gun flying all over the place from recoil did not come true, and i did not shoot wildly around the place. i actually felt proud to have kind of good aim! i guess my fears did come true with the use of the mahkarov 9x18 - this 9mm gun did have a lot more recoil than the .22, and i "limp wristed" it, according to our erstwhile teacher. that meant that i didn't hold it firmly enough, and after recoiling, the force of the slide ejecting the casing made me pull the trigger again, essentially firing two shots in an almost automatic kind of way.

what was especially intense was to listen to the audio that we recorded (sadly lost now) of the range, which was so loud, and the gun shots are so intense, with barely audible instructions in gun technique in the background. since guns are a reality in our world, i think i should know how to use them properly and safely, and hopefully it will never be necessary to use one on anything but a piece of cardboard. it is a definite sense of empowerment, the learning that happened for me that weekend.


natty Boom said...

I wanna go next time!

natty Boom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mary e. robbins :: moth designs said...

wow. i had been wondering what your hinting of guns had meant over the past few weeks...i knew it was heading for something meaningful. i have never held a gun, and i am sure that it would have frightened me, too. but i do think it is awesome you went and learned and experienced it all. huzzah!