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Gun Fun June 3, 2007

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Science & Technology.

Today I went out and shot at the desert.  It didn’t seem to mind, as it’s been shot at by whole butt load of people before me and a lot of others after me, I’m sure.  I’m getting before myself though.

Recently my boss and I hired a guy into our little team of three.  He was in the Marines before he started working for our organization and he’d been out in The Shit in Iraq.  Not only had he been shot at, he’d actually been shot.  Twice.  In the chest.  Luckily for him he was wearing his body armor and the rounds did not penetrate it.  Anyway, he has guns.  Lots of guns.  Soon after we hired him he proposed that we go out play with some of his armament sometime.  Today was that time!

He has two automatic pistols:  9mm Beretta, and a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson.  I brought along my little .22 rifle and a Crossman pump-action BB gun :-D.  We met at a gas station on the far south side of town, right before you start leaving the Las Vegas environs entirely.  He led us down the road a bit further and then off on a little trail on the side.  Up and down a few hills, and around some corners, and then we just stopped.  We were in a little valley with a bunch of broken and shot up stuff lying around.  And shell casings.  Hundreds, if not thousands of shotgun shell casings were everywhere, and probably casings of every other kind of ordnance available too.  You mostly notice the shotgun shells because of the size and color of course. 

We plinked around a bit with the .22 and the BB gun and then got set up for the Main Attractions.  Among the wrack and ruin was a sizable piece of plywood of many holes that we set up against some other junk and we taped some paper targets and clay pigeons to it to shoot at.  Our Master at Arms explained the general workings of the two guns he brought, shooting range etiquette with proper trigger safety, and we loaded up some magazines.  He has two ammo boxes filled with rounds.  They sparkled like little, lethal jewels.  We took turns with the 9mm first.

I was the last to take a turn and I was a bit nervous.  Like I said, I’d never shot any sort of handgun before and wasn’t sure what to expect.  One of my biggest fears was dropping the damn thing.  POW!  Huh.  The recoil was a bit more jarring than I expected, but not as much as I feared.  The trigger was the bigger surprise – not much pressure at all was required.  Just the teensiest bit of a of pull and POW!  The fact that I wasn’t hitting the targets at all wasn’t a surprise.  I was hitting the board though, so at least I can hit the side of a barn.

We did the 9mm a couple times and then moved up to the .40.  It’s a heavier round with more recoil, but it’s a little heavier gun so it seemed like I had a little better control.  Maybe.  I dunno – just more practiced perhaps.  Anyway, we went on loading up magazines for both of them and shooting at targets for a while.  Often my best shots were my first ones – I nailed a clay pigeon on one of them with the .40.  Oh, we were shooting from about 12 to 15 feet away from the targets.  I thought we were kinda too close, but our Gun Guy said that handgun ranges were usually about 7 to 10 feet. 

It started to get hot a little before 11:00 so we packed it in.  We had a blast and we’ll definitely do it again.  Next time I’m gonna bring my shotgun and Gun Guy is gonna bring his assault rifle. 

Now I want a handgun.  I’ve said this before, many times, and never followed up but now I really want one.  That was just too much fun.  I want to shoot under more controlled circumstances at a gun range so I can get better practice.  It’s hard to see how you’re doing when you’re shooting at a target with other people’s holes. 


1. Anchovy - June 4, 2007

First-shot hits are common with (forgive me) beginners at large-bore shooting. Subsequent misses are usually due to barrel-flinching – the tendency to “flinch” or tip the barrel downward in anticipation of the blast, kick, and recoil.

A way to cure it is to have someone else load a (large-bore) wheel-gun for you with a random number of randomly spaced rounds in the cylinder. When you pull the trigger on an empty chamber you’ll clearly see what your doing wrong, and can compensate for it.

Or you can remember this little mantra: The noise and kick are gonna happen! Ignore it! It actually works.

2. Enas Yorl - June 4, 2007

Interesting. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone with a revolver to try that with. I suppose I could rent one at a gun range, load the bullets unevenly and spin the revolver thingy while not looking and then closing it. Some more practice will go a long way I think.

I must learn to shoot with my mind, not with my hand. He who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.

3. S. Weasel - June 5, 2007

I like revolvers. They’re low maintenance. Whenever some old dude grabs a dusty 20-year-old handgun from under a bed and shoots an intruder dead, you can be sure that was a revolver.

I’ve used the random-round trick many times. Sadly, I still flinch with higher caliber rounds. I get them on the paper, but in the characteristic low-and-to-the-left pattern.

I think the furthest target position at my indoor range is 50′. I know management doesn’t like us to shoot much short of that, owing to the possibility of putting one in the floor. My gun club is kind of prissy about stuff like that.

4. Anchovy - June 5, 2007

The low-and-to-the-left pattern (or -right depending on handedness) is my personal indicator of “you’re flinching – or tired. Take a break.” But the random-round-technique will immediately indicate to you that you’re flinching. It makes it profoundly obvious.

IMHO, at a range one should “try” to shoot at the maximum range feasible. If one is earnest about it – and has good tools – it’s not that hard to get most rounds into the 7-ring or better (25yd slow pistol). “In the color” – as I like to call it. If you can do that, then shortening the distance just increases your accuracy (and smug self-satisfaction, too!). If you aren’t missing in practice, then you aren’t pushing.

The nice thing about revolvers is they hardly ever jam.

5. kevlarchick - June 5, 2007

Enas, I had the same experience as you last year–my first time shooting a handgun. I still want a gun, but I need more practice.

6. Dave in Texas - June 5, 2007

but it’s a little heavier gun so it seemed like I had a little better control.


Good move on the .22 rifle first – that’s a great way to break in a new shooter. Little plinks, get used to the noise and stuff.

I have revolvers and semi-auto handguns, I like em all. I suppose my favorite is still my Springfield .45, but it’s not always practical for carrying (specially in the summer with less clothing to hide it).

Weasel makes a good point about revolvers – they’re simple. Uncomplicated.

Mostly it’s just a lot of fun to practice shooting. That you become proficient and can defend yourself is just a bonus to me – I like shooting stuff.

7. Pupster - June 5, 2007

Definitely rent a revolver Enas, in my opinion they are much easier to shoot than a semi-auto, they require less maintenance and are easier to clean.

I own a .38 revolver and a 9mm semi-auto, and I’m much more accurate with the .38 even though the barrel is significantly shorter.

My 9mm holds 15 shots (+1 if you are feeling froggy), so it’s more fun to shoot if you are spraying and praying… the range boss makes a frowny face, though.

8. Pupster - June 5, 2007

‘I suppose my favorite is still my Springfield .45’ – DinT

Does the Kimber know?

9. Sobek - June 5, 2007

I’m looking to get a gun this year, too. My favorite so far is a glock .40.

10. Dave in Texas - June 5, 2007

I got a love-hate thing going with the Kimber right now so my mind’s not right.

I love it, but I hate myself for splurging on it.

11. Kimber - June 5, 2007

Dave, you bastard!

Custom II, .45 ACP — a man’s gun. Not a paraffin dipping, metrosexual’s gun.

12. Retired Geezer - June 7, 2007

Random loading is the BEST way to discover that, yes, you really ARE flinching.
In my opinion, that is the most common problem.

Let It Be a Surprise when the gun goes off.
Just start slowly squeezing the trigger while holding the sights on target.

Mrs. Geezer and I both won Gold Medals in the Nevada Senior Games pistol championship. (two for me)
I shot a perfect score of 360 with my friend’s borrowed .22 and a 358 with my 1911 45. (34 10’s and 2 9’s)

After owning both a 9mm and a .40, I wish I would have stuck with 9mm.
Mrs. Geezer shoots her baby Glock just fine but my .40 baby Glock has a sharper recoil and is more difficult to control.

Reasons to buy a 9mm Glock for yourself and your spouse.
1. You only have to buy one type of ammo.
2. The mags are interchangeable.
3. You won’t flinch as much.
4. 9mm ammo is cheaper than .40.
5. Glocks are the best.

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