This weekend, my dad came out to visit. We went to the Frick (art museum and car/carriage museum) and to a Pirates game Saturday night (the Pirates played well after the top of the first, same as the previous night; same as the previous night, it wasn't enough to win). After he left this morning, I'd told myself that I absolutely would not put off going to the shooting range any more. It was just getting ridiculous how much I had put it off, and in my mind it was really starting to seem questionable that I ever would. So I sent Ed a text message telling him I was going, and asking if he wanted to go, but he said he was busy all day. My dad left, and I dicked around for a while at home, and a bit after 14, I blasted Ayumi Hamasaki from my car as I drove towards the Greater Pittsburgh Gun Club.
The Gun Club is not all that close—Yahoo! Maps estimates it's a 50-minute drive from my house, and with it being the first time I've gone there and one of the roads along the way being closed at one point (but open on both sides, so it's not obvious which exit you have to take from the larger road to actually get there), it took more like an hour and a quarter. I wore a black t-shirt, black jeans, and black shoes. (Had my black trenchcoat in the car in case it got cold, but didn't need it.)
When I parked and walked into the clubhouse, a man asked if he could help me. “Are you the owner?” I asked. I proceeded to explain my situation, including the fact that I had little practical experience. Tex rented me a 9mm Glock, sold me 50 rounds, two targets, and an hour of range time, and asked if I needed help. I said yeah, I could use some.
We went down to the range and after giving me some basic instructions, he had me fire a few rounds. My shots were pretty terrible, which I kind of expected, but Tex patiently told me exactly what I was doing wrong—how I was pulling the gun down when I expected it to fire, and how the shot needed to come as a surprise. Even though I had read this many times before, I still wasn't able to put it into practice without trying it out. He also told me about sighting and grip, and adjusted the sights. Then he left me there with the gun and bullets.
My last shot before he left hit the bulls-eye.
I proceeded to fire slowly and deliberately, lining up the sights as best I could, shooting four or five rounds before going up to the target to check how I was doing and cover the holes with tape (a trick Tex showed me). By the end, I was able to hit the target (the piece of paper, that is, not the bulls-eye) every time, which may not sound like much of an accomplishment, but wasn't true the last time I went shooting. My shots were consistently a bit to the right, which further fine-tuning of the sights might or might not have rectified, but they were also consistently within the second box out. I tried a few rounds standing towards the end (most were fired while I was seated on a bench) and it didn't seem much harder.
One spent casing flew up and hit my head. It's in my memory box now.
When I ran out of ammo, I packed the gun up, brought it back to the clubhouse, and thanked Tex profusely. I told him I wasn't quite ready to purchase yet, but asked how much. $430 for a new copy of the one I'd been shooting was his cost, he said, and the markup was 10% for members and 15% for non-members. I walked back to my car and drove away, blasting Ayumi Hamasaki again.
I think I just might end up owning a Glock:
- Very impressive salesman at NRA convention
- Tex seems to like them (or maybe he just rents 'em 'cause they're cheap)
- Type I have the most experience with now
- Simple mechanism
- Preston Covey's current carry gun
- Not outrageous pricing
- Have a pin on my coat for 'em
Give it a little longer, though.
On the drive home, I talked to my dad (still on his own way home) on the phone. I told him nonchalantly where I'd been and what I had been up to, and his questions were along the lines of “what caliber gun did you fire?”, not “what kind of a nut case are you?”, even though I know he doesn't like gun ownership. It made me think—will I ever be up to the task of being a father? Will I ever be able to love someone like that?
I hope so.