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My First Time At A Shooting Range

October 13, 2015

My First Time At A Shooting Range
by Alexi Abundis

Editor’s Note: Alexis Abundis is a freshman at California State University, Fullerton who submitted this personal essay for a college course.

Boom! Bang! Pop!

The first shot startled me. I didn’t expect to feel the vibrations of the gun through the walls of the thick viewing glass. I thought I had braced myself for the sounds of gunfire but it was louder than I had anticipated.

The crowd was a mix of families, couples and friends all shooting with different guns and targets on a quiet rainy Sunday. I had never imagined families visiting the OC Indoor Shooting Range in Brea for fun.  Until that day, I just didn’t know how much fun shooting could be.

David, a friend and experienced gun owner, walked in carrying a .22 rifle and a case containing two pistols. With our hearing and eye protection firmly in place, we walked into the shooting area and found the lane assigned to us. The shell casings on the floor caught me by surprise as they rolled underneath my feet.

Before we stepped into the lane to start our actual shooting session, David taught me the basics of a gun, how to grip the firearm, and handle it properly. Most importantly, David introduced me to the four universal firearms safety rules. I was amazed at the number of internal mechanisms interacting in that single moment after my finger pulls the trigger.

First up was the .22 rifle. (I didn’t trust myself to try the .45 pistol first.) I set myself up in the booth nestling the gun on my shoulder. My mind was racing as I tried to remember all the instruction that David had given me about how to shoot the rifle. Finally I just went for it and aimed for the center of the paper target. I hit the paper but ended up hitting the top, right shoulder. My aim needed a little work.

Next up was the heavy shooter, the Smith & Wesson M&P45 semi-automatic pistol. This was going to be different. I felt a little rush of adrenalin as David handed me the pistol. I felt a different kind of responsibility and power come over me as I prepared to take my shot. A million things were rushing through my head as I again tried to remember all the things David taught me on how to handle the gun.

“This is the slide, keep your thumb on the side of the frame or you might get slide bite;”

“Never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot;”

“Your thumbs should be aligned, one on top of the other, so you have a good grip on the gun;”

BANG!

“Holy crap!” I exclaimed as I felt the heavy recoil of the pistol push back into my hands. I made the mistake of closing my eyes, and I flinched as the sound of the shot vibrated through my ear protection. I felt the vibration of the shot go through my whole body. This was a lot more powerful than the .22 rifle.

The next firearm I shot was a 40-caliber pistol, which I found to be much easier to control and handle than the .45 pistol. The handgun was the right weight and sized well for me to get a good grip and yet light enough where the recoil didn’t overwhelm me. I had a blast – no pun intended – aiming at all the different parts of the target. I was aiming for the center of the target trying to work on my nonexistent aim.  I was getting better with each shot.

Before we went out into the lanes, I wanted to know what others thought about guns. I asked one of the employees what one of their biggest obstacles was when they encounter a new shooter or someone who had staunch anti-gun attitude.

The other two employees nodded in agreement when Todd said the media has demonized the gun by associating it with crimes and criminals instead of the sport and family traditions.

“My sister-in-law used to be deathly afraid of guns, wouldn’t even want to look at one,” said Todd, “One day, I was able to get her in here and she shot her first .22 that day. She loves shooting now and realized there was nothing to be scared of. The gun was just a tool, not a weapon.”

A first time shooter can walk into the OC Indoor Shooting Range and ask any employee if they could teach them how to handle and shoot a handgun. Safety receives a huge amount of attention throughout the shooting industry and it is not taken lightly. At the OC Indoor Shooting Range you will find a variety of guns to rent or buy with a variety of different targets available, so the new shooter can choose what they like with a polite staff to provide expert advice.

The shooting experience was exhilarating and I also felt a bit of relief at the same time. I never expected myself to get nervous so when I felt my heart pounding a bit as I stepped into the lane, I had to remind myself to focus and breathe before pulling the trigger. I didn’t realize until I stepped out of the shooting area that I let out some of my stress out on the target. It was a satisfying feeling also, I discovered that shooting helped clear my mind. After shooting a few magazines, I felt a small wave of peace and satisfaction.

Shooting has given me a new respect for gun culture and firearms owners. I understand now the skill and responsibility that it takes to handle a firearm and shoot well. It is a common misconception that anyone can handle a gun, and I learned that is not true. With training, concentration, skill, patience and a sense of responsibility for anyone can develop some reasonable skill.

My First Time At A Shooting Range
by Alexi Abundis

Editor’s Note: Alexis Abundis is a freshman at California State University, Fullerton who submitted this personal essay for a college course.

Boom! Bang! Pop!

The first shot startled me. I didn’t expect to feel the vibrations of the gun through the walls of the thick viewing glass. I thought I had braced myself for the sounds of gunfire but it was louder than I had anticipated.

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