I went to the gun range for the very first time yesterday, with veteran Chris Wright, from Volusia Top Gun, to do some research about shooting. I wanted to learn the proper way to shoot a firearm and explain the experience to beginners, so they know what to expect their first time at the gun range. What I learned was so much more than just proper shooting.
Pulling up to the range, I heard loud shots and instantly thought “oh that’s definitely a shotgun,” but little did I know that piercing bang that made me jump every five seconds was a 9mm handgun. This fact made me more uneasy than I was at the thought of just holding a firearm.
I took comfort in knowing that a veteran, and great friend, was by my side the entire time. He fully understood how nervous I was and reassured me that everything was fine. When going to a gun range I do suggest you take an experienced friend or family member with you.
As I stood behind the safety line watching people aim and fire, I became more confident that I too could shoot my target, but aiming isn't as easy as it looks.
Wright loaded my 9mm pistol and helped me place my hands and feet correctly then told me to pull the trigger. With my body shaking from fear of all bad things that could happen at a range, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and pulled that trigger!
Yes, I did everything wrong, but I got to feel the tension in the trigger just before the bullet flies and overcome my fear of not being strong enough to resist the kickback. If you have ever played paintball, don’t expect the trigger to be so effortless or the gun to shoot with no kick; it’s the complete opposite.
I stepped back and watched as Wright loaded, aimed and fired five shots right into his target, then it was my turn again.
I stepped up to the gun and went through the steps in my mind.
After I got comfortable with shooting the gun and stopped shaking from nervousness, it was time to actually aim at the target. This was very difficult for me and will be for most first-time shooters.
On most guns there are three markers that you must line up in your eyesight before aiming at your target. Two are located on the back of the gun (Left and right sides) and one is locate center front of the gun. You have to get the front marker in between the back markers then aim at the target and double check that the markers are still in a line.
Then you can shoot.
Because I kept closing my eyes when pulling the trigger, I barley hit my target, but in my defense, it’s really difficult to keep your eyes open voluntarily. The kickback also skewed my shooting a little bit because I wasn't holding the gun firmly enough at my wrists to keep it more level, so I suggest that you lock your wrists just as much as you lock your elbows.
Eventually we ran out of bullets and it was time to go. I feel that my first time holding a gun and shooting it helped me overcome my fears of the unknown and better understand that guns are a wonderful thing for protection that everyone, shooters and non-shooters, should be comfortable around.
I plan to attend the gun range multiple times a month to be more comfortable with guns and people who carry firearms and to become an ace shooter and one day hit my bull’s eye!