Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I'm in love. Pardon me if I gush a bit. It just took me by surprise, but it was so worth the wait. I mean, I was impressed by all of them, each having special qualities, but at last, I found one which embodied all that I was looking for:

I'm in love with a wonderful gun!

Ages ago in this blog, I told the story about shooting pellets at bloated milk cartons of grandpa's fermented tobacco spittle, and I talked about firing the patriarch's Civil War muzzle loader, and of course there have been sundry bb and pellet guns along the way, but I've really never fired handguns, unless you're counting the video game Area 51, which I'm convinced should qualify me for a girl scout patch, or at least an Alien-Killer Barbie™. "Killing aliens is fun!" (did I read that on Tam's blog at some point?)

Today, the splendid Holly and her Dearly Beloved (henceforth, DB) took me to a cow pasture to try a few handguns on for size. I know you're dying to know so I'll tell you I was wearing my red Wellies, but I do intend to bedazzle them. They felt like they were suctioned on by the time I pulled them off hours later.

Anyhoo, DB started by talking about gun safety, which, of course, can never be overstated. He gave me a lot of information, but in very digestible servings. Although I'm undeniably a n00b at all this stuff, I feel I have a great foundation on which to build. I plan to do a lot of reading.

I started off on .22 pistols. The paper plate in the photo with the .22 shot was the second plate I did. I'd like to say that extra munch taken out at about 1 o'clock was for triangulating the rest of the shots, but, well, whatevs. I shot .22 revolvers, semi-automatics, several .38, a few 9mm, and a couple Kel-Tecs. I have smallish hands, and the waffledy-grips on the Kel-Tecs made my hands feel kind of chewed up. Even so, they were all fun to shoot.

I have to mention the smell. By the time I switched to the .38s, I could definitely smell the powder burning after each shot. I turned and looked at Holly and said "mmmm! Perfume!" It smells really good. Trust me. I have an excellent nose for things.

I now can say I know the desultory pang that comes with the click of an empty chamber. Awwwww! The only times my shots didn't stay in a fairly tight cluster was when I did them in rapid succession, so I don't feel too badly about that. It was hot, and near the end, the sweat was stinging my eyes.

I liked all these pistols, and they all had good qualities. At last, I shot the Colt .45 1911 types Government and Commander models. One shot out of the gubmint model, and I squealed "I have a favorite!" The Commander was a close second, but I prefer everything about the Government model. This was the second paper plate in the photo (that's the one with the big holes).
Honestly, it was like finishing up with dessert. LOVED that gun. DB told me I could continue to shoot some more with any of the guns, but it was very hot, my eyes were stinging, and I felt like ending on a very successful note with all this. I think this was a great first outing and I'm looking forward to improving.

Yeah, to a lot of you, I'm total tadpole class, but I'm really excited and have great plans for improvement. Afterward, DB and Hols allowed me to take them to dinner. I said it's amazing how collected and relaxed I felt after all that. I rather expected to feel like at least one of the guns was impossible to handle, and I never felt that way--never felt like it was getting away from me. Frankly, I think anyone of sound mind would benefit from squeezing off a few rounds at a firing range - this is just good clean fun, and therapeutic beyond all imagining.

As we were leaving the restaurant and saying our goodbyes, Holly called me "Deadeye." I couldn't think of anything to say to that, nothing clever, so I just grinned like a 'possum.

Holly is an excellent cheerleader, giving me good feedback on occasion, but mostly just content to sit back and watch DB tell me how to snatch the pebble from his hand. Thanks for letting me hog all the ammo to myself, both of you. Was that greedy? You are most generous.

I have to add something here. I composed this post just before bed on Monday night, and I was giddy from the whole experience, but I now want to say one more thing which I don't think I emphasized enough. DB is a phenomenal teacher. He's thorough, communicative, calm and assured. He doesn't muddle the process with unnecessary information or tall-tale type baloney. Such a sense of calm focus in a teacher sets the tone for a pupil. Being an excitable person myself, DB was the best type instructor for me. This is precisely the type teacher one should seek out to introduce them to this art, in my opinion. And let me say again that pretty much everyone should try their hand at shooting under the proper circumstances at least once in a lifetime.

I'm looking forward to going to shoot rifles with my Dad sometime soon, ok Dad? Talk about elegance!

Thank you SO much, Holly & DB, for creating this monster. What an incredible experience!


Christina RN LMT said...


It looks like you did very well, especially for a beginner (n00b!).


Silver and I are both interested in learning how to shoot, and her eyesight and hand-eye coordination are so keen, I don't doubt that she would be very good at target shooting. (She has 20/10 vision...handy for someone who wants to be an astronaut, no?)

Just getting started from scratch is very intimidating, and it's not exactly cheap, either!

Ambulance Driver said...

Something viscerally satisfying about it, isn't it?

Anonymous said...


You appear to have excellent taste in personal protection. SWMBO absolutely loves her itty-bitty little Springfield 1911 Micro Compact. I think part of it has to do with the great big .45 caliber hole in the 'applicant' side of the barrel and slide, too.

I also compliment your fine choice in instructor, as well. Y'all going shopping any time soon?


brbiswrite said...

"Frankly, I think anyone of sound mind would benefit from squeezing off a few rounds at a firing range - this is just good clean fun, and therapeutic beyond all imagining."

Exactly right, and I'm not a gun owner either. A number of years ago PDB hired me, his old man, to help him install computer stuff in a lot of USDA offices in Western NC. He brought along a few of his handguns and several times after work, we headed to the local range and blasted away at targets. I fired a 9mm semi auto, a .22 semi target type thing and a .357 Magnum revolver. (I'm not really up on gun tech stuff; those descriptions are the best I can do.)

I didn't fall in love with any of them, but the magnum was literally a blast: smoke, flames, large holes in targets! And totally therapeutic.

HollyB said...

It was OUR pleasure to take you out and "burn some powder". I'll be bloggin' about this experience later today.

NotClauswitz said...

Yee-haw! Congratulations! The Govt.Model is a good choice - smaller guns can sting your hands a bit since they try to make up with speed/velocity, what they lack in size. Being small-framed they often aren't grasped easily nor can they be held as firmly - and they usually require more practice.
And .22's do have a certain smell that's distinct from other powders. I always notice it when we have a whole row of 20 or so Junior shooters blasting away in one of our training classes. Good stuff!

Anonymous said...

line up my sitter, I'm comin with


Kevin said...

Outstanding! 1911's rule. That's why I have one.

The Atavist said...

Makes me want to take up shooting again.

Flo said...

DB is an all-around peach. KSA really enjoyed visiting with him.

I haven't shot much other than the M-16, then the .38 when I went over to helicopters--and not much in the way of instruction with that other than point and shoot. Probably would have made a whole lot of difference in my gun experience if DB were around.

Tickersoid said...

I've fired a 9mm German Luger at an oil drum at 50m and missed every time, so I'm very impressed with your shooting. Well done.

For a skinny 14 year old, I found firing the old British WWII 303 army rifle a tad hard on my bony shoulder.

phlegmfatale said...

christina - yeah, there's lots of reasons you could put it off, but it's SO worthwhile. You need to visit the Cornered Cat - excellent source of information. I'll post a link on my blog soon.

ambulance driver - incredibly so!

rabbit - Thanks - I was lucky - right place/right time/right well-connected friends. I dunno when I'll acquire one, but it'll be a wonderful day.

brbiswrite - here's to catharsis, eh?

hollyb - love that post, and I'm glad y'all had a good time, too. Thanks again!

dirtcrashr - 20 or so jr. shooters? That must be a hoot!

sis - we'll be a lethal pair, eh?

kevin - you have good taste!

atavist - why not? You should do!

flo - he's a great guy, and not just a pretty face - he's smart AND talented. He and Hols are a great match. Yeah, DB would turn you into a shooter, and a .45 fan, to boot, according to HOls. I think you'll prefer the .45 just because it makes sense and you're smart. But that's my opinion.

tickersoid - Thanks! Now that you've grown up in to a big British Steel worker, I'll bet you'd have no problem handling that rifle these days.

Dick said...

.45 huh?
That's some awfully big artillery for a lil' lady such as yourself.
Good on ya!

none said...

Good shootin!

The smell of gunpowder is intoxicating :)

I love all the guns you mentioned. I'm trying to collect one of each.

Lin said...

Woo-hoo, bring your fav with when you come to visit. Our range starts right outside the front door and there's no neighbors to complain, ever. said...

I think I'm the time a new blonde guard signed on at the plant where I used to work...babes and guns!

I love my Springfield .45 carry and smell of any gun powder.

People that don't understand guns don't know what you and I feel around them. The first time I shot a friend's .270 scoped rifle it half-mooned the corner of my eyebrow near my nose. The blood ran down and into the corner of my mouth.

A friend looked at me horrified as to what I'd say and I simply said, "I gotta have one of these!"

The same thing happened when I let another friend shot mine and he never was the same - flinched everytime he shot from then on.

Some of us have it, some of us don't!

Lin said...

Phlegm, you just might be the first official outlander to show up. We're still waiting on a friend who was on a winning USA ISDT team and another one who has run Paris-Dakar and the Baja but haven't seen either of them yet so the title of First Official Outside Visitor is still up for grabs. Junking and plinking - yes ma-am! We're now looking forward to having visitors - served with a good sauce and wine, of course! Just kidding, I'll even polish up the brass bed and move it inside if you give me some lead time.

phlegmfatale said...

lin - WOOHOO! That'd be awesome, to be your first visitor. Now, will I have to drive an off-road vehicle to get there, or will my urban buggy suffice? I don't want to get stuck and have to be air-lifted out. :P

phlegmfatale said...

dick - But it felt so right!

hammer - good on you for broadening your collection. Variety is, well, you know.

lin - Will do. Won't THAT be fun. Now, have y'all had company out there before? Will you get sick of my society in less than a day? If so, you can just send me out to kill dinner or some such.

mushy - you're so easy!

Yup - the smell is heady, intoxicating. I loved it instantly. I'd be the same, black eye and all - ready to do it again. Yeah, well, if some have it and some don't, I'm so pleased I landed in the former category. Yes, we are blessed.

FHB said...

Love it! Want one of those too. Love the smell, feel, etc. Nothing like it. Cool!

Lynx217 said...

Do yourself a favor, I used to sell guns. Try to get to fire a Baby Desert Eagle .40 cal. I've yet to fire one myself but I hear there's no recoil on it, and I can tell you it doesn't matter what sized hands you have, it feels WONDERFUL to hold! When I get the $ I'm getting one if I can find one!

Lin said...

4WD is preferable but cars can make it if the roads have been dry for a bit. We see the roustabout crews go by in 2WD cars when the roads are dry. Monsoon season can be real iffy but we always have a tow rope handy.
If you make it this far, I can lend you my truck for touring around the local stuff.

g bro said...

Let's see:
1. Praises and pities Rush Limbaugh.
2. Derogates the "MSM."
3. Bashes Michael Moore
4. Gushes about shooting stuff.

I guess your conversion is complete.

phlegmfatale said...

fhb - yeah, it's a great design, wonderful to shoot!

lynx217 - Cool! I know my pa has a Desert Eagle - will try to get hold of one of those

lin - Cool. Very cool.

g bro - Guilty as charged.

J.R.Shirley said...

Awesome! I'm glad you had such a good time. The DB (Holly's, not mine!) and I are swapping
some shootin' irons.