So I made a fool out of myself. So what.
I go to The Firing Lane and I’m feeling good. I like to learn new things and shooting a gun for the first time is definitely new. I remember someone telling me how I’ll like the feeling of power from shooting a gun.
This ought to be interesting.
Ivan greets me at the door and a few moments later I’m in a chair at a table with a bottle of water, some printed notes, and three revolvers.
Ivan, it turns out, is an excellent teacher.
He very thoroughly goes over the four general rules of gun safety. We spend a lot of time on the why behind every rule. He shows how to hold a gun, the correct stance, the parts of a gun, what happens when you shoot a gun (like the bullet, if it doesn’t hit bone, can go right through the bad guy and hit your wife, if you have one), recoil, ricochet, what to do in different scenarios, how to aim, etc. Not in that order, but very well presented and at a pace I can easily follow. I handle the revolvers and ask questions.
So far, so good.
I can do this. Ivan and I go through the door to the firing lane and we put on the electronic headphones. He clips the target to the wire and turns the dial so it slides back about 10 feet. I’m a little nervous, but I’m doing okay. I step up to the little shelf and take my position. Ivan coaches me on my stance, my grip, my aim, my breathing, and so on.
I pull the trigger.
I don’t know if I can explain what happened next. I still don’t understand it myself. The gun goes off, there’s this big orange flash that I wasn’t expecting, and I completely fall apart! Suddenly I can barely breathe and tears . . . TEARS — for heaven’s sake — start rolling down my cheeks! I lay the gun down and drop my head.
“Son of a b—-h!”
Now I don’t normally go around cursing. However, I do believe there is a time and a place for it, and this is that time and place.
Ivan chuckles. “It’s okay. It’s okay. Just breathe. You did a great job. It’s okay. I had a lady in here yesterday who did the same thing. It’s okay. Step back and take a minute to collect yourself!”
I don’t believe the lady-in-here-yesterday part for a second, but it’s nice of him to say it. I lamely try to save face by explaining I’ve never heard a gun shot up close before, that I had no idea of the magnitude of the violence — which is true — blah, blah, blah.
So much for “I am woman. I am strong!”
What a girl. To my credit, even though I loathe the whole situation, I step up, pick up the gun, and we go through the process again. Soon Ivan has me shooting twice in a row, then three times.
I try another gun. I have some trouble with my grip due to my short fingers. . . which are out of shape. Yes, apparently I need to take my pointer finger to the gym because after a few shots, I can barely pull the trigger.
Ivan is remarkably optimistic about my performance.
After much discussion and inner turmoil (because, to be truthful, I never want to pick up a gun again), I buy the little Smith & Wesson .38 with a box of ammo for $427.99 including tax. The two-hour lesson is an additional $80. If you consider the one hour or so of psychotherapy after the firing lane and before the purchase, I received three hours of Ivan’s time.
I fill out the paperwork and Ivan phones in some information. I take his photo for the blog. He reminds me to go down to the courthouse to get my permit. I jot down all the states that recognize a Georgia carry permit before I leave. Unfortunately, New Mexico isn’t one of them!
I’ve got to turn this experience around in my head. I need the gun. I will get over this. I will practice and . . .
I will learn to like it!
Now excuse me. It’s time for my finger push-ups.
FYI: The following states recognize Georgia’s gun permit: AK, AL, AZ, CO, FL, ID, IN, KY, LA, MI, MO, MS, MT, NC, NH, OK, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, WY