Target Practice



Have you been to the shooting range? Indoor, outdoor, your backyard.  Wherever it may be, shooting live ammunition is a sobering experience.

Never fired a pistol? A shotgun? Right here, I have to admit I’m pretty weak in this regard. My entire experience is made up of one blast from the barrel of a 12g shotgun in 6th grade. ¬†40 years later, I bought a Beretta PX4 Storm. For those who may not know, that’s a handgun that shoots 9mm ammunition.

Parked in the lane shooting at paper targets, wearing ear and eye protection against the roar of the cannon going off in the booth next to me, I asked myself, Why? And the only answer I got back was simple. For the experience.

Two years later, I sold the Beretta.

A year after the sale, I purchased a Savage Arms home defense shotgun and a Smith and Wesson handgun. At the same time. And just yesterday, I was back at the range with Dave, trying out his S&W Shield, his Glock, and a Sig Sauer. All handguns of different calibers.

Standing there facing the target, finger on the trigger, I once again asked Why? Why am I doing this… again? And why did I buy a shotgun? Especially a black shotgun with a pistol grip? Guess it has a certain menacing, cool factor to it. I’m drawn to that bad boy stuff, even though I don’t practice the dark arts myself.

The answer to Why? came back, same as before. For the experience.

I will never aim a gun at another human being. The pistol is for target shooting only. The shotgun is for shooting clay pigeons.

“Pull!” Just try to hit that flying orange disc as it launches across the sky. I’ve never done that before. Still waiting for the 10-day holding period to expire before I can pick the gun up.

When the weapons are finally cleared, and are safely in my possession, I’ll write more.

Is shooting safe? It certainly is safer than driving a car and many other things we do daily. In fact, it is extremely safe. Nobody gets hurt when things are done in a controlled, supervised environment, by people experienced in the ways of the weapon.

Target practice is a great stress reliever, too. All thoughts are focused completely on the object in your sites. Your breathing is controlled, your learn to relax and focus. You become very still for a brief moment in time.

It centers me, this act of pulling a trigger and feeling the terrifying release of energy. The arm jarring blow of a 40 caliber bullet exploding from a 4-inch Glock barrel keeps your mind on point.

I anticipate a rather delightful time at the outdoor range when, for the first time, I aim at those orange clay flying targets. I’m sure it will be a hit and miss affair. But through it all, I’m training my body and mind to work in closer harmony, building a skill that I’m sure I’ll never use for anything other than target practice.

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