Friday, May 02, 2008

More on the shootin' 'n' stuff

So Wednesday I said, and I quote:
I'd go on about the various conversations I overheard, the insane noise of the guys with the large handguns next to us, and so forth, but I'm tired. Maybe tomorrow.

So now that I'm less tired, here it is.

So Sam's is a gun shop and range in one of those pseudo office park things: two buildings sharing a parking lot set back from a busy road. Didn't see what was in building #2, but building #1 was all Sam's. In true mullet style, it was business in the front (the gun store), party in the back (shooting range). With a classroom of sorts upstairs, which really doesn't fit the whole mullet metaphor. Maybe the classroom is the trucker cap...

Anyhow, there was only one guy working last night (I didn't catch his name, but he wasn't Sam), and he was a bit harried when we showed up. He was also rather surprised that the boys weren't in uniform (which is standard for these "Blue Moon" outings), but he let us in anyway. Having never been to an indoor gun range I wasn't sure what to expect. It was, well, spartan. Not in the "sweaty hairless men wearing togas" way but rather in the "not a lot of stuff around" way. Kind of reminded me of the waiting room for a mufler shop or something. A couple snack machines, some tables, and a counter. Oh, and windows looking in on a bunch of guys shooting. Guess that's not in the usual mufler shop.

As we got there there were three guys who had just finished their practice and were doing the classic male post-adrenalie bull shooting. As I recall two of the three were in the military (not sure what branch, but I think it was either Army or Marines) and the third had either just signed up or was just about to head out to Basic. So the other two were giving him very helpful tips on what to say to various Drill Sargeants. Advice that I'm seriously hopng he doesn't take...he seemed smart enough to know that that would be a bad idea.

After collecting the "if my kid shoots himself in the head I won't sue you" waivers we went up to the trucker cap room to review range safety with the boys and eat some pizza (I hadn't had Pizza Hut's thin crust pie in, oh, 25 years, and was reminded why: it ain't too good). Once dinner was done and we'd reviewed everything the adults went down stairs to get briefed on the rifles (.22 caliber magazine-fed with a 10-round magazine, in case you're idea of the make), pick up safety glasses and ear protection, and to buy ammo and targets. Once that was all secured we brought down the boys, broke them into pairs and got to the shooting.

The range is made up of two rooms side-by-side (with a big-ass concrete wall between them, naturally), each with six bays (I think...the one we were in did, anyway). When we started we were alone in one room, running the boys through 4 at a time. I had the shortest rifle and so had the two shortest kids - Logan and his friend Matthew.

After each kid had shot a couple of targets three other guys came in. I don't know what they were shooting (it was a hand gun, but other than that I'm not sure of the details), but damn was it loud! Logan was in there when they started. He's not a fan of the loud, and was sticking his hands over his earphones. Which made it hard to aim, I must say. Or pull the trigger. Eventually he understood that he had to let go of his head to finish his magazine, at which point he left and didn't come back in until they were gone.

As for the conversation between the three, it appeared that one of them was shoing the other two a couple pistols and explaining their advantages. I will say that in addition to the insanely loud noise they did a great job of putting holes in paper. Much bigger holes than the .22 did. Apparently one of the guns he was shooting was a good home-defense weapon for the women folk (OK, he didn't say "womenfolk", but it was kind of implied) because of something to do with the safety and the fact that it wouldn't go off accidentally but if you needed to shoot it in a hurry you wouldn't have to fumble for anything. Not sure how that works, but apparently it works well. And loudly.

I'm guessing we'll go back again, 'cause it was a pretty darn cheap outing: 60 targets plus 400 bullets for something like $35 thanks to the Boy Scout discount.

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