My Shooting Range Adventure

My local writer’s society is pretty cool. This coolness was solidified yesterday when we took a field trip to a gun range and shot stuff for half an hour. A gun range field trip, you ask? Who in their right mind would take you to a gun range?

Allow me to explain.

The basic theory here is that we writers like to write about all manner of things we haven’t actually experienced. I, for example, like to write about trigger-happy, abduction-prone six-armed lizard people with a curious predilection for the color blue. Have I actually been abducted by aliens, or met a six-armed lizard man? Of course not. Well, not that I would admit to. Anyway, my point is that we writers, despite our “write what you know” rule, tend to grossly violate that rule on a regular basis.

Hence our trip to the gun range. While it’s fairly difficult to experience alien abduction, it’s quite easy to experience shooting a gun. And if you know how to shoot a gun, it gives your gun-shooting bad boy an extra air of authenticity when you put pen to paper. So I guess the moral of this story is that you should immediately go find a gun range and shoot stuff because it’s super fun. Just make sure you don’t have a comically large head (like me) or else the noise-cancelling earphones they supply will squeeze your skull until your brains pop out of your ears.

So they gave us four guns to try out — in no particular order, a 9mm, a 22 caliber, a 40 caliber, and a revolver. I probably got those names all wrong, because guns baffle me, but the point is they gave us a bunch of guns and it was awesome. The revolver was the most fun because, hey, it’s a revolver. The 40 caliber was the most terrifying, because when you shoot a bullet, the casing explodes out the top of the gun and goes rocketing wildly through the air. I managed to avoid being hit by flying casings, but my brother had a couple bounce off his head. He’s a bit traumatized by the incident, but I’ve been trying to coax him out of the darkest corner of his bedroom with freshly baked cookies with some success, so no harm done.

All in all, a very amusing trip, and one that has left my arms very sore due to the fact that guns are shockingly heavy. I have a handful of bullet casings sitting on my shelf now as mementos from the trip, as well as the cardboard target I was inexpertly shooting at. Apparently I aim high when I shoot, so pro tip if you ever get into a gun fight with me: duck.


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43 thoughts on “My Shooting Range Adventure

  1. my daughters and I go to the shooting range often, I always felt in today’s world it makes sense to be aware and know how to handle a gun safely if you have need to.

    One day we were shooting when a little old lady hobbles in, carrying a knitting bag with a needlepoint skunk on it. We paid little attention until we hear this ba-da-da-da-da-da-da-da … we look over and grannie is pumping a little critter target full of lead with a semi-auto gun from her skunk bag…

    • Hahaha that’s awesome. It’s the best when people totally subvert your expectations.

      You make a very good point — it does make sense to understand guns and how they work. Luckily I live in a very safe area, so I doubt I’ll ever come into contact with a gun, but still … never know when you’ll need to use a gun 🙂

  2. Glad you had fun. It puts writing it into prospective, unless you are shooting at aliens! I love going to the range and it’s about time to go again. Way to go, Michelle.

  3. So much fun! I grew up with guns for hunting but that was way back when and out in the country. I had the opportunity to shoot a 50 caliber once at a gun range and that was a once in a lifetime fantastic experience. My husband owns a 9 mm and I want him to take me back out now. I’ll tell him I need the experience for my murder mystery series….I hadn’t thought about how useful that could be. Thanks for the great post and the excuse 🙂

  4. What a great idea! I am pretty sure I would have required some soothing and cookies, however, like your brother did.

  5. That game makes a lot more sense now. Such darkness behind it.

    • I will never throw scissors again when I play this game. To think that I’ve been knowingly supporting a murderer all this time … *shudder*

  6. Andy

    Yes, research is key! Reading and doing.

    • Doing far beats reading, in cases like this 🙂 It’s one thing to read about someone’s arms flying up from the recoil of the gun, and then actually experiencing it yourself.

  7. The military tried to teach me how to shoot, but it seems that a right handed person who is nearly blind in his right eye is kind of a liability on a shooting range. So I tend to write my combat scenes using various improvised close combat weapons.

    • Hahaha nice. Yeah, fate dealt you a bit of a dud in terms of accurate shooting potential. Still, your improvised weapons could serve you well one day … if you got into a bar fight or something, you could grab one of the stools and get all up in everyone’s grill.

  8. Good plan. Except in Australia the gun laws are so tight you need to make an appointment for an interview with some government department in order for them to guage your suitability to apply for a permit to enter the building in which you apply for a license to own a firearm.
    Repeat the above to actually purchase a firearm.
    Repeat again to buy some ammo.
    By then you will have changed your mind and bought a hunting knife.

    Of course I exaggerate but only a little. And I think I live near a gun club ut have never ben there. Perhaps I should! 🙂

    • Hahaha, Well, it’s my understanding that most people in Australia walk around with giant hunting knives and wrestle crocodiles on a daily basis. So your story fits with what I know 😀

      You should go! It’s quite the experience. Although my shoulders still hurt two days later — no pain, no gain, though 😀

      • Nah, that’s only in the north where the crocs are. Down here we only have the kangaroos and deadly spiders and snakes to contend with. Kangaroos look pleasant enough but don’t get within kicking distance of one. They’ll stand on their tails and kick with both hind feet. Nasty beasts. Then there’s possums that get in your roof and pee on the ceiling plaster. More of a nuisance than harmful, really. And over in the west they have the sharks. And in the east is the deadly blue-ringed octopus and paralising jellyfish.
        Come to Australia. You’ll love it! 😉

        • Hahaha yes, I’ll love it, assuming I don’t die/get paralyzed/get eaten before I have a chance to love it 😛

          Actually, could you settle a debate for me? My friend insists that Australia is a death trap, even in the heart of a downtown city. I told him that’s ridiculous. What’s your death trap ruling?

          • I can settle the debate. I won’t tell you about the mate of a colleague who travelled the world, emerged from many dangerous places unscathed and got beaten up on his way back from the welcome home party his friends threw him in Melbourne. That was pure bad luck. A real anomaly.
            It really isn’t that bad. The government protects everyone from themselves here. The cities are covered with fences and warning signs. You can’t go wrong. And in the country there’s the animals.
            Death trap? Nah. 1/10. And that’s only if you do something stupid.

  9. That sounds like fun! I’d be pretty scared to try out a gun myself (knowing me, I’d sooner shoot myself in the foot than the actual target), but it sounds like a great learning experience. 😀

    Also, that picture explains EVERYTHING. I can see things so much more clearly now. Poor Paper. =[

    • Poor paper indeed! I never got why paper beat rock, so paper hugging rock makes total sense to me 😀

      I was terrified of shooting myself as well, but they take great pains to avoid that happening. First they go through all the rules, and they lecture you at length on the importance of keeping the gun pointing forward at all times, etc. etc. I was actually in more danger of flying bullet casings whacking me in the head than shooting myself, lol.

      • The outcome is a lot less clear when you play ‘Rock, paper, scissors, lizard Spock.’ Usually it takes so long to learn the rules that no-one ends up getting hurt. 😀

  10. Oh, this is wonderful! I’d join a writers’ club if they did that!

    YES, hands-on experience adds a dimension to writing that is too important to leave out! That’s my view, anyway.

    For me? Guns, flying, martial arts, motorbikes and semi-trailers – yep, did the lot, mainly for research (my excuse at any rate) and also because I just wanted to.

    What I can’t learn hands-on, I research the thoughts and feelings of those who do (getting as close to hands-on as I can) – mainly these are in fields such as medicine, police work and the armed forces.

    Right here, in this post, you’ve added dimension most writer’s leave out (because they don’t know). A gun is heavy. Casings fly off in all directions. Brilliant!


    • Now I just need to write a story with an actual gun in it, lol.

      Martial arts, motor-bikes … you’re kind of bad ass, you know that? 😀

      • LOL. Thank you! Truth be told, I was pretty nervous at the beginning of learning all of those, but I really wanted to know how to do them.

        As for guns in stories – c’mon, with your experience now, guns will be popping in all over the place. Cheers! 😀

        • Ha, yes, but the problem is I write almost exclusively sci fi and fantasy. So if I try to inject more guns, the story will read like this:

          Vargash the Mighty tried not to tremble as faced down the dread black dragon of Naught.

          “Such a puny mortal!” the dragon hissed. “How can one so meager as you hope to defeat one as powerful as I?”

          “With this!” Vargash shouted. He pulled the enchanted Gun of Solomon from his belt and released the safety, hearing the bullet click into the chamber. Then he raised the gun, aligned the two little pointy bits over the grip with the one little pointy bit on the muzzle, took careful aimed, and fired.

          There was a deafening bang, and as the bullet shot from the gun, the bullet casing rocketed from the weapon and bounced lightly against Vargash’s head before falling to the floor. After recovering from his minor head wound, Vargash looked up, hoping to see the dragon’s smoking corpse lying at his feet. But the dragon was alive and unharmed.

          “Fool!” the dragon roared. “No tiny piece of metal can stop me! I am a DRAGON! RAWR!” And the dragon blew a mighty jet of fire that cooked Vargash in his boots, gun and all.

          The End

          • Ah… I see your point (great writing, by the way – and actually, I liked the ending). 😀

            I’m lucky, in my sci fi, I’ve given old technology to those pioneers who can’t afford energy weapons – a bit like modern society might have press-of-the-button temperature control in homes, but there are an awful lot of houses still relying on open fireplaces.

            Well, your weapons training must have made for a great day all the same. That’s the main thing.

            (What about your dragon transporting back in time to a Western town and… well, yes, I suppose they’d ALL end up as roasted puddles littered with spent casings… Okay, okay, just thinking aloud). 😛

  11. Related to this post, I am attempting to gather together writers who HAVE experienced these sort of things. If you have first-hand knowledge / experience of anything that would be useful to a writer, exactly like Michelle’s experience above, please consider adding your experience to my list.

  12. What an excellent idea! I want to get my writers group to go to a gun range!

  13. So Lee Writes

    ok so I completely agree with this post and experiencing what you may need to write about. But here’s a pickle: I have been trying to create the ultimate beasty creature for ages. I have re-created/wrote this character more times than I care to admit too. AND I still dont believe my own words. How does someone who doesn’t watch scarey shows but needs a scary beastly character create one that is believable?!


    • Hmmm … that is quite the pickle, isn’t it? Could you maybe read scary books, if the scary shows are too intense? Or … I mean, cartoons are usually silly, sure, but some of them have some pretty cool monsters — Avatar The Last Airbender comes to mind … or some anime shows like Inuyasha have scary monsters and whatnot.

      • So Lee Writes

        The scariest I get for books/series is Anita Blake. However i did read the passage by Justin Cronin. That was a nightmare fest! Im not trying to induce nightmares. Just more realism. Back to the drawing board i suppose.

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