Gun In Hand, Going To My Head

One by one I pushed shiny bullets into the cartridge. Ten of them. Slammed it up the grip of the black Taurus 9mm. Aimed straight at the heart from some twenty feet away, and…


A week ago I spent an afternoon at the Front Range Gun Club with some Singaporeans, one of whom owns two firearms. The last and only other time I’d been shooting was fifteen years ago in Oregon woods with friends (including my husband – before we were even dating). I don’t remember it being as intimidating, or as thrilling, as the gun club. Yes I said thrilling. I came home thinking there must be something wrong with me that firing a deadly weapon gave me such a high. At a law enforcement human-silhouette target nonetheless.

IMG 4643 s 225x300 Gun In Hand, Going To My HeadAt first that was kinda creepy, aiming at a life-size profile of a person. Everyone else on the shooting deck was firing at innocuous round bullseye targets. I never could bring myself to aim at the head. But I did hit the heart a couple of times. (Honesty may require mention that I entirely missed the target a few times too.) Turns out that my husband is a very good marksman, thanks to his service in the Singapore Armed Forces. Especially with the rifle.

As for me, the rifle was a different story. M16. Target 60 feet back. Heavy gun, loud, awkward, frightening actually. Still thrilling, but not like the hand gun. That was almost addictive. For days I floated in a giddy afterglow. Am I twisted in the head?

I couldn’t stop thinking about the whole experience: the dim, cave-like atmosphere – spotlights on the target line – noise thudding beyond ear plugs – metallic weight in my palms – pressure of the trigger in the crook of my finger – shells flipping upward – excitement of discharging a deadly weapon – eerie target… I had trouble sleeping, replaying the events. By the next day I was seriously contemplating getting real lessons in how to shoot a hand gun. Is it wrong to say that shooting a gun was thrilling? I feel like I shouldn’t have enjoyed it so much – pressing the smooth bullets into the cartridge one by one, slamming the cartridge up the handle, cocking, locking, aim, unlock, fire… oh I am getting carried away again…

Okay, the tough thing was getting home and explaining to the 5-yr what we’d been up to. I had told her just the day before not to build a “shooter” with her tinker toys to chase her brothers, we don’t play shooting people. I wasn’t going to tell her at all where we had been but Daddy cheerfully spilled the beans before I could intercept. So I had to explain it all. I wish I had a picture of the completely disconcerted, confounded look on her face – huge saucer eyes and hanging jaw – when I said yes they were real guns, and when she saw the life-size shadow-person target riddled with bullet holes. She was mortified!

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