A Mystery Author, a Glock, an AR-15, and a Shotgun…
Well, I finally did it! I went to a local gun range and got my trigger-finger happy on… Or not exactly… Firing a gun was an experience I’ve been wanting to have for years. Given that I write about the police and the FBI, I realized knowing firsthand what it felt like to hold a gun and pull the trigger would only be advantageous for me. I confirmed that I am definitely braver behind my computer than I would be on the streets. It instilled an even deeper respect than I already had for law enforcement officers. Not only do they carry weapons, but they put their lives on the line every shift! They have people shooting at them and yet you will still find them running toward gunfire not away from it. They are the true heroes of the real world. Step aside comic book characters!
Back on the range… I mean, at the range, I fired off (in order) 20 rounds with a Glock 17 9mm, 10 with the AR-15, and 1 with a Remington 12-gauge shotgun. Why only 1 round with the shotgun? That baby packs a punch! The instructor was helping me hold the weapon, and he had a hand on my shoulder to steady it against the recoil, and I still twisted when that blast went off. My instinct was going, nope, no way, that’s all.
The Glock was a challenge but in a different way from the shotgun. At least, I got off the twenty rounds I was permitted to fire. I found it very difficult to squeeze the trigger. In fact, I don’t know if it was just the specific gun I was using, but it seemed like the trigger got to a certain point and stopped. I had no choice but to get more forceful with it. And for those of you who haven’t fired a gun, as soon as the firing pin hit the bullet, the gun recoiled, completely throwing off any aim I thought I had. Even after 20 rounds, I didn’t have this gun down to a fine art. In fact, far from it. I still managed to hit my target sheet. Yeah me!
Moving on to the AR-15. Ah, now this gun was fun!! Yes, it had some recoil but nowhere near the amount that the Glock 17 had. The instructor helped support the weight of the weapon, and while it is quite a long gun, its length is adjustable. I even got a couple center-mass shots in with the AR-15!
Now, the shotgun… as mentioned above, this one had me retreating after the first bullet. It is about the same weight but longer than the AR-15. I didn’t like the noise it made, but I especially didn’t care for the torque it gave my body. Not that I was hurt from firing it (maybe a little stiff for a bit afterward) but my mind sent out an instant warning that was probably best I step away…
When I was firing the Glock, the instructor was saying to me ‘your adrenaline should have kicked in by now and the fear should be gone.” Nope, it didn’t happen. My insides were quaking the entire time at the range. There was recoil from the guns, heat when the bullet was fired, and casings flying around me… It wasn’t until about fifteen minutes afterward that I become euphoric. I had fired guns and I survived and so did everyone else. I realized that the adrenaline had been flowing at the range, but it’s probably because I realized how deadly the object in my hand was, how it deserved my respect, that I couldn’t release my fear. By learning to handle guns, I think it would teach a person how to manage adrenaline, and in the case of a real-life emergency, I can only see this as something beneficial to know.
I would sum up the experience as both terrifying and exhilarating. Is it something I’d do again? Absolutely! But first, I’m going to build up my core strength and my arm muscles. Then when it comes time to squeeze that trigger on the Glock, I’ll dominate it, not the other way around. Of course, there will always be an immense amount of respect for the power I’m holding in my hands.