Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 8: Shoot Guns

Alice modelling an AR15.

Cost: ~$100 (Beginner into package $40 + additional guns and ammo)
Difficulty: 2
Time: 1.5 hours, plus travel time

Day 8 was Alice's idea: shoot some guns. She'd never fired a gun before and I've only ever shot a .22 rifle in the Boy Scouts when I was about 12.

I found a place on Yelp that had good reviews: American Firearms School in North Attleboro, MA, about 50 minutes south of Boston. It looked like what I expected, only more so. When we came in the TV was tuned to Glenn Beck's show and seemed to be that way on purpose.

My expectation was that we would come in, probably have a half-hour of classroom safety-instruction, maybe a written test, watch an instructor shoot and only then be handed a gun under close supervision. I'm not saying that was what I wanted, just what I expected.

When we arrived, there were two pistols on the counter. They looked fake and I thought these were our "training pistols."

Nope, these were real guns. They handed us a couple boxes of ammo, ear protection and goggles and sent us to the range, stopping me to point out that I wasn't carrying it correctly.

Sadly, they had a very strict no photography policy on the range which was a huge disappointment. We really wanted pictures of us shooting our guns. I forgot to ask why they had this policy. My theory is that it has something to do with the TV being tuned to Glenn Beck.

It surprised me how quickly they let us, two people who had given them no cause to believe we knew what the hell we were doing, start shooting guns. From the time we'd signed the paperwork saying we were not a) convicted fellons, b) on drugs at the moment, or c) pregnant, it was about 5 minutes till we were shooting.

After we'd mastered the pistols, I asked if we could shoot something else. And like that we were shooting an AK-47. Then an AR-15. They just handed me an AK-47, a box of bullets and sent us off to the range.

I'm not saying they were unhelpful-- an instructor was always nearby and ready to show us how to clear a jam, load the clip or whatever. And at least half of the two instructors was friendly and happy to correct whatever mistake we were currently making. It just seemed weird how confident they were that we wouldn't deliberately or accidentally do something dangerously stupid.

Still, it was a lot of fun, definitely different and I kind of want to shoot guns again. Is there a gun range in the Boston area where the TV is tuned to The Daily Show?

My target. Less impressive when you know this is basically how far away I was shooting from.

1 comment:

  1. worth noting, that's how it is most places. you don't need a permit to shoot at a range that rents weapons, you just show up, sign some waivers and boom.

    which is largely how it goes when you buy a firearm, there's no comprehensive psych evaluation, only a cursory background check to make sure you've not already committed any violent crimes. i'm not sure what the rate is but i think i remember hearing that a pretty good chunk of gun crime is repeat offense or done by people with priors

    anyhow, here's how i see it; you show up to a "firearms school" to take a beginner's class. nobody's worried you're going to steal their guns and go commit a murder spree because a) you have no idea what you're doing and b) they do this shit all day so when you try to turn that little 9mm handgun on the instructor, he already has his .45 trained on you.

    coincidentally, gun stores are not great robbery targets