It is one of those scenes where you are standing looking at yourself from an out of body experience. You stand there and think “that can’t be me, I would never do something like that, nope… not me.. never”. The scene that you are looking at scares you a lot but is strangely exciting at the same time. The image of someone that looks like you, stands like you and sounds like you except this person is holding a gun.. Hmm that cannot be right. Is it about time to wake up now?
I’m not dreaming, it is not someone else, it is me and I am standing there with a gun. The fear is real, the gun in my hand is real and the enormity of the situation feels pretty real too. Part of me is thinking that I might pee myself anytime soon and the other part is thinking I look pretty bad arse…. This is definitely like most of the things I do, I decide to do it and then actually think about the consequences when I actually have to go though with it. This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time, a big thing to tick off the list… Right so I am indeed going to have to go through with this. Something different….
I walked through the doors of the shooting range, not really sure what to expect. I had expected it to be outside for some reason, so the fact I was walking into the lobby of what looked like a bowling alley kind of surprised me. It all looked pretty normal, some sofas, a lady sitting behind a desk, she was even smiling at me. Ok, so not bad arse yet…. Oh hang on, pictures up on the walls of guns to chose from, now it starting to resemble something more like I expected.. So, what sort of gun do I want to shoot… The guns in all the crime books I read are glocks so I want one of them please (the lady also explained it was a good gun for newbies like me).
After getting through the registration and safety gear, I am walked through to a little booth that overlooks what looks like a massive chicken pen (minus the chickens luckily). The guys talks through loading the gun and how to shoot. I’m trying to keep a serious look on my face while at the same time thinking “I’ve seen it in the movies, how hard can it be?” It was only a few minutes later that I realised it is NOT like the movies, even loading the gun was not so simple and required the brute force of The Hulk. Right gun loaded, target set in place (a bulls eye on a big piece of paper), time to shoot.
In the movies you see the hero pick up the gun, pull the trigger and bang, someone drops down. Well it’s not like at all.. In real life, you pick up the gun, correct your stance about ten times, adjust your shoulders, line up the target about five different times, have a small conversation with yourself that you can actually do it (and that you are not to pee your pants), go to pull the trigger three times and then maybe on the fifth attempt actually pull it.. Then you jump back in surprise not only at the sound but also at the cartridge firing back at you. You can smell the gunpowder and see the flash as it goes off. Nope not like the movies at all.
You also don’t expect the gun to be so heavy but after just shooting 10 bullets I felt like I had been carrying around a hippo for the day. This is probably due to the safety equipment they have attached to the gun to prevent you from high-tailing it out of there and robbing the next dairy. Not that it would have done me any good, at the start I sucked, I mean really sucked, I didn’t hit the piece of paper let alone the target.
I am not enjoying this at all (not helped by my partner hitting double bull eyes…), this something different was turning out something terrible until I suddenly remembered what the guy said about trying to line the gun up with the target.. Ok, I am on my last round of bullets, these ones need to count.. Bang, bang bang.. YEAH BULLEYE!!! Not that is it, now I am really bad arse. When I brought in the target I saw I had got not one but TWO bulleyes… Yip yip, this something different could turn into something regular (in fact I have already been back).
The truth is as fun as it is, guns are still scary. I still remember having one pointed in the face of our driver while I was sitting only metres behind in the back seat when we lived in Lagos. The consequences of their actions are almost too huge to comprehend, they can take away a life quicker than a pregnant lady running to the toilet and any loss of life is never a good thing. It’s almost ironic that my next something different was doing a first aid course, just in case, but I am hoping I will never have to use it.