Friday, April 18, 2014

Research Shot

I shot my first gun a couple months ago. And I liked it.

Blame it on a little book research…

I was writing a scene with a cop who takes his girlfriend to the shooting range for Valentine’s Day. But I had no idea what a shooting range looked like. Or smelled like. Or sounded like.

My husband and I wanted to try it anyway. So we made a date and took a lesson. My scene sprang to life after that visit. The feel of a gun in your hand cannot be explained. And I’m not going all NRA or anything. But writing about a woman shooting a gun for the first time comes very easily to me now.

After much instruction, loading, unloading and reloading the gun, I felt ready to shoot. I stood with my feet spread apart, one eye closed, both hands gripping the gun, and a target in my sights. I breathed in and then out. At the bottom of my breath release, I squeezed the trigger. The gun shuddered and a hole appeared on the target. The bullet hit mere millimeters from the exact spot I aimed for. It would be my best shot all day.

I emptied the chamber, put the gun down as instructed, and took a step back. My hands and arms shook, my heart pounded. Even my knees wobbled. I inhaled the scent of gunpowder and rubber, and adjusted my ear protection, which pressed my earring backs against my head, like two spikes digging into my skin.

I looked at my husband and smiled. “That was cool.”

He couldn’t wait to try it. And of course, he shot better than me. But we both learned something new together that day and it was a blast. (pun not really intended-well, maybe a little).

When finished, we looked at different caliber guns, bigger, smaller, some with pink and rhinestones, some covered in camo. I learned the sizes of ammunition in ascending order and what each gun is like to fire, and under which circumstances you might want to carry different firearms.

I’d like to go back and shoot a few different guns, just to see the differences. To feel the differences. Some research is better hands-on, in person, shells flying. With ear and eye protection of course.

Have you been to a shooting range? Have you learned how to do something new that left your knees wobbliing? Leave us a comment for a chance to win our prize of the week!


  1. I've not been to a real shooting range. I dated a guy in college who tried to teach me to shoot. Notice the word "tried." I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn - literally. He lived on a farm and tacked targets up on the barn. I'm not sure I ever hit any of them. I do remember being surprised at how heavy the gun was. It was some sort of pistol. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Haha! But at least you TRIED, Linda. :-)

  2. You really put us in the action, Linda. I'm going with my grandkids to the shooting range because they want to learn. I just want the experience. Wish they had Colt 45s and Winchester rifles, though, since that's what I write about.

  3. I've never been to a shooting range, but I shot my first shotgun when I was 15--my arm was bruised for weeks. Since then I've shot all types of rifles and pistols. Love target practice. Great post. There really is nothing like hands-on experience. Now if I could just talk someone into letting me fly their plane...

    1. Oh, great idea, Patricia! :-) Or you could even jump OUT of their plane. :-)

    2. That would be carrying research a little toooooo far, lol. Someone had to push me off the high dive when I was a kid to get me off.