shoot ’em up

So, yesterday was a very new experience for me.  A co-worker/friend of mine is an avid gun collector (to say the least!) and has been trying to get a group of us out to Indiana for a while now to go to the range with her.  She oh-so-smartly lured me into the scenario by asking that I take photos of the day & more importantly, of her guns. I can never turn down a shoot (of the photography kind…) so of course I said yes – and brought James along since he was definitely intrigued by the prospect of getting to shoot some guns. I have never in my life been around guns before…for the most part. (Let me explain: My dad had a rifle in the closet in my parent’s bedroom but only ever brought it out to get a gopher every now and then. I know… kill a gopher with a rifle?! Eesh. Of course us kids had to hide inside in my parent’s room with our eyes shut and ears plugged so as not to witness any of the horror. But other than that I’ve never been near a gun, shot a gun, or wanted to shoot one, for that matter.)
    (Something may be misspelled on this sign… hmm…?)
Anyway, we arrived in Indiana very early Saturday morning and after another hour drive out to the range finally made it out just about at the peak heat of the day!  It was another scorcher – 90’s or higher… but we managed to stay cool with lots of water and shade from a tent Melissa’s dad brought along (thank goodness!)
Melissa, her husband, Bill and her dad, Phil were amazing teachers and so patient with all of us newbies!
                             Steve (maybe not a ‘newbie’ exactly):
                              And James:
Everybody started to take their turn and I quietly stood in the back of the group takings pics of all the action, hoping it would go unnoticed that I had yet to take my turn. Of course, with James around, I did not fly under the radar like I had hoped! He said, “Christy – you haven’t gone yet! Get up there!” UGH. So here I go… about to take my turn. I figured – okay, why not try it? Everybody says once you shoot a gun you will LOVE it and wonder why you were ever freaked out by the idea. 
I hesitantly stepped up and Phil handed me an unloaded 9mm. He went through all the safety instructions with me, showed me how to load it, how to aim and told me to go ahead. I don’t think I’ve ever been so freaked out in my life. I know. I know… what a wuss I am. But seriously. I am a chicken about most things (roller coasters, horror movies, large bodies of water at night…) and I can apparently add guns to that list as well!
I aimed. I braced myself. I took a deep breath. I pulled the trigger.  BAAM! 
                             (I look way tougher in this photo than I felt, by the way!) 
                             (props to James for the pic!)
Wow – did that gun have some serious kickback that I was not expecting! I felt like it might jump out of my hands and shoot me right in the face. (Ridiculous thought – I’m well aware!) My heart was racing, but not the good kind of racing you’re supposed to get from shooting guns. The bad kind – like in dreams where the bad guy is chasing you and for some reason you forgot how to run – kind of heart racing. But – I couldn’t give up after one shot. Everybody else was shooting a whole round and I wanted to look tougher than I was feeling. So, I shot another. I thought I could brace myself and be prepared for the kickback, but I was no better than the first time. I was officially freaked out and feeling like I may start to cry. (I know – seriously. What is wrong with me!?) So I said, “I’m good…” and carefully (with my hands shaking like I just had 5 shots of espresso) handed the gun back to Phil. He apologized profusely for giving me a gun to start off that had so much kickback and promised the next gun would be “easier.” I wasn’t so sure I wanted there to be a next gun, but nodded my head in agreement anyway.
Well, there was a “next” gun a few minutes later. I figured I should at least try it. Maybe I could be tough about a different gun??? Phil handed me a 22mm and he was right – not so much kickback, but for some reason I still didn’t like the way I felt shooting it. I was a big girl this time though. I finished the round, thanked him, and handed the gun back. And that was it for me. I was – good. to. go.  My shooting of choice for the rest of the day was with my camera. I can say I shot guns now though! I can cross that one off my bucket list – even if I was a complete wuss about it and watched all of them shoot every gun imaginable for the next 4 hours rather than actually participating myself. I was perfectly happy just documenting the day from that point on. And a great day it was!!  
Thanks again to Melissa, Bill and Phil for taking great care of all of us! It was definitely an experience to remember! 🙂
And here are a few more of the almost 200 images I shot:
    Everybody wanted a picture shooting this gun (so I must post all or get in trouble!):  🙂
     And because I can pretend I’m tough and pose with an unloaded gun – here’s our Charlie’s Angels pose:

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Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!