I was writing and was trying to figure out what kind of gun my character should have. Hours spent going over websites didn't really help, I wanted to see the gun and how it would feel to hold it. A website pops up, Red's indoor range. There is a picture of a buxom blonde with man hands holding a gun pressed up against her cheek with a big smile on her bright red lips, Ladies Day at Red's was the invitation. I laughed, couldn't help it, this I have to do. At the time I ran a girly chick lit book club and I decided to make it into a group event, I didn't want to go alone because I was sure I would chicken out.
The day arrived and there are five other women and everyone was excited and talking at once. The sales floor looked into the range and even through the thick glass the sounds of guns going off came through. A gruff, portly guy is behind the glass case filled with guns for use for free on Ladies Day. I point at one I've seen, a Glock 9mm, I want that one. He sighs, 'If you've never shot before then you should start with a .22' and begins pulling out a selection of smaller guns. I point, I want the 9mm, I'm annoyed. He pulls out the gun and begins going over the mechanics of loading, unloading and the all important safety. One, he's going way too fast and two, all I can see are the wicked, shiny guns.
He sets us up in two lanes with the group split up side by side. The minute he's gone, everyone comes over to my lane and looks to me for direction. Shit, being the leader isn't always easy. I'm fumbling, I have no recall of anything he said after he released the magazine and started working the gun. No one else does either because all they could do was stare at the gun. It can't be that difficult, I think as I remember the movements he made. I drop the clip and start loading it. Um, so much heavier and cold than I thought it would be, and I'm doing the .22 for the women in the other lane. Everyone's eyes are on my hands and I'm shockingly able to work it right. Loaded and ready, I take it back to the other lane, tell the chick to flick off the safety and she's good to go. I lay it down like he told us and she picks it up and I move back and she starts firing.
I go back to my lane and pick up the Glock that no one has touched, everyone's just looking at it. I load it and it's even heavier than the other one and much harder to load. I can only load ten bullets before it's too much and I shrug. I slam the magazine in and pull back the slide, it's ready. I clip a target to the slider and send it out to ten feet. Picking up the gun my stomach flips, I take aim and fire. Holy fucking shit, it bucks and it takes everything in me not to throw it down and running screaming from the room. Oh yeah, that's why there is a small group of women watching me with their eyes wide. Taking aim I fire again and by the fourth shot, I have total control of the gun and the bucking and it's better than any high I've ever gotten from a drug. I bring in the target back and no fucking way, I have hit the bullseye. (I'll admit, I don't think it really counts if you weren't aiming for it.) Knowing I have to share, I offer the gun to the next woman and she begs me to prep it for her and so I do. It's quicker and smoother than the first time.
Three boxes of bullets and an hour later, we come tumbling out of the building. In breathless chatter, plans are already being made to go again.
I did end up going again and again and over the last five years, I've shot nearly everything in the glass case. I have also used the target as a security system in one very sketchy apartment I lived in. The target had the center more or less demolished by bullets and just for a kicker there was one shot to the groin area.
Real world research is important and sometimes it can end up being really damn fun.