Never in my life did I expect to get up close and personal with a handgun until I wrote TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT. But there came a point in the story when I realized my heroine, Joy, needed to learn how to use a gun, so in the name of research…
Off I went (uncomfortably) to my local gun shop (filled with guns and ammo and other scary things) where I discovered they had a handgun gun safety class on Friday nights. I was nervous about my first lesson and was sure I’d be out of place with the group. To my surprise, there was diversity in age greater than I’d expect in the class from young women and men to geezers and beyond. As the evening went on I felt a bit like Grandma-with-a-Gun as we handled many different types of guns and learned to shoot in front of each other. Turns out I preferred the Smith & Wesson 38 two inch revolver for the size and feel, and it suited my hand strength. Surprisingly, Joy in TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT, preferred that same gun. (Who’d-a-thunk?) Most of the other students went with the semi-automatic pistols.
I knew next to nothing about guns before I signed up beyond the fact that guns kill, and it’s never a good idea to wield a gun, real or plastic, in public, or anywhere for that matter.
In order not to be a doofus, the big tips I learned from the gun safety class were: Be familiar with your gun. Always point a gun in a safe direction. Assume every gun is loaded and first check to make sure it isn’t. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are serious and ready to shoot. Know what your target is and, again, be serious when you shoot. There was a whole lot more that I learned, but for the purpose of this blog I’ll stop with these most basic rules.
As the class went on, I really dug the Isosceles shooting stance, named for making a triangle with your body. With my feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, arms straight forward and locked in place holding my gun, (no tea-cupping please) I felt powerful, especially for a woman my age. Don’t tell anyone, but I thought I looked cool, too.
They also let us try the Weaver stance, which is the truly cool stance for shooting, and what we all see on TV and in the movies. Turns out, I felt more comfortable in the classic stance than the cool-looking Weaver anyway. If you’d like more information on the shooting stances, and to also see Jack from the TV show 24 holding his gun wrong, go here
At first my nerves caused me to squeeze the gun and trigger too tightly, making my hand tremble and my aim really lousy. Once I relaxed, learned to breathe and hold my breath at the perfect moment, and readjusted my stance and quit strangling my poor gun, I got the feel for how to handle and fire that gun, and my aim became less of an embarrassment.
That night we only practiced with laser shooting, but after the class my husband took me several times for target practice in a nearby range. Shooting real bullets was very different from laser beams, much noisier, and exciting. My flower-power self is ashamed to admit that it was exciting, but it’s true. As I’d learned in the gun safety class, I aimed for the heart and head on the target, and at ten feet out, I did fairly well after several rounds and target changes.
I’m still not comfortable with a gun. Unless the apocalypse occurs, I doubt I’ll ever aspire to be a good shot at a long distance or with a moving target, but challenging myself with something completely different from my daily routine was both fun and invigorating.
Have you done something completely out of the ordinary lately?
Have you ever shot a gun?
I’d like to give away an e-book copy of my award winning single title book – ONE FOR THE ROAD to one commenter today.
Lynne Marshall writes contemporary romance for Harlequin Special Edition (THE MEDIC’S HOMECOMING, 7/13), and Mills & Boon Medical Romance (MAKING THE SURGEON SMILE, 6/13). She also writes bigger books for Wild Rose Press. Her current release is – Too Close for Comfort – an over forty, second-chance at romance story from WRP. For a short video trailer of TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT, go here
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