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A Day At The Range

A Girl and Her Gun: A Day At The Range

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Day At The Range

Today my husband and I headed out to meet John and a few other folks out at John's range for a little ballistic fun.  We varied in level and experience, but as always we met some fantastic people and had a great time.

For the benefit of those who have never taken a shooting class let me explain a little about what happens.  Generally after a safety talk and some in classroom work everyone heads to the range and stands on the line.  For an outdoor range, it is literally a line of people standing shoulder to shoulder with about 5 or 6 feet between them.  Targets are set up in front of each shooter and then drills are called.  You might start out on the 3 yard line and then move back to the 5 or 10 depending.  The drills can be anything from shoot 5 rounds at your pace, center mass to shoot 2 quick rounds, to take one step to the left and shoot until you feel the threat has been taken care of etc.  Now, this was not a class.  This was just a few friends getting together to run the paces through a new gun, tighten up some techniques and blow the crap out of man sized paper.

My husband and one other person there would be what you would consider, skilled, so in the beginning they just stood back and let John work with the rest of us.

We did a variety of drills.  Starting out on the 3 yard line, we shot a bunch of different scenarios. First me, then shooter 2, then shooter 3. Back up to the 5 yard line, me again, then #2, and #3.  Back up to the 10 and again we took turns.  We did some work from the 15 and the 25 yard lines and then John shot my gun a bit to check out the sites and a few other issues.  We shot 9mm FMJ(that's the non-personal defense stuff) 115 grain and then we shot some 124 or 125 grain to see how they shot from the the 25 yard line.  Not a huge difference, but the groups were tighter with the heavier grain.  This is what we would expect, but it was fun seeing it live instead of just reading about it.

We moved back up to the 7 yard line and did some movement drills, then it was my turn by myself.  Everyone stepped off the line and John, said AGirl, your up.  Ok, I am used to being first and I was not nervous or anything.  Now, I am going to relay this to the best of my recollection.  This will not be word for word and there is some language.

I am standing there with my gun in it's holster and John is standing behind my right shoulder.  We have done this kind of drill before, where he says ready, I put my hands up, then he says something like knife or gun and I draw my gun and shoot. John is the bad guy or sometimes the nice guy, it depends. For this dialog I will call him guy

-Guy-Hey, can I ask you a question?

-Me- Sure, but please stay back.

-Guy-Oh, ok, I just wanted to ask you a question.(he says this louder and with more purpose in his voice.)

-Me, I put my hand up and out and say, Stay Back.

Guy-Ok, Ok, I don't want to scare you, I just want to ask you for some money.

Now, you may realize those are the exact words the bad guy in the parking lot used when he approached me.

Me- Stop!

Guy-I am. I don't want to scare you I just want a little money. Come on it's no big deal.  I just want some money. 

His voice is getting louder and more aggressive.

This goes on a couple times, but he is getting louder and says something like, GIVE ME YOUR MONEY, BITCH

Me- I draw my gun and say GET BACK.

Guy- Hey, you stupid bitch,  I just want some money.

 Me- If you take one more step, I will shoot you.

I am not sure exactly what he said, because I was shaking and my hearing was kind of coming and going.  I heard MOTHER FUCKER, BITCH, I AM GOING TO GET YOU. 

I just stood there.  I never took my eyes off of him and I just stood there with my gun on him and my finger off the trigger. At one point I put my finger in the trigger well, but then took it out again.

Guy-Your not gonna shoot me.  You won't shoot.

Me-If you move again, I WILL shoot you.

John says...and the guy leaves, it's over.

I was very surprised at how real this felt.  I was calm and ready for my drill, but the second he said, "I don't want to scare you", I was right back in that parking lot.  Not my mind, me.  I was not thinking.  I was there.  The target in front of me was not paper.  I literally saw the guy's face.  I was face to face with the blond haired creepy-eyed dude from my attack.  This may seem strange, but on the way home I talked to my husband about how I was feeling.  He has worked with a lot of PTSD guys and other people that have experienced trauma and he said, when people have been in a stressful situation the mind remembers it and certain things can jar it back to that place. He said "It was real for you" "You were right back there". My husband still can't drive across the desert in California without being taken back to Iraq.

This was an important drill for me because it showed that I won't just automatically shoot.  I didn't get scared, pull my gun and take the guy out.  I was calm and I was deliberate and I did not shoot, BUT, I would have. In my mind I said, if he moves, I will shoot.

It is worth saying here, that I was in a safe place.  My husband was there.  We were in a remote place with people who know what they were doing.  I didn't ask, but I assume they were ready in case I didn't handle it.  In case I froze, or dropped the gun or whatever, but I didn't.  It is also worth mentioning these people know me.  They know me and they knew I was ready for this step.  I didn't.  I never even thought about reenacting that day and I had no idea it was going to happen.

After John said, it's over, I calmly reholstered my gun and he said, you did good. Now, lets shoot the mother fucker.

I got on the line, John called out gun, I drew and I shot. 



16 Comments:

At February 4, 2012 at 3:59 PM , Blogger Amy said...

Holy crap! I broke out into a sweat when I was reading the exchange during the drill. Gah! I feel even more of a kinship with you now. I have SO been in that place (not on the range, but in the martial arts studio) and when someone is yelling at you and swinging at your face. . .it's SO easy to trip some breaker and end up back in "that place." I love that you handled it like you did, that you made it clear that you would shoot. You're a real inspiration! xoxo

 
At February 4, 2012 at 4:55 PM , Blogger GunDiva said...

Excellent!

It had to have been tough, but I'm glad you've developed enough confidence to be able to handle it.

 
At February 4, 2012 at 5:20 PM , Blogger Larry said...

And now, deep in your soul, where it really counts, you know.

You won.

Well done.

 
At February 4, 2012 at 5:29 PM , Blogger Old NFO said...

Realistic drills DO have some interesting side notes... Glad you were able to handle that and know you can do the right thing!

 
At February 4, 2012 at 6:43 PM , Blogger 45er said...

Truly well done. It's so very important to be put into a situation like this, especially if you have been through something traumatic. I've watched people break down and cry doing this. Better in training than real life. Again, well done.

 
At February 4, 2012 at 6:52 PM , Blogger Adventures in Self Reliance said...

It's good to know when to shoot and when not to shoot. You are doing the right thing in getting that training and sharing with us and others. To know that you can take a life if needed in a situation is a huge step. To know when not to take a life, to not panic,is phenomenal.

 
At February 4, 2012 at 8:11 PM , Blogger Critter said...

now, ask him to set up the El Presidente to see how you handle a group.

 
At February 4, 2012 at 8:13 PM , Blogger Critter said...

term of the day, TC= teleconferencing.

 
At February 5, 2012 at 4:10 AM , Blogger Maura said...

Wow. Not often do I read a piece on a blog where I truly feel the writer's emotion - pain, sadness, anger, triumph. Often, they are simply just words on the screen, spun for effect. Yours are up front, right there...real. I had to close my mouth once I got to the last line, because I realized my jaw was hanging open.

I was there with you as John started the drill. I felt you slipping back into "that place" as he said that phrase which clicked in your mind. Wow.

Well done - an amazingly well done range day.
Thank you for sharing that with me/us.

*hug*

 
At February 5, 2012 at 5:41 AM , Blogger MP said...

Sounds like you learn more each time. Drills of all kinds are great. Being conscious of where your finger is in relationship to the trigger is excellent. Just for the new shooters that might be reading this, I'll add in the four basic rules that apply on the range, handling or transporting your firearms.

(1) Treat all guns as if they are loaded.

(2)Never let the muzzle of a gun point at anything you do not want to destroy or kill.

This rule is something we stress with new shooters, for sometimes, if they hear a noise and turn their head,or turn around to get acknowledgement of a great shot, the weapon tends to follow.

(3) Keep your finger straight and off the trigger.

(4)Be absolutely sure of your target, and what is behind it.

Keep it up, and keep sharing what you learn as you go along. There's people reading that may not comment that are taking it in and learning.

 
At February 5, 2012 at 8:41 AM , Blogger Brigid said...

Excellent! I do drills as well, the one that surprised me was how quickly someone is upon you once they're within about 20 feet. If the perp is a few arms lengths away and you don't have your weapon out, it's too late. If your defense buried in the purse you're in trouble.

I'm glad you liked the post yesterday. I'm glad you are no longer afraid.

 
At February 5, 2012 at 5:33 PM , Blogger Heather said...

I've never been in the situation you have, but when I did my first "really real" type drill it totally opened my eyes. It was a shoot-house and it really made me realize where I am mentally - to the point where I was very nearly in tears. It was an awesome experience though and very valuable.

 
At February 6, 2012 at 4:16 PM , Blogger Jennifer said...

Whew! I'm sure that was intense.
I'm glad you were ready for it and handled it correctly.

 
At February 7, 2012 at 8:07 AM , Blogger Lynne F said...

I'm proud of you, kid.

 
At February 7, 2012 at 1:35 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

You know that means a lot to me Lynne

 
At February 7, 2012 at 1:37 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

Heather, I am hoping ore take more advanced training like you took. I think it will be very helpful!

 

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