17 April 2009

Can I just conceal carry a compound bow instead?

Back around the beginning of the year, Dr. Nate and I each had a background check, were approved by the Pennsylvania State Police, and received conceal carry firearms permits. The background checks came out fine other than that one incident where I tore up my social security card and holed up on top of an abandoned water tower and pledged allegiance to the government of Mongolia. But that was really all just a zany mix-up. Honestly.

So, without ever having fired a gun, I am now able to tote one around in a pocket or purse. Packing heat in the grocery store? You damn well better believe it.

At one point a few weeks ago, Dr. Nate thought it might be a nice idea to buy me a gun for my birthday. I don't want to hunt, I just want to plink at targets and such. Good practice for zombie defense and I'm sure that Tom Gresham, your host of Personal Defense Television, would be proud. So would my NRA-member dad. And Phil Spector.

So we went to the local gun shop/target range one Saturday. Talked to a nice man who gave us information about safety courses we could take. Showed us some guns. Encouraged us go to the shooting range and try out a .22. Said the folks down there would show us how to use it (they showed us how to put the bullets in. That was about it).

Okay, fine. Safety glasses on, ear muffs on, gun, bullets, target. Go into very large room where nearly every lane (aisle? booth? whatever you call the divisions at a shooting range) was full.

And then, it seemed every other lane/booth/aisle pulled out 9mms and .44s and started firing simultaneously. Shell casing from the lane/booth/aisle next to us were coming over the parition and landing in my hair. Guns are LOUD. I had no idea how loud. The concussion was overbearing.

I have a confession to make. I absolutely freaked the fu*k out. As in, I surprised even myself by this level of freak-out. I'd been under there impression thus far that I'm a fairly calm person under stress. I never flipped when I was doing SCUBA training. I've gone down 80ft in pitch black water by myself with no problem. Yeah, it does happen on occasion, but never like this. This was freak out on a scale heretofore unknown by me.

I have no idea what caused it. I assume it was the mixture of the concussive effects of gunfire in my noggin, a new, LOUD, environment, and general apprehension of messing with a deadly thing without any training. Total synapse shutdown.

Needless to say, we left without firing a shot. I did manage save my complete and utter meltdown until we got into the parking lot. Yay for that, I guess?

This leaves me to wonder if perhaps fireams are not my "thing." I don't think that's necessarily it, though. I do know I was woefully underprepared for the environment that is a target range and would probably be more comfortable in a lower-stress situation like plinking at a tree on someone's acerage. Either that or some training to be comfortable with the nature of shooting firearms. Thing is, even now that I know what the noise levels in a target range are like, I still don't think I could use one when it's that busy. I was probably in the range for no longer than 2 minutes and ended up with a headache that lasted the whole rest of the day.

Guns aren't that loud on t.v. (joke)

Either way, I'm a pathetic wimp. Maybe I could look at the deadly, but more silent art of bows and arrows. Good for not revealing your whereabouts during a zombie invasion, but not so easily concealed while walking the aisles of the grocery store.

Obviously Dr. Nate did not buy me a gun for my birthday. I got a far-less-deadly cordless immersion blender instead.


brando said...

That sucks. I'm sorry that it went down like that. I hope that it doesn't ruin shooting for you.

It's really fun, and knowing how to properly handle a firearm is a skill that you will never regret having.

Once you get your confidence level up, you'll love it.

What were you considering buying? A woman coworker of mine just bought a brand new snubnose 38 with a pink grip.

About the noise. When people fire their black powder guns, I about jump out of my skin.

ALM said...

Thanks for saying that, Brando. I was pretty surprised at myself, but plan to try it all again.

I've had people recommend a .357 since the longer barrel is good for target shooting and it can fire the less-expensive .38 bullets (at least I think all what I've said is correct). My plan is/was to try out a few different guns at the target range, since they rent various types. See which one I like best. Any recommendations?

The new plan is to take an introductory safety course and THEN see how I like it. I figure once I'm more comfortable with handling a gun (and now I know how freakin' loud target ranges are!), I'll feel more comfortable.

Maybe some of my own ear protection, too. I would guess that the stuff the range has probably isn't best quality, so some better earmuffs might help me. And definitely going during the week when it's not so crowded.

brando said...

A class would be the best idea. If you're going to wield steel death in your hands, getting a tutorial is the way to go.

As far as recomendations, that's really what I was hoping you'd ask. Everyone has an opinion on firearms.

If you want to carry it concealed, I'd recommend something that's slim, otherwise it's just a bulky pain, and you'll leave it behind, and that defeats the point.

I know everyone loves a big automatic cause they're sexy, but a revolver pretty much never jams, and a 38 snub is little, and simple.

I wouldn't get too wound up about size, because even a 38 will do the job. It's not a spitting contest, it's a stay-alive contest. I've never met you, and have no idea about your wrist strength, but I'm guessing you could probably be fine with a .40, but not higher. I also wouldn't get a .22 for self defence, because that's just too little.

S&W snubnose 38Or a simple Beretta 9mm that the military uses.

But if you have a lot of disposable income, you could go with one of the finest arms manufactuers in the world, for some pure goodness.

Heck, I don't know. I suppose it depends on how much money you want to spend. Ruger is a solid and cheap American company.

ALM said...

My father is a big fan of the .38 revolver. Not difficult to deal with - open it up, put the bullets in, close it.

My mother has this teeny little .22 she bought out of a Sears catalog eons ago. My dad used to make her carry it in the car when she'd come to pick me up for the weekend when I was in college. My mom always rolled her eyes when he'd asked her if she'd taken. She said, "What am I going to do with that thing? Ask the person nicely to lean into the car so I can shoot them?"

I think I'll check into the safety course as soon as I get a free minute and see how that goes. I might be back asking for further recommendations!!

Mary said...

I can appreciate your situation. Cory is very interested in being (over) prepared and he has a .22 plink-ster, which is fun to shoot at my family's farm. My dad even tied old tin cans to corn stalks for targets. But when Cory wanted to get something with a little more power, he ultimately decided against the handgun in favor of the shotgun. My only argument was that the purpose of the handgun is solely to take a life. And he really wanted to kill zombies and the occasional rabbit, turkey, etc.

I did shoot Cory's dad's handgun once (Brando was there) and it was both exhilarating and nauseating. I was shaking when I was done. I can't imagine doing it at a range.

ALM said...

The range was....intense. I've always wanted to just target shoot - I'm not interested in killing anything (besides zombies, if and when necessary). But we don't know anyone here well enough to ask if we can shoot on their land, so it seems rifle-type things are out for the time being.

This all reminds me that I've been meaning to contact the guy that does safety courses and see how much it costs and what's involved. I should e-mail him today. Safety course first, and then I'll re-evaluate to see if it's going to be guns or bows that will become my primary zombie-huntin' weapon.

jkp1187 said...

Don't feel bad - indoor ranges suck.

A .22 is quieter, but consider that Hinckley shot James Brady square in the forehead with one, and he still didn't die, so it really doesn't have much stopping power.

Get yourself a Glock 19. Easy to fire, easy to maintain, and Austrian craftsmanship that you crave. (Or at least should crave.)

Check out these websites:

-The Firing Line
-The High Road
-Pennsylvania Firearms Owners Association (PAFOA.org) - this one is Pennsylvania centric and has a lot of information specific to the commonwealth (as well as a lot of people who are stockpiling for the day they have to burn their Soc Sec cards and head for the hills to fight off zombies or the United Nations.

-John P.