DRAGONFLIES DRAW FLAME sojourns & reviews

Still no AK – but a 9 and 12 gauge will hold me off for now

Posted in Sojourns by David on June 15, 2009

Shooting Practice @ Reed’s Indoor Range / Wed. 10 June 2009

My friend McCabe from Berkeley came down last Wednesday to go shooting and hang out. I first met McCabe at CalSO, Cal Student Orientation, way back in August 2006. He was the first friend I ever made at Cal. We were both transfer students and English majors, about to embark on our two-year sojourn through Cal’s rigorous English program. We ended up taking the same Junior Seminar our first semester, and took at least one class together every semester after that. We both wrote honors theses our senior year, pushing each other along and shooting ideas back and forth through the long and arduous process of completing our 60-80 page papers. Conversations with McCabe turn from the comical to the theoretical at breakneck speed. For example, we were discussing the relationships of people we know, and all of a sudden McCabe compares the dynamics of their relationships to the nihilism found in the translated graphic novel Lone Wolf and Cub. Other interesting conversational twists and turns ensued; I wish I had a voice recorder, so I could upload our conversations directly to the site. Maybe a future post?

After he met me at my house, we headed off to Reed’s Indoor Range. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a staff with a dead serious demeanor. We were asked what kind of shooting experience we had. I wanted to joke “Well, I beat Call of Duty 4: World at War” but my guess was that the guy behind the counter wasn’t going to have it. “None,” I quipped back. McCabe, however, had some experience shooting pistols at another range, and he curtly told the guy exactly which gun he had used, what kind of ammunition he had loaded it with, and where he shot it. Then, he was asked by the guy behind the counter to load a Glock 9mm with a fake orange bullet to demonstrate his proficiency with weapons. He passed the test and I was given further instructions on how to handle weapons in a gun range, which I had to repeat back to the guy even though he didn’t tell me beforehand that I would have to repeat all the instructions back to him. Good thing I was listening, as I am the type that zones out as soon as I hear instructions. I figured what he was saying might be beneficial to my health to know.

We started off with a Heckler & Koch 9mm with a box of standard ammunition.

Heckler & Koch 9mm

After the breakdown on loading, removing the safety, cocking, and firing the weapon, we got ourselves warmed up with the H&K. We were warned not to take head shots on our target, since the round might ricochet off the metal clamps that held the target sheet on the range. In the video, you can see McCabe start with body shots and slowly work his way up to the head – good idea.

First Impressions: This was my first time ever firing a weapon, so I was not quite sure what to expect. The first thing I noticed (other than the loud crack of the 9mm that resounded through my ear muffs) was how easy it is to be inaccurate with the pistol if you are not squeezing the trigger rightly. Since the trigger doesn’t fire the round until it is pressed down completely, it is easy to rotate your wrist to the left ever so slightly as you put pressure on the trigger resulting in the pistol to fire leftwards of where you intended to aim.

Also, I didn’t expect the cartridge casing to fly into my face as much as they did. Although I didn’t initially understand why we were required to wear protective glasses, I soon realized it is because piping hot casings are flying into your face as they exit the pistol.

The heavy recoil and loud bang of the pistol sank into my mind the fact that I could kill myself or someone else if I weren’t careful with this pistol. Furthermore, it made me realize how pertinent it is to know gun safety; firing a weapon at a dummy target makes you realize the true power of the weapon, short of seeing its affects on another human being. I wonder how many people have killed another person after firing a weapon for the first time without understanding the true repercussions of their actions.

McCabe HK9mm


Benelli 12 Gauge Nova Shotgun

After spending our last round with the H&K, we turned in the pistol for a pump action shotgun, which was $10 to rent for the hour. We picked up some $8 birdshot to start off, which has shells filled with tiny metallic pellets that spread in a wide pattern, making it ideal for hunting.

First Impressions: The 12 gauge was a lot of fun just to load. It took four shells in the bottom feeder located just in front of the trigger. It was much easier to hold steady compared to the pistol. We were instructed to brace the butt of the shotgun not on our shoulder, but actually closer to our chest. Otherwise, the shotgun will blow your shoulder out. Firing the birdshot for the first time gave me a lot of respect for the recoil behind the shotgun. At close range, the shotgun spreads pellets nearly all over its target.

Next, we tried buckshot shells. These shells have much larger pellets in them, each the size of about a 9mm round. The difference in recoil is significant and instead of producing a pellet spray, the buckshot blows a much more focused hole through the target.  We bought a case of 5 buckshot shells for about $12. I can’t imagine anyone getting up after being hit with a buckshot! The 12 gauge was definitely an enjoyable gun to use, and the infamous crick-crack sound of the pump action loading alone can deter just about any bad guy.




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