Saturday 13 October 2012

Home, Home on the Gun Range - Part 2 (misconceptions)

So for those of you how came in late, I've set myself a challenge of trying new things - read more here. The first on the list was shooting. So yesterday we headed out to the Sydney International Shooting Centre, the 2000 Olympic site and tried pistol shooting.
Before we left for the hour drive, I was very excited but once we hit the centre, I became extremely nervous. I was jumpy every time a gun went off - not really the place to be for that! My friend then told me a terrible story about a person in America 'taking out' people on a gun range. This is not the story to tell someone with an already overactive imagination and anxiety issues.
We settled into the safety presentation, and this only made me more nervous. A lot of the discussion seemed to be about accidentally shooting people. I'm not sure if I was more nervous about being shot or being the person who killed someone by accident. All in all, I was very jumpy by the time I got the gun in my hand. The reality of the danger of the exercise had really kicked in.
It was a Luger .22 pistol and a target 25 m away, but I had an instructor by my side the whole time supervising, so I was, after the initial practice rounds, a little more at ease and able to concentrate on the target.
Initially I was off the target, then the outer rings. After a while I got closer to the centre. The highlight was a bullseye - not just a bullseye, but a 'bull' bullseye - which gives you 11 points in a competition, instead of the usual 10. Dead centre of the target!
It's a sport that requires patience and concentration (neither my strong point) but a skill that you can see instant results too. I could tell when I'd done a bad shot before I saw the target screen, and usually it was because I was distracted (in my head) or talking.
In the 'try shooting' group, there were 2 couples, a group of males and my girlfriends and me. Three women turning up without male counter parts is obviously a curiosity, as we were asked by the safety briefer 'who organised our outing?' (quite possibly because I was jumping when the woman shot the gun in the instructional video), and my instructor asked me if 'hubby had organised it?'. I explained my unhealthy interest in Nassar Al Attiyah and how I thought if he could get bronze at the Olympics with only 10 days practice, how hard could it be? The instructor found this hilarious, and given my final score, I can see why - though he was very encouraging about it as a first timer's attempt.
It was an interesting exercise in judgmental preconceptions - everyone there was normal. I was expecting the whole redneck gun crazed thing, in a dingy room. The facility is bright, airy, clean and pleasant. The people were just like us, and well dressed. There were a few high school kids in uniform for practice with their school rifle club. The instructors were friendly and encouraging. The whole experience, outside of my head, was enjoyable.
My instructor, when I was jumpy, informed that I needed to calm down, because I'd mess up my shots, and that for some reason women were much better shooters than men. No one knows why, they just are. I found this surprising as I tend to associate shooting as a male hobby. But there is an expression "God created men and women, Samuel Colt made them equal".
We've planned to return to try the rifles, and I might go early and take another shot with the pistol, to see if I can improve on my score. It's a really fun experience, and quite different to what my preconceptions led me to believe. And that is the important lesson of the day, our judgments cloud our opinions, sometimes based on nothing factual at all!

To conclude, I've added a few more experiences to the list:

Torshlusspanik List 
1. Shooting (check)
2. Fencing (got voucher, date to be set soon)
3. Play croquet at Croquet Club
4. Laser skeet

(was that what you were expecting of this gun totin' lady?)


  1. That sounds like so much fun. My brother took me out hunting with him once and let me have a go at shooting his shot gun. It was so exciting and scary all at once. Good on you for giving it a go

    Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses #teamIBOT

  2. It was fun! I could never hunt - not just for the hurting an animal thing but my imagination would be in overdrive about accidentally shooting someone! Every crackle of a twig would make me jump!

  3. Not meaning that to sound judgmental about hunting (or people that hunt - meant it more about my 'freak out' factor)

  4. Indeed! I'm totally Spinal Tap...

  5. You are totally not what I imagined you looked like - GREAT SHOT - (wink) Em