WATCH: Why this First-Timer is Smiling So Much at the Gun Range

Check out this woman’s first time at the range. Very interesting piece.

Guns are dangerous. That’s something I knew for sure, but up until a few days ago, I had never shot — or even held — a real firearm. Nerf, BB guns and plastic guns attached arcade games don’t count.

But like anything that scares me, I wanted to know more so I decided to rent one.

Trending: Illinois Rifle Association Fights Town Ban on Semi-Automatic Firearms, ‘Everything is at Stake’

So before I headed out to start firing, I watched an 8-minute range safety video by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Honestly, it was a lot of information to take in, and with each new rule I felt my palms filling up like a sponge with sweat.

Next I started some one-on-one training with Lessig. He showed me the Smith and Wesson M&P AR type in .22 rimfire rifle and Kimber Custom Classic with a .22 rimfire conversion kit handgun that I was about to shoot.

The guns were not shiny, and almost looked fake, but when I held it the weight made my heart sink.

As Lessig ran through the guidelines again, and showed me how to take aim — from the feet up — I made some big mistakes like pointing the muzzle in his direction, but the firearms were unloaded, cleared by a range safety officer, double checked by another and then flagged with a bright yellow piece of plastic that showed the chamber was empty.

He showed me how to hold the handgun properly in my dominant hand with my finger resting high above the trigger, load the magazine, release the slide, turn on the safety and raise it to eye level.

The rifle was a little harder, impractical and painful with the butt of it rested high on my breast plate and stock close to my face. To make things worse, I found out my left eye is dominant, and I really couldn’t see through the rear and front sights.

Walking back into the shop, I could see the range through a large window.

Guns were displayed like artifacts in warmly lit, mahogany cases next to pastoral paintings, but the muffled popping sound broke through the walls and I was reminded it’s time to shoot.

Ear muffs on, there was no turning back.

In my port on the 40-yard-range, Lessig took the steps again, but this time there were bullets in the magazine, and he instructed me to aim at the small circular target in front of me and pull the trigger.

The result was quite anticlimactic, and I’m pretty sure I smiled. With fear gone, my competitive personality swooped in and I focused only on trying to hit the red bullseye.

Renting a gun for sport, however, might be fun, and the Tactical Training Center offers NRA courses, basic pistol classes for women and advanced training that includes tactical targets that move from back to front and left to right.

Mostly I’m glad the mystique of firearms is gone. Guns are dangerous, but I know how to use one.


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