Range Day

I paid over $200 for a membership in a gun club that would allow me to use an outdoor range. The outdoor range had numerous pistol bays, and multiple pistol/rifle/shotgun bays. It had steel targets, paper targets, different target suspension devices, barrels to use as obstacles or cover, and a wide variety of excellent amenities. There were picnic tables, and the owners state on their material that they want it to be a family atmosphere.

But put two men together with firearms, and automatically one of them has to show the other one he can shoot better, further, faster, etc. In other words, all shooters are competitive. You can’t love to shoot firearms and not know this. So, it isn’t like I didn’t know.

Nearly every weekend at this range there is a competition. That’s a good thing, particularly if you like competitions. Even if there is only a bragging right attached to it, the ability to go shoot against people as young as 12 and and as old as 92 is a great thing.  Lots of women in the south shoot.  It’s a great thing to go watch them shoot.  Lots of them shoot better than I do.  So competitions that hone skills are a great thing.

Until they are not.

Usually I am an early riser. I get to the range when it opens at 8:30, and I shoot for an hour, and leave at 9:30. I try to put at least 50 rounds through whatever firearm I am carrying that week. This week it was the Kimber, and I also wanted to range-test my Kel-Tec Shotgun.

But I got to the range after 10:30. All the pistol-only bays were full. I finally found a bay where there were no shooters. I got six rounds off before I got pitched off my bay because it was being used for a competition. There were no signs, no notices, and nothing to alert me to this use. And frankly, it really pissed me off.  (Let’s face it: I have a hair trigger)

I considered letting someone have a piece of my mind. Then I remembered everyone is carrying guns, and sometimes I can be a bit of an asshole (well, that’s what everyone tells me anyway). So I thought to myself, would I shoot me if I were acting like me? The answer was decidedly yes, so I kept my trap shut. Why give God a reason to further punish my hubris.

It’s Alabama, It’s 92 in the shade, sweat is running down my eyes, into my shorts, my underwear is getting wet from all the sweat. I’ve been run off my range, and the only range open is one I can’t use the shotgun on. So, I go shoot off my 50 rounds of .45 with the Kimber, scoring about 80% accuracy at 15 yards on 10 inch round steel targets, and then I came home, cleaned my weapons, and spent most of the afternoon being really annoyed.  Mostly I think I was annoyed at myself because I wasn’t at the range earlier, like I normally am.

And then it occurred to me that I have control over my time for the most part. Other than when I have something set with a court or otherwise am involved in a meeting or phone call, I control where and when I spend my time. So there’s no reason I can’t go back to that range on a non-weekend day and shoot to my heart’s content.  And then it occurred to me that in addition to being an asshole, I can sometimes be a real dumb ass too!

So much of the time we spend railing against the unfairness of the world and devise solutions to our problems that merely create problems for others. I would like to have complained about there being a competition every weekend. But then those people who derive great pleasure from being involved in those events would have to look for new venues to host them. That hardly seems fair to those folks who’ve also paid their dues, who love shooting, and who contribute to the sport. So I decided to solve my own problem.

So on days when I don’t have a deposition this week, I am going back to the range and I’m going to go have a great time.

And maybe next weekend, I’ll watch one of the competitions.

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