Living life one pair of running shoes at a time.


Strangely, the Earth didn’t move.

Nor did I break out in a cold sweat, or get struck by a bolt of lightning.

I just shot my first-ever gun, that’s all.

I suppose this moment was inevitable – isn’t it just the natural progression of things when you date a man from Texas?

I kid, I kid.

Seriously, though, Robin Hood (who is from Texas) hunts with both bows and firearms, and for a while now has promised to take me shooting some day. I initially smiled and rolled my eyes at the idea, but gradually began to warm up to it. What can I say? I was curious, and apparently, archery is a gateway drug. Not to mention I have a couple of girl friends who own guns and who firmly maintain that all women should know how to shoot one. Feminism and learning a new skill make for quite an alluring combination.

After a couple of lessons from Robin Hood on the parts of a gun and how to safely handle one, “some day” became last weekend. I got in an early-morning run on Sunday – I figured if I was going to be handling firearms, I should have that calm, post-run mindset; also, if I accidentally shot myself in the toe, I could at least have my run for the day already taken care of. We met up with a group of friends and drove to an area that I believe is marked on official maps as “the boonies.” How remote, you ask? I’ll just say we drove up a hill so steep I felt like I was in a truck commercial.

Once the group found a spot they liked, we parked and started unloading gear. I squished my earplugs into my ears, as instructed.

Yup, this was gonna happen.

It was time to put my previous lessons to work. Bringing me a pistol and some .22 caliber bullets, and watching me like a hawk, Robin Hood had me follow all the steps: Making sure the gun was pointing in a safe direction. Checking to see if it was loaded. Making sure the safety was on. Loading it. And so forth.

Next, we walked over to the target, a paper bulls-eye on a cardboard box weighed down with rocks, and worked on my stance a bit. It reminded me of a baseball/softball batting stance, with knees bent a little, relaxed body, proper hand position, and both eyes way the heck open!

And then he said, “You’re ready.”

I squared my feet and made sure my hands were where they should be. I lifted the pistol and pulled the hammer back. I peered at the tiny white dots that comprised the sights of the gun, aimed at the bulls-eye, and squeezed the trigger.


Not “Bang!” Not “Ker-POW!” Just pop.

That first one, admittedly, did make me squeak a little. But I didn’t run away to duck and cover or anything (victory!). And I didn’t hit the target that time…but I hit it before the end of the first ten bullets!


I’m not about to join the NRA, or buy myself a gun anytime soon (although they do come in pink…hmmm). But I’ve learned that guns, when handled safely and responsibly, aren’t so scary. They can even be kind of fun.

Comments on: "Pop." (4)

  1. Cool – and a fun story!

    I had taken an archery class as part of the PhysEd req in college, and that was pretty cool.

    But the first real shooting I did was when my wife and I were scout leaders and took part with our boys in a Boy Scout camp years ago. It was actually loads of fun.

    I still cannot ever see myself owning a gun ever, or turning a weapon on a living creature … but we had fun just like you did!:)

  2. I’ve actually become more curious about guns lately and wondering if I should become familiar with them. They’re totally foreign to me!! Sounds like you had a good first experience!

  3. Doc Holloway said:

    Shannon: We call it “plinking” when shooting a .22 at targets. Water filled cans or glass bottles are more fun

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