New Mexico · Outdoors · Running · Sports


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.

4 thoughts on “Pop.

  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!🙂

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