Having just returned from a four day weekend at a very unusual place, I thought I’d tell you a bit about it. Since the name of our blog is Petticoats & Pistols, I thought it might be pertinent to talk a little about pistols…guns.
Now this is a subject that I know next to nothing about and anything I’ve ever written about guns has been research…in fact, outside of holding a gun in my hand maybe twice this lifetime, I’ve had nothing to do with pistols and in truth, up until recently, little interest in them.
However, since I often write about men at a time in history when a man was known by the kind of weapons he used and how well he kept them — not to mention how well he could shoot — it occurred to me that perhaps my hero should be carrying a weapon every now and again — particularly since he needs to protect the heroine against the bad guys. So this weekend my husband and I attended a four day class on shooting. The place was the hot desert area of Las Vegas area and the place was Front Sight.
Although I’ve always been a pro-second Amendment person, the one thing I learned is how much I really don’t know. So please come with me for a moment and share a little of this unusual weekend with me.
Imagine this: I thought it would be an easy weekend with me and my husband together, doing a little shooting and a little learning and a lot of one on one with my hubby.
Wrong…except for spending a good deal of time with my hubby — but time spent on a shooting range…
Little did I know the weekend would be spent much like a bootcamp. Our hours were from 8AM to 7PM each and every day(sometimes later — on Saturday we had a night shoot), and we were constantly shooting or learning. Now, since I exercise daily and since we had to be up long before the sun came up in order to make it to the complex on time, it soon became apparent to me that this was anything but a casual weekend.
One thing I thought was spectacular about this course (which was taught by former police officers or military personnel)was a required seminar on the ethics of owning a weapon and the moral choices one has to make if ever one is in a life and death situation. In other words when to shoot and when not to shoot.
Okay with that said, now we get to the first time I have ever shot a gun. At Front Sight, things are taken step by step. First you practice with your gun without ammunition — we rented our guns, by the way. Then you load up the gun with ammunition and you are ready to walk out onto the range to shoot. Luckly, an instructor is nearby to ease you through your first shoot.
Never in my life would I have thought I would have reacted as I did to the first shot I’ve ever taken with a gun. Never. Not ever. What was that reaction?
Yep, I cried. Luckily the instructor was there to hold the weapon for me as I literally left the weapon hanging in the air, put my head in my hands and cried. And cried. But knowing I was there to learn, and really wanting to learn how to defend myself if ever needed, I continued on — after some heady discussion with my hubby. Subsequently, however, I cried again on the second and third shot, as well. It got better, though, and after that initial response, the first day passed quickly into a gorgeous sunset. I even started making some good shots.
However, it was back to the beginning for me on the second day with my first shot of that day. Again, I cried. I can’t explain it, nor did I want to try to figure out why. Perhaps it was the extreme use of force or maybe it was something else. I don’t know. The only thing I knew for sure was that the only thing I could do was to bust through it.
And I did. It was better on the second day, though — and with lots of instructor help, I came to eventually enjoy myself. It was a rather large class there at Front Sight with the guys out numbering the gals by about 6 to 1. However, I soon met someone who was a little like me and hadn’t shot before and we soon became friends.
On the third day, we were all put through simulator drills — where we went into a “house” that had cardboard figures in it of men with guns. We students had to decide when to shoot and when not to shoot. It was the first time I ran across the cardboard picture of a man holding a woman hostage with a gun to her head. And I was supposed to shoot at the image of the criminal.
I put my gun down and said, no way. I was afraid I’d shoot the woman hostage instead of the bad guy. But the instructor was kind, understanding, and walked me through it — and I eventually took a shot at the cardboard figure of the bad guy, and I gotta tell you, I manged to lay a shot to the bad guy’s head in one shot alone. However, as soon as I’d done it, I again cried. Thank goodness the instructor was there to coach me through that, as well.
Looking back on it now, I must admit now that the entire experience was fun and exciting, though at the time I thought it was one of the most difficult things I’d ever done. One thing did happen, though, and that is that I came away with the feeling that if ever I were caught in a life or death situation, I would not only know what to do, I would have the skills to do it.
Will I ever go back to Front Sight to improve my skills? You bet.
Hopefully, later today I will be able to get up some pictures of the weekend end (I have to wait for my hubby to download them first). But for now let me share with you the cover art for THE LAST WARRIOR, my next book which is due to be released in March of next year.