Tonight I went for an introductory course on shooting. It was super cheap ($15 from guild, though two people who turned up just to spectate jumped in for free- they were very keen to have newcomers trying their hand) and, in my mind, give me the basic skills of knowing how a firearm operated and how to work it if I ever disarmed somebody and needed to use it for some reason. It wasn’t quite what I expected- there was a brief talk on safety and how the guns operate, but they weren’t pulled apart and we weren’t shown their individual components to know how they operate. This means that if I ever did disarm someone, the closest I could come to disassembling the gun would be (hopefully) removing the magazine. What the course was actually like was everyone being teamed up with an experienced shooter, had a rifle put in their hand and made to shoot at 50m targets. It was great!

I’m being jovial. It was a little more technical than that, learning how to operate single action caliber bolt and lever action rifles. The guys at the Shooting Complex are tournament shooters and consider it a sport rather than a survival tool (rightfully so). Although there are courses to simulate hunting, cowboys and indians and various forms of combat, these guys were mostly into shooting at targets across a field. I fired a few dozen rounds with different sights/scopes, different rifles (winchesters and a magnum) and different ammunition (tiny .22 shells with barely any recoil and .38’s that made my torso move a few inches, spouting fire from the barrel). It was more or less like the intro to archery course I took last year, except much easier to pick up because less technique was involved. It was still a process of you, the weapon and the target all becoming one motion, but the crosshairs helped a lot. Apparently I did really well for my first time- I impressed everyone by not only hitting the target but a good distribution of holes around the middle. I’ll post the photos and results below (if I can count them correctly).

Thereafter we tried our hands at pistols, specifically single and double action magnum revolvers. It was a little harder to aim accurately without a scope but I think I did alright for 25m. While double-action firing (immediately pulling the trigger to shoot, rather than cocking the hammer and then pulling the trigger) is faster and cooler, I was amazed at how less accurate it was. Even with half a second in-between shots to re-align my sights, the bullets went everywhere because of the last second resistance caused by the hammer being drawn back as part of the shot. I also tried one-handed cocking and shooting, which was fun and roughly as accurate as two-handed (if a little slower). Hopefully this implies I might be an average dual-wielder. The recoil was much less than I anticipated- rather than twisting my wrist like Ocelot, it just sort of bent the elbows a little more, relatively easy to absorb. Maybe he just uses awesome guns.

So that’s another weapon down! Although not quite 9mm glocks, I learnt the basics of shooting and found out I’m a "natural" (in the words of my minder), especially given how many different guns I was using (with varying weights, scopes and recoil). It’s strange how I’m naturally skilled in various forms of combat, even without training. If such things exist, I suspect I was a warrior at least once in my previous lives. I’ve now learnt the basics of the bow, the staff (long and short), the katana, the wakazashi, the tanto, the European hand-and-a-half sword and buckler, the battleaxe, bolt and lever action rifles, and single and double-action magnum revolvers. That just leaves fencing, and I’ll have covered all the basics of weaponry. Once I’ve had some practice with a rapier, I’ll hopefully specialise in something more specific, like tonfa, or the katana (which I’m less inclined to pursue because of the large number of people who have dedicated a lifetime to studying it- if I do learn kenjutsu, it will be purely for the art. I have no desire to prove my sword is the strongest).

Let’s see if I can get some photos up.

Scores are as follows (converted to out of 100 for easier reference):
1) Bolt action winchester rifle 81
2) Lever action winchester rifle 91.4
3) Lever action magnum rifle (.38 calibre rounds) 80.2
4) I think this was a (.22) lever action rifle without a scope 84
5) No scope (peep sighting- a special kind of sight) lever action 70
6) Single and double-action magnum revolver (.22 rounds) 73.9 (would probably have been fairly higher if I had stuck to single-action shots)
7) Single-action revolver (.38 rounds) 36 (regretable)
8) Side-on stance one-handed magnum shooting (.22 rounds) 28 (though I’m not sure if they were all mine… could have been 60)

Lever-action winchester
Bolt-action winchester (with scope)


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