So I shot yesterday...Wow. Did I ever.
I got out to the range--this time a private range that's pretty much a dump where you're allowed to shoot up anything to you either find there or bring yourself--hoping to have the place to myself. Unfortunately, there were two other shooters there, a father and his teenage son. Worse, they were "Fudds"--the sort of people who think that their hunting guns are fine but your black rifle/military-surplus rifle/sub-machine gun, etc., are somehow bad. Of course I had all of those with me.
So how did I find out that these two were Fudds? It started with a race for the brass. Both of us got there at the same time, and immediately we saw that the ground was literally covered with fresh brass from what was obviously a heavy shooting week-end. And I'm a big-time brass-scrounger, as when I'm not shooting, I'm reloading. I started scooping it up, and dammit--so did they. No fair! I wanted it ALL!
So being a diplomat, I casually asked the father if he was a reloader. His answer: No, but he's planning on starting someday. Oh, great, I thought. Now I'm losing brass to some joker who is just going to squirrel it away. But sometimes it pays to keep talking, so I asked him what calibers he was looking for, and he replied that he wanted .40 S&W...just .40 S&W.
Well damn--that works for me. I want the rifle brass, the .45 and the Magnum pistol stuff. So I scooped up a few .40 cases and handed them to him. He was pleased and asked me what I wanted. I told him, and before long, the three of us were scarfing up all the cases, and I gave them all the .40 stuff and they gave me everything else. And since there was much more non-.40 and two of them picking, I came out way ahead on that deal.
Of course as we sorted the stuff out, dad made some remark about all of the .223 brass there, probably from AR-15's. He said that it looked like the "Rambos" had been out there.
"Not an AR fan?" I asked. I didn't tell him that one of those evil black rifles was lurking in my truck, right next to a full-auto Uzi SMG.
"Nope. I don't think anyone needs weapons like that. Too many fools out there and that's a bad mix."
Uh, yeah...ok. Whatever.
For a while, we shot. I had my Marlin .357 Magnum lever-gun out, and he was using a Mossberg bolt-action .308, sans scope. His son had a Mossberg pump shotgun that he was using to blast away at things with slugs. But then I exhausted my supply of .357 ammo so I put the hot lever-gun up. We went down to check targets. They were shooting at paper targets they'd stapled to sticks in the ground, and I was firing at those nice orange 4" sporting clays typically used by trap and skeet shooters. I like them because they're easy to see, yet small enough to be at least a bit of a challenge at longer distances...and when you hit them, they break up nicely so you get instant feedback on your shooting. Then the moment arrived--the AR-15 with it's Aimpoint sight came out. I sat down cross-legged on the ground and began to shatter the clays. It's actually way too easy with the Aimpoint--just put the little red dot on the clay, hold the rifle still, touch the trigger, and the clay disappears.
My new shooting partner didn't appear too happy to see this evil black rifle make it's appearance, and I know that he wasn't pleased to see that I was busting the clays at a "1 shot, 1 clay" rate while he was having a hard time keeping his shots on his paper targets that were about the size of a regular sheet of paper. But I was also firing from a solid position and he was leaning half-assedly across the hood of his truck and the his rifle was neither supported nor steady.
Since he'd just done me a good turn and collected a bunch of brass for me, I went over to him during our next cease-fire and offered him a couple of pointers on his stance. He was receptive one thing led to another, and soon I was coaching him. I had him firing from a prone position in the dirt before long and he was actually scoring some pretty good hits. But then he was out of ammo, having only brought two boxes out for that rifle. Seeing a chance to win a Fudd over, I picked up my AR and asked if he'd ever shot one before. As I suspected, he hadn't. So I showed him how it worked, explaining both the rifle and the optic, and coached him through a twenty round magazine. Once he got used to it, he was hitting pretty consistently, and the smile on his face reminded me of the first time I left my nephew, The Spud, shoot a .22. I ran his son through a mag as well, and by the time he was done, it was obvious that they were both in love with that little black carbine. He thanked me for letting them shoot it and as they packed up, he was asking me what they cost and where he could check some out.
I could have been an ass and rubbed his nose in his previous remarks, but honestly, all that would likely have done was make him get all defensive and strengthen his idiotic idea about black guns and the sort of people who own them. As it is now, I think his opinion has changed a bit, and he may actually drop his negative views enough to come over to the dark side, so to speak, and become one of us black rifle owners. Personally, I'd much rather have another ally in the fight against the gun banners than get a cheap "gotcha" in on some guy that I'll probably never see again anyway. As it was, he left with something to think about, and a new-found appreciation for guns that he was willing to support banning just a couple of hours ago. And when I wouldn't let him pay me for the rounds that he and his son fired--just reloads--he handed me two boxes of .308 cases and those, to me, were worth more than 40 bullets and a bit of powder any day!
Afterwards, I got busy and did some tactical work--position-shooting using my vehicle for cover, shooting on the move, barricade work using some debris that was already out there on the range...all perishable skills that need to be practiced. Real bad guys don't just stand still like clays or aluminum cans do--you need to be able to engage them while seeking cover or from cover, and mobility is the key.
And before either you or I starts thinking that I'm all that, I will relate my bone-head move of the day. As I was practicing my shoot-and-scoot with the Uzi, I used my SUV as a barricade, taking cover behind the engine block and intending to fire a few bursts across the hood. Alas, I did not think that one through in regards to the Uzi's ejection port, and as I crouched and fired downrange from behind the front tire, I was much chagrined to see about half a mag's worth of ejected brass impact my windshield like a handful of thrown gravel. DOH! Fortunately there was no damage done, saving me from trying to explain that one to the insurance company. Moral of the story: know your weapon, including where it throws spent brass! That same course of fire with my AR is no problem because my AR throws the brass back a bit. The Uzi chucks it smartly forward, thus ensuring that if I ever have to take a shot like that in real life, I'm really going to try to do it over the hood of someone else's car.
The stars of the day's training: AR-15, Uzi, and Glock 23. (Yeah...I know. But me and this Glock go back a long time.)
Afterwards, I picked up the rest of the brass left lying around--34 lbs of it, mostly rifle brass. (Thanks, Brass Fairy!) Then I headed back to the Lair, with a stop at the prosthetist's office made necessary by all of my kneeling and prone play on the range which tore up the neoprene sleeve on my leg to the point where it needed replacing again. So since it was on the way anyway, I stopped and had a new one fitted instead of breaking into my cache of spares and messing with it myself. (Those things are a royal pain to put on.) As usual, my prosthetist just sighed and shook his head when I walked in, all sweat-soaked and covered with dirt, asking if he had a minute for an emergency repair. After four years, he's used to me routinely tearing up my legs though hard use and just plain abuse. It's kind of a game we play--he builds me better legs, and I test 'em to destruction. For all of the skill he's developing working with me, I really should be charging him instead of the other way around. But he's a good duck so I don't mind.
I finally got home, cleaned up, got a run in--a sadly pathetic run because I've been slacking, but a run nonetheless--and then it was dinner time for me and Lagniappe, followed by a nice evening cleaning the guns and with my music and a large Bushmill's. (Yeah, all the Sean Dillon stories are rubbing off on me.) Sadly, the cleaning got put off, but than anyone who knows me knows that that's not uncommon. I'll clean the Lair one of these days...honest!