Monday, September 27, 2010
What is he grinning about?
This is Mike, shooting his AR that spits out Communist steel cored bullets at his slightest trigger squeeze. He shoots his last two rounds of the mag of five and turns and grins. I do know shooting is fun, but that grin is beyond fun. Must be a story here somewhere.
We are in Stevenson, Washington at the County gun range, an old quarry nestled among the tall trees. Near the end of the second day of shooting, this is the soaking wet day, and the shooting pads are soaking up only some of the cold water waiting for the next time the shooters have to get in the prone position. The number of shooters dwindles as time and cold encourage departures for warmer climes or at least idling autos with the heater on maximum. It is time for the shooting of the steel target at the 100 meter mark. So the warped by wet corregated cardboard target backers come down and the magazines are prept with five rounds. I give a quick class in the three challenges of a Rifleman (finding target, estimating range, taking the shot) while the shooters huddle under a canopy. Then one at a time the shooters go and load, take their shots at the swinging steel plate. Ladies first.
So, Emily steps up, with her 10/22 with optics, settles into her off hand position and with everyone watching her (seven instructors, four male shooters, one shooting son) squeezes off her first shot, clang! a hit! breath relax do it again, clang! a second hit! I could bore you with the repetition of the next three shots - but I won't. She hits them like this is how easy it is, five for five. I am happy, first time we have done this kind of target at this range, cold rain didn't affect this, the crew and shooters are excited and happy - it works, motivation had been seeping off in the soak. Next shooter, please.
Stepping up, loading up and taking the shot - a miss... and again, another miss - there is no clang, no shooter joy. Hmm, lots of people spotting, calling low left or right, finally a hit and a clang or two. Another shooter steps up, more misses, a clang, a shaking of their head. The gender demon raises up - remember it was a girl that showed them five for five, taunts of such are starting, it isn't as easy as she made it look, is it? Can any one of the remaining males match her score, please. I am laughing inside, love a good fight. Well, none of the male shooters matched her ability. BUT they want to, they can taste it, so....
when I ask if they would like to try another five rounds, they all agree and start preping the magazines. Emily doesn't have to, she can watch from the shelter of the canopy - her son and husband are two of those envious males. Well, the men rotate through shooting, getting better at spotting and sometimes hitting that steel, every clang counts, don't want defeated by a girl (it must be part of the DNA guys). Nope, not on the second mag of five, not on the third magazine of five. Finally, on about his fourth magazine of five, three clangs into his sequence I turn on the camera to catch the last two shots of Mike. In the background are the joyous noises of the male instructors and shooters counting the clangs, he is our last hope of victory. On that fifth hit, he turns and grins - a hero, our hero. What a guy!
Well, of course Emily had done it first, if she hadn't made it look so easy, if she had just missed one - but she set that bar too high. Well, the Shoot Boss didn't have any Rifleman patches to give out and he likes to close on a high note. So, he had something under his soaking wet shooting jacket and called Emily out in front of everyone that was hiding under the canopy. And after giving his camera to a competent operator, made a stirring speech about Emily's accomplishment. He then proudly whipped out a pink ballcap, with the Message "Shoot Like a Girl, if you can". Kind of said it all, doesn't it?