Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chapter Fifty-Something: Look out! Cat's Got a Gun.

I've never liked guns. Jim has rifles and shotguns for hunting, which he uses a lot, but I don't touch them. A girl could get hurt that way. So, needless to say, I've never fired a gun.

It seems to me, though, that the world is getting crazier by the second, and as February approached (my birthday month), I began thinking about what I'd really like to have, and I was ready when Jim asked. I wanted a handgun and a Concealed Carry Weapon permit. Muggers, rapists, and terrorists are constantly in the news, and the Survivalists are scaring me as well. Maybe being a little scared is a good thing, but I realized that if mayhem broke out, I wanted to feel as if I'd have at least a chance of fighting back.

Well, my darling Jim was flummoxed. At first he simply said, "No, you'll get killed with it." It made me think of nine-year-old Ralphie Parker asking for a Red Rider BB gun. At least he didn't say, "You'll shoot your eye out."

But sometimes I have to remind him that I'm not his child and that I'm several years past 18. We didn't mention it again for a while, and when he brought it up again, he'd already made arrangements for us to take the CCW class together, and we began visiting gun stores to learn about guns that are small enough, light enough, but powerful enough for someone of my stature to carry and hope she never gets the chance to use it, except on the firing range.

He had told the gun store/firing range owner, where the classes are held, that he was afraid that I couldn't get 16 out of 20 shots on a sheet of typing paper at 21 feet, so they arranged for me to go a week early for private instruction and practice. I enjoyed the whole thing, and I surprised myself and the instructor by not flinching when I fired, and all my shots hit the paper! On the way home, Jim worried that he might not be able to do as well as I did, and we planned to go back for him to practice, but then he had a medical issue that took all our attention and energy, so we never got around to it.

The class was fairly boring, as you'd expect, 4 hours of reading and discussing rules that anyone could just as easily read from a leaflet in 15 minutes, but the state has responsibilities, and if I go shooting someone's head off, they can say, "Hey, we did our part!" The class and applications for both of us cost $500. I think it's like $35 in Mississippi, but then we don't live in Mississippi.

I posted my target sheet above, 20/20, not too shabby for the second time I've ever held a handgun, using a gun that's not mine, and with people standing behind me waiting their turns. We both passed, but the instructor did point out that Jim didn't have any direct hits (black square) on his :) My shots tend to be low, and he said that's because I haven't learned to time my breathing, which will come with practice.

I haven't settled on which gun I want, but I'll post back here when I get it and talk about why I chose it, so it might help other ladies decide.

Marley's hasn't been a part of all this. He shivers against me in terror if he hears a gunshot on TV, or if it thunders. But I feel as if I might be better able to help protect all three of us.

Edit, 3/2/12: I bought my gun, a Smith and Wesson .38 Special Air Weight. I went into this thinking I wanted a semi-automatic, but the more I handled them in the stores and shooting range, I realized that, at least for now, I want the simplicity of a revolver. I guess my hands have average strength for a woman, and just loading the bullets into the magazine, I cut my thumb. I was straining so hard to push off the safety, etc., just a lot of fiddly things to think about and do with a semi-automatic. With the revolver, you load and shoot.

Also, semi-automatics can jam, which mine did on the firing range. The instructor said he was glad it did because it gave him a chance to explain what happened. My wrist, for some reason, is more limp shooting a semi-automatic, and any time I let the gun tilt back or down, it would jam. Clearing it is another process. For someone like me, who will practice a few times a year, and who prays I'll never get the chance to use my gun in a defense situation, a revolver is just best. It's beautiful, has some recoil but not enough to make me afraid of it. I think I would have been afraid of a semi-automatic, and that's not a good thing.

Jim wants to put Crimson Trace hand grips on my gun. They're very cool looking, but the one I practiced with, I didn't care for much. It would take some practice to squeeze the button on the inside of the grip while concentrating on aiming and squeezing the trigger. Yeah, I'm pretty simple minded when it comes to guns, but that's okay, too. He can put the grips on if he wants, but I won't guarantee I'll use the laser light much.
End of Edit:

Thanks for stopping by.
Love, Cat & Marley