The Noob

I looked over my “To-Do List” the other day and I noticed something was missing: Firing a gun. After updating my bucket list, I continued with living as usual. I didn’t know that day would come so soon.

I jokingly told my father to take us to the gun range today, as a belated birthday present for me. I didn’t expect him to humor me, and 30 minutes later, we were at the gun range. For those who don’t know me, I ironically have a fear of thunder and lighting. I hate to be even near balloons, and I feel queasy when that squeaky noise is produced by rubbing the surface of a balloon.

As we approached the shooting range, I could hear shots being fired. No turning back. We head to the reception and pay the fees, and of course, sign a waiver. I fired a civilian handgun, a standard 9mm. Papa asked us how many rounds we were going to fire, and my brother and I went for 20 rounds each. The receptionist gave us some goggles and a head set thing to suppress the gunshots, and we were then led to the live rounds area.

Papa loaded the 9mm and demonstrated to us how to safely handle a gun and how to use it. The gun range had it plastered on its lobby.

The four rules of gun safety are:

  1. Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
  2. Never point a gun at something you’re not prepared to destroy – Never point a gun at a living thing.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re sure to shoot.
  4. Be aware of what lies beyond your target.

Papa’s a good shot. He fired only 4 rounds until he hit the center of the target. He hasn’t fired a gun for almost 3 years. After his demo, my brother had his turn. When he fired… He immediately hit close to center. Wow. And like a first person shooter with road rage, he spent his cartridge after a minute. Most of them hit. Did I mention that he was left handed? And that he was using a right handed gun?

So, it was my turn already. To be honest, firing a gun isn’t what it looks like! Even though I’m good at FPS games, those do not approximate the sheer rush one gets from firing a real gun. (To FPS gamers out there who are bored during the “training missions” where you learn to fire at a gun range, go to a gun range. You will not be bored.) Thankfully, there was an instructor with us there who gave me tips on firing along the way. Turns out, firing guns should be done with your body as relaxed as possible. While I was firing my very first shot, I remember pulling the trigger quickly, and with tensed arms tried to catch the recoil. The recoil felt like being given a straight pass of a ball that weighs roughly a half of a standard bowling ball. I felt the adrenaline rush in, and it felt good. I waited to see the result of my first shot.

After the smoke cleared, I looked at my target (7 feet away) and saw… that I had missed. In a zombie apocalypse, I would be dead. In an alien infestation, I would be dead. Never! So I shot away. After spending my cartridge of 9 bullets, I am proud to say that I hit 3. Yeah! Die zombie!

So, deciding that I was not going to let that possible death in an apocalypse or in an infestation become true, I slowly faced my fear of loud noises and flashy lights slowly at the gun range. Tips that the instructor (bless him) told me were the following:

  • Stance: if your trigger finger is your right, put your right foot back, and vice versa.
  • Breathing: I was told to fire the gun holding my breath. I found it easier to fire after exhalation.
  • Arm position: Since I was a rightie, my right hand was my trigger finger. My left hand acted as support on the other side. My index finger rested on the gun safety. Here’s the tricky part for me. The left arm should be more tense than the right arm. The right elbow should be slightly bent and relaxed than the left arm. The reason for the tension difference is that the right arm bears the brunt of the gun recoil, and giving it some slack allows you to aim straight on without deviating to a side.
  • Squeezing the trigger: For a noob like me, I squeezed the trigger quickly, which led to me hitting the floor of the gun range. I was told to squeeze the trigger halfway until the hammer cocked, so that I would have better gun control.
  • Aiming: I had no problem aiming, since I do play FPSs. But in a 3d world, it was new to me.

My first 20 rounds came by without notice. I told Papa: “Ubos na?” (“No more rounds left?). He said: “Oo, gusto mo pa ba?” (“Yes, do you still want to fire some rounds?”). Like eager children, my brother and I nodded our heads in delight. So Papa bought some more rounds, and we went on firing. As we fired off, I felt easier and more relaxed at shooting the gun. As I felt more at ease, I began to hit the target’s body. The closest I came to the center was about 2 cms. Most of my shots were to the left chest. I would have shot more, until Papa pointed out that we had already fired a total of 200 rounds. When I looked at the spent casings on the floor, I saw that a pile of them had built up and had to painstakingly stop myself from asking for more.

Next time, you white tape!

It was fun firing a handgun today. I really look forward to being a better shot next time. As I look at the target I brought home as a souvenir, I found that I had hit it 57 out of 95 times. Next time, I’ll do better!

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  1. Heather

     /  August 10, 2012

    Hi Iā€™m Heather! Please email me, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)


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