day of week

Am I Lara Croft or Dirty Harry?

2 April 2012

For my husband’s birthday, I organised for him to do something he has always been keen to try. No, not a lap dance (he has already tried that, in his “before Karen” life).

I organised for him and a bunch of his friends to go to a shooting range.

I had the idea because I suspected that ALL boys liked guns… and because my husband had once made such a big deal about a BIG GUN in an old movie called “Dirty Harry”…which I wrote a post about a while ago.

My husband and his buddies are all a very nice mix of regular, white-collar professionals, boating / scuba diving types, swimming / cyclist types, doting father types, wining-and-fine-dining types. They are definitely not hardcore gun fanatics.

But I underestimated the BOY GENE. The mere mention of guns sent them into a kind of boy frenzy and they were all super SUPER excited.

Me? I was about as excited as I would be going to visit old Dr Hairy-Knuckles to get my pap test.

So I was just going to buy my husband a voucher and then meet the gang for dinner at a pub AFTER the gun-fest, where I would just nod, smile and listen to all their colourful stories about the gun being THIS BIG!!!

Even then, I was going to have to suffer all the sexual innuendo “My gun is bigger than your gun” or “Is that a gun in your pocket… ?” kind of jokes all evening.

However, my husband insisted that I come along to the actual gun shooting,  saying “Who’s going to take the photos?” I actually didn’t care who would take photos at all, but I kinda felt that he wanted me to be there because it was his birthday.

I reluctantly agreed to tag along. Yes, he guilted me into attending his birthday treat that I organised for him. But I was certain that I would not do any shooting.

So, on the appointed day and time, all my boys and I turned up to the shooting range. I was collectively calling my husband and his friends “my boys” for the evening, since I was the only woman in the group, and I expected to have to calm them down like seven year olds.

Shooting Range

The shooting centre, as you would expect, wasn’t classy, swish and shiny like, say… a Prada store.

It was “a little rough at the edges” – with hand scribbled signs that were sticky taped on the walls, used bullets glue-tacked onto a wooden desk, a bin spilling over full of used paper rabbit targets… but hey, it had a certain (frightening) charm. And it was BIG on rules and safety.

Shooting Range

On the wall there was a GUN MENU – organised by which gun fantasy you’d like to try. I’m not kidding! There was a 9mm Beretta (The Lethal Weapon Gun), 9mm Sig Sauer (The Rambo Gun), 9mm Glock (The Fugitive Gun), 9mm H&K USP Match (The Lara Croft Gun), CZ-SP-01 (The Mission Impossible Gun), Glock 45 (The Zombie Killer Gun), Kimber Custom .45 (The S.W.A.T. Gun), .357 Magnum Revolver (The Magnum PI Gun) and of course the .44 Magnum Revolver (The Dirty Harry Gun).

Are you still with me?

Can like, everyone just take a moment to appreciate that I bothered to type all that out? I initially wrote “a bunch of stupid guns” and then later replaced it with the list of guns that I deemed most popular, you know, in case someone who reads this might actually be interested in having a fantasy about guns (with or without Lara Croft).

My boys couldn’t choose which fantasy to go with, so they chose several, and organised to swap around. Great. Now they were fantasy swapping.

So fast forward to the action. As I said, the shooting range was big on safety. To shoot the guns, you had to be locked into a little booth, with the gun and the bullets still separated when you go in. To get out, you had to push a button for the gun range people to come and let you out, which they would only do if you had emptied the gun of bullets.

For extra safety, the guns were chained into the booth, so they could only point forward, away from people.  Safety glasses were compulsory, but ear protection was optional (WTF?).

Four of us squeezed into a booth.

I know I will sound like a grumpy, old woman who complains about loud music… but GUNS ARE SO FRICKING LOUD!! Even WITH ear protection!

When the boys started to do their thing, I had my back pressed up against the rear of the booth, clutching my ear protectors like a sissy. The explosions from the guns were terrifying! I could feel them jolting my heart out of sync! My teeth rattled! My eyeballs wobbled from the shock waves!

I watched my hubby and one of his friends fire off bullet after bullet at a paper target.

It was so unnerving. Every molecule in my body was shouting DANGER DANGER DANGER!!

Buuuuut.

After a looong while, I guess I got used to the sound of guns firing. And I decided that I was never going to have THIS opportunity to fire a gun again… so I dismissed the caution-part of my brain and embraced the whole *danger thing*.

And then I felt this rush of excitement.

So I nudged my boys out of the way, and started reloading the gun.

This is me pushing bullets into the Dirty Harry Gun. Anyone a bit excited yet?

Shooting Range

The bullets were long. And smooth. And shiny! (By the way, notice the lovely tangerine shade of my Chanel nail colour?)

Holy shit, shooting a gun was such a huge, messed up, dangerous, thrilling rush. Smoke. Flame. Explosions in your hand. Hitting the target.

Handling the bullets was excruciatingly terrifying, holding the firearm was nerve-wrecking, squeezing the trigger was horrifying, hearing the explosion was completely starling, and feeling the sound wave slam itself into my body was extremely distressing.

And do you want to know what I was thinking every time I pulled the trigger? – ARGH! ARGH! This gun could blow up in my hands and face and hurl bits of metal everywhere, blood splatter, loss of eye sight, disfigurement, amputation, death! ARGH! ARGH! ARGH!

(Yes, the cautionary side of my brain is a real wet blanket.)

Funny thing was… I did get a wave of gun fever. I wanted to try the next gun. And the next. I even tried a lever-action rifle. And I even complained when one of my boys used up some my bullets which left me with only 3 shots, hmph!

Shooting Range

Yee har cowboy!!

The bottom line was, yes, it was fun – in a totally stupid and senseless way.

Shooting Range

This is me refusing to smile. I somehow feel bad that I was a pretty good a shot.

Am I going to sign up as a gun club member and go shooting every week? No way.

Seriously, the craziest thing was… I am a tiny, little Asian girl with no interest in guns at all, and with absolutely no training, yet I could still put five out of six bullets into a chest sized target that was ten meters (thirty feet) away, using the most powerful hand held gun in the world.

And I had no problem loading that gun. It was easier than putting earrings on.

No wonder people get killed so easily. Any idiot can shoot.

So, no. I still don’t like guns.

I’ll just stick to fantasies about… Lara Croft, and with no guns at all.