Mark the evangelist invited me over to his place for some target shooting, since a fellow can’t expect to get his deer if he doesn’t know how to use his gun.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I’d only ever fired a .22 before. My first shot with the 20-gauge slug gun that Mark lent me felt like a cannon going off against my right shoulder. Mark brought a variety of guns for me to try; the center-fire rifles, like the .32 Special lever-action above, were a little less alarming, but perhaps I was just getting desensitized.
I’m not sure if I will ever have the interest, patience, skill, or stomach to shoot a deer, but I do feel an abstract obligation to become competent with a firearm. I could make a practical argument that I might someday need to shoot a coyote that’s gotten into the Winter Fortress, but shooting also feels a bit like driving a manual transmission — it’s something a competent person ought to be able to do. But until yesterday, I hadn’t sufficiently considered the sensory experience of firing a gun: Mark kept talking about how much he enjoys shooting, but I found the noise and the recoil, but especially the noise, pretty horrifying. Maybe my Y chromosome is insufficiently expressive, or maybe this is another manifestation of my exaggerated love of quiet. In either case, learning to shoot will be an uphill push, and I will probably need to find a less-manly gun to learn with.
I’m deliberately ignoring the raging national conversation about guns in these musings. I suppose my other motivation is to push against my natural inclinations to see if I learn something illuminating.
Apologies to my regular readers for this tardy post; life got the better of me yesterday. Regular schedule should resume this evening.