For Day II in Raptor’s EPIC WEEK OF AWESOME (TM), I went and did something that I’ve been planning on and dreaming of doing for years and years and years: I went shooting for the very first time!

Went to Clayton’s Hunting, Fishing & Indoor Range in Horsham PA. Great facility, really nice and professional employees; if you’re local, I highly recommend them (not that I have much in the way of comparison, but still…)

Anyway, Clayton’s offers a one-on-one personalized firearms safety course, which is what I signed up for. Spent maybe 30-45 minutes in a classroom going over safety, shooting and firearms mechanics, etc. Very informative, and a heck of a lot more involved than I expected. Whoever called shooting “a point-and-click interface” lied: it’s freakin’ complicated!

Anyway, after my instructor went over everything and decided I was ready, we hit the range. He “only” set the targets 5 yards out, but it was still plenty tough. First firearm he had me use was a Ruger Mk. III in .22 LR. Fired about… I dunno, 30-35ish shots through that. Recoil was much greater than I’d anticipated (i.e. it actually had kick), but I got the hang of it pretty quick. No s*** this is one of my targets:

Dunno if you can read the writing, but that was an 8-round string. That circled cluster in the center? 4 rounds, all overlapping. Group is smaller than a dime. Yes, it’s only a .22 at 5 yards, but considering it was my first time, I’ll take it in spades. My instructor couldn’t believe I shot a grouping like that (heck, I don’t believe I did it.

Anyway, after I’d gotten the hang of the Ruger, my instructor swapped it out for a Kimber Stainless Target II in 9mm. Let me tell you, that thing is a whole ‘nother animal from the .22. Took quite a while to get the hang of the trigger. I can see why target shooters love the 1911 so much: the trigger is really light and barely moves.

I only fired 15 or so rounds from the Kimber, all on one target, but again, I don’t think I did too bad:

I only fired 5-round strings at max (most were 3-rounders), so that “cluster” below the bulls-eye is the result of multiple strings and not a single grouping, but again, I’ll take it in spades.

What did I think overall? Much different from what I expected. Recoil, at least for the 9mm, was a lot less than I’d anticipated. Noise from both guns was about what I’d figured, but I hadn’t expected the heat or pressure at all. And like I said, shooting itself is tough. Forget point and shoot, you gotta worry about sight alignment, grip, stance, breathing, trigger control, follow through… all while trying to hold a two pound chunk of steel steady out at arm’s length. My lesson ended about 2.5 hours ago, and my shoulders are still aching!

But even so, I had a freakin’ BLAST! Can’t wait to do it again!


Way to Screw Things Up For EVERYBODY!!!!

First off, the blog lives again. Second, this wasn’t the post I was planning on doing, for reasons that should soon become obvious.

This is probably going to be a huge shocker to most of you, but I’ve never actually fired a gun before. Yeah, I know. In the past, I’ve made several attempts to go to a range that rents guns and shoot, but either life/work got in the way or I just didn’t get around to it. So over the weekend I decided “screw it, I’m going for real.” I know of a range near me that rents guns, which is the one I’d planned on shooting at before. I went on their website to double check their store hours and range rental rates & policies… and stumbled upon a little something I hadn’t noticed before:

To help ensure the safety of the staff and other patrons, the following policy is effective immediately:



  • If customer is in the possession of their own firearm that they will be shooting at the time of the rental
  • If customer is a member and it is not their first time on the range

How is this a problem for me? I don’t own a gun, my present living situation makes my buying a gun nigh impossible, none of my friends who shoot live local (college will do that), and since I’m the only one in my family who even likes guns, let alone has any desire to shoot one, no way I can get another member of the Raptor Clan to tag along. So that range is out.

A quick Google search turned up a few ranges fairly close to Casa del Raptor that rent guns… and every single one of them has a similar rental policy. You can’t rent a gun if you’re going to be shooting alone. The only exceptions are if you’re taking a firearms safety or basic pistol class. Now don’t get me wrong; I was planning on taking one anyway. Only problem is that those classes run about $100, which will add up pretty quick, and I really don’t want to waste my time or the instructor’s time re-learning the same basic stuff all over again.

Now, I can (and probably will) spring for a membership at one of the ranges if it’ll get me around the no-shooting-alone rule, but still, it’s aggravating. Mostly because I figured out why these policies are in place.

Shooting Range Suicides.

Do a quick Google search for the above three words and you’ll find dozens of news stories of people who went to shooting ranges, rented a pistol, walked out onto the firing line to their assigned lane, and shot themselves in the head. In one particularly chilling incident, a mother brought her son to the range with her, rented a pistol, then shot her son in the back of the head before taking her own worthless life. As a result, because of insurance reasons and because we are a lawsuit-happy society, ranges that rent guns can no longer afford to operate unless they put the no-renting-if-you’re-alone rule in place.

While this may or may not have an affect on ending shooting range suicides (personally, I doubt it), I canĀ  tell you for certain that it does affect something: new shooters, like me, who don’t/can’t own a gun of their own but want to be able to practice and develop their shooting skills, but don’t have anyone to go to the range with them, can no longer shoot.

Way to go, you thoughtless, selfish [CENSORED]s. I hope y’all are happy, ’cause you’ve royally screwed things up for the rest of us.