This weekend we decided to pack up the car and take a drive to see some close friends who had recently moved. They’re some of our best friends and we had all missed each other, so it was great to catch up and hang out all weekend. They have a little boy just a bit older than our kiddo, and they played great together. The drive was rough, but we had decided to time it around major “napping” times, so luckily our little one slept most of the way.

Friday was just arriving, hanging out, burgers, beer, that sort of thing. Matt and I (yes, we’re both Matt) talked video games and sports and the ladies swapped cake recipes and diaper rash stories.

Saturday was a little man-adventure for me personally. I’ve never, in my entire life, up until Saturday, fired a gun. Not once. My father owns a couple guns, but isn’t much of a hunter, and they’re mostly for home protection and the occasional dangerous wild animal (the live up in the Green Mountains). In my adult life, it’s just never been something I had considered. Any “good guns” were always too expensive and “cheap guns” just sounded like a bad idea. Like my father, I had considered a shotgun or a handgun for home defense reasons, but had never gotten around to it. So, when Matt suggested we go to the rifle range and fire his AR-15, I had no idea what to expect.

I understood the “basics” of a gun before I went in, I’m not a moron in that respect. I know which way to point it, about trigger safety and those sorts of things, but I wasn’t really up on the specifics (sounds, kick, how hot the damn barrel gets, etc). After a quick safety lesson from the range master, who also helped set me up at a station, it was off to the races.

After about 20 minutes, we traded off and went back and forth like that until I had fired at least 10 magazines and gone through and entire box of ammo. Again, not knowing what to expect, I just aimed for the middle of the target through the scope. I figured all those years of FPS practice had to be good for something…

Apparently they are.

Both my friend and the range master were impressed at my “grouping” for a first time shooter. I can’t really explain it other than that I just did what made sense. They both congratulated me on finding an apparently hidden talent.

Our little excursion into guntopia wasn’t complete though. Matt wanted me to try a shotgun next, so we left the rifle range and went over the the Skeet course. I (obviously) didn’t have a shotgun with me, so we rented one. Also, either the guy at the rental counter was screwing with me (probably) or I asked for the wrong thing, because he pulled out the largest, heaviest, most crazy shotgun I had ever seen. Matt later told me it was an “Over Under 12 gauge”.

Anyway, off to the Skeet course we go. Another quick safety lesson, and more particulars about the “over under” concept, and I was ready. Matt was manning the launcher controls and I stepped into the box. I yelled “pull” and blasted the first bird into powder. Matt’s jaw hit the floor. “Do that again” he said, and handed me two more shells. Next two birds, dust. He thought I was screwing with him and that I had shot before. Again, nope, just doing what I figured made sense. Track the clay pigeon, lead it a little, press the “go away” button. lol. We ended up going through 5 boxes of shells, taking turns shooting and operating the launcher. In all, I probably hit about 35-40% of everything I shot at. The center of the course (which requires the most leading) gave me the most trouble, but anything that was closer to 90 degrees, that was more “twitch” based, was toast. I guess years of video game playing has actually paid off. Look ma!

Anyway, I didn’t recount all that to toot my own horn, I mentioned it because it was one of the most fun things I’ve done in, well, ever. I had a blast, no pun intended. If a really nice shotgun wasn’t $1500+ I probably would have bought one on the way home, lol. It was just great to get out of the house for a little bit, get some fresh air, try something new, and for once not completely suck at something.

Who knows, maybe it’s a new hobby I’ve just picked up.

Stay tuned for part two tomorrow, it’s 180 degrees different. It’s all about modern art. No joke.