Birthday bang

For the past few years, I’ve tried to do things on my birthday that I haven’t done before, or that challenge me, or that make me feel younger. So today, I went, as Sarah likes to put it, “Shooty-bang-bang.” I took my .38 revolver to the shooting range and worked on my marksmanship for my birthday.

Things started out badly. Though I bought the gun last summer, I hadn’t used it yet, and I did not hit the target at all (I thought) with my first few shots. So I asked for help. Turns out I was just not used to the sight, and was sighting the angle all wrong. With a little help from one of the employees, and from the guy next to me, who turned out to be quite the marksman, my aim improved significantly. This is the target with the last 8 sets of practice, numbered so I could see where I was hitting with each set.

Meryl's target at the end of the day

As you can see, I pull up and to the left, but overall, if that target was a man’s chest, I pretty much killed my guy.

Next time, I’ll bring my .22 rifle and do some plain old fun shooting. I’d forgotten how much kick a .38 has. And how LOUD the shooting range is. (Note to self: Put in earplugs before entering the range.)

Oh, and the very nice gentleman next to me, besides helping me to learn how to aim my new gun, let me fire his wife’s 9mm semi-automatic. It’s the next weapon I’m looking to purchase, because my revolver is a fun gun, but it only holds five rounds. For home defense, I want something with a little more to it.

Best comment of the afternoon was from the same guy, who, after seeing the target above, asked, “Is that the first time you’ve ever shot that gun?” And when I told him yes, he said that was pretty good shooting.

Overall, a very nice afternoon, ending with a lovely dinner at Sarah and Larry’s. Sarah’s going to learn to shoot with me sometime soon. Girls with guns. Gotta watch out for us.

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15 Responses to Birthday bang

  1. Michael Lonie says:

    Pretty good for the first try. Better than I can do since my eyes went south.

    Everything I’ve ever heard says that for home defense the best thing is a pump shotgun. When the perps hear that pump sound they generally get out of Dodge as fast as they can. If you have to shoot the pellets don’t go so far as bullets do if you miss, like through walls, and the wider pattern makes hitting with at least some pellets easier.

  2. Elisson says:

    Michael beat me to it. The sound of a shotgun being racked is enough to make most bad guys – the smart ones, anyway – shit their pants right on the spot. Of course, if they were really smart, they’d be in some other line of work…

  3. Tom Frank says:

    Hi Meryl;

    Nice shootin’, Tex.

    Before settling on a 9mm, please try a 45. My personal experience with the two calibers is that the 45 is actually more pleasant to shot; I find the supersonic crack from the 9mm painful in my sinus’.

    The more pleasant, the more practice…

    The recoil between the two is pretty much a wash. I’ll avoid the whole “which caliber is more effective” argument, since that is a religious issue.

    Oh, and put in the ear plugs, then put on your muffs over them. At our age, we can’t afford to sacrifice any of our hearing.

  4. bothenook says:

    i’m with the shotgun crowd. and no fancy mall ninja pistol grip folding stock crap, either. just a good serviceable pump. ask around and find someone that has a couple of gauges. 12 gauge is the most popular, but you may find you like a 20 better. still damned affective at household ranges, and the sound of a round being racked is unmistakable. doesn’t matter what gauge, that sound is the baying of the hell hounds to a bad guy.

  5. bothenook says:

    one more thing… don’t let a little thing like needing a shotgun prevent you from getting another pistol. there is no such thing as too many handguns!

  6. Well, well, well – what do you know. I think, Meryl, that you will soon graduate the beginner stage to one of those:

    Then there will be no stopping you ;-)

  7. Soccerdad says:

    Happy Birthday!

  8. Pamela says:


    Happy Birthday!

    The most fun I had shooting was with an Automag with a scope. Make sure you have safety glasses on the next time

  9. MikeS says:

    Good! Consider the various corrective information on this target/chart:

  10. Yay blowing holes in things!


  11. Jay Tea says:

    Happy belated birthday!

    Chicks with guns… hawt.


  12. Rahel says:

    Happy birthday, Meryl — and cheers for your shooting!

  13. long_rifle says:

    When getting a handgun, get the LARGEST caliber you can operate/fire. I’ve had plenty of students that can handle a .45. But couldn’t rack the thing themselves.

    When you talk to people they will all give you different “facts” on what type of bullet or caliber to get. But the only real fact you need to know is a bullet only destroys what it TOUCHES. Except for a few organs in the body, most tissues will stretch, or move out of the path of a bullet, leaving very little damage. You can watch dozens of slow motion shots of bullets going into ballistic gel, that large cavity in the first several inches is caused by hydrostatic shock, and except for a very small channel, it does not damage tissue much at all. That shock will actually move organs out of the way of the bullet! Leaving them bruised, but still 100 percent functional.

    A 9mm makes a 9mm (.355 of an inch) hole in a target. A .45 makes a .45 (.451 of an inch) hole in a target. That doesn’t sound like much, but that extra size can be the difference between instantly incapacitating a target, and stopping him from killing you. Or just wounding the target, giving him a chance to hurt or kill you.

    NEVER forget what Hell Boy said, “Look, I’m going to level with you. I’m a pretty bad shot. But my gun uses REALLY big bullets.”

    And practice! In 4 hours of shooting I could have you making fist sized holes in that target, but unless you shot at least once a month. It won’t matter. Shooting is muscle memory. Even after tens of thousands of rounds, if I take a few months off my groups open up.

    Keep your powder dry!

  14. Okay, Mike, I checked that chart. It’s possible. Or maybe I’m just not used to the gun so much, since I only just started using it.

  15. Gary Rosen says:

    Belated happy birthday, Meryl!

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