April 5, 2012 in Washington Voices

Front Porch: Gunslinging girls’ night out a blast

By The Spokesman-Review
 

I have a confession to make. I’m a girl. A girly-girl. I don’t like playing team sports, sweating, getting dirt on my hands or fishing. Well, I’ve never actually gone fishing, but it involves bait and bad smells, so I’m confident it’s not for me.

I like pretty china, pink and smelling good. The irony of course, is that I have four sons, a husband and two male cats. My menfolk don’t mind me smelling good or wearing pink, but pretty china is wasted on them. They’re not interested in the plates – just what’s on them.

Every so often, I need to spend time with my own kind – girls’ night out saves my sanity. Usually, I meet friends at an upscale restaurant where we enjoy food that we haven’t cooked and estrogen-laden conversation. It’s all very civilized. In fact, I started to feel like girls’ night out had become a little too tame and predictable.

Then I heard some friends were planning a girls-n-guns get-together at a local shooting range. Revolvers, zombies and ammo? “I’m in!” I said. I wasn’t about to miss out on the fun just because I know nothing about guns.

A recent Friday night found me at Sharp Shooting Indoor Range, 1200 N. Freya St., with my friends Jocelyn and Christina. The place was packed with folks shopping for guns and ammo, or signing up for a lane on the shooting range.

Owner Robin Ball said, “We’re seeing a lot of women take up shooting – mainly for self-defense reasons, not necessarily hobby shooting.” Her monthly Women & Guns class is always full.

Friday is date night at Sharp Shooting which means free gun rental. However, Jocelyn and Christina didn’t need to rent guns – they brought their own.

They both have .357 revolvers – pistols that look like something you’d see on the set of “Gunsmoke.” The only guns at my house are Nerf guns, paintball guns and my son’s Red Ryder BB gun.

So, I selected a Glock semi-automatic pistol. Alas, the range didn’t have a pink one available for rental, so I went with basic black. Jocelyn, former managing editor of Gun Games magazine, approved my choice. “I actually hung out with the Glock guy from Austria,” she said. “He’s in his 80s and his belly-dancing girlfriend performed for us.”

Who could top a story like that? Not me. Instead I focused on finding ear protection that matched my sexy red safety glasses.

After some basic gun operation and safety instruction, and a lot of paperwork (none of which mentioned anything about shooting my eye out) it was time to choose a target.

The range offers everything from boring bull’s-eye to reactive zombie targets. Jocelyn doesn’t like to shoot at anything remotely humanlike, but Christina and I persuaded her that the undead are no longer human.

Our 12-by-18-inch target was color sensitive. Body shots turn yellow, misses are white, and the head shots turn green.

Target selected, safety gear in place, we entered the shooting range. The scent of gunpowder filled the air, and I quickly discovered indoor shooting is extremely noisy – even with ear protection.

As we made our way to our lane, I fought the urge to flinch and duck. Within minutes I was locked, loaded and facing down a trio of drooling zombies. My first shot hit smack-dab in the center of a zombie’s forehead. Some squealing and jumping up and down may have ensued.

I can’t deny the rush of adrenaline I felt as I shot my way through an entire box of 9 mm rounds. When the zombie apocalypse comes, I’ll be ready.

Unlike me, Christina and Jocelyn were raised around guns. Jocelyn grew up on a farm in the Midwest, and her dad taught her how to shoot. “I have a hard time relating to people who hate guns or are afraid of them,” she said. “The most fun in the world is shooting cans off a fence!”

Christina grew up in the country. She said, “There were always guns around but I wasn’t allowed to touch them – I always wanted to.”

She took up shooting as an adult, and last Christmas her father-in-law gave her a .357 revolver complete with holster and cartridge belt.

All too soon we ran out of ammo and obliterated our target. It was time to wrap up girls-n-guns over food and drinks.

This girly-girl enjoyed her foray into a primarily male arena. But that doesn’t mean I’m relinquishing my femininity.

As Christina pointed out, “I don’t think guys have tiramisu martinis after shooting.”

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