“That’s it,” the armorer declared. “I’m officially bored.”
He hobbled back to his police pal and leaned his Bushmaster ACR against a tree.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“I came here to shoot handguns,” he declared.
The armorer stared at Captain John and Brett as if they were ambling down the fast lane of the Long Island Expressway in an SUV, blocking his path. They were, in fact, sighting-in the ArmaLite AR-10.
Still, point taken. The armorer and his BFF couldn’t fire their Glocks forward of our shady redoubt. Not while Captain John was sending 308s downrange.
I promised a break without setting a specific time. I didn’t want to interrupt the master and his disciple from their ballistic grok-fest.
Sam doesn’t flirt. She flatters. She makes observations that invite bragging. At the same time, she gently deflects the inevitable questions about her past, revealing no more than necessary. Usually less.
“That scope must be worth more than the gun,” she said, nodding towards the Trijicon optic perched atop the armorer’s pristine ACR.
Meanwhile, Captain John was relentless, in his own methodical way. The AR-10’s pressure wave was getting good to me. I kept one eye on Sam’s conversation with the armorer and his pal, the other on the ArmaLite.
At some point, Sam’s hand gently touch the pal’s shoulder. They were both laughing, one more than the other.
“Time for a break Captain,” I said.
Brett, Sam and I left Captain John and headed for a nearby Deli. The boyish excitement of Captain John’s “good to go” AR-10 instruction had disappeared.
When we returned, our distractors were gone. Brett delivered our rugelach tribute. One piece had failed to make it back to base.
“I had a little competition with them,” Captain John revealed. “Five shots to spin a metal target with the Kel-Tech. The first guy hit it once. The second guy hit it twice. I was five-for-five.”
All-clear. Message received.
We made some media for the Captain’s forthcoming Kel-Tech review, then returned to the job at hand.
As the afternoon slipped into dusk, a slight wind kicked up. Brett left us to ArmaLite’s ballistic devices. We fell into a rhythm. Intro the ammo, sight the gun, smack the target, walk downrange, video the result.
Aside from my final frustration with a once-faithful Nikon, the day was a complete success.
“What did you take away from today’s session?” I asked Sam, as we inched towards the Throgg’s Neck bridge tollbooth.
“There are some nice, normal people who are into guns,” Sam said.
She reclined the seat. I called Martin.
“The rabbi says most people are sheep,” I told him.
“There’s a danger of not being aware of potential threats,” Martin said. “But it’s also dangerous to always expect the worst. Some people are so prepared for a gunfight, they’re inviting one. Whether they know it or not.”
“How do you assess the actual threat level?” I asked.
“It’s always subjective,” the combat vet replied. “As in most of these things, the truth lies between the two extremes, somewhere in the middle.”
“You choose your level,” Sam announced, not having heard Martin’s answer. “Then you live with it.”