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Target (courtesy

“I was given a 10-minute induction, and then we took four guns into the range,” British photographer Jane Hilton reports at, “a pump-action shotgun, a semi-automatic rifle, a Glock [police-issue pistol] and a .44 Magnum revolver, which is what Clint Eastwood used in Dirty Harry. I was terrified, especially when they told me you must never pick up a gun and turn around to talk to someone. My hand was shaking. I’d never held a gun in my life, and I couldn’t believe someone would give me live ammunition.” And here’s how Ms. Hilton chose to present “American gun culture” to her hoploophobic homies in The Land of Hope and Glory . . .

The experience gave Hilton an idea for a different sort of shoot. She cultivated the owners of the range, and made several further visits to take photographs. But she didn’t photograph the club’s patrons – she felt that had been overdone. Instead, she photographed the targets after they had been shot up.

Art target (courtesy

“On that first visit, I couldn’t believe the poster targets. They were extraordinary, non-PC targets, all beautifully done – characters that looked like Muslims, a thuggish-type burglar, a man with a hostage. All the people got choose what they want to shoot at.”

Her point being?

“To me it was a bigger statement to interview the shooters, take away the targets that they’d shot at, and bring them back to London and photograph them. I felt it was a more interesting comment on American gun culture to see what damage it can do to a body than any photo of a man and a kid holding a gun.”

Hang on. The targets were made out of paper, not flesh and blood. Anyway, I’m sure her audience will be appropriately appalled. The rest of us, however, may have a thing or two to say about the Americans’ marksmanship or the obvious lack thereof, although we don’t know the distances involved.

Art target 2 (courtesy

I wonder if Ms. Hilton passed on targets with better groups (so to speak) so as to highlight bad shooting? Anyway, just in case Guardian readers were left wondering “what’s the big deal?”, writer Stephen Moss puts the boot in (as Brits are wont to say). Like this:

One of the teachers she met at the range slept with three loaded weapons in his bed. Let’s hope he doesn’t toss and turn too much. In a preface to Hilton’s book, gun-owning novelist Richard Ford says gun owners are as likely to shoot themselves or an innocent bystander as a hoodlum who is threatening them. “Guns – no matter who has them – are always seeking an opportunity to go off,” he writes. In that sense, every American is a target.

For British condescension? Absolutely.

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  1. I was terrified . . . My hand was shaking.

    That poor, poor child. I hope she finds a safe space. And a whole crap-ton of Xanax.

    • To be fair, mine was too the first time I handled a “real” firearm. IT didn’t last long, and I surmise that since she shot up a few targets, hers didn’t either.

      • Indeed, here’s the thing, that anxiety you get when first picking up a loaded weapon is supposed to be there. That’s what tells you to man up, take the thing as bloody damned serious and be quite careful with your every move.

        It’s a good thing and the sign of a mature intelligent person who maintains self control, keeps at it and puts boolets inside the O ring.

        • That’s what tells you to man up

          I doubt that Jane Hilton, the fragile little flutterer, has ever manned-up anything.

    • Joke if you must, sir, but this website failed to provide me with an appropriate trigger warning, and i now feel like my safe space has been taken from me, too many micro-aggressions, aaarrrrgggghhhhh! Im going to go cuddle up with my little stuffed monkey and take some soma and when I come out of my terror im going to sue all of you, forever!!!

  2. Poor kid. Go home and cuddle your stuffed moggie in your safe room. If you can get there without being knifed first.

    Speaking of which, y’all see that mass stabbing out of jolly ol’ recently?

  3. I was terrified, especially when they told me you must never pick up a gun and turn around to talk to someone.

    That scares you? Try actually having a loaded 12-gauge pointed at you by some absent-minded conversationalist.

    • Hahaha! +1,000…!

      Never been muzzled by a 12ga., but had an ANA General (3 star) sweep a borrowed Taurus 24/7 right across me several times while squeezing on the trigger because he wasn’t used to the long length of pull, and couldn’t work out why it wasn’t going bang….


      How in the hell do you politely inform the General whose range you’re on that he’s a menace, and if he doesn’t stop nearly killing you then you’re going to have to take his gun away……! 😀

      • How in the hell do you politely inform the General whose range you’re on that he’s a menace…”

        This may be one of those times where “politely” goes out the window.

  4. I’m sure you’ll feel safer defending your home with a broomstick during the next series of London youth riots.

  5. Well that’s not cricket.

    You know what I say, just turn those little paper things anti-clockwise a turn or to and have a go at em.

    You don’t like out American way of doing things well then just hop back across the pond and sod off, we had this discussion about 2+ hunned years back, and it accounts were settled.

    There you go now and bob’s your uncle, pip pip, cherio and keep your pecker up lad. Toodles.

  6. Interesting. Most of my targets are squares and circles. Maybe you should have opted for those, typically you get the choice at any of the ranges I go to? Every once in a while when I’m feeling really dirty I’ll get a Battleship game target or some shoot and see.

    Also, trying to keep someone from pointing a gun at random patrons is a good idea. People tend to ditch the range when others get sloppy with protocol, and a random ND by a UK reporter who knows squat about squat about guns is likely bad for business.

    • “Interesting. Most of my targets are squares and circles.”

      Yeah, my targets are red dots bought at the office supply store on cardboard salvaged from the dumpster behind the store that sells major household appliances.

      Wait a minuet here… What’s that?

      A pink target? A PINK TARGET???

      Violence against women! Violence against women! Violence against women!


  7. I wouldn’t spit on the “shoot for the cure” target… Susan G Komen is one the biggest scam organizations on the planet.

  8. You have got to love the projection. Their sensibilities are hurt by people using firearms to protect themselves so it makes them -feel- so much better to change what people are shooting at. These are the same people, mind you, that argued vehemently that what you watch on tv, what you listen to in terms of music, and what you do on your gaming console doesnt affect you. Yet now that its a piece of paper that you are shooting at with a particular picture on it, that is going to be the thing that sets you off and you are going to be a racist killer? Please.

  9. Here in south Florida, the 2 outdoor county ranges only allow geometric shaped targets.
    If you are zeroing in your deer rifle, you are forbidden to shoot at a deer shaped target,
    Human outline or photographic targets are not allowed
    These are the only 100 yard outdoor public ranges within 100 miles

    • Fortunate that FL doesn’t have a proficiency requirement for the permit. TX requires the B27 silhouette.

      • How do you know Florida doesn’t have a proficiency requirement?

        Do you have one of those photographic memories?

        I bet you are one of those who in a fight with your husband, you’ll remember one tiny thing from 15 years ago he said and throw it back in his face?

        (I can hear you saying to yourself “You bet your ass I can…”) 🙂

  10. Those all look like shotgun targets to me. Anyway, I hope they didn’t give a limpwristed noob any real .44 Mag to shoot. .44 Specials would be bad enough for a first-timer.

    • I know, that there stuck in my craw. Its like saying my hammer is looking forward to smashing my thumb again.

      smashed thumbs and UN-intentional discharges are both chalked up to operator error. And for people who can’t swing a hammer, they have a invention called a air nailer.

  11. Poor baby. Nah-he don’t look a moose-lim. Ya’ know when I bought my 1st gun some 5 years ago I hadn’t shot one in nearly 40. I got over my fear and jitters instantly. Like squatting with 700,driving on the expressway in Chicago or performing in front of a crowd(or saying “I do”). When you have a retarded agenda you never get to that sweet spot. Go home…

  12. The reason people shoot at targets with people or reasonable facsimiles thereof is because a “threatening” target like those in the article is closer to what you’re wanting to train against. Even a silhouette or bottle target helps one practice center mass and vital zone shots, as opposed to a comparatively benign bull’s eye. I’ve never heard of someone resembling a Dirty Bird target jumping out of a dark alley to demand a wallet.

    Regarding the ethnicities/races/backgrounds of photorealistic targets, the projection of identity politics to shooting targets is not new but is just as stupid now as it ever has been. Everything is political, no matter what anyone says.

  13. Kinda odd that the brits never mind sending boys to war…using ….guns…
    Yet condem others for standing up to threats to our personal safety.
    God bless America!
    I’m so thankful we are stand out different from the rest of the world.

    • Britain will be under Sharia Law within ten years and Ms. Hilton will not be allowed out in public without wearing her burka and having a male kinfolk escorting her.

      • This is a very real thing. They are on a very small island when it comes down to it, and they are already being overrun. Europe is facing an invasion by what can only be called an army and it will spill over to Britian.

        No doubt many of them will be fleeing here when this happens. I would bet this is already happening in small numbers, those that have enough money and foresight to see what is coming.

        • So once their island is overrun, they’ll just all come over here to ‘educate’ us? About firearms and sharia laws I presume? Oh, lucky us…

      • Yeah, it is way too late for Britain and most of Europe to stop their descent into Islamic rule. There is some hope for Poland, Hungary, Serbia, and a few other nations that have seen what rule by Muslims is like – but they will have to ally themselves with Russia to avoid the takeover.

      • London now has a Muslim mayor (like your US President), so folks will have to read up on the Koran to find out about their new local bylaws. Like being beheaded if not found praying to Mecca five times a day. Looks like the Sharia Committee will be busy.

  14. That 44mag must’ve bounced its front sight off the author’s forehead one too many times, if they felt pictures of scatter-shot targets would be interesting to anyone.

  15. That’s funny again the Brits looking through the prism of Liberal Social indignity of a picture, not the intended purpose of which and why we have our 2A in the constitution as a result of there monarchical intent…though soon the Prime Minister will be a Muslim and they’ll all be happy sharia law…

  16. A fond memory of mine is walking into the local range and seeing a group of British students who came in, rented a 9mm and were burning ammunition like some people eat popcorn. They were having a ball. Four young ladies who will return home knowing that it is possible for citizens to safely poses and use firearms. It’s a start.

  17. I was terrified, especially when they told me you must never pick up a gun and turn around to talk to someone. My hand was shaking. I’d never held a gun in my life, and I couldn’t believe someone would give me live ammunition.”

    Aah, meet a member of the media elite who is chartered with providing important information to the rest of us. First, she may as well have been from another planet. Second, sounds like she has quite the phobia.

    Exit question: Was the Titanic an actual vessel or does it better serve as a metaphor?

  18. “Guns – no matter who has them – are always seeking an opportunity to go off,”

    I’m an engineer, not a psychologist, but: isn’t giving agency to inanimate objects in this manner a sign of psychological dysfunction?


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