My mom has been a lifelong liberal, opposed to hunting, guns and violence in general. Over the years this has posed quite a challenge as I seem to have been born with a deeply ingrained conservative point of view. I blame it on the library card she helped me get as soon as I was old enough to read. She, on the over hand, always blamed it on defective genetics. In recent years she has gradually been inching over to a more conservative point of view and even expressed an interest in shooting so last weekend I took her out to the range . . .
I brought a pair older .22s and my AR-15. I assumed we’d spend most of the day with the .22s but thought she might get a kick out of trying the “scary black rifle” after she got comfortable. She loves antiques and the old wooden stocks and aged bluing of these vintage rifles had always caught her attention. I also hoped the quieter report and low recoil of the .22 LR would decrease her anxiety levels and help her feel more confident more quickly.
One of the rifles, a Stevens 87A, I inherited from my grandfather (her dad) had an issue feeding that couldn’t be cleared at the range. We were both disappointed because this rifle has been in the family for longer than I have and we were looking forward to shooting it together. Disappointed as we were, I hadn’t really expected to shoot it much and was planning on using a Marlin 989 M2 carbine for most of our shooting.
Surprisingly though, she struggled with it. She wasn’t fazed by the recoil and was doing well with safety rules, but looked very uncomfortable handling the gun. She was also having a lot of trouble hitting the target and I could tell she was getting more and more frustrated. After watching her struggle for a while, I finally realized the problem. The rifle didn’t fit. This is a small .22. I taught my son to shoot with this same rifle when he was little bitty. That was one of the reasons I brought it along but I could plainly see that she had a problem with the length of the stock.
Taking a chance, I pulled out the AR-15, collapsed the stock all the way, and gave her a quick review of how to work the rifle and how to use a red dot sight. She was on the paper in one shot and hitting reliably from there on out. The increased recoil didn’t affect her in the least. The increased report took a few rounds for her to get used to, but her frustration was gone and she was now excited with her own progress. After I retrieved the target and she saw the number of rounds that hit the paper she was even happier — she was in love with the AR.
It was my turn to shoot and as I happily plinked away with both the old Marlin and my AR-15, she wandered off. I didn’t think too much about it, but at the next cease fire she was still MIA. A little worried, I went looking for her, first along the firing line and then in the showroom. And that’s where I found her, smiling like the Cheshire Cat.
She was in the process of purchasing her first firearm.
It seems the little M&P 15-22, in Pink Platinum, “spoke to her” from behind the counter and she decided she had to have it. She spent the next hour punching holes in paper with her very own AR.
On the way out to the car she asked if her rifle would be affected by any of the proposed legislation from Washington. I replied that, yes, it probably would as would my AR. She paused for a bit and then said, “well that’s just stupid.”
She is now a member of the NRA.
Cranky posts at Notes From a Cranky Buddha.