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Range Time

Photograph of a 9mm Desert Eagle semi-automatic handgun, pictured with a used target and some 9mm full metal jacket ammunition.
Not too shabby with the 9mm Desert Eagle. Copyright © 2015 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

I enjoy shooting. I find it relaxing and – believe it or not – peaceful.

In fact, I think shooting is rather like sailing. Both require concentration and keep my mind focused on the task at hand. Keeping my brain busy provides a welcome distraction from my day-to-day concerns.

As a closet designer and engineer, I am also fascinated by the way firearms are designed and made. They are not only robust and reliable, but they can also be serviced in the field with a bare minimum of tools. That requires a lot of design ingenuity.

I should add that I’m not a total newbie when it comes to firearms. I was brought up in the English countryside at a time when shotguns and rifles were a part of everyday life for a lot of people. My best friend’s father was a gamekeeper who kept a rifle and shotgun by the back door. Another friend was a member of the Small Bore Rifle Association. And, back in the seventies my then girlfriend’s brother was in the county shooting team. Among his collection, he had a .44 Magnum Revolver. So, firearms don’t unduly concern or worry me. They are tools to be treated with respect and with due attention to safety. However, until a couple of years ago I’d not handled a pistol.

My first encounter with a pistol was when a friend bought a Glock 17 and offered to take me down the range. I (probably falsely) remember being a pretty good shot when I was younger. I was most disappointed to find that while I could (generally) hit the target, consistent bullseyes evaded me.

More recently I discovered that one of my customers has a collection of firearms. At one meeting a handgun made an appearance as a paperweight. Well, that’s the Ozarks for you. I think the idea was to get a reaction out of the Brit. It failed, but my interest was piqued. Over the months, various handguns have appeared as paperweights. Since then we’ve been down the range a few times and I’ve tried out several of the guns in his collection. Though I have to admit that the recoil, noise, and muzzle blast of an AR15 pistol and the AMT .30 pistol had such an adverse effect on my shooting that I was completely missing the target for a while. The Desert Eagle pictured above is a loaner from my friend’s collection.

“Over the months, various handguns have appeared as paperweights.”

For the last four or more range trips I’ve been breaking in my new pair of glasses. I have discovered that progressive lenses and accurate shooting don’t mix. Well, that’s my excuse and I’m going to be sticking with it. When the sights are in focus the target is a complete blur. Reading the forums, it looks like the consensus of opinion is that I am just going to have to accept that my bullseye shooting days are gone. Unless that is, I get special glasses or sights. That, and I need more practice.   

Used shooting target with 9mm ammo
I rented a 9mm Beretta PX4 Storm Compact , a PX4 Storm full size, and a Smith and Wesson 9mm M&P. I did a lot better with the Berettas. These are some of my results with the PX4 Storm. Copyright © 2015 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

Copyright © 2015 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.