First Time Shooting

November 20, 2008
By Tommy Rattigan, Fairfield, CT

I remember the first time I went shooting. I was on vacation with my dad and my sister visiting my grandparents and my aunt and uncle. That day I was with my dad Tom, my uncle Kevin, and my cousin Connor. Since I was in Florida and since kids in Florida have different vacations periods than us, we had to drop Connor off at school. We pulled into the school which was piled with school busses with flashing lights everywhere.
I yelled, “See ya Conner,” as he stepped out of the car. He waved back and we drove off.

“Kevin, how far away is this place?” I asked.
“Not far twenty, twenty-five minutes away,” he replied. After fifteen minutes of being on the highway I could already tell that the shooting range was in the woods. My uncle was driving on this dirt road with pine trees all around us. I could smell the pine in the breeze with the window open. In the distance I started to hear little popping noises.
“Close the window Tommy, because once we get closer to the range all of the gun sounds could hurt your ears.” Once we pull into the rock driveway of the range I could see all of the people shooting. Then I see my uncle reach into the back seat and grab a cooler. He opened the cooler and pulled out a pair of earphones.
“Put these on Tommy so the sounds don’t
heart you ears.” I put them on and see my dad and uncle do the same.

Once we got out of the car I asked, “Should I get the gun?”

“Yeah go grab it it’s in the bed of the truck,” my dad said.

“OK,” I replied. I ran to the back of the truck reached over the side on grabbed the metal gun case which held the gun inside.

“Let me carry it in,” my uncle said. All three of us walked up to the counter of a small shop at the entrance of the gun range. I see a big sign on the side of the shop stating; DON’T CROSS RED LINE UNTILL SOUND OF BELL.

“May I help you?” The man at the counter asked.

“Yes, I would like a one 25 yard target,” my uncle replied.

“Coming right up,” he said.
Once the man retuned he said, “It will be 50 dollars for the two adults and 15 dollars for the kid, so the sub total is 65 dollars.”
“OK,” my uncle replied. My uncle reached into his back pocket and grabbed his wallet. He took out a fresh one hundred dollar bill and handed it to the man.
“Thank you.” The man put the money into the register and said, “Your change is 35 dollars.”
My uncle replied, “Thank you.” Now I was finally in the shooting range for the first time in my life……
“Follow me Tommy,” my uncle remarked. There were wooden tables and two wooden seats for each table. There were about 25 tables all in a row. Most tables being used by one person. I saw people shooting all different types of guns, rifles, pistols and event machine guns like AK-47’s, mostly pistols though. After going past about seven tables we found an open table. All around the table there were gun shells.
“Alright Tommy,” my uncle said.
“Let me tell you the rules for shooing here. You see that big red line in front of the table?” My uncle said.
“Yes,” I replied.
“Well you can only go past that red line once the man in charge here blows the horn. Once he blows the horn everybody will stop shooting and can go up to their target and either see how well you shot or you can go and change your target to a brand new one, or both,” uncle Kevin said.
After my uncle told me all of the rules for shooting he put the gun case on top of the table and unlocked it. He opened the case and I saw a silver rifle with a scope, and very clean.
“This here Tommy, this is a 22Ëš caliber semi-automatic rifle,” he said. I grinned.
“OK, before we start sho…….”
“Oh, did you hear that that’s the sound of the bell I was talking to you about. As I was saying before we start shooting we have to go put the target up and since the bell just rang we can go put it on now.”
My dad grabbed the target as we started to walk out onto the actual range. I noticed that everybody else was going out to their target to see how they shot. But we weren’t going out there to see how we shot we were going out there to hang our paper target at the 25 yard marker. Once all of the people hung there new targets and got back to their table the man in charge said, “You may continue shooting,” over the loud speaker. Within seconds you started to hear gun shots.
“Now it was time to shoot,” I said.
“Yes it is. I will shoot first to show you how to use it and to make sure it is working correctly and that the scope is aligned right,” my uncle said
After shooting on whole magazine of twelve bullets, he gave me the gun.
“Tommy?” Kevin asked.
“Yes?” I replied.
“Always keep the gun facing towards the target it’s the safest was to hold a gun,” my uncle said.
I replied, “Ok.”
Then I looked into the scope aimed at the target and began to shoot, one at a time. On the target there is a big circle with a small orange dot in the middle. And when I was shooting I tried to shoot all around the circle so the orange dot was gone. After each bell we put new stickers on the target so the holes were covered.
While shooting I could hear machine gun shots from the police station next door. My uncle told me that there was a police S.W.A.T. training center behind the police station that’s why we were hearing all of the machine gun shot next door of us.
After four or five rounds without shooting out the orange dot it was time to go. After the sixth bell we grabbed the target and put the gun away in the case. We waved good bye to the people who worked behind the desk.
As we were walking to the car my dad said, “Why don’t we take a picture of you with the gun on the back of the truck.”
So we put the fold down door of the truck bed down and I sat on it. My uncle gave me the gun the gun, a cowboy hat and a pair of yellow glasses. I put them all on.

“SAY CHEESE!!!” my uncle said with the camera. “You’re a real Red Neck now,” my uncle said.
We all laughed. Then all of us got into the car and we drove off. This was the best time of my vacation. This is how I began to like shooting.

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