We visit the firing range at the Wild West Shooting Centre
Abby, Taylor, and I went to the Wild West Shooting Centre in Edmonton yesterday. We’ve never been to a shooting range before, but it was fun and really interesting.
They had a bunch of packages you could choose from. Taylor and I got the Three Gun package while Abby got the Junior Cricket pack for the 12-and-under kids.
There were three “instructors” there; I think they’re called “range masters”. Our guy was named Richard.
We started off with a good tutorial covering everything from how to handle a gun to reloading your magazines and gun safety. Richard was super knowledgeable and I got the feeling he’d been handling guns for a long time. I asked him if he was a police officer or was in the army. Turns out he spent over 20 years in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Abby got to fire fifty (50) .22 caliber rounds with two different guns; a handgun and a rifle. Her handgun looked just like something an adult would fire. Her rifle kept jamming but after swapping out with two other rifles, she was able to get going again.
Taylor and I fired off 48 rounds each.
- Twenty 9 mm semi-auto rounds
- Twenty .40 Smith & Wesson rounds
- Eight .45 ACP rounds
The last .45 rounds were the largest and really powerful. The Smith and Wesson we fired them with was heavier but the weight made it easier to control the recoil.
Firing the gun was really easy. Hitting the target exactly where you wanted it was pretty hard.
We see guns being fired on TV and in the movies all the time. Over the years of watching TV you end up picking up bits of information on how to fire a gun, but it’s mostly all wrong.
Three things I was wrong about:
- The way you hold the hand gun can increase the chance of it jamming when fired. The part of a semi-automatic hand gun that moves back when fired is called the slide. If you’re not holding the gun properly, the recoil will kick the gun back harder affecting a) the movement of the slide, b) the spent shell casing being ejected from the chamber, and c) the next round being spring-loaded into the chamber. If the gun kicks back too hard, the timing in any part of that mechanism can be thrown off and the jam occurs. Was all really interesting.
- Movies incorrectly also teach you that you need to “squeeze the grip, not the trigger”. That’s wrong too. You gently hold the gun with your trigger hand (your right hand if you’re right-handed). You actually squeeze hard with your left hand to control the recoil.
- Don’t anticipate the bullet firing. You want the gun to surprise you when the round fires. Richard said if you pull too slowly on the trigger, you’ll start to anticipate the round going off and you’ll flinch, throwing off your aim. Just aim down the sights and don’t be apprehensive when pulling the trigger.
We had a pretty good time and we definitely got a better appreciation for how it all works.