Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Feeling the Pressure

Written for the 30-day creative writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese.  Today's prompt is Pressure.  It is now day 6; only 24 days left, to check out these great stories.

It all started around the table at dinner one night.  A friend says "Guess what I did last weekend?  My son and I went shooting.  I hadn't been shooting at a range in years.  It was great!"

That was the beginning.  Shortly afterwards a group of guys, including this friend and my husband met for breakfast one Saturday and went to the shooting range afterwards.  Hubby came back sporting a target, and telling who had which guns, etc.  

After several more trips to the range, it was planned that I join them.  I had expressed an interest in the past about learning to shoot, so here was my chance.  Let me just say that I was very disappointed in my first performance.  For some reason I thought I would just go in and whack the crap out of the target.  Other than my inexperience, I was using shooting glasses from the range.

Two weeks later!
I wasn't giving up however, and the next time, with my own glasses, I showed improvement.  This gave me the courage to agree to take a gun course.  Not just any course, but a concealed carry course complete with training not only in gun safety, shooting, but in the laws and how they apply to personal defense.  This is important.  Guns are not the first resort.

We received our training materials, a book and several DVDs.  After reading the book and viewing the videos at least two times, hubby and I went over a practice test.  I had managed to improve my accuracy in shooting so I was least as ready as possible.

The day came, and with butterflies running rampant in my stomach, we walked into the classroom.  The very first thing was a 20-question written test.  I passed...with a 95.  We had a gun safety lecture, an oral test and target practice.  So far so good.  Then came the shooting qualification.  

We had to fire a certain number of rounds into the target.  I can do problem, right?  Well, let me tell you that practice is practice, but the test is totally different.  The instructor stands there and tells you how many shots to fire in a given number of seconds from different starting positions.  

I was waiting my turn, watching the others and getting more and more nervous.  "I don't belong here" I said to my husband.  The pressure was on!  We were the last two to shoot, and you know what nervous waiting does to one's ability to think?  Yep, I blanked on everything I had learned.  My hands were shaking and my mouth was like paste in spite of two cups of water before entering the range.  I stood wrong, held the gun wrong, rushed my shots.  You name it, I screwed it up.  I didn't know how many shots I had fired, or how many had hit the target.  I was feeling pretty down and afraid I had failed and failure was not acceptable.  Everyone else had passed.  I was afraid I would be the only one not to pass because I was so nervous.  Did I mention that all but a few people in the class were our friends?  More pressure!

You can imagine my relief when he handed me the target and said "here you go, you passed".  It was over and I got my certificate.  The pressure I felt was all pressure I put on myself.  Still, I'm glad I did it for the sense of accomplishment.  We can do whatever we set out to do.


  1. How well you handled the pressure, Linda! That's cool. Congrats! I used to do archery with my youngest son and loved it.

  2. I would love to learn how to shoot a gun. Sounds like you did an awesome job! :)

  3. Wow! I think I would get knocked off my feet if I fired a gun, though I would have loved it when younger. I loved all 'aiming' sports. Good on you!

  4. Talon- Thank you! It was something I had thought about occasionally, but didn't follow up on until now.

    life in the mom lane- Thank you. I expect you can do it too. There are more shooting ranges around that I ever thought since we hadn't really looked into it before, and some offer training classes.

    Babs- Thanks! All guns are different with different ammunition, barrel length, and weight. These factors help determine the recoil. What I've been using has very little "kick".

  5. Well done on handling the pressure.

    We don't have to do the class etc., in New York. But it's not easy to get the carry/conceal license. I grew up around guns -- my father was a cop. I got my carry/conceal license shortly before he passed so I could own his guns. Funny thing is, I've never carried or concealed. Always locked up and in a case if they go anywhere!

    My shot isn't as steady as it once was, but it's still nice to go to the range and fire the guns.

  6. Isn't it amazing how we will mess with our own heads? And yes. We can do whatever we set out to do. Good lessons here, Linda.

  7. Congratulations. You had me rehearsing condolences until the end. ;)

  8. Remind me never to piss you off! ;)

  9. Alex is retired military. My dad was a cop in San Francisco for over 25 years. I learned gun safety and how to shoot from my dad. I'm enjoy taking our guns to the range with Alex for target practice. I keep all of the guns in a gun safe at all times if we are at home. I have two big dogs (sort of an organic alarm system) and our local police is very fast on the scene if anything happens. I think of my dogs and my phone as my security plan really.

  10. Wonderful moral to your story Linda! I really enjoyed this. Very nice take on today's theme. 250 points! :-)

  11. ROCK ON!!!! Not sure if you remember WAY BACK WHEN my post on shooting a gun for the first time. It was SO SCARY... I was extremely proud of myself, but I was certainly VERY nervous. I shot better that day than my neighbor who had done it since she was a child - made me proud. But in her hands, it was effortless and normal. In mine? PRESSURE. So I relate so much. You are one COOL LADY!

  12. P.J. - It is a nice sense of accomplishment to learn to shoot.

    Jayne- Yeah, I was the only one responsible for my nervousness, even though I blamed the instructor.

    Frank- I was thinking that myself as I was doing my qualification shooting.

    Malisa- Not a problem...

    Linda- That's a fairly good plan. Our cats...not so scary.

    Nicky- In a way it was both harder and easier than I expected. So glad I did it.

    Katherine- Thank you! If you did better even though you were nervous that says A LOT!

    Sorry these responses were late. Life just gets busy sometimes.


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