I Hurt


My arms, especially the left one. And this morning I have a newfound appreciation (and utter awe) for those who serve in law enforcement.

Overall, it was a great day, and worth the soreness in my arms today. The pic to the left is Kendra and I mid-way through the course. I definitely see the allure in owning a handgun, going to the range and firing, though I don’t think I’m ready to run out and buy one myself. There’s a real sense of power when you’re holding that gun in your hand and you know you have a live round in the chamber. And it’s followed quickly by the reality that you’re responsible for where that round goes and who/what it hits.

One funny thing that did happen…At the beginning of the class we had to go around and introduce ourselves, explain why we were there, etc. Now, keep in mind this is a gun class, therefore the instructors themselves are very pro-gun and right to bear arms, etc. I was first to go and told everyone I was a writer who was taking the class for research. A few of the other students thought that was cool, but the instructor simply nodded, then quickly moved on to the next person. Not that I expect everyone to be interested, but I did find it strange he didn’t ask anything about my books or what I write and why this was important for my research. In the end, I figured he just wasn’t much of a reader and shrugged it off. Well, at the first break everyone left the room and I stayed to ask some technical gun questions for my WIP and he looked at me with a wary expression and said, “So, you wouldn’t happen to write for the Oregonian, would you?” For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Pacific NW, The Oregonian is the biggest paper in Oregon (based in Portland) and very liberal. Very pro-gun control. I laughed and said, “Oh my gosh. No, I’m not a reporter. Don’t worry. I write fiction.” He breathed much easier after that and answered any and all of my questions. So much so in fact that I came home last night and immediately emailed my editor two minor changes to STOLEN FURY based on what I learned from him in the class.

If you write RS (or really any genre that includes handguns, no matter how minor), I highly recommend taking a class like this. Most of the actual class information you can find online – there really wasn’t much technical I hadn’t found through researching handguns myself – but that experience of holding the gun, loading, unloading, sighting and what it really feels like when you pull that trigger is one you can’t get from research in a book or on the computer. The sound, the smell, the feel of hot metal as the case flies out of the slide and lands against your skin (yes, I know how it burns because it happened to me), it’s priceless. And just shooting a handgun once won’t give you the same experience. The whole first hour we were shooting I was really nervous, adrenaline was pumping, my hands were shaking and I jumped every time a gun went off in one of the booths next to me. By the end of the class, I hardly heard the sounds of gunfire around me, and the mechanics of loading, firing, unloading became second nature. I know my characters and the suspense portions of my books can only benefit from this class.

I’m going to leave you with a video they showed us in the class yesterday. This one really stuck with me. The DEA agent in this video is talking to a group of kids about handgun safety. He thinks the gun he has is unloaded. At one point he goes off camera and asks someone to check to make sure it’s unloaded. They look and, since the magazine is out, hand it back. They don’t, however, check the chamber.

This guy – this trained DEA agent – shot himself in the foot in the middle of this presentation. He’s bleeding all over the floor and continues to talk to the kids, who are, of course, freaking out. Just goes to show, you have to be careful around guns no matter who you are.

Have you ever shot a handgun before? Do you own one? Do you have any desire to learn how to shoot, either for personal reasons or for research?