June 29, 2013

KNISELY: Shooting for a new hobby?

By Misty Knisely
Managing editor

---- — I’ve never been a fan of guns. In fact, to say I downright hate them wouldn’t be much of a stretch. They scare me.

My dad wasn’t a gun guy and my mom certainly wasn’t, so I didn’t grow up in a gun house. Until my brother-in-law became a state trooper, I’d never had contact with one. And then, feeling the weight of the thing made me like them even less.  Why, I don’t know. I guess it made them seem even more menacing. What can I say. There’s rarely logic in my fears.

I have a friend who is a gun guy. That might be an understatement. He loves him some guns. Big guns, little guns, new guns, old guns — he’s got them all. He showed me the collection once. It took a while.

I mentioned I’d never shot a gun. It might be cool, I said, but I’m a big ole chicken.

It seems he skipped over the last part of that sentence and decided to surprise me with a trip to the shooting range. I was apprehensive, to say the least. Some of the fear subsided, though, when he showed me the zombie targets he bought for the occasion.

While he’s unpacking his gun bag, someone was letting off what sounded like a bazooka from behind the hill. I was trying to play it cool, but I’m pretty sure my shuddering with each boom gave me away.

Being a gun guy, he was prepared for these loud noises and handed me some huge headphones, which proved to be my instant best friend.

After I regained my composure, I told the guys in the shelter with us that this was my first time and apologized in advance for whatever was about to happen.

My friend got out a cute little gun. (Every gun person reading this likely cringed at my usage of the words cute and gun in the same sentence.)

Our neighbors said the gun was a great and easy place to start. I was relieved, but then my friend said, “Oh, I have others, too.” I didn’t like the sound of that.

He goes to hang up my zombie, loads up a magazine with bullets, gives me the rules of guns and shooting ranges, shows me the safety features and how to disarm them, then hands me the gun — a 22-caliber handgun.

“You’re up,” he said.

After making him shoot it once to make sure it was a fully operational gun that wasn’t going to explode in my hand, I took the gun. Now I was officially afraid.

Not wanting to appear a girl, I turned toward the target, trying to remember all the things he told me to do on the way to the shooting range. I had been mentally running through aiming tips he taught me, repeating to myself to line the sights horizontally and then the target vertically, or something.

But now it was time to start the firing process he described as BRASS: breathe, relax, aim, slowly squeeze.

Breathe: Check

Relax: Not a chance

Aim: Check ... sorta

Slowly squeeze: I can’t move.

I was froze there with a gun pointed at a zombie for what seemed like an hour but was likely a few seconds. I finally broke stance and wanted to give the gun back. A few words of encouragement and I was on my way again.

Even though I was fairly certain I would die from the effort and resulting bang, I finally squeezed the trigger.

It was awesome.

The jolt of the recoil I so feared was nonexistent. It seems he knew what he was doing when he picked this gun out for me. A few shots in and I actually hit the zombie.

Then a few magazines depleted and the zombie a little worse for wear, I took turns at the other two guns he brought: a .38 special revolver and a 40-caliber Glock handgun.

I wasn’t a fan of the revolver, as it had a little too much kick for my taste, but the Glock made me feel like Magnum P.I.

I was officially hooked on shooting, but more importantly, I now feel more prepared for a zombie apocalypse.

Misty Knisely is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5155 or at