This Week I Impressed Myself

Badassery: behavior, characteristics, or actions regarded as formidably impressive

Look, I’m no Alex Honnold free-soloing up El Cap but I think I was a bit of a badass this week. No, I didn’t feed grapes to a crocodile with my teeth or leap off a bridge into the rugged Snake River Canyon wearing a nylon parachute. Instead, my badassery was in proper proportion to my everyday usual self, and frankly, this week I impressed myself. I did two things that were, for me, highly unusual: first I resigned my safe state job effective June 11th, and second, I took a handgun class. Resigning may have been the bigger deal (My Next Elevator Ride), but the handgun class was no small potato.

The Professor and I are passive gun enthusiasts ( how’s that for an oxymoron?). We’re believers in the 2nd Amendment, have supported the NRA, but never felt the need to exercise our rights (or limit anyone else’s). We have an old shotgun and a box of shells, but I have no idea where they are. Of late we’ve considered that it might be wise to own a handgun for self-defense but we hadn’t gone looking yet. It just wasn’t a priority.

So when the Professor came up with the idea that I should sign up for an Enhanced Concealed Carry class with our daughter I wasn’t opposed. I crave one-on-one time with her so I went right to the website, paid my registration fee, and signed up. It was only when I looked at the course description that it occured to me that my current level of experience (none) might be a problem.

Oh well, I thought. I have a month and a half to practice. But as the days went by and the more I thought about the class, the more uncomfortable I felt. I began to fear I wouldn’t know what I was doing and I’d have to do something I’ve never done in the presence of savvy, snarky witnesses. I knew that if I didn’t get up to speed I’d be embarassed and outgunned (ouch – pun intended). I’m competitive enough to be bothered about that. In my mindseye I saw everyone, my daughter included, walking in while twirling revolvers on their index fingers. Shooting the crown off the Queen’s head (on a playing card) while I was still loading my gun. 

So despite some apprehension about taking another gun class, I signed up for a women-only beginners gun course at Independence Indoor Shooting in Meridian. The justification for keeping to my own kind, the website said, was that I could ask questions I might not otherwise ask in a mixed class. Ya think?

There was a line out the door when I arrived on Tuesday. There were men with guns and women with guns, one of whom I had seen in the parking lot. She was older than I and, it turned out also taking the class. She had a revolver alright, but she didn’t twirl it in front of me and carried no playing cards that I could see. She even offered to let me shoot her revolver. Our instructor, a female as advertised, answered all the stupid questions, mostly mine. OK, they were all mine.

I arrived a little early to buy ear protectors and plastic glasses, neither of which I owned. I was dismayed to see that the store had a whole freakin’ wall of ear protectors: electronic, passive, camo, black, brown, bright turquoise and hot pink ranging in price from $29 to above $150. Great. So I bit my lip and did what women from time immemorial have done: I found the nice looking (safe) men and asked them four words most men love to hear:

Excuse me,” I said liltingly. “I have to buy ear protectors and I am overwhelmed by all my choices. Can you help me?

If the two guys carrying their machine gun-looking weapons were wise to my game they didn’t let on. They walked over and sincerely (and kindly) explained the merits of different levels of decibel protection.

I almost felt guilty. Almost. It’s not like I do it all the time – only when I have to.

They told me with some authority that passive ear protectors were not what I wanted and suggested a nice turquoise pair (?). And when I took the ear protectors up to the counter, the elderly gentleman behind the counter asked me if I’d like him to put the batteries in for me.

“Oh, would you?!” I exclaimed as he was grabbing a box of 9mm bullets off the shelf for me. Bamm! This thing wasn’t so hard after all. 

Don’t hate me, sisters. Sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

After an hour or two learning rules (never point your gun at anything you don’t want to destroy was my favorite) and new words like rack and slide bite, we went to the range. As I loaded my double-stack magazine with bullets, my classmate was already shooting while I was loading. Again, no cards were in evidence and she was not one bit snarky.

“Yikes, that’s loud!” I exclaimed. My instructor chortled, “Wait until you shoot yours!”

Before long I did get used to the sound and the kick (recoil, she called it). I even initially managed a fairly decent showing on my target (at close range and with fresh muscles). My second round wasn’t as good, but even so, when she carried it through the shop, the counter guys said, “Hey, was that your target?! That’s really good!”

Sincere? Or maybe they too have some game. No matter. I impressed myself by just showing up and doing the thing.

The bottom line is that when I pushed past my apprehension this week, I really enoyed shooting a handgun at a target. Loud or not, a Glock 34 MOS is a lot of fun. So next week I’m going back, getting the Glock, joining the range, and practicing for that Concealed Carry class.

I may get addicted to this badassery business. Next?

#thebigshift #DispatchesFromOutWest


  1. I haven’t laughed much this last year, but you put a big smile on my face with this story. Thanks! I’m looking forward to enjoying more of your experiences. Lorraine


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