Have you ever had one of those days when the weather just brings you down? Cabin fever caused by rain, snow, ice, sand, wind, cold, or heat? Recently, Virginia was having a Seattle moment when four straight days of constant rain and flooding came courtesy of the moisture from Hurricane Ida, which had stalled over the Mid-Atlantic after arriving from the Gulf of Mexico.
Well, I was having one of those down days when my neighbor, Ken, a retired Naval Officer, calls me to go to a shooting range. He goes shooting once a week with a friend, alternating between indoor pistol and outdoor trap. I’m a pilot and my varied airline schedule prevents regular outings, sometimes I get to go and that particular Thursday I was not flying. With the monsoon, this was definitely an indoor shooting day. Just get me out of the house! Ken picks me up at 10:00 AM and the conversation begins with something like “This #@&$% weather sucks”, “Yes, it &%#$ does”. A mandatory stop for coffee follows, and then we are on the way to a local gun shop and range.
In honor of the brave U.S. military forces fighting in the Middle East, I pick the ‘crazy terrorist carrying an AK-47’ target to shoot at. My weapons for today are the M-1 Carbine and the Sig Sauer P232. I grew up watching just about every military movie ever made and I have wanted a carbine forever. Recently I had the chance to make carbine ownership come true. I was able to buy an authentic WW-II M-1 from the Nations Gun Show in Chantilly, VA (make the pilgrimage to this show, it is worth the trip.) This one was manufactured by IBM in January, 1944. It’s great for plinking and conversation.
After shooting rounds from both the rifle and pistol with limited success, I approached Ken for a little wager. He is a very good shot and had beaten me before on a bet. The shooting match would be our Sigs against the terrorist target at 25 feet for $1.00. Ken shot his 7 rounds first and got six 5’s and a 10 (a bulls-eye is 10, the others in hitting zone is a 5). With the pressure on, I answered with five 5’s and two 10’s! Wow!! To beat Ken is like, oh, your local little league baseball team beating the New York Yankees. I told him I would hang the dollar up on the living room wall.
After shooting it is time for lunch. Hmmm, where to go? There are various places to eat around the range; however I did see a Hooters restaurant on the way in. “Let’s go to Hooters!” Ken turns the car into the parking lot. WoooHooo! Hooters for lunch! Ken and I debrief our shooting scores, talk about guns and politics, and enjoy the hospitality and the good food.
On the way home I ask Ken to swing by Sharpshooters Small Arms Range, a gun shop and range in Northern Virginia near where we live. I have been in the market for a new AR-15 for two main reasons: first, they might not be available if Congress has their way, and second, they are cool guns and everybody should have one. And…Jackpot! Sharpshooters has the gun that I am looking for; a Colt AR-15, model 6520, 16” barrel, short handguard, A-2 sight and a standard black buttstock. I like to keep my AR’s simple.
In Virginia you show two types of identification and fill out some paperwork. The dealer runs a background check. The final element is to put the credit card on the counter. The Colt rifle is now mine. God Bless America.
Ken drives me home. As we pull into the driveway I tell Ken “This was a really great day; shooting, Hooters, a new gun. That is just awesome”. He wholeheartedly agreed. It’s still raining as I get out of the car to get my guns out of the trunk. I step in a large puddle on the sidewalk. I laugh. Nice try Mother Nature, you can’t ruin my day, not today, for it has been a great day. A great day thanks to the Second Amendment.