Trying to steady my shaky hands, I put the pad of my index finger on the trigger of the .38 Smith & Wesson and slowly started to squeeze. My heart pounded in anticipation of the “bang” that was to come…
But before I get to what happened next, let me set the stage. For the past couple of years, I’ve wanted to learn how to shoot. Guns have intimidated me for as long as I can remember, and I think that knowledge goes a long way in breaking down this intimidation factor.
So, earlier in March, I tried my hand at clay shooting with a shotgun — and loved it! (Click here to check out more about my lesson at Barnsley Resort.) The next step was taking a handgun fundamentals class, and after doing my research, I reached out to Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range (SSGCR).
Casey, the director of training, invited me to join one of the Sunday afternoon classes. (And he knocked a few dollars off of the $150 fee for the class.) Conveniently, my friend, Lane (who also happens to be the best bikini waxer a girl could ever wish for at WAX), was also looking to take a handgun class, so she signed up, too. (Thanks again for coming with, lady!)
The first two hours of the three-hour class were spent in the classroom (yes, I said classroom — the SSGCR facility is pretty amazing) with instructor-in-training Braden walking us through safety rules, the anatomy of revolvers vs. semi-automatics, and the fundamentals of shooting. I though he did a fabulous job of keeping us engaged and providing the background knowledge we needed to feel comfortable in the gun range. (Lane would have preferred that we did less time in the classroom and more time in the shooting range.) The class was a good size — about eight people — men and women of all ages with varying amounts of shooting experience.
The last hour was spent in the range. I should mention that you don’t have to bring anything to the class. Ammo, guns, safety glasses, etc. are provided. However, if you have your own gun, feel free to bring it — unloaded, of course.
I have to say that every time I shot one of the guns (I shot the .38 mentioned earlier, another revolver, and a couple of semi-automatics) my heart would pound, and I’d have to focus on keeping my hands steady. But Casey and Braden were available every step of the way to help me and my fellow classmates through the shooting process. (They really were excellent instructors.)
I probably enjoyed shooting the semi-automatics most because having to pull the slide on top when you insert a new magazine of ammo made me feel like a bad ass.
My shots were OK — not bad for a first-timer — but that didn’t matter to me. The experience was exhilarating, and I know that the key to getting more comfortable with shooting is repetition. If you are looking for a place to take this type of class — SSGCR also offers a women’s only handgun class as well as a defensive shotgun course — this should be your go-to place.