Shooter’s Sports Center

Me shooting the M&P Shield 9mm.

Range trips are far, few, in-between for me considering my income is severely limited.  Scheduling wasn’t easy, but eventually my friend Ed, his friend Tim, and I made a run for Shooter’s Sports Club in Caledonia.

It’s a smaller range than I’ve patronized in the past, but for its offerings it’s nice.  Their rental selection wasn’t much different than Mass Firearms School, but there were a few handguns that they had that wouldn’t be MA-compliant.  I ended up renting the S&W M&P Shield 9mm.  During a recent trip to Gander Mountain, and on the advice of some other friends, the Shield seems to be a popular gun, especially for first-timers.  After a somewhat complicated transaction, we learned that we could only have one rental per lane.  Tim and I rented; Ed brought his own.  It was also during this transaction I learned that a CCW permit isn’t required to purchase ammo in Wisconsin.  It doesn’t matter which state I would ever choose to patronize a range, until I switch over my driver’s license and carry permit to something non-Massachusetts, I will always get razzed over my current driver’s license.

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Their range was small, but doable.  I think I spent $100 between the lane rental for three people, two pistol rentals, and several boxes of 9mm ammo.  The few times I’ve been to a range, I rented for the sake of trying different weapons out.  At this point, I’m now in market mode.  The Shield felt very comfortable in my hand and fired nicely.  I did find out that they don’t allow you to load magazines in the back area of the range; it all has to be done in the lane itself with any cases open.  Usually when I unload my first magazine, it’s to get comfortable with the gun and establish a rhythm. Since I hadn’t shot a Shield previously, it was also a chance to get a feel for the gun.  The pull on the trigger wasn’t too hard, nor was it too far.  I had a decent sense of when it would fire, even though my shot placements weren’t the hottest.  During this round, Ed was taking some pictures of me firing it – the avatar from my screenshot above is from one that he took.  Considering the last avatar was very similar, but almost a year old, it was time to update it.  I’ve had mixed reactions on Facebook to it.

I did notice a few things with this range, and it might just be location:

  • There were quite a few younger women.  When I see a woman shooting a gun, it gives me some reassurance because when next I go to date, she’ll need to be comfortable around them.
  • The lighting was actually much better.
  • Staff was very helpful and did a good job explaining their membership.  If I lived in either Racine or Caledonia, I would have considered buying a membership once my income increases.

Like any sport, the more you get into it, and get warmed up, the better you become.  I usually will try to practice firing in steady intervals to work on breathing and to take note of shot placement so I can work on aim.  During the last two magazines, I ended up rapid-fire shooting as if I were aiming to take out the target.  The only mechanic I didn’t try was firing with one hand, which I may try next time.  In a self-defense situation, in fight or flight, with adrenaline rushing, and tunnel-vision in effect, you have maybe a half-second to square up and shoot.

Once I’m a full-time resident of Wisconsin and have my carry permit, I will probably take some defensive shooting classes so I can train for the inevitable.