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.
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.