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A trip to the gun range

March 26, 2014

The first thing I notice when I pull into Red’s is the group of high school kids milling around in the parking lot. I’m transported back to my own days of loitering around Cinema 6 in Honesdale, PA. Big main difference? Red’s is an indoor gun range outside Austin, Texas.

As soon as I step out of the car I can hear the relentless POP BLAM POW of different guns going off. I hadn’t even considered the sound.

It’s my first time firing a hand gun and I’m a little bit nervous.

Red’s is a large, strangely shaped building, and it stretches out asymmetrically in one direction. Upon entering, there are guns everywhere—big guns, small guns, wall displays of guns and expensive guns in locked cases.

A tall guy smiles at us and directs us to the back of the store with a slow drawl.

The gun range looks basically like a bowling alley with lanes that stretch deep into the distance. People of all ages face away from us firing large caliber rifles on one side and hand guns on the other.

We are greeted by a sarcastic young woman with tattoos up and down both arms and a piercing in her lip. We basically sign our lives away, and I give her my license. (I’m the only one of the four of us who has to show ID because the gun is being rented in my name.)

She copies down my information as I wonder what kind of list I’m going on.

“Sign and print your name on the back,” she says slowly.


“Sign and print your name on the back.”

“Got it.”

“It’s amazing how many people get that wrong.” I nod, wondering about the fact that I’m about to walk into a room full of folks all carrying guns who can’t follow simple instructions. I gulp.

She gives us a quick rundown as to how to use the gun. And by quick I mean less than a minute. Load it here. Cock it here. Don’t do this.

“It’s a magazine not a clip; clips are what girls put in their hair, magazines are loaded into guns,” she says as she slams an unloaded magazine into the 9mm Glock we have chosen and cocks smoothly.

“I like the trigger on this gun,” she says.

“If you think you have a problem, put the gun down and come get my safety representative in the orange vest. Do NOT bring the gun to him. We don’t take kindly to people walking towards us with a loaded gun pointed at us. You point a gun at me and I’ll point mine at you, and I bet I’m a better shot.”

“Makes sense,” I say, as I chuckle nervously.

“And you’ve already signed your life away,” she says, her hand on my license.

“Then we get to take ALL of your money,” she laughs and winks.