This past Saturday, exurbanKevin organized an event down in Casa Grande where Arizona firearms enthusiasts could meet and shoot. It was a good time and worthy of a post here at Exurban League. You can read exurbanKevin’s post about the event by going here, or you can keep reading my account.
First of all, anybody who thinks Arizona doesn’t get cold during the winter has not spent too many winter mornings here. It was downright chilly (upper 30s) around 0730 when we arrived at the range. However, before we started shooting we decided to run into town to grab some targets and ammo. The local Wal-Mart in Casa Grande only had three boxes of 9x19mm ammo left, which I promptly purchased. What was even more amazing is that they were out of clay pigeons and paper targets! Disappointed, we headed back to the range with only a little bit more ammunition in our stockpile.
As a side note, I shopped for ammunition at my local (Mesa) Wal-Mart the previous night. They only had a few boxes of .40 S&W left and no 12-gauge shells. Common rounds like 5.56×45, .30-06, .308, 7.62×39, .45 ACP, and 9x19mm were gone, only some boxes of oddball calibers were left. Hmmmm, wonder why that is…
We got back to the range and started unloading our iron. I had a new Mossberg 500 shotgun that needed some rounds put through it, so I was excited to finally prepare it for live firing. As we unloaded, more of our fellow citizen-journalists and firearms owners started showing up. The open cases revealed a wide assortment of military and civilian weapons in various configurations. Some had simple optics, other had red dot sights, while others just had plain ol’ iron sights. This is the kind of diversity that I support!
What kind of weapons you ask? Well, here are the ones that I can remember:
- Mossberg 500
- Mossberg 950
- AR-15s (several different ones)
- Ruger 10/22
- CZ 75 P-07
- CZ 75
- Smith & Wesson Model 22
- Smith & Wesson MSP
- Makarov PM
- Beretta AR90
- Ruger SR9
- Magnum Research Baby Eagle
- M-1 Garand
- M-1927 Thompson Submachine Gun
- Henry Big Boy .44 Magnum lever-action rifle
For all the people who were there and whose weapons I did not recognize, sorry for the oversight.
The range was fairly quiet at first, there were two other people shooting some magnum rounds out of a few bolt-action rifles on the north side of the range. As the sun got higher in the sky and the temperatures began to climb, more people began to show up and the range became busier. However, no Range Master was present during the entire time. All people at the range ensured that things stayed safe and that when the range went from hot to cold and vice versa, everybody was aware before the change took place. Hmmm, self-governance…wonder where that could also apply?
Another observation, at least half of the shooters on the range (not just in our group) had AR-15s of various types. There were various calibers and weapon configurations but there was one common element in all of them. These firearms (or “assault rifles” as the MSM calls them) were all operated in a safe manner by their owners. Call it supposition on my part, but I will venture to guess that this happened thousands of times across the country on the same Saturday morning.
Kevin and I were talking about Gun Culture 2.0 and how the profile of firearms owners has changed over the past 10-15 years. One aspect of this is there is no typical gun owner anymore. There were men and women of all ages at the range, if I wasn’t color-blind I would be able to tell you what races and ethnicities were represented too. They came in a variety of vehicles too, everything from large American pickup trucks to small, inexpensive Korean econoboxes. In other words, firearms owners represent a wide cross-section of America.
During the event, people in our group took time shooting each other’s weapons. We shared ammunition, helped each other out when there was a jam, assisted others with grip/stance/posture, spotted, set-up targets, and encouraged one another. It had the feeling of a community that was watching other for each other in a spirit of collaboration and learning. It felt great to shoot a variety of weapons and learn some new things from the other people at the event. Overall it was a great experience to be a part of.
Kevin has said before that shooting firearms is a gateway drug to freedom. I think this is true because there is something intrinsically satisfying about the act of shooting. It takes discipline, control, observation, alertness, and maturity to effectively operate a firearm which helps add to the satisfaction of the activity. When I started hitting targets consistently at various ranges along with improving my handgun skills, I felt great. The event brought a smile to my face and made me wonder why I don’t hit the range more often. Its an activity only a free person can enjoy, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
One final thought, if you enjoy firearms and want to make a difference, bring a friend to the range sometime. Especially encourage those friends of yours on the center-left to come out and observe what takes place at a range. If more non-firearms users and owners could see (and maybe even participate in) shooting events up close, that would help them understand why so many of us enjoy it. Heck, it may even soften their support for more gun laws.
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January 7th, 2013 by exurbandoug