The first part of the class was the most challenging for me. Often times I felt like I was going to fall asleep and I couldn't tell if it was due to my ADD, hypoglycemia, or both. Just in case, I kept snacking. I brought enough snacks to this class to open my own snack stand if I wanted to.
When it was time to actually load and unload weapons for the first time, I couldn't remember anything they told us. But once I got to walk through it and actually do it, that sealed it into my memory. Truly, I learn by example and by doing. If you try to instruct me via lecture you'll eventually find me with a blank stare as everything you say after the first 10 minutes starts to sound like a foreign language to me.
One thing that surprised me was how much trouble I had pulling back the slide on the semi-automatics. The instructor showed me different ways of gripping and pulling the gun but I was never able to pull the slide back without a great deal of struggle. Finally the instructor unpacked his 22 semi-automatic for me which was much easier to pull the slide back on. Apparently the other guns had a truck spring which I simply didn't have enough upper body strength to work. Go figure. I have enough strength to pull up and support my entire body weight on a dancing pole, but I can't pull back the slide on a semi-automatic with a truck spring.
The firing range was more my speed. We got to mount our own targets and load our own guns. At first we were only allowed to put one round in the gun at a time. It was shoot one and reload, shoot one and reload, shoot one and reload until we got the loading process down. This was actually a great idea as it really cemented the steps in your mind.
The first gun I shot with was another 22 semi-automatic. The handle was too big and it was difficult for me to reach around to the trigger. I also had my first misfire with this weapon. And I'm rather happy this happened since I would rather have my first misfire in class than when I'm on my own practicing at the range. But what surprised me was the number of misfires (the bullet not firing after you pull the tripper) that occurred in semi-automatics. They are complicated little guns and the mechanisms seem to leave much room for problems and complications like this. The instructor pulled the slide open and dug out the unfired cartridge with his pocket knife. This process seemed rather dangerous to me as I imagined the cartridge suddenly firing or exploding. But I guess that's just my healthy respect for guns (or an overactive imagination).
The second gun I shot with was another 22 Ruger with a red light. The red targeting light made it easier to hit the target but the weapon was unbelievably heavy. After shooting it for a while I finally had to rest as the muscle in my right forearm became increasingly sore. It stopped hurting when I changed guns but I expect my arm will be quite sore tomorrow.
Finally I got to shoot a Smith & Wesson 617 double action revolver. I loved how much more simple the revolver was than the semi-automatics. Easy to load. The cocking mechanism gave it a softer trigger than the semi-automatics. And there weren't any misfires. I did much better on the target as well.
The only shooting we did today was bench shooting. Tomorrow we'll be learning other two handed and one handed techniques. There was one other girl in the class and at first I was frustrated that she was totally kicking my ass. In fact, she pretty much shot better than everyone in the class. Then I found out that she is experienced with and practices with shotguns. No wonder she practically hit the bullseye every time! My instructor also told me they actually prefer women students. Apparently women come in with an open mind. Men, on the other hand, tend to have a macho "I know how to do it already" attitude and are harder to teach. It's nice to know that being a girl doesn't work against me in this class.
Oh, and did I mention I'm exhausted?