By: Emily Schwab
To most PMHers, the LSU ‘HalLAWeen’ party marks the beginning of a grueling period during which we spend 40 days or so locked inside quiet buildings preparing for exams. Because this next month will be relatively deadening for most of us, I decided that this Sunday Funday needed to involve an activity that would not only breathe some life into my hollow bones, but also relieve some of the intense stress that never fails to accumulate during this time. Naturally, the first thing that came to mind was to go shoot some things. Upon a quick Google search in the Target parking lot, I headed to the indoor gun range at Precision Firearms which was a mere 3-minute drive down Siegen.
Having found this place on a total whim, I had no idea what to expect upon my arrival. After wading through a group of people standing in line for the concealed carry class, we signed in and were greeted by an associate at the front desk. He informed us that they offered two firearms for rent: handguns and semi-automatic rifles. Although I grew up hunting with my father and am very familiar with shotgun shooting, the machine and handgun worlds are completely foreign to me. I wanted to try something new but my boyfriend refused to walk into the gallery if I had a semi-automatic rifle in my hand, so I opted for the handgun instead. After seeing the confused look on my face when the associate asked which model of handgun I wanted to try, he recommended the Walther PPS 9mm (whatever that is) because I am a beginner and it has no kickback. Lastly, we had to choose our targets; there were 9 options including zombie posters, circle bull’s-eyes, and torso targets of differing sizes.
After we decided on our guns and targets, we were given goggles, earmuffs, and purchased ammunition. At this point, the associate had surmised that I had no idea how to load or unload the magazine, so he gave me a quick but detailed lesson before having me practice with a dummy gun. Fueled by adrenaline from hearing the rounds being fired in the next room and caffeine from my Starbucks Frappuccino, I put on my earmuffs and swung open the door to the gallery. Admittedly, the first few seconds in the range were slightly terrifying considering it is extremely loud in the gallery and the lanes are also quite narrow. We were basically rubbing shoulders with a bunch of strangers loading their Glocks. However, our fellow shooters ended up being super friendly and more than willing to help when I sheepishly asked whether my hand placement was correct or if I had loaded the “clip” correctly.
Once I was comfortable and our torso target had been hung, I assumed the shooting position and fired my first shot. At this point, my fears had subsided and the sound of the bullet flying through the target gave me an extreme sense of accomplishment. Although it may be a slightly aggressive thing for a girl to admit, there is a sense of immediate gratification and relief when you pull the trigger and see a hole pierced through the paper 20 feet away. With my adrenaline through the roof, we spent the next hour buying box after box of ammo, competing to see who was the better shot, and aimlessly rapid-fire shooting at the torso target which moved from point blank range to 30 feet.
I can honestly say my level of stress walking out of the Precision range compared to when I walked in had decreased exponentially. Although this anxiety-relieving approach is surely not for everyone, it is definitely something I would recommend if you are looking to get out of your comfort zone and try something new to kick those study blues. However, you probably want to have one person in your group who is at least vaguely familiar with handling a firearm. One of my favorite parts about the whole afternoon was that I got to keep my target as a souvenir. Because there’s no better way to ward off intruders than hanging a completely annihilated torso target in your living room. Duh.