It has been quite an eventful week for me down here in Texas. Each new event gave me an opportunity to challenge myself in new ways, and not to mention some chances to have a hell of a lot of fun.
First Carbine and IDPA Match
Some of my fellow competitors and I have been talking about starting to get into Three Gun matches and participating in a carbine match seemed like a great way to get some rifle practice in. However, I hadn't touched a rifle in months and had never competed in IDPA before. So the night before the match, I was full of anxiety, afraid of not performing well and worse, being sent to Dairy Queen. We got out to Cedar Ridge for the Texas Tactical Match with plenty of time to spare and probably bothered the RO during the safety brief with a ton of questions. My friends generously lent me their SCAR (many many thanks to Bobbi and Phil for letting me use this amazing rifle) as I am currently sans rifle (if anybody wants to sponsor me, feel free!). But this means, shooting an unfamiliar game with a rifle I had never touched. I totally blew the first stage. I didn't have the optics turned up enough for the Texas sun and basically just missed every single target. But everyone at the match was very supportive and I adjusted the optics on the next stage. Better, not perfect but I was getting a hang of the optics, the SCAR, and how to maneuver "under cover." Thanks to a word of advice, I adjusted my aim to account for the scope and the close proximity of the targets and at the fourth stage, there was only one hit that wasn't in the zero zone. And at the last stage, 0's all the way across. If you don't compete, it is hard to explain the exhilaration that comes from shooting a totally clean stage but to me, it is like rolling in a pile of puppies. And then I felt silly for being anxious in the first place. I should have known that everyone would be as supportive as they were. I think the important personal lesson I took from this was that there will always be anxiety that comes with the unknown but if you don't take a chance, you will never know what you can do. Cue motivational poster with my targets here.
First Dove Hunt
Like many Texans, I come from a family of hunters. My father and brother have been hunting for as long as I can remember. Thanks to them, I have always had a steady supply of game and shiny pair of custom made alligator boots (yes, you should be jealous. They are effin spectacular). But I have never gone with them. Sure, I've gone fishing with them but sitting outside for hours, waiting for deer and birds to come along never sounded like fun. But this year when my dad asked if I wanted to come along, I thought it was finally time that I joined them. And yep, the first hour or so waiting for birds to come was kinda boring, and watching the guys five bales down getting all the birds that did come in was annoying. But the birds finally did start coming our way and by the time we were done, I ended up with about seven. Not bad for the first time out. So what did I learn from this first? One, avoid shooting the birds over a dead sunflower field. Dried sunflowers scratch like hell and it is hard to find the birds. Second, I have to learn to mount my shotgun faster. In skeet shooting there is time to set up the mount right but I found myself hurrying too much (and have some bruises to prove it). Third, I may not be cut out for wringing the necks of birds. I know it is hypocritical that I didn't have a problem shooting them but even though "I am not a delicate flower" (as some some of my friends like to say), there is a different level of intimacy doing it with your bare hands. Don't laugh. It was my first time. The south season opens in a couple of weeks and I will probably venture back out.
First Time Shooting Full Auto
There is only word for what it feels like to shoot a full automatic: WEEEEEEE!!!!! Jeremy Stillman from AR15 Targets was kind of enough to bring down some his fabulous steel targets as well as some of his suppressed and non-suppressed full auto rifles for the San Antonio Chapter of A Girl and A Gun to get some field experience. We had girls from all levels: from those who had never picked up a rifle before to those with a much broader depth of experience. Those newer to the rifle were given an in-depth safety lecture and the chance to work a straightforward course of fire with semi-auto before moving on to the big boys. Jeremy was great and patient with every shooter. I was very proud of the amount of safety consciousness demonstrated throughout the entire event. And I do not think a single woman walked away without a giant grin on her face. So lessons from this: ummm... the faster the bang, the higher the level of fun? Look don't get me wrong. I believe you should work on your marksmanship and for me, firearms are generally more about the sport and the discipline, but sometimes a girl just needs to let loose.