Friday, August 31, 2007

Growing Up with Guns

When I was a (younger) kid, I was fascinated by guns. Watching old westerns and WWII themed movies with my dad had much to do with that, I'm sure. My dad always owned guns, and he grew up around them as well. Dad and I would regularly make trips to the desert to ride dirt bikes and shoot, and I have many fond memories of those trips.

The first rifle that was solely mine was an M1 Carbine, much like the one pictured above. I had a fondness for this little carbine, since I had seen it so many times in WWII movies. Being that it was much smaller than standard rifles, it fit my small young frame well. I think I paid a little less than 100 dollars for it, and am astounded by the prices of them today (about 1100 bucks I think). I used mostly my money, and my dad helped a bit with the cost.

The M1 Carbine is only effective out to about 300 yards, but can be wielded with deadly accuracy in the hands of a skilled shooter. My first trip to the desert after purchasing the carbine was an exciting one. I was looking forward to shooting it for the first time, and almost thought about riding dirt bikes as an afterthought. While driving down an unpaved desert road to our shooting spot, we spotted a good size rattlesnake on the shoulder of the road. My dad stopped the truck so that we could get a look at it. Dad hates rattlesnakes, as do I. I asked him if I could shoot it with my new rifle. "Well, I hate to see a rattler hanging around in a well traveled area; go ahead," he replied.

I got my new carbine out of the back of the truck and carefully loaded a few rounds into the detachable magazine. Since I had never fired it before, I had no idea how it would shoot. We approached the snake, which was still coiled up on the side of the road, and I took aim. I was well outside of the snake's striking distance when I shouldered the weapon. I squeezed off a round and was pleased to see that it had found its mark. My dad was very impressed. I was overjoyed. The little carbine had very little recoil, and that first shot gave me confidence in its accuracy. I carefully cleared the weapon, Dad checked it, and I put it back in its case for the rest of the drive to our shooting spot.

When we got home that night, Dad was boasting to my mom about how impressive a shot I had made. "It's not easy to hit such a small target with an unfamiliar rifle," he said. I don't think my mom was nearly as impressed as my dad would have liked, but she was pleased that we had a good time.

I got to be very skilled with that little carbine, and put many a round through it. I find myself wishing that I still had it today.

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