By Annie Kinnett Nichols
I was raised, quite liberally, by parents that were pro-peace. My mom and dad were political activists and were involved with the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War, Feminist Movement and fighting Apartheid in South Africa just to name a few of their causes.
They have always been dedicated to peace on the planet and one organization they were in was Beyond War. This was a group that believed pointing fingers at the past was counterproductive, and focused on the current world situation to help promote peace instead of war. Needless to say, all these causes had a big impact on me growing up.
Guns have always been something I have distrusted and disliked. My brothers had a bb gun, but other than that there was never a gun in our house. We believed violence begets violence, or some notion close to that.
Truthfully, guns have always scared me. I’ve walked out of movies or the living room because I don’t like to listen to gunshots, people screaming and blowing up on the TV. Not my style. So, when my friends Charley and Jim wanted me to go to a shooting range, I was still curious enough to say yes and thought it would help me understand guns.
Being a girl my first thoughts were what to wear to the gun range. I thought I’d be all badass about it and went straight for the Charlie’s Angels and Angie Dickinson look. I wore big chunky heels, ‘70s attire and big hair.
We drove OTP, because that was our only choice at the time. We walked in, I pretended to be tough as we selected what we would shoot at – an alien (as in outer space), a terrorist-looking guy, a big guy with a gun or concentric circles with a dark bulls eye. I was ready. Then they gave us a gun, took us to a cubicle and KABLAM KABLAM! I nearly jumped out of my shoes like a cartoon.
The air pressure changed every time someone shot a gun. I was immediately paranoid that someone would shoot me from another lane. Each time a gun went off, there would be smoke and a shell would pop towards me like bacon fat popping from the frying pan. I ran from the room in my fabulous heels without firing one shot.
I was eventually coaxed back into the room and calmed down enough to try and take one shot. I had to hold the gun in both hands and squeeze the trigger with two fingers. KABLAM! I screamed and promptly left the building to get some air. I was done with guns, or so I thought.
When Quickshot Shooting Range opened on Zonolite Road, Charley and Jim talked me into giving it another try. Matt Bacon (he was a former chef) manages the place and couldn’t have been a nicer guy. He and the owner, Tyler Perkins, made me feel right at home. Rather than a bunch of good ole boys, there was a mix of guys and gals from Intown practicing at the range.
Tyler said his mission was to educate people about guns so they aren’t afraid to use or be around them. My kind of place. Tyler helped me choose a gun I could shoot with only one finger, a Ruger .22. It looked like something out of the old west.
I was still terrified, but Tyler was super patient and he taught me how to load the bullets, put the magazine in the gun and then shoot it properly. I was shaking like a leaf as I loaded and shot my first round. By my second round I started to relax – kinda. By my third round, I was feeling more confident and, dare I say, having fun shooting a gun. I actually had chill bumps as I fired my last round.
Thanks to Quickshot, my whole mindset on guns has changed. I understand the importance of being at least educated to know what a gun is and how to shoot one. Now my big question is do I shoot a Glock next or a .45 Magnum? And do I shoot in heels next time like Charlie’s Angels or the urban city chic look I wore for my first outing at Quickshot? Look for me there – I’ll be the little girl with the gun.
Quickshot Shooting Range, 1199 Zonolite Road. quickshotshootingrange.com