Did you know you need good core strength to shoot a weapon? Well, I suppose the assassin who shoves his .22 against the back of the guy's skull isn't actually thinking about his abs, but I was when I went to the shooting range for my first time. Being a Fitness Professional practically my entire adult life, it was automatic when I had that semi-automatic in my hands.
I was excited driving to the range - kind of like the first time I snorkeled or put on roller blades. Even when we arrived at Shoot Out in West Palm Beach (I was with my husband and two friends) my adrenaline was pumping. We walked into the yellow building and signed the release forms, showed our IDs, and picked out our ear protectors. I chose the blood red ear muffs. The others took the bright yellow ones. I wonder what Freud would make of that? Then we entered the pistol range. BANG! A gun went off. BANG! BANG! It resounded, like a thud, against my chest. Holy Sh… that was loud! And then, right there in that cement encased room with clips flying, scattered over the floor like a crime scene, I realized - THIS WAS REAL. DANGEROUS. SERIOUS STUFF. And I've got to admit, a little scary. What if one of those nice people wearing plastic ear and eye protection, shooting at targets, decided to go postal and shoot us? You've got to respect those weapons. They're deadly.
I held a Rutger .22 in my hands. Other than a water pistol when I was a kid, this was the first weapon I ever wrapped my hands around. The handle fit snug in the soft space between my thumb and index finger. Steadying it with my left hand, making sure the thumbs did not cross, as my friend, Jim, taught me, I looked down the barrel and aimed. POW! The first click went off - too far from the bulls-eye, the green circle in the middle of the target. I corrected my stance. With legs apart, like a pyramid, and feet planted, I pulled in my abdominals, locked my elbows and pulled the trigger. This time I got closer. Yes, core strength gave me power. Then POW, POW, POW, all nine rounds clicked off and I was on the green! It was exhilarating.
The next weapon was a .380 Glock. This little baby had recoil - not like the smooth .22. I felt it as I pulled the trigger. Not as strong as Dirty Harry's Glock, but strong enough for this woman. Again, I took my position and pulled the trigger, letting off seven rounds, one at a time. With one eye shut, I peered down the barrel and pulled the trigger, again in pyramid formation. With each shot, sparks flared. I sure felt that kick back, but my strong core held me in place. When I finished, I very carefully laid the weapon down, pointing the barrel away from me and everyone else in the room, as I was taught. Even though the gun was empty, no more ammo in the chamber, that's protocol. Plus, what if I was wrong?
Bullets are made of lead. It's contained in the primer of each round you shoot. So, when you fire a weapon all the residue and powder from the explosion lands on your hands, face and shirt, even your hair. You are essentially covered in lead particles and lead is not good for the body. It gets absorbed in the nervous system and kidneys. So, even though I only shot a few rounds - and had a fabulous time doing it - when I got home, I took a really long shower and washed my clothes. Yes, I know, the slug who shoots up a 7-11 doesn't run home to bathe. That's his choice. But, this gun shooting novice was told to shower so I squeezed that liquid Dial on the sponge and lathered up.
It was a great experience. Not sure when or if I'll go to a shooting range again, but I learned another reason to have good core strength. That's not one generally taught at fitness conventions.