Monday, May 24, 2010

Perils of the Texas Range

The Gun Range, I mean.

That is a self-portrait of a headful of burrs and twigs. What you can't see is a big smile on my face. It took about three handfuls of conditioner to get a comb through the rats nest. I'd started out (wisely, I'd thought) with a tidy braid to keep it out of the way. I hadn't planned for all the rolling around on the ground...

The day started off too early (Trooper had perhaps 3 hrs sleep and was RSO that day) but I'd packed a generous plenty of water and snacks. And Gatorade packets. Bless the packets o' life giving refreshment...they saved my ass.

We arrived and started staging our gear. The class was full and, as we pulled up, I saw that it was just as I thought: full of operators. The intimidation factor was raised exponentially. Off to the side was a handful of Larue guys - we all licked our lips as we looked at their rifles. I smiled, trying to hide the fact that I was in mid-panic. Too many people and all of them far more skilled than I was. I hadn't even shot the rifle in...2 months, I guess. And this would be a full day of shooting...

They started us off with a few hours of handgun use. We had an extra person so my target was a late "add" to the line, canted about 45 degrees on the hillside of the side berm. The class focused on using weapons when incapacitated. Shooting left and right handed, tactical reloads one-handed...prone, left, right sides, even on your back. We were all in soft armor, some crazy guys preferring to keep their full kit on the whole time. I was pleased I'd chosen the heavier weight long sleeve top as those who had not were picking burrs off themselves all day. (And let me tell you - those things LOVE your velcro.)

I was drinking something nearly every 5 minutes just to stay hydrated enough (which is why I was so glad I'd gotten those packets!). Most guys were doing well but we had one drop out just after lunch with a fairly strong case of heat exhaustion. The medic RSO took care of that business. They had chilled down Lactated Ringers just in case...

After a quick lunch it was time for the rifle work. I was really uneasy - especially with the Larue guys at the other end. My tilted target was fine for the handgun portion - I could manage it with relative ease. But with the rifle it became rather a challenge. However, it worked out as we moved into two groups, allowing me to just shoot the easier target beside mine. Right handed, left, sides, back - every position was tried. (I never could get a good sight picture on my back...) And then the tactical reload with one hand...that was an amazing challenge and some skills were learned that were priceless. The teacher was amazingly well-versed in the material.

I'd been taking my cap off and putting it on again as needed, unaware that I had such a bad case of "burr head". Sure, my braid had come undone and was a matted, burred mess. But it wasn't until we were driving home and I took my cap off that I discovered the truth. Oh, that group photo will be a real keeper. Sheesh. I mean, I had no makeup on (yes, one did...), had slathered sunscreen on ALL DAY, was sweaty and smiling but...that hair...I must have looked like a mad woman.

And I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. If you'd like to be added to the email list for future class offerings, just let me know. Upcoming will be a field medic class, I think...just a barebones class on what you should carry in your kit and how to cope with the most likely injuries. Can't wait!!

2 comments:

Ed Rasimus said...

You move in a very select circle of friends. Sounds like a great time was had.

LauraB said...

(Insert girlish giggle.) I KNOW! It flat out baffles me that these gentlemen let me come out and "play" with them.

Add in my "for the win" outlasting an APD guy and the serious "attagirl's" from a couple of the others? I have a serious case of pride just now.

Anytime you want to come play, you just say the word, Ed.