Last day in Kuwait.
I had just finished the marathon system introduction conversation, and I was asked when my flight was. It wasn't for another two and a half hours, so I was invited to come and see something “cool”.
Now, this could mean anything, but in Kuwait it means you should expect just about anything. I literally can't even begin to tell you what kind of things you should expect in Kuwait.
It turned out to be something pretty conventional by some standards. It was a shooting range.
We paid our money, handed in our drivers license, and selected our weapons of choice. I of course had no idea, so just let the other guy do all the choosing. We had a choice of about 8 weapons, a selection of handguns and rifles, all the way up to some sort of fully automatic machine gun. My partner told me was there is no fun in shooting those type of guns because there is no skill involved, just the act of moving of lead through the air, and shredding your target.
Having decided which weapon we wanted, a 357, we then decided how many bullets we wanted to buy, and away we went.
Into the range then, but before you go in, you must wear hearing protection. They wont let you in otherwise. Even with the ear muffs on, the first couple times someone fired, I became airborne. It is so loud. Louder than I imagined. And there is no long reverberating recoil like in the movies. In fact, there is very little in common with the movies at all. It is just a short, sharp BANG that you feel in your chest
“Have you ever fired a 357 before sir?”
“No, I've never fired anything before.”
“OK, it's quite easy. Safety first: you always point the weapon down-range.”
And on it went. I got my 1 minute safety induction, and had a few dry runs. I practiced cocking the hammer (in order to make the trigger lighter), aiming, and gently squeezing the trigger.
As I loaded in the first 6 bullets i found myself contemplating how weird this all was. In a few short hours time, I would board a flight to Dubai, and here I am lading a 357 handgun, and strongly resisting the urge to say, “…. well do ya? Punk?”
The first couple of discharges with real ammunition was an overload of sensations: the fierce bucking of the gun, the sparks and flame out the front, and the huge noise.
The most surprising thing of all though was the act of pulling the trigger. Because we were cocking the hammer prior to firing, the trigger was very light. So light in fact, that it was really quite impossible to tell exactly when it was going to go off when you are squeezing the trigger as gently as possible in order to keep your aim. This fact alone gave me the feeling that I wasn't in complete control of it.
In spite of all of this, I did quite well. All my shots where in a pretty tight group in the top left of the target, which I brought home with me.
My hands shook for hours afterwards, as I burned off the adrenaline.