Archive for March 21st, 2011


Pump Action

on March 21, 2011 in Misc 2 Comments »

You know what they don’t show you in a lot of action hero movies and TV shows?   How pump action shotguns can really mess up your shoulder.  Especially when you fire that heavy sucker about twenty-five times in an hour.

I should know.  Today my upper right arm and shoulder hurt.  I mean just plain hurt, even if I move my arm only inches in any direction.  That’s how much recoil those babies have.  Once you pull the trigger, the gun slams back against your body like a battering ram and you feel your flesh bruising and muscles screaming even as you try to focus on blasting little fluorescent orange/pink clay pigeons out of the sky.  After a while, the pain becomes distracting.

And the worst part of it was I didn’t hit a single damn clay pigeon.

Yes, this was my first time handling not only a real gun but one with ammo powerful enough to take down a charging bull – hence the extra kick in the recoil.  But not one freaking clay pigeon?   I mean, I’d always wanted to do some trap shooting.  I LOVE the scene in Second Hand Lions (one of my fave rave movies) when the two super crusty old uncles decide not to shoot a traveling salesman but instead buy his trap contraption and ever after have fun shattering clay pigeons out of the sky.  Of course they’re crack shots.

So is my friend Alonzo.  I told you in a recent post that he’s in town so we’re hanging out.  Besides occasionally doing some mountain climbing, Alonzo likes trap and target shooting, which he hadn’t done in about fourteen years.  On top of that he had new shotgun he had never before fired.  So how was his aim?

He was shattering clay pigeons right and left like there was no tomorrow.

He even repeatedly blasted double pigeons, and remember this was pump action so he had to rack the gun between shots.  That meant split second aiming but he still hit them.  From what I could see, he was out-shooting everyone around us, and that meant people who acted like regulars on the range and Civil Air Defense soldiers in fatigues.

“A couple more times out here, and you’d get a lot better,” Alonzo promised me.  Trouble is, once he leaves town I won’t have the opportunity for such practice.  Even after my arm and shoulder heal.

At least I did better with his handgun.  (We were, of course, at a highly controlled, highly regulated shooting range in a state park overseen by people wouldn’t let anyone sneeze in the wrong direction).  The weapon had a hell of a recoil too (40 caliber), but I did much better.  My best shot was about three inches from dead center over about 33 feet.  But again, if I hadn’t had an extremely firm double-handed hold on that gun it would have recoiled back into my face.

This is what I mean about movies and TV shows being unrealistic (shocker!).   So often in them even powerful handguns or rifles or shotguns don’t recoil or jerk backwards or upwards.  They don’t show you how DEAFENING multiple shots from multiple guns can be (I swear every person at that shooting range who went there even a few times must have some kind of hearing damage).

When it comes to action heroes, I’ve got to say that in this category Lara Croft is the biggest offender.  Yes, she’s more of a cartoon figure than most others.  But when she pulls out two HUGE handguns from thigh holsters and fires away with single-handed action but yet no discernible recoil and spot-on aim all I can say is…

Get real.