The other kind of shooting

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Having mused last week about the availability of guns in the US, I had an opportunity Wednesday to actually shoot guns.

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While I’m far more familiar with shooting cameras, my friend,…

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Sean, is seriously into shooting and offered to take me to the gun range.  Knowing Sean’s meticulous attention to detail and talent as a great teacher, I knew this would be a safe way to see guns up close.

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And for those of us enjoying this side of the turf, handling guns begins, runs, and ends with safety.  Sean primed me with a pre-visit email covering safety, reinforced that over dinner, and stepped me through all the protocols of the gun range once we were on site.

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Sean brought three guns for me to try.  The first pistol I shot was a ISSC M22 semi-automatic.  Firing a relatively smaller .22 calibre round, it was a good warm up to get used to the noise and the kick.

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After emptying several magazines in the M22, I graduated to this generation 3, Glock 17 in 9mm.  It is a favourite of police and military services around the world for its reliability, performance, and light weight.  This pistol was designed in Austria by Gaston Glock in the 80’s and features three internal automatic safeties and is striker fired as opposed to hammer fired.  While the magazine has capacity for 17 rounds, in Canada this is restricted to 10 rounds.  When it was designed, the significant innovation with this pistol was a polymer lower, including the grip and trigger, substantially lowering the weight over in-market pistols.  Only the parts that needed to be steel like the barrel and slide were not plastic.

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The 9mm rounds in the Glock produce a more powerful kick and much louder bang.  It’s been many years since I held a real pistol.  As a kid, I briefly hefted my grandfather’s .32 semi-automatic pistol and his revolver, while supervised.  Wednesday was the first time I actually fired a pistol.  I belonged to the rifle club at the YMCA as a kid, so I understood the importance of controlled breathing and a good stance.  But there was something quite different about shooting a pistol.  It has a certain gravity to it, sociologically.  I was 100% focused at the range on safety and trying to get a respectable grouping on the target for my first time out.

Through our collective experience of movies and TV, the Glock is iconic.  For that reason, I hauled out the cameras to…

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try for some interesting images.  This was a bit of an experiment.  This is Sean shooting while I ran the camera off the tripod.  He would give me a countdown to firing and I would hold the shutter down with a fast exposure cycle rate, hoping for the best.  The available light wasn’t great, and it wasn’t possible to change it, so I shot high ISO, wide open, and fastest shutter on manual focus.  It took a couple of magazines of ammo, but I did capture a hint of muzzle flash (top pics) and ejection of the spent shells.

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It’s easy to imagine that using a shutter trigger like the muzzle flash or the bang (do we call that the report?) would produce even more interesting shots.  Careful use of a flash would help, too.

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For other shots inside…

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I was able to do a low-ISO time exposure of up to 1.3 seconds.  After photographing the pistol shooting with my Tamron 17-50mm f2.8, I broke out the Nikkor 105mm f2.8 macro lens for some close-ups.  Shooting with that lens or my Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 reinforces the old adage that photogs should direct most of their money to good glass.  I’m happy with this shot.

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It doesn’t *look* that far away, eh?

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Sean also brought his Hi-Point 995 Carbine rifle that also fires a 9mm round.  I tried it for several magazines, and then switched…

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back to the Glock.  Sean grabbed this frame from a video he shot with his iPhone, to get the muzzle flash.  If you could see my face, you’d see me grinning like an idiot.  It’s damned exhilarating.

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My instructor gave me fair marks for this 6-inch spread at 10 yards.  Not bad for the first time.

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Chalked up another interesting experience for 2012 and caught a glimpse of the appeal of target shooting for gun enthusiasts.  Thanks Sean.


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One Response to The other kind of shooting

  1. Carolyn says:

    Great blog and fantastic pictures, Darin.

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