Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 107: Where's the Russian?

"Know what I do when I feel like that?"


"I fire a gun."

My first time firing a firearm was at Boy Scout summer camp; at Camp Teetonkah to be exact. I couldn't even remember the exact spelling of the camp name (thanks Google), so it's highly unlikely that I'll remember the gun itself nor the round it fired. It was a rifle, but beyond that I remember very little about the experience.

I was 12 years old, I think. 11 years would pass before I lifted another firearm and took aim at anything.

Week three of basic training, we began marksmanship training with some high quality M16A2 semi-automatic rifles. That rifle popped off 5.56mm rounds at a blazing speed of 12-16 rounds per minute; 45-60 rounds per minute on three round burst. Easy to field strip and throw back together. Was fairly easy to clean, and wasn't nearly as boring looking as many older rifles I commonly noticed in films (though I have an intense respect for less militant rifles these days).

Working with that bad boy (the M16A2) was fun. Additional experiences had were the pleasures of shooting an M249, or the SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon), an M4 (mini M16 basically), an M203, which was an M16 with an underbelly mounted grenade launcher. Also got to pop off a mounted 50cal, which had nicedly packed some heat.

While I didn't really appreciate the whole Army package, I was rather fond of the range experiences. I appreciated the stillness I had to maintain, the calm necessary to be an ace marksman. Not that I was, but I tried. And largely, I found the experience meditative. Steady breathing, stillness and calm, both components one exhibits while in a more traditional meditative form.

Several years after discharging from active dute, I picked up my first gun: a 91/30 Mosin Nagant. The Mosin Nagant is a pretty bad ass Russian rifle used throughout the first half of the century by the Russians and many others. It has a hell of a kick to it, and it feels like I'm shooting a piece of history, which I really am.

Next down the line was my opting to go for a pistol. The pistol I decided on was the Beretta 92FS 9mm. It fires beautifully and smoothly. Easy operation, and easy cleaning. It's more a test of stillness and calm than either the Mosin or the M16, because I'm not firing from a supported position. In fact, I'm pretty lousy with it, but I like it.

Most recent, and certainly not the last, is a very inexpensive Hi-Point 9mm carbine. Not that absolute best baby on the market, but it's cool, fun to shoot, cheap at $25o, comes with a lifetime, no questions asked warranty, and is highly rated on all forums I've come across.

Coming to a close, though I'm sure I'll have more firearm related pics and blogs later on, I want to point out that the Hi-Point and Beretta are pictured above. The Mosin Nagant, or "The Russian" as a friend and I like to say, is currently sitting at a friend's place.

I sort of want to paint the Mosin white, so I can call it the "White Russian."

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