Today I had the most fun I've ever had shooting guns. My little brother and I went to Impact Guns in Ogden and took advantage of their in-store shooting range and inventory of guns for rent - including machine guns. We rented the MP5 - a submachine gun (fully auto, just with smaller ammo). The clerk kindly explained how to use it. He explained that it fires up and to the left (to hit your target, aim down and to the right of it). He also showed us the three settings - "safe, single fire, rock and roll".
It was incredible. There are few things in life quite as much fun as holding a sleek, comfortable gun in your hands, butting it up against your shoulder, gently squeezing the trigger and then having bullet after bullet fly out of the barrel in rapid sequence. On auto, one quick squeeze of the trigger releases around 3 shots. Holding it down releases oh so many more. It is so choice.
The cost isn't bad. You can call them to get their current rates, but for about $50, you can fire about 100 rounds, but I recommend getting more. I really enjoyed the staff, the facility was nice, and if you pay to rent one machine gun, you can trade it for any other machine gun or pistol for free. (You can always trade a pistol for another without additional cost.) In addition to the MP5, we shot a Sig Sauer, a Beretta, and a Glock. The Glock has a laser sight which was incredibly fun.
That being said, I have a number of other observations about my experience.
The first thing I noticed about the store even as I pulled into the parking lot was that every store employee was armed. Not only were they armed, but their weapons were all ready to fire (i.e. there was a round in the chamber and the hammer was cocked). This struck me as both a sensible precaution (I mean, they do let people rent machine guns inside the store) and crazy. It might just be all the liberal brainwashing I've been through, but it doesn't seem to me that there are any places outside a war zone where such a precaution is necessary. Even if they wanted to remain armed, keeping their weapons in ready-fire mode seems excessive.
Now that I have fired an automatic weapon, I am even more certain of my belief that they should be absolutely illegal. No private citizen should ever own an automatic weapon. Ever. They are deadly, dangerous, and powerful. The amount of damage that such a weapon can do in the hands of a skilled user is staggering. My little brother and I - amateurs at best - were more accurate with the machine gun than with any of the pistols. I cannot imagine how the VTech or any of the recent mall shootings would have been had the shooter been wielding the gun I held today. Even on single shot, the ability to quickly squeeze off rounds makes this class of weapon frighteningly deadly.
I also believe that handguns should be much harder to get and much less prolific. I fired three different handguns today (all of the same caliber - 9mm) and was in awe of the power of each one in my hands. We were shooting at a paper target and just left little holes. That makes it hard to imagine what it would do to flesh and bone, but the kick, the heat and the weight of each one made them intimidating weapons. I don't trust most people to be able to use that power responsibly.
Today's experience also cemented something that I've believed for a long time about gun control legislation. I believe that before people take a stand on the Second Amendment, they should either fire a gun or be in the immediate presence of a gun while it is being fired. Some of the guns the other patrons were shooting today were frighteningly powerful. Not only were they loud, but we could feel the compression of the shot (the air moved by the bullet) from several feet away. People should heft the weapon in their hands, hear the blast from the cartridge, and
feel its kick as the shot is fired before they decide whether it should or should not be in the hands of citizens.
Not only should people fire a gun, but members of Congress should have to fire the guns that they are trying to legalize or outlaw. I imagine that many of them would have a different opinion if they saw the weapons in action.
The store sold silencers for a wide variety of pistols. Although they were expensive (ranging between $300 and $2000), they were nevertheless available for public purchase because the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 is no longer in effect. I have said it before and I'll say it again: there is absolutely no legitimate reason for a private citizen (or even many law enforcement officers) to own a silencer. None whatsoever.
Rainbow Six Vegas
Readers of my blog should know that I love this game. Love, love, love it. It was this game that inspired me to plan this little outing since the MP5 is one of the weapons available in the game. So also are the Beretta and Glock pistols that we fired. I really enjoyed seeing these weapons in action. I also know why the MP5 is not more prolific [in the game]. While it does have a high rate of fire, it is a wussy, wussy gun. It fires a 9mm round that has the same stopping power as a marshmallow. Maybe next time we'll fire the G36.