Firing a Shotgun
I didn’t grow up with guns in my house. In fact, until about 10 months ago I had never even held a gun. The first time I went shooting, a friend took me to a range and we did some target practice with a .22. Something easy to get me started. It was a lot of fun and accomplished getting me over my fear of guns.

The other night I met my new friend Cheryl. We were out with our mutual friend Cristina celebrating her being halfway done with the Bar Exam. Yes, the Bar is that bad . . . getting just halfway though it warrants drinking. During dinner my 52 Things quest came up. Being incredibly awesome, Cheryl said “we have a an old single shot rifle and a Glock if you want to scratch one off your list.”

When I first envisioned myself firing a larger gun this is what came to mind:

After getting past my initial trepidation, I decided to take Uncle Joe Biden’s advice and learn how to use a shotgun.

I got to try out 3 guns, all significantly larger than the .22 I fired before. I used a .410 shotgun that belonged to Cheryl’s grandfather, a 12-gauge single shot, and a 9mm Russian Makarov pistol purchased during the Cold War.

First up was the .410. As you can see, the gun was practically as big as me. The recoil wasn’t bad and I actually hit the target on my second try.

Then it was time to try the 12-gauge, which was a bit heavier than the .410. I made extra sure that it was nestled where it was supposed to be; I was worried that the recoil was going to leave me with a dislocated shoulder. That, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t accidentally Dick Cheney someone in the face. As you can see from the before & after photos below, it had a bit of a kick. While it didn’t knock me off my feet as I expected, I do have a bit of bruising from the butt striking my arm.

Finally, I got to try the 9mm. It definitely had more kick than the .22, but wasn’t nearly as bad as the 12 gauge. I fired 5 shots and hit 2-3 targets. Below is an image of me celebrating. I was pretty excited. Don’t worry, the magazine was empty.


Even though I grew up in Virginia and have spent a decade in Tennessee, it is only now that I officially feel like a Southerner. While I don’t ever plan to take up hunting, I would like to go shooting again soon. Maybe skeet shooting is next. Anyone have some spare clay pigeons lying around?

Holding a Chicken
MissTrufflesI should also note that Cheryl has a veritable menagerie at her house. She has 2 llamas (both look like they want to kill you, and one will spit on you if you get too close), 2 goats (one of which seems to think she is a dog and desperately wants you to pet her), a dozen or so chickens, 5 cats, and 2 very large dogs. Basically, it is heaven. When we were done shooting Cheryl asked if I would like to hold one of the chickens. There is, of course, only one correct answer to this question.

When I first pictured myself holding a chicken, I envisioned the bird violently rejecting the idea and engulfing me in a cloud of feathers and claws. However, Miss. Truffles (so named for the pretty chocolate brown eggs she lays) was quite calm. She let me hold her and pet her for several minutes and never objected once. I was surprised just how soft and lovable she was.

So I’ve moved from feeding ducks out of my hand to holding a chicken … next step is riding an ostrich.