Adventures in shooting


January 9, 2003, 03:18 PM
Copyright 2003 The News and Observer
The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC)

January 8, 2003 Wednesday, FINAL EDITION

SECTION: LIFE; Pg. E1; Adventures In

LENGTH: 551 words

HEADLINE: Adventures in shooting

BYLINE: Matt Ehlers, Staff Writer


RALEIGH--It didn't take a gun expert to see that Meg Brown
wasn't one -- the unsteady hand gave her away. But 15 or so
minutes into her first shooting lesson, instructor Gene Feeney
turned to her and issued a challenge. Close your eyes. Hold the
.357-caliber revolver in your left hand, insert the ammunition
with the right. Open your eyes. Fire five shots. "It's 2 o'clock in the morning," he said, setting up a
darkened scenario. "You've got it -- a loaded gun. Make it work."

Brown, 26, flashed him an incredulous look. Then she got busy.

"Hurry, Meg! Hurry, Meg! Your life depends on it," Feeney
urged, adding to the suspense.

She loaded. She opened her eyes. She fired. Four bullets hit
the paper target, positioned 9 feet away in the indoor range. She
looked pleased.

Brown came into Personal Defense & Handgun Safety Center Inc.
last week to learn a little something about handguns. It was just
a few weeks ago that she saw a would-be intruder outside her
bedroom window in Raleigh. She scared him away after she flipped
on the lights.

"I'm not a card-carrying member of the NRA or anything like
that," said Brown, a social worker. She's not ready to buy a gun
yet, but firing live ammunition "is kind of an empowering
feeling, I have to say."

The range at PDHSC on Tryon Road is open to beginners like
Brown, as well as experienced marksmen. New shooters have to fill
out an orientation form that quizzes them on gun safety.

Guns "are tools like anything else," said Mike Tilley, who
owns the gun shop/repair center/firing range with his wife,
Carol. They emphasize safety. "We feel if people aren't
responsible with them, we're going to lose these rights in the

You can bring your own or rent guns at the range. Renting a
revolver as Brown did is $ 5; a submachine gun is $ 15. Lane rental
and lessons are extra.

Everyone who enters the range has to wear what Tilley calls
"eyes" and "ears" -- hard plastic glasses and hearing protection.
Then they can pick from a variety of paper targets that feature
standard bull's-eyes to pictures of everything from deer to a bad
guy stealing a woman's purse. Red rings form a target over the
robber's face.

Bob Misita of Morrisville dropped by with his son, Perry
Keithley, and his nephew Joe Sweeney for a little practice.
Perry, 13, had come with his dad to the range before. Joe, 11,
had only shot BB guns and was excited about the opportunity to
fire the genuine article.

Misita brought the boys to teach them to appreciate the
seriousness of firearms. "It's too easy to think of these things
as toys," he said. Video game shoot-'em-ups don't paint a
realistic view of guns. "There's nothing toyish about them."

After he filled out the orientation form, Joe watched as the
others took turns shooting a .22-caliber rifle. He had seen guns
recoil in movies and hoped to feel it in his own hands. "I'm
excited about the kick."

Then he got his opportunity. Peering through the scope, Joe
squeezed the trigger. "It was pretty cool," he said after 10
shots, but the kick wasn't what he expected. As his uncle said,
not everything is as the entertainment industry makes it seem.

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