Written on Sunday, June 24, 2012 by Ann-Marie Murrell
I’m a 5th generation Texan. I come from strong pioneer stock; my ancestors were in all of the major wars, and the only meat in my grandparent’s freezer was whatever my grandfather had shot and killed.
My mother lost part of her hearing shooting a copperhead.
And yet for whatever reason, I had never shot a gun—until this week, when we filmed a new “This Chick is Packin’” episode of PolitiChicks at Stoddard’s Range and Gun in Douglasville, Georgia.
Our instructor for the day was the owner of Stoddard’s, Michael Halbreich, who was sort of like the Willie Wonka of gun lovers and gave us free-reign in his wonderful store.
“Choose anything you like,” Michael told us, which made our hard-core gun-loving Chicks Sonnie Johnson, Gina Loudon and Morgan Brittany go nuts.
In honor of the years I worked on the TV show “Sledge Hammer”, I chose our PolitiChick friend Kent Thelen’s 357-magnum.
Sonnie chose an AK-47:
Gina chose a Tommy gun:
And Morgan chose a gun that was almost as tall as she is (sorry, can’t remember the name of it):
Michael was the perfect instructor for me. After a quick test, he determined that although I’m right-handed, my left eye is dominant (which apparently makes it more difficult to aim). He taught me all the basics, including, of course, to always assume a gun is loaded and to never point it at anyone.
I couldn’t wait to start.
When we went into the shooting range I was surprised that despite wearing headphones it was still amazingly loud. I have to say, I’m someone who is afraid of very little in life. I’ll hold any snake, will stand on the edge of a cliff and would walk straight up to Nancy Pelosi with a video camera and microphone without breaking a sweat—but I am strangely, deathly afraid of balloons. It’s not the actual balloon but rather the anticipation of the POP that freaks me out. So being in the gun range felt much the same—I never knew when the next gun would fire and started anticipating it.
I felt especially silly because all my co-Chicks were already experts and not ONE of them was flinching the way I was.
Still, I was very excited to finally celebrate my 2nd Amendment rights so I sucked it up, pretended I was deaf, and fired my first gun—a Beretta-nano.
(Note: After posting this picture on my Facebook page, I received a few critiques from some of my die-hard gun experts—including the fact that I was leaning too far back and that my thumbs seemed to be in the wrong place…)
If I felt silly flinching before about the sound, I felt like the biggest dork on earth when every time I shot I screamed and jumped up and down like an idiot. The adrenaline was amazing—the power inside such a tiny metal thing.
By the end of the day, I shot an AK-47, a Desert Eagle and lots more.
The other girls were brilliant marksmen. Sonnie Johnson was especially good at “grouping” but all of them were excellent and I was impressed that they each knew the names of every single gun in the entire shop.
I have a long, long way to go to ever even come near the shooting skills of my co-PolitiChicks—but I’m going to have lots of fun trying!