Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Range

We pile on our gear, familiar as all hell except everything around us is too safe and too green, and we're boarding a school bus. Vile, raunchy conversation spews out of our mouths as Fort Lewis drags past the windows. I see one of the Strykers for the newest unit here and this time around, I'm the experienced vet and they're the new dicks. Just a few months to go, life is great.

The range isn't the usual pop-up target range. It's all on paper targets, fro 25 meters away or something. The size of the silhouette is scaled to the distance or some shit like that. So now, one has to shoot 38 out of 40 o qualify Expert. The plan is to hit that mark as soon a possible and get the hell out.

We grab two 20 round magazines from the ammo shack after our pre-range brief. Set up sandbags. Wait for the command. Slap in a mag. Wait. Flip the switch to semi.


I dot each target twice, nonchalantly. You can't do this shit when you stress about it. Put the red dot on the center of the silhouette and squeeze, let the rifle buck, repeat. On to the next silhouette.

We bring our targets up. My friend hit 40/40 first time. Me? 37.

"Are you fucking KIDDING ME? 37 should be expert, no doubt about it. This is bullshit. Goddammit..."

Two new magazines in my hand, I wait to fire the next iteration. Waiting for the go-ahead.

I squeeze the trigger forty times and when I bring the paper up for grading, its a 38. Awesome. Expert, so I can go now, observe that my weapon is clear and I'll just be on my wa-- Where the fuck is the bus?

My friend caught the bus back to the company area to enjoy some shamming, while I repeatedly qualified expert because we had a metric fuckton of rounds to burn off. Thanks man.

It got to the point where we buddied up in teams, one guy on a knee, the other standing, shooting at one target, going for best team out of 80 rounds. My buddy ol' pal and I won each time with a simple system. The guy on a knee shoots the smaller targets, the guy standing takes the bigger ones, and after the first magazine, we switch. All three times, we win.

When you get the command to fire, all you can really do is get slightly lost in the insanity of gunsmoke and the smell of carbon and the crack and little kick, the dirt kicked up behind the targets, the knowledge that you're spitting lead and death at a fuckload of feet per second. It's ridiculous. It should defy explanation. Good GOD, what the hell are we doing out here? Shooting shadows to prove our competency! LUNACY! HIGH FIVE!!!

We're shooting and spewing profanity and talking about each other's moms. We are demon-spawn wrapped in neo-samurai armor with Oakleys.

Oh, right, the contest. What did we win?

Well, ah...jack shit. A filthy M4 to clean I guess. Fuck it though, another day off my calendar.


BigD said...

Hey Suspect,
Of course you qualified expert! Rock on with your demon spawn self.
Please send picture of you wearing neo-Samurai armour with Oakleys whilst nonchalantly slinging your filthy M4 over your shoulder. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

Anonymous said...

One of nice things about time is that even the Army can't stop it. Time will win.

themorethingschange... said...

"...I repeatedly qualified expert because we had a metric fuckton of rounds to burn off..."

Doesn't the Army understand the term conservation!? Heck no, gotta use this up so we can get just as much next time. *shaking head*

Great to see you settling down, putting one foot in front of other, and getting on with things.

Survival Chick said...

Great post, great blog, I'll be back.

Anonymous said...

I would so love to shoot a gun. It sounds like so much fun!

membrain said...

God DAMN this was a good post, as was the previous one. You're starting to sound like your old self again.

"Good GOD, what the hell are we doing out here? Shooting shadows to prove our competency! LUNACY! HIGH FIVE!!!"

Reminds me of the time a bunch of buddies and I were on the range qualifying with the C 1 Submachine Gun (a Sterling variant) A 9mm close range waepon that we didn't get to shoot all that often because they were rationed and only distributed at the range. (On the other had we kept our peronal weapons, the very leathal 7.62mm FN C 1 Semi-automatic rifle in our LOCKERS!! Which were situated at the foot of our beds. (This is the Canadian Army in the 60's)

Anyhoo, back to the range and the submaqchine gun qualfications. A bunch of us decided deliberately decided not to qualify so that we'd get sent back to qualify at a later date.

We start at the 100 Yard line. Single fire. No problem. 50 Yard line three round bursts again not a problem. The next move was to advance on the target from the from the 25 Yard line with the idea of blowing the shit out of the target which was at the top of a grassy berm.

At this point we just started firing wildly at the berm as we walked towrds it, watching the bullets walk their way up to the target.

So we didn't qualify and they didn't have enough ammo on hand to do it again that day.

What they did do was schedule us to qualify on a SUNDAY in the middle of WINTER.

So they drove the six of us to the range and dropped us off with a Sergeant who was a bit off center. It was FREEZING. Ice covered the ground every where.

We hurried up and qualified real quick because we were freezing our balls off. Like you, we discovered that hurrying din't do any good because the truck was gone and wasn't expected back for an hour.

So the off center Sergeant says, "Look on the bright side" as he opens the ammo trunk and displays enough ammunition for a whole PLATOON.

Turns out Sarge really loved the range. Which he demonstrated by loading a mag into a Sterling and proceeded make patterns in the ice on full auto. He urged us to follow suit.

So there we were, seven guys just blowing the shit out of the ice covered ground. It was glorious. Ice chips exploding in the sunlight. Just like a Peckinpah movie. Good times.

Stay well Suspect. May the wind be always at your back.

FAGGOT! said...

Fuck yeah dude! Sometime I wish I could just fuckin' shoot machine guns all day! Just chew up dirt and scream nonsense at shit, and be irresponsible and safe at the same time, and truly be that dude with the mullet that scares the FUCK out of everyone else who is too afraid to honestly be themselves.

Fuck dude, you can't even act half like yourself without being afraid of what other people will think of you, and THAT is why I think EVERYONE should start referring to themselves as FAGGOT instead of Mr. or Mrs. Won't ever happen though. Oh well, y'all suck cocks, LAWL. Peace out and be real!

Red said...

I have an idea for what to use as your next challenge: turn faggot! into a target....

Seriously, glad to hear you getting back to your old self. I love a chance to get out and blow through a paycheck's worth of ammo :D Rock out with your Glock out.

One day at a time, Suspect, one day at a time.