Shooting guns in Holliston, Massachusetts? A BLAST!

A few weeks ago, I attended a meeting of the Mystery Writers of America’s New England Chapter in Holliston, Massachusetts, for the express purpose of learning about guns.

I’m a member of MWA NE, but hardly ever get to go to meetings, and those of you who live in Maine know why.  One way, it’s a four hour drive from where I live in Camden, and without a place to stay at night, it makes for a L O N G day.  But sometimes I “bite the bullet” (am I really saying that in this post??) and get in the car.

And that Saturday, I was glad that I did, because it was a fascinating experience.

Steve Ulfelder, President of MWA NE, arranged for a group of us to meet at Mass Firearms School for a course and time on the firing range. Our teacher – James Wise —  gave us a fairly detailed safety class, and then we shot laser guns to practice our grips and stance. 

We split into groups (I was with Barbara Ross’ husband Bill Carito) and headed into the range, first donning safety glasses and ear protection. 

We shot revolvers, rifles, and semi automatics – 22 caliber first, and then 45 caliber later.  We had one-on-one training with a Mass Firearms instructor at the range.

Here are a few things I learned, thanks to James:

* Focus on the front site

* Allow the trigger shot to be a surprise

* the Glock is the most common government-issued firearm

* 15 yards is the maximum distance you could really shoot someone in self-defense.

I shot the high caliber guns, but I can’t say I really liked it. (I’m not giving up my ukulele to start shooting guns.)  The feeling, however, was amazing! The sheer power emanating from the semi automatic – what a rush!  It really did blow me away.  (sorry….)

I didn’t try the rifle – too much kickback for small frames, but I got back in my car a happy writer. I learned a lot, I enjoyed the camaraderie of the group and I brought back some cool targets.

In short — a blast!

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13 Responses to Shooting guns in Holliston, Massachusetts? A BLAST!

  1. Vicki, thanks for a fascinating view of shooting. I did a similar class one year with the Mystery and Suspense Chapter of RWA. I even tried out an assault rifle. You’re wise not to have tried the rifle. My shoulder bruises took days to go away..

  2. Interesting post, Vicki. Scary to think of you as armed and dangerous! My husband, the retired probation/parole officer and former deputy sheriff, taught me to shoot years ago in our back yard on the theory that if there was going to be a gun in the house I ought to know how to use it. I agree, but I’m happiest staying far away from firearms, both in my books and in real life.


    • I don’t see myself becoming armed and dangerous anytime soon, but it was fascinating to try it — and very humbling to get a sense of a gun’s power.

      • Just occurred to me–I should add that my “back yard” is 25 wooded acres in the middle of nowhere, so that target practice I did did not put the neighbors in any danger! For safety most folks, especially those who live in cities, should only practice shooting guns at a gun club or practice range.

  3. Vicki, We are glad you enjoyed your time with us. Be sure to visit us again if you ever find yourself in our neck of the woods.

  4. Great post, Vicki. I got a concealed handgun permit several years ago because I write about guns and I knew 0 about them. I don’t go as often as I should to practice. If you have one in the house, you really need to be proficient in the use of it. Your comment about the 15 yards was interesting. Did you mean that by law in Maine, if you shoot someone from farther than 15 yards, you can’t claim self-defense? I just counted and from my bedroom door to the front door is approximately 12 feet, So I guess I’d be okay to shoot them. Geez, it’s just so darn unsettling to picture that sort of thing, but now-a-days (and I’m in a “safe” one-way-in-one-way out neighborhood with multiple break-ins happening), you have to. Thanks for info. Let’s all be safe.

    • Hi Marsha,
      the 15 yards had nothing to do with laws, but more to do with how accurate you would be, under stress, defending yourself.

      And I agree with you about the practice. James said once a month was sufficient, and that even holding the unloaded gun and aiming, etc, could count.

  5. Barb Ross says:

    Bill had a good day shooting, too. I was amazed at how good he was, based on the targets he brought home.

  6. karla whitney says:

    When I got back to Maine, my husband asked what I learned at the shooting range.
    Guns. Cool designs, unbiased power. Physical size, gender, bank balance – none of these things matter. A gun provides instant tough. Fun and deadly, a double-edged sword, a conflict of senses that I found unsettling…and valuable as a writer. I’m glad I went!
    It was nice meeting you there Vicki – opportunity to tell you in person how much I enjoy this blog. Diverse contributors, insights, humor and POV’s are a source of inspiration. Thank you Maine Crime Writers.

    • SO glad to hear from you Karla!! I enjoyed meeting you as well, and hope we will connect again soon in person.

      I totally agree about guns and the “instant tough.” To pull it off, however, I would have to pretend to be someone very different than I am… a Doberman Dame rather than my Blonde Lab persona! Luckily I can just come up with tough gal characters….

      Thanks again for writing and hope we hear from you again soon!

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