This story takes place almost 30 years ago when I was a young, very young, college student. I was on a camping trip with a bunch of my fellow students on the Huzzah River in Missouri. The guys heard there was a shooting range close by and decided to go check it out. The girls on the other hand wanted to stay in camp and curl their hair with their butane curling irons and put on makeup. Being a tomboy, I went with the guys.
The shooting range turned out to be pretty simple. Just a couple of mounds with a big burm to shoot into. The fascination of the day turned out not to be the range but the day's visitor. An older gentleman (in those days older meant 30 or, egads, 40), was there with a whole arsenal of firearms. The guys were mesmerized as the gentleman showed them various rifles and handguns.
Being the high day of Dirty Harry and Clint Eastwood, they were especially ga-ga over the .44 Magnum. One bold boy asked if he could give it try. So the gentleman handed the Magnum to him, gave some instructions, and let him shoot.
Lets keep in mind here that a .44 Magnum is a mighty powerful gun. You might even say it has excessive recoil. All the macho college guys wanted to hold it like Harry -- with one hand. Not smart. Each guy stepped up to the mound and took a couple of turns. Each guy missed. Missed by a mile. They couldn't control the power of the gun. They couldn't keep it steady.
Then I, all 95 pounds of me, walked up and meekly asked, "May I try?"
The laughter was deafening. Those guys were having way too much fun at my expense. "Ah, a girl thinks she can shoot a Magnum!" "The gun is bigger than her!" "Yeah, I bet she shoots like a girl!" They were rolling in the grass holding their bellies, they were laughing so hard.
The gentleman, that kind gentleman, said softly but sternly, "Some of the best shooters in the world are women." With that he gently passed the gun to me and whispered some instructions in my ear.
I should say here that I have always been comfortable with guns. My dad is a hunter. I was his fishing buddy but he let me handle his rifle now and then too. I wasn't intimidated at all.
So, I listened to the gentleman carefully, stepped up to the mound, and took a shot. Wow! The power of the Magnum really made me take a step back. The gun flew up and I totally missed. The guys were laughing even harder.
I ignored them and vowed that I'd show them. I steadied myself and stepped up for my second shot. This time, I knew exactly what to expect and I was prepared.
I hit that target dead center. Dead center.
Now the silence from the guys was deafening. They hardly said a word the rest of the trip.
Why yes, I do shoot like a girl!