Day 22 – Boom Bang a Bang

8th July 2018

Even before coffee I went straight to the saddlebag shop. I was fully expecting a row, but of course they couldn’t have been nicer. The guy in charge said the bags had been miss labelled, it was another set of the same make but different design that were on special offer but he said it’s no problem we will sell them to you at the reduced cost as it’s our mistake. Pretty fabulous in my book… just outstanding customer service. I got the difference returned to my credit card. Thank you Cycle Gear of Albuquerque.

On my way to Starbucks I spot Calibers the gun range people… right I’m going there after coffee.

My tattoo is still a bit sore this morning, but I am following the instructions from Bryso, my tattooist and my mate Gill aka Badger who is the tattoo goddess. It’s not scabbing or itching yet so think that’s a good sign.

I take the opportunity of the great WiFi in here to check out the balloon trips, I can get a ticket for tomorrow morning at 5.45am eek! Ok done, I’ll have to get up at 4!! Quick chat with Glo on FaceTime and then it’s off to the gun range. I want to check out the prices and if it’s doable than when can I book some range time.

It’s a very modern facility and they’ve got a LOT of guns… wow, I’ve never seen so many in one room, not even in the RAF armoury where I was stationed.

And this one is especially interesting

Obviously a collectors piece.

I talk to one of the staff, a chap called Matt. He is very helpful. He shows me the gun I can rent after asking me about my experience. It a 9mm pistol, very similar to the browning I have fired in the past. Ok when can I book the range for. Oh you can have it now if you want… yes absolutely! The range fee is $20 and the pistol hire is $22 including a box of 40 rounds. That’s great, let’s go for it… and can I also fire a revolver. Matt only has two revolvers for hire, one is a 4″ barrel and a 6″ which is enormous. He explains that the 4″ is out on the range at the moment. That’s fine, says I, it might be available later. He asks me which target I want to buy… definitely not a human or animal, just a normal target please.

He kits me out with protective glasses and ear defenders, hands me a box with the gun in it… it’s surprisingly light, and a box of ammo. We then enter a safety chamber where we have to wait for the outer door to lock before the other staff release the door into the range. It is incredibly noisy, I haven’t put my ear defenders on yet and the sound of other people firing is tremendous. Matt tells me I must wear the protective gear at all times on the range… I’m not bloody surprised!

I am in lane 15 and Matt comes with me to explain how to load the gun. He also puts the target up for me and after I have loaded about 10 rounds into the magazine I am ready to shoot. I must say I am rather nervous not having shot for over 30 years but soon get into the swing of it. I manage to hit the target with all the rounds, no misses and several bullseyes 🎯 Matt is very impressed, he said that was damn good shooting… I am walking on air 😌

Here’s Matt… he’s fantastic

He says… do you want to try a rifle? Oh, yes please… I am like a schoolgirl in a knicker shop… he takes me back out into the shop and shows me the rifle selection… I have no idea, the last rifle I shot is nothing like what they have now so I ask him to choose. He picks one that has a suppressor attached, apparently this is the only country where it is legal to put a silencer on a semi automatic rifle so this is a unique opportunity for me to fire this weapon. Ok let’s go… oh, oh there’s a problem, the telescopic sight is battery operated and the battery is dead, so Matt goes on search of a replacement. They don’t have one… not to worry says I, it doesn’t matter I’m just having a go with it, I’m not bothered about the sight.

I pay for the hire, but he gives me the rounds for free as the sight is broken, very good methinks. We go back on the range and he quickly loads the magazine for me. There is nothing to line up the gun on the target because the sight has no battery so the first few shots are wide. Matt explains that I shouldn’t see any of the barrel through the sight and that improves the aiming.

Even though it was silenced it still sounded pretty loud to me. Only one bullseye, but some good grouping… again Matt is impressed especially with the sight not working… I’m proud..

Finally it’s the revolver, unfortunately the 4″ is still out, but the 6″ is available. Well I’m on a roll now, let’s go… out with the credit card again. Matt says, how about the ammo, .357 magnum do ya… oh yes, I do think so…. wow!

This is the dogs… it’s quite heavy and the round is very large… this is a serious killing machine.

Matt asks me if I want him to video me… oh yes please, I wish I’d done it with the other two, but never mind.

This gun is hard work… I have to cock the gun each time with my left hand because the trigger is very stiff, cocking it makes the trigger very light and I do fire a couple of times before I have taken aim, by mistake… so annoying. The results are very good, but the gun has hurt my hand so I didn’t enjoy this one as much, however, I wouldn’t have missed it… I have had a fantastic time….wow, wow.

Here’s my target with the magnum…

What Matt didn’t know was I need glasses and was wearing contact lenses, but with the contacts I only actually wear one in my left eye, so I’m half blind really… not bad shooting for a bat, an old bat at that 🤣

While I am there I have a look around the shop and see this…

When I was talking to Bryso the tattooist we discussed guns and knives. One thing he said was that in this country if you don’t carry a gun then carry a knife, everyone does. I did actually carry a knife on my belt all the way round the states in 2016, it’s at home as a souvenir of my trip. I have been thinking about getting one for this trip and I spot this for $22, a bargain. When I take it to the counter a young woman serves me and tells me all about her knife that she immediately whips out of her pocket. It’s a large flick knife, she shows me the flick mechanism, it’s a button that allows one to expose the blade with one hand. She is especially pleased that she got $100 off. So there you have it, everyone carries a knife here. The law is that the knife blade should not be longer than the palm of your own hand… oops! No one seems to worry too much if your knife is too long.

Ok, the guns over… I have to get back to the hostel, do my laundry and pack my bags… speaking of bags, I need to take the lockable brackets off the broken bags and transfer them to the new ones… it’s going to be a late night.

On the way it begins to rain… I get a bit wet, but it’s hot and the rain is warm so not too bad. I spot this Starbucks drive in so stop for a coffee and wait for the rain to ease off.

I get back to the hostel and I notice loads of hot rods driving up and down the road. It seems to be mostly young Latino men in customised older cars from the 50s and 60s, some of which have air bag suspension so they can rapidly raise and lower their front and rear ends and make them bounce… really quite spectacular. By the time I have got my camera they have gone and the light is fading. I just about manage to catch this one as it whizzed past.

My washing is finished by 9.30 so I get my tools and sort out the bags. I don’t get to bed until 1.30am… I got to be up in 2 and a half hours… groan.

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