Sure, maybe it’s not for everyone. But if you’re done bonding with your friends over video games and movies, give shooting a chance this weekend.
#1. Guns are fun. If you’ve never shot one before, you need to. The power in your hands, in the proper setting, is a beautiful thing.
#2. Shooting teaches you to respect guns. Yeah, that power you have in your hands? It’s mesmerizing. Awesome even. And I’m not talking about “Dude, that’s awesome,” I’m talking like the awesome power of Greek gods. Shoot a clay pigeon, watch it explode, and get back to me—you’ll know what I mean.
#3. Noise is bad. Maybe that gun in your hands doesn’t earn your respect, but fire it without ear protection, and I guarantee you’ll respect the noise it makes. If you don’t, your ears will. You know, when they go deaf.
#4. Bruises are good. That 12-guage snuggled down in the nook of your shoulder—we call ours “The Hammer” in my friend group—is gonna bruise you like a sonofabitch. But it hurts so good.
#5. Shooting can be the great equalizer. Played a college sport? You probably can’t hit the broad side of a barn. Least athletic bro in the friend group? You might just surprise everyone.
#6. It’s exhilarating. You can’t really aim when you’re trap or skeet shooting. It’s more like you see the orange clay pigeon, you point, and you shoot, and all of that happens in about a second. Better be alert.
#7. Like pretty much everything else worth doing, friends make it even better. They celebrate with you when you nail 22 out of 25, sure, but their main job is to harass and demoralize you when you throw up a five for 25. But hey, it’s cool, because you then get to be mature and throw it back in their faces when their cold streak comes to town.
#8. Even without your friends, shooting can be an excellent ego check all by itself. Feeling like you’re on top of the world? Just have one bad session with those orange bastards, and you’ll come crashing down. They’ll get in your head, and your shooting will get worse before it gets better.
#9. Ain’t no party like a shooting party. Make no mistake, you don’t drink while shooting guns—that’s a recipe for disaster: think millions of little craters in your body. But after? It’s time for beer, cigars, beer, campfires, beer, and lewd stories. Also, beer.
#10. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Be it trap, skeet, sporting, pistol, or rifle shooting, there’s something for everyone. When you’re having a bad day shooting things that move, there’s nothing quite like shooting something stationary with a rifle. Or a pistol. Or whatever.
#11. In almost every case, pranks with guns involved are a big no-no. But if you have a friend with his shooting v-card intact, I’d highly recommend giving him blanks. All you have to do is kick back and watch his face slowly turn a deep shade of purple, as he misses shot…after shot…after shot…after shot. Bonus points if you’re able to keep a look of concern on your face.
#12. When shooting a rifle or pistol, proper targets are great, but soda cans are better. Depending on the target, you can either knock it down or see how close you came to the bull’s-eye. That’s a big check in the fun department, don’t get me wrong. But put a Coke can out there? BOOM. Undeniable evidence of your shooting prowess, plus, a big check in the badass department. Gold star if you then drink whatever’s left.
#13. You better make damn sure you clean your guns afterwards. When I was younger, I was taught it was necessary to decrease the chance of accidents. Now, I realize cleaning taught me to care for and respect guns in a different way, which in turn makes me more attentive to other items I own today.
#14. Don’t forget glasses, earplugs, cleaning equipment, and shells and/or bullets. If you do, you’re gonna have a bad time.
#15. Let’s face it: guys name things. No, I’m not going to elaborate. Suffice it to say naming the guns you use is pretty entertaining. The next step, of course, is carrying on a conversation with someone who knows their names, in front of people who don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Example: I was doing well with “The Hammer” today, but “The Judge” was pissing me off.
Tolly Taylor is a regular contributor to BroBible.