After 22+ years as an Army wife, now as a not-Army wife, as a civilian, I finally got a day at the range! Dave retired from the Army, after 32 years of service, in September. This April he started a government job supporting the military here in Germany, but as a civilian. No uniform. No rank. More Army than ever before!

Before Dave was Psychological Operations, now he’s in the Action Jackson unit! Let me tell you, while all Army men are in good shape, these guys are in GREAT shape! It’s like the Chippendale unit of the Army. You’ve heard of dirty old men? That’s me. But for girls. Dave’s new unit is drool worthy. Exactly what I need in my silver years to keep me young inside.

This week it was bring-your-spouse-to-work day. We got to do what the guys get to do every day. Well, some of it. They didn’t let me blow anything up (much to my disappointment). I did get to shoot both a M4 rifle and a Glock 17. If I’d been a better shot, I could’ve made it over to the sniper range & given that a go too. And we did get to see them blow things up.

We signed in at the gate, signed waivers, and got free earplugs. Elly, Boo’s daughter, came with me. My kids are on summer break schedule and were snoring at home when we left. Elly geeked out over her earplugs and fiddled with them in & out of her ears. They finally wound up out of her ears, being squished between her fingers, while we waited for the demo on our schedule.

“Should I put my earplugs in?” Elly asked. I noped. I thought the demo was how to hold a gun. Nope. I was wrong! The demo was two teams of Chippendales racing in on humvee’s, up on the rails like true bad asses, jumping in, blowing the door, throwing flashbangs & catching the bad guys. It was loud & spectacular. Earplugs would have been a good thing. Luckily fingers are a good substitute.

After the demo, we headed over to the range. There were 4 ranges open to choose from, we headed over to the M4 range first. The M4 is a beautiful weapon with a super cool light up target/sighting thingy. That little red light points where you need to shoot, and boom! Target hit. I was really nervous holding a big gun like that. We had a safety briefing. We were taught how to handle the weapon. Where the safety is. Where our fingers & hands go. I felt very comfortable & secure with it in my hands. Almost natural.

My worry escalated before the first shot. Those suckers are heavy! I was worried I’d pull the trigger and go flying backwards. I was worried about landing on my backside, and people laughing, but I was also worried about the kick to my shoulder. I’d heard all about the kicks weapons give. In my mind, I’d equated it with a kick from a horse. Something else I’m not a fan of.

I needn’t have worried. The kick from an M4 is gentle. The hard part about shooting an M4 is holding up the barrel. That puppy weighs a metric ton! My left arm still feels like a bowl of jello after cradling that baby. The M4 can switch from semi-automatic (and I only shot one bullet at a time on that setting), to full-automatic. I choose not to go full metal jacket. I was worried it would run away with me. I regret this. I heard other wives shooting on full auto. I missed out.

Elly really wanted to shoot a pistol, so we went to the steel range next. I got pretty excited here. Steel means you shoot at steel that makes a satisfying “ping” when you hit the target. Elly pinged away but I was a terrible shot, despite four magazines full of bullets, I hit the target maybe eight times? When the zombie apocalypse hits, you are going to want to be with me. I’m going to shoot & miss & occupy the zombies as lunch while you get away.

Please note: our seats are PAST the “danger to life” sign!

Me shooting a Glock 17… mostly into the zombie’s legs.

This is a very sad target. I did not kill the zombie. I am lunch.

Elly has the Glock down pat.

Elly braved a ride in the zippy, buzzy, go-cart tank. These suckers fly!

Red flag. Live range. Be cautious.

Me & the M4. I am a bad ass!

I hit the target every time. I need cool red lights to help me find my mark.

Elly & the M4.