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I Get to Shoot Guns for Real

By Lexi Revellian @LexiRevellian
I get to shoot guns for realI get to shoot guns for real
Guns appear in three of my novels so far, so when I was offered a place on the Goldsmiths' Company team on the 7 Rifles Livery Range Day I leapt at the opportunity to fire pistols and rifles with live ammunition. I knew I wouldn't be much of an asset to the team, never having fired a gun - but then most of the other liverymen had little or no experience either.

The event took place at Sandhurst. It's huge - roads run between various buildings and ranges, set in beautiful woodland with flitting butterflies and pine cones underfoot. All the soldiers were charming and helpful and seriously fit. On the range we wore ear defenders, protective glasses, helmets and body armour, presumably in case one of us turned out to be a really, really bad shot and randomly hit a fellow liveryman.

Glocks are heavier and larger than the die cast toy gun I sprayed black for the cover of Wolf by the Ears, and with a much heftier kick when fired than I'd imagined. The rounds are beautiful, like jewellery, and so are the empty cartridge cases, shiny brass glittering in the grass. No wonder it occurred to my grandfather to make a bell from cartridges during WW1, which I still have.

I get to shoot guns for real
It is trickier to hit a target than you might think; the hardest part is holding the weapon steady while you line up the sights or cross hairs and squeeze the trigger. Did you know rifle sights are adjusted to suit the individual, so a sniper will be less accurate if not using his own weapon? I did my best shots with a rifle, lying prone, all five holes within a few centimetres of a target the size of a postage stamp (admittedly from close range). I regret not taking a photo before the nice soldier teaching me pasted paper over the holes ready for my next attempt while kneeling. 
My team came second, making us terribly proud of ourselves.

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