He purchased the gun from Bullseye, in Puyallup, and discovered at the same time that they have an indoor range, with about 12 "stalls"
One Sunday afternoon that fall, he invited me to go with him. He figured that I should at least know how the weapon worked and fire it a few times. I was less than enthused, but decided to go anyway. After all, I'd played with capguns my entire childhood, so why should I be afraid of a real gun?
We got to Bullseye and I was provided with protective goggles and big honkin' ear protectors. Quite the fashion statement, let me tell ya.
The store manager assigned us to a stall, and pointed us in the right direction. To enter the gun range, you go through a door into what I decribe as "an airlock", just a dark, little vestibule with carpeting on all the walls, and one door into the shop, and another door into the range. Brian strode confidentally to our assigned stall, with me trailing half-heartedly along behind him, unsure of what to expect. He took his position at the little ledge/table and began to load his gun. I, meanwhile, tried to make myself as small as humanly possible, by folding my arms tightly, and squeezing in next to him, on his left side.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that there were only maybe 2-3 other occupied stalls in the entire range, the manager placed us next to Dirty Harry. He was firing a freakin cannon in the stall to the left of us, and hot, spent shells were raining down on my head and shoulders. Brian didn't notice at first because he was excited to squeeze off a few rounds. Meanwhile, I'm starting to sweat profusely from nerves and discomfort. It was so bad that my goggles fogged up and I couldn't see.
Brian turns to me and asks if I'd like to try shooting. I shook my head "no", arms still folded tightly across my chest, the smell of my singed hair thick in the air (OK, I just added that last part for dramatic effect). I shook my head again. He said, "C'mon, just shoot it once, OK? Just once." So I reluctantly took the gun from him and stood at the shooting ledge. He pointed at the target down range and told me how to hold my hand steady, aim and squeeze the trigger. Mind you, my goggles are still fogged up and I can't see the damn target. So I shut my eyes, turned my head, shot the gun, and dropped it on the ledge, and resumed my arms-folded-tightly-across-my-chest position.
Not unkindly, he said to me, "Would you like to wait outside?" and I nodded "yes" furiously. I turned and bolted towards the door into the airlock. As I entered, I couldn't see the door to the store because my goggles were fogged up. So I'm standing in the airlock, pounding on the walls with my palms like a crazed mime doing the "caught in a box" routine, till I found the door. I stumbled into the store, and whip off my goggles and ear protection. The manager was chatting with a Washington State Patrol officer at the counter, and they both stopped in mid-sentence and looked at me, somewhat amused. I slammed the goggles and ear protex on the counter and looked up at them with my bright red, sweaty face. The manager said, "Are you alright?" and I said, "That is so not for me...I'm just gonna go sit down over there for a bit and wait for my husband."
And that is the story of my first experience shooting a gun.