It began with a conversation with my husband.
We were talking about an article I had just read about gun sales being up, and that morphed into me saying I wanted to shoot a gun someday.
My husband has taken our youngest son to a gun range a few times, so he suggested we visit a local one. I phoned ahead to see if someone could show us around and give me a quick lesson.
We met with Jason Mathews, manager of Bulls Eye Marksman Gun Club. The club, locally owned by Forsyth County resident Doug Clayton, has been open for seven years.
Jason couldn’t have been more helpful. Having grown up with a dad in the gun business, he was already someone familiar with guns and enjoyed shooting them. Jason has spent the past 10 years selling guns and teaching people how to properly use them.
Safety is a priority at Bulls Eye. The range offers numerous classes for beginners, as well as those who are proficient. Jason said there are probably 25 different classes, so there’s something for everyone.
And ladies are definitely welcome. Jason said his classes are about half women and half men. One student is a 78-year-old woman who owns and shoots a Glock.
I learned much from Jason in a short time.
For more than an hour Jason explained the mental aspects of shooting. He emphasized the importance of learning how to manage and control yourself.
"If you are in a situation where you pull your gun out, you need to be prepared for what may happen next," he said.
He even did a few drills showing how he could disarm me before I could shoot.
"I am very interested in helping people master techniques," he said. "First you learn the basics, and then the concepts build on each other."
After listening to Jason and learning so much about shooting, laws and a myriad other things, it was time for me to actually fire a gun.
I wasn’t really nervous as he loaded the bullets. A Glock, it looked like my son’s air soft gun.
Jason gave me some "eyes" (glasses) and "ears" (earmuffs) for protection, handed me a paper target and we headed into the range.
Still not nervous, I learned how to properly hold the gun, how to aim, etc.
Then, Jason aimed at the target and pulled the trigger.
I jumped. Now I was nervous.
I wasn’t expecting it to be so loud. I was thinking firecrackers, not a sonic boom. I wasn’t ready for the fire and the shell falling, and the smell of gun powder.
I was really not ready when a steady stream of people (men, women and even children) came in with their satchels of artillery. Nothing could have prepared me when the gentleman next to me started shooting a gun twice as loud as mine.
So, was I able to overcome my anxiety and shoot? Well, I did fire the gun four or five times, and, yes, I did manage to hit the target. But the noise unnerved me and I was shaking on those last few shots.
I was struck by the camaraderie in the club, and also by how many women were there. During our visit, there were easily as many women in the club as men.
If you want to try something different, check out the shooting range.
Adlen Robinson is author of "Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home." E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.