Sitting around Christmas evening, I got an email from a friend who was arranging a trip to the range for Friday morning. He had included a few fellow parishioners from our church as well. The temperature was expected to be in the unseasonable 50's the next day, making the range trip all the more attractive.
The morning dawned cool, my car dashboard read 30° when I left the house, and the frost was thick on the ground. When I arrived at the range one friend and his son were already there but surprisingly no one else was using any of the ranges. Very soon, two more friends arrived, one also with his young son. Everyone set up their targets, we loaded guns, and got quickly to the shooting to work off the chill.
We shot for just over an hour. There was a lot of camaraderie and friendly banter. There was a variety of firearms on the bench so it was also a good chance shoot some different guns. I took the opportunity to try out another SIG I had never shot, a P229 in .40. Everyone was most generous in sharing, as gun folks generally are.
I've known all of the guys, and their sons, for a long time, but had only shot with one of them previously. I was very pleased, but not surprised, to see everyone was very conscientious regarding muzzle awareness and safety in general, even the kids. The head Range Officer had been sitting in his car watching us for a long time and after I finished, I went over to talk to him. The first thing he said was "I love sitting and watching a group of shooters all being safe and doing what they are supposed to do." That was indeed a compliment coming from him.
There's already talk of making this an annual "Day After Christmas" event, and perhaps we can expand the event to include more of our fellow parishioners. (And of course, making it more frequent would be welcome too.) I look forward to shooting with these guys again. Catholic and armed, my kind of people!