Vignette:Shooting Range Studies

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Shooting Range Studies

Avarino Army Research Centre, Avarino, Imperial State of Alva
November 10th, 1987

lissavet gingerly opens the cardboard box of ammunition with the grace of a surgeon; she doesn’t plan on spilling a hundred rounds of 9mm Francke on the floor of the shooting range again, lest she brings on the wrath of her supervisor. She can hear faint sighs of relief behind her as she begins loading the magazine in her other hand with individual bullets.

The magazine is unusually thick; it’s a prototype double-stack design for an equally new prototype service pistol. She almost stops at the eighth round before catching herself and reaching for another round. The magazine spring is stiff and unyielding, owing to its mint condition. The sweet smell of burnt gunpowder slowly wafts into her nose as she tops off the magazine with the sixteenth round.

The wooden grip panels of the pistol feel familiar; the grip she holds on the pistol is not. She slides the magazine cleanly into the bottom of the pistol, slamming her hand into the magazine plate one more time to make sure it’s firmly latched in. She feels for the serrated grooves on the rear of the slide and racks it back with some force, feeling the pistol rock forward from the inertia as it slides back into position. She steadies herself, spreading her legs apart and leaning forward. Her arms lurch out, holding the pistol at eye height. Aiming for centre mass, she contracts her trigger finger.

The trigger pull isn’t as mushy as she remembered it to be. The added weight of eight more bullets and a wider pistol design throws her off a little. The magazine hasn’t shot out of the gun into the floor of the shooting range unlike last time, which is a plus. She pulls it again and again.

Bang. The muzzle flash is dim at best.

Bang. The spent casings are flying out in front of her.

Bang. The muffled sound of gunshots reverb across the range.

She presses the trigger for the sixteenth time. The bullet flies across the length of the range, penetrating the paper target thirty metres away directly in the middle of it. The slide locks back with a satisfying clink as the casing arcs out, hitting the wall. She slips the magazine out of the grip with a press of the heel, placing it on the table in front of her before checking the chamber twice. She racks the chamber one last time and flicks the selector switch to safe before placing it down alongside the empty magazine.

She hides her smirk poorly; she doesn’t need to bring the target closer to see that she’s hit her mark all sixteen times.

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