So today I had the most Grizwald day possible. I’m sure everyone has had a bad day or two but my family is notorious for just everything going wrong. The other day we went to see “Alexander and terrible, horrible, no good very bad day” (I recommend it if you are also an honorary Grizwald) and my girlfriend and I laughed the loudest because that’s our every day (no really, we laughed so loud and hard our eldest was embarrassed to be sitting next to us!)
A shining example of that would have to be today. I went out to the range with my unit for my monthly drill this weekend. Zeroing went without a hitch but there must have been something in the air today.
To qualify, you have to hit 23 out of 40 pop up targets ranging from 50 meters all the way to 300. To put how hard this is in context, I only go to the range once a year and even out of the infantry soldiers who go more often, no one scored a perfect 40. You fire 20 laying down bracing your arm (prone supported). 10 laying down without a brace (prone unsupported) and 10 kneeling. After every completed 40 shots, they call over the PA system if you scored marksman (23-29), sharpshooter (30-35) or expert (36-40). Or they just say nothing if you failed.
For my first try, the 100 meter target would not drop, I know I’m not the best shot in the world but when you can see the spray behind the target and no registered hit, you know there is a problem. We also fired 20 rounds wearing our gas masks. I can’t wear glasses with the mask, the strap to tighten it down broke in my hand, putting it on knocked out my ear plug which I did not notice until after my first round was shot and the mask fogged the second I put the it on.
I wouldn’t say those in charge didn’t believe me, but they let 3 more people try that lane and fail before they closed it.
For my second attempt, the new firing lane didn’t have a sand bag so I stupidly used one of the infantry’s little firing stand for first firing position. I missed most of the first 20 and my weapon jammed when I moved the stand out if my way. I missed passing by a lot!
For my third attempt, I asked an expert, professional shooter to watch me fire so he could tell me what to do or what I was doing wrong. I was doing fair-ish, until we got to the second position. It’s 10 rounds, 10 targets but for some reason I only had 9 rounds which I didn’t realize until my weapon clicked empty just as the final, near by and easy target jumped up. I joked to my instructor, how twisted would it be if I actually did miss it by 1 point because I was short on ammo….
I missed it by one point because I was short on ammo!
Being a true alarmist, I was trying not to freak out and failing. As a student on the military’s dime, if I can’t pass, I lose all my money. I could just hear myself explaining to my kids why christmas was so sucky, cause I couldn’t hit the damn target, sure I was so cold I was shaking and I’d been out there all day but damn if I wasn’t going again!
Determined, I went, got more ammo, collected my coach and went right back to the same lane.
Attempt 4 began and ended so fast but when the smoke cleared my coach looked at me and said “I think you got it”.
My hands started shaking, either with adrenaline, exhaustion, or relief and I waited for them to call my hoped for 23 points.
Finally: “Lane 7, 30 sharpshooter!”
I failed 3 times to get one of the higher scores in my little unit!
At least it didn’t snow! Blood Maria’s at my house to recover when drill is done!