For me it starts with my range bag (just an old ACP backpack style bag that was issued to me from one of earlier combat deployments). After I pull it out from the closet I, begin going over a mental checklist and start filling my bag with various items from around the spare room where I store almost all of my firearms gear and equipment. Stapler. Check. Ammo. Check. Ear pro(tection). Check. Targets. They’re in the truck. The list goes on until my range bag is so full I can hardly zip it closed. Once everything has been accounted for I proceed out the front door and into my Toyota Tundra, my war rig, my big 'ol pickup truck.
This time of the year on the East Coast it’s cold. On my 25 minute casual drive to the public range I blast the heat and not the music. Just a quiet drive alone with my thoughts and I begin to pray. “Dear Lord, thank you for loving me.” It’s a common way I open up to my God. After all, I’m aware that I’m (just like every human being) not an easy person to love, and I fully deserve God’s judgement. When I acknowledge that, and I remember that God loves me so much He sent His only Son into the world to make a way for me to have a right relationship with Him, then I am overcome with a grateful heart. I continue in prayer with praise and worship. Then I cast my anxieties on Him (1 Peter 5:7). My stress begins to alleviate.
As I cross the single lane bridge to access the public range I strain my ears to identify any shooting. No shots. Awesome. Then, as I enter the dirt parking lot, I glance around for any other vehicles. No vehicles. I have the range to myself. More stress lifts from my heavy heart. I might even start whistling.
I got the Tundra unpacked and my gear spread out over the table located on the firing line. Today I’m sighting in my new Leupold VX-R 1-4x Patrol riflescope. I purchased it by taking advantage of a 50% off coupon that I received while attending a firearms course by Runenation, LLC. (Whenever you attend one of their courses, each participant receives several coupons for multiple businesses.) I take my rifle out of the rifle bag, clear it, lock the bolt to the rear, put the weapon on safe, and lay it on the table pointing downrange.
After I pick up a target and my stapler I start walking down to the 50 yard line. I take my time as I look up and appreciate the blue skies and cold, fresh, crisp, winter air. “Lord, you set up kings and kingdoms. You are Sovereign. Jesus is King.” The more I focus on how big my God is, the more I realize how small my problems actually are. More stress goes away.
As I get comfortable in my seat at the table I take my empty 30 round magazine and nonchalantly load 3 rounds of 5.56 (55 grain) FMJ into it. Then I insert my mag into the mag well and press that bolt release, slinging the bolt forward as it chambers the first round. I have an LWRC M6-IC in Patriot Brown. She’s beautiful. I don my ear pro and use my range bag to rest my rifle on as I get low and ready to fire. With my cheek on the buttstock I look into the riflescope. Man, the clarity on this glass is impressive. My right hand enfolds the pistol grip as my thumb pushes that selector switch from safe to fire with a barely audible click. My finger slowly enters the guard and touches the Velocity Triggers 4lb trigger. Deep breath. Exhale. Pause. Squeeze. Bang.
After two more shots I put the weapon on safe, eject the magazine, doff my ear pro, and just sit. I replay all 3 of my shots in my head using a systematic checklist. Breathing was good. Sight picture sight alignment was good. Trigger squeeze was good. I’m feeling pretty good about those shots!
Since I don’t have a spotting scope I take a walk down to the 50 yard line to check my target. Well, I’ll be. I’m looking at 3 holes with a spread no wider than the diameter of a 25 cent piece 3 inches high and 2.5 inches to the left. Great grouping!
The snow crunches under my feet every step back to the firing line and the cold air begins to sting my cheeks. Range therapy is turning out to be mighty effective. “God, thank you for loving me.”