This company has multiple locations in Illinois and other states as well.
The first thing I want to mention is that I do not own a gun. I don’t have a desire to own one. I do not have a FOID (Firearm Owners Identification) card. I have just always wanted to learn to shoot a gun. Knowledge is power – or so they say.
When I mentioned this to my cousin Chris, he immediately offered to go with us to a shooting range and to provide us with some basic safety training. Chris has had his FOID card for 22 years. He worked in a gun shop for 5 years. He owns multiple guns and brought them all over for us to learn about. So, he knows his sh*t. Some of the key elements he taught us were how to properly hold a gun (and where to point it) when you first pick it up, how to load/unload the magazine (look at me talking shop here!), and most importantly, how to turn the safety on/off.
The handguns that Chris showed us were (clockwise from the top right): Springfield Armory model 1911 custom built .45 caliber, Colt Python. 357 caliber 6″ barrel, H&K model USP9 9mm caliber, Glock gen4 model 19 9mm caliber, Smith&Wesson model 22-a .22long rifle cal., and a Sig Sauer model p239 .40 cal
He also had a couple of rifles to show us (top to bottom): Daniel Defense model DDM4V7 5.56 NATO caliber and a Sig Sauer model MPX with red dot sight 9mm caliber.
He’s a pretty cool guy to know.
Once we got to the shooting range, I was able to get in with my driver’s license as long as I was entering with someone who has a FOID card. This location did not require that I be trained by someone on their staff, although they do offer that (and other classes) if you don’t have someone like I did to show you the basics.
Pricing varies by location. The Hodgkins range charges $19.99 per hour for one shooting bay. They allow two people in each bay, but you need to pay $7.99 for the second shooter. They also have a date night package (seriously) on Friday nights for two shooters for only $16.99. I guess the couple that shoots together stays together, right?
And then we got our Charlies Angels on. I was nervous from the start because the guns we trained on were not loaded (naturally). Was it going to be loud? Was there going to be a recoil? Yes and yes. But I had an excellent teacher and he was right next to me the whole time. He told me that, with the first round that I shot, I just needed to get used to it. He had me aim for the X in the middle of the target’s chest. Apparently, all I heard was “head shots”. BAD. ASS.
Total honesty here – I was actually aiming for the X 😊
Every time we hung up or took down the paper target I could not stop picturing one of my favorite movie moments from Lethal Weapon. Especially the scene with Mel Gibson starting at the 0:50 mark. (YouTube video courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment).
Besides the human outline, they had many targets to choose from. We didn’t use these, but you have to be a pretty good shot to play Battleship I would think.
To the disappointment of my cousin, I won’t be rushing out to get my FOID card anytime soon. I didn’t hate it, it was just not for me. My SO enjoyed it, however, and is planning on going again soon. Here is a video of my SO shooting a gun and a rifle: