I took a friend to the range who had never fired a handgun before today. He's the husband of my wife's best friend, and over the past year or so we've gotten to know each other well enough for me to invite him shooting. That is, he's demonstrated more than once that he's got a head on his shoulders. Ordinarily I shoot alone or with a handful of guys who have earned my trust, and I theirs. So, I'm not one to don an instructor hat very often, but I made an exception today because my friend showed a genuine interest in shooting. It was a cold and slushy day today, so attendance was sparse on the public range and the private ranges were all but empty. We had an entire covered outdoor pistol range to ourselves. I set up a few steel spinner and plate targets, a couple of paper targets, and a dozen bowling pins at various ranges. Then we sat down for some basic range safety instruction. He took everything I said seriously and asked appropriate questions. I explained about sight picture, grip, and trigger control using empty weapons and he ate that up as well. It was now time to shoot. My first choice for him out of my range box was a 22LR Ruger SP101. He was aiming at a paper target maybe 7 yards out. He pressed the trigger and I could tell he was hooked right then. every time he emptied the cylinder he'd run out there and take a look at his target, then run back and load it up and shoot another eight rounds. I'd help him out if I noticed something obvious he was doing, but mostly I let him have at it. we ended up graduating to a six inch S&W 686, then a Colt series seventy, and eventually I even handed over my carry gun so he could shoot that. His excited reaction was the same for each gun he got his hands on. We ended the trip with a Henry lever gun chambered in .44 magnum. Boy did he love that gun, but who doesn't. In the end he'd knocked every one of the bowling pins down several times each, made the steel ring a plenty, and the paper looked like fine Swiss cheese. The point I'm getting to is this, his excitement and fascination with shooting for the first time was exactly like mine so long ago. He brought me back to why I love shooting so much, because it's damn fun. In the end, I bet I had every bit the good time he did today and I don't think I fired 25 rounds total. I think I sometimes forget just how fun shooting can be, especially when I get wrapped up in the particulars of the sport or start taking myself and the craft too seriously. I decided for my next trip to the range I'm taking a .22 wheel gun along with a brick of ammo. I'm going to be setting up the same gallery for myself, except I'll throw in a mess of tin cans, why not. I'm going to plink away and say "yesss!" every time a bowling pin falls over or a round lands in the ten ring. I might even high five myself.