For those of you unaware (probably most of you), I am less than a week from getting married. It’s a lot crazier than it sounds.

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Saturday was the first day of my bachelor party festivities. I didn’t really want a party due to the stupid things they do at them, like get very drunk, write on the person of honor with sharpies, go watch strippers, etc.

My fiancé’s bridal party and some friends threw one for her on the same day and a little over a month ago she asked her father (my future father-in-law, or “FFIL”) to throw one for me at the same time. I was nervous, but knew they wouldn’t do anything too horrible if he was setting it up.

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This part was a surprise (the second day was golfing). I was zip-tied, blindfolded, and driven somewhere. When we got there, we met up with my friends/coworkers and they questioned whether they should release me... I said I could get out of it on my own, so they let me. I grabbed my pocket knife, flipped it open, cut the zip ties, and removed the blindfold.

(Never leave home without it.)

Where I was standing, I couldn’t see any signs or quite tell what was going on. All I knew were the people there and that we were outside a big concrete and cinder block building. After my eyes focused and I looked a little more around, I realized we were at a gun shop and range. Nice.

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My FFIL had brought my guns that he has been keeping for me (because I don’t feel comfortable keeping them where we are living now). We got to use any of their extensive collection of guns for the cost of ammo and a couple bays on the rifle part of the member range. There was quite the selection and we were there around the time they opened, so everything was on the walls and in the cases.

Our first group were two different AR15 variants, an FN PS90, and my choice of a 1911. The first ones I got to try that weren’t mine were my FFIL’s friend’s Springfield Armory XD and XD-S, both of which had neat safety systems and were quite accurate. The next was a Kimber 1911, with which I’m pretty familiar. I still feel the 1911 is the pinnacle of automatic pistols in nearly every respect, but I can’t bring myself to buy a decent one.

But it looked cooler, because there are about a million ways you can mod one of these...

After some pistol shooting with my FFIL and his friend, I went to the other bay and tried out the super weird PS90. I can’t say anything bad about it, aside from the fact the magazine/release kept eating my beard. The want is strong, it’s too bad the rounds are so expensive as is the gun itself.

This is exactly what happens when you allow a bunch of engineers to do whatever they want to fill your requirements. Also, the powder in those FNH rounds smells really weird and put out a lot of smoke, making it a very unique thing to shoot.

Of the three AR15s we fired, it became painfully apparent that longer barrels are better. The best one was the M&P 15 with a scope...

Yeah, it was good. A lot better than the Bushmaster I owned or the one my coworker brought.

Since we bought a whole bunch of rounds of 5.7mm, I traded out the short-barrel AR for a Five-seveN pistol. As far as wider-handled polymer frame guns go, I liked it. Very accurate, very easy to hold, very low recoil (but oddly loud), etc. If I were to find fault with it, it would be that the magazine is pointlessly-large, which makes the handle bigger than it could be. A 10-12 round variant with a matching shrunk down version of the handle would probably be even better. I really like that it’s all cleanly enclosed like a double-action, but with an internal hammer so it shoots like a single-action. Nice little gun.

I don’t get what all the fuss is about, aside from it being pretty easy to shoot and the ludicrously large magazine. I am completely baffled by the obsession over the trigger guard, too..

I traded that in for another rifle. It ended up being my favorite even though it was a total pile of crap, super dangerous, and on paper it should suck in comparison to the ARs. The thing didn’t have a real safety, just a stamped piece of steel with a notch cut into it that held the bolt open, or flip it up with the bolt closed to keep it from chambering a cartridge. Flaming garbage. It even had iron sights, so it was at a huge disadvantage compared to all these guns with sweet optical and dot sights. I thought the ARs would easily beat it, but it wasn’t even close...

That’s right, the AK47 made me look like I knew what I was doing. With this thing (with iron sights, no less!), I could fire groups that made the other guys dislike me. In fact, the groups even surprised me. Every time I’d fire and hit the same hole, I’d think “yeah, it just landed somewhere way off”, but then we’d bring it back and it was obvious that it went through the same hole. It was ludicrous. No wonder we keep losing to those wily commies.

Lastly, I decided to trade out the 1911, since nobody else was that interested in it and we had a lot of .45 remaining. Looking through the case, the options were limited, with only a few other autos. I ended up getting a common video game standby - the H&K USP 45. I was rather disappointed in it - it spite of the light weight, it seemed pretty inaccurate, and it was really hard to grip well due to the massive magazine. I’ve never been fond of the Beretta 92's grip size that can accommodate 12 rounds of .40, so I don’t know why anyone would think accommodating 12 rounds of .45 would be a good idea.

You are dead to me, USP45. I expected so much more and you just couldn’t deliver.

Next, we shot some of my guns, most of which are not all that interesting. Then my FFIL broke out some of his (he has really curious taste in guns and pays dearly for it in the cost of oddball ammo) and let us shoot his 1950s-built Ruger Single Six with the .22WMR cylinder... I have never liked revolvers due to poor weight balance, but this gun was something else. It was probably the most accurate handgun we shot all day.

What can I say? I love accuracy and this little gun was really accurate!

I couldn’t have asked for a better choice for my party. Glad to know that I do have people that understand what I like. It was great getting a chance to get to know my coworkers outside work and FFIL better, too. He and I are planning to go shooting once a month from now on, since he never had a son that was interested (and my dad never was, either) and we both enjoy it.

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As a funny aside, I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of crossover between a number of mechanical hobbies. A more than passing interest in cars seems to bind them all together, too, so I’m sure some of you will find this at least mildly interesting.