We take turns, firing six rounds and then passing the gun along while one of us goes back to get more ammo. At first, we're very careful to keep the empty shell casings in a pile on the firing line counter. But once we realize the other shooters' shells are flying wildly and skittering onto the floor, we just empty the revolver like in Rainbow Six, tipping the gun back and letting the spent rounds clatter to the concrete like peanut shells at some family restaurant with indoor picnic benches and pitchers of cheap beer. Some of the other shooters occasionally push the shells off to one side with one of the beat-up brooms against the back wall.
"I'm going to get my own," Jude says after his turn. He comes back with a semi-automatic.
"It's a Sig," he says.
"Like at the end of your post?" Peter asks.
"Like a .45 Sig. That's what that guy said."
"I want to try that one."
"You're limp wristing it." It's our favorite thing to say to each other.
We swap off firing the Sig and the Smith & Wesson. We're surprised that it's easier to load the revolver, since you don't have to press bullets down into a clip. The first few rounds are easy enough once you figure out which direction they go. The last two are almost impossible. We laugh at each other and eventually give up, going with six rounds per clip instead of eight. It's more even with the revolver that way and our soft gamer thumbs can't take the pressure of pushing in rounds seven and eight.
But what you get with the Sig that you don't get with the revolver is slapping that clip into the handle and then pulling back the action. It's pure instinct for boys, mimicked muscle memory from every movie with a semi-automatic we've ever seen, from every re-loading animation we've ever watched. We know how to do it from someplace deep and primeval in our brains, the same way we know how to breathe and be fascinated by breasts.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa. Watch your muzzle discipline. Jesus, man, do you want to get me shot?" Trevor says. 'Muzzle discipline' is something he learned to say from Rogue Spear.
"Relax," Jude says. "I wasn't pointing it at you."
He wasn't. We've all been very careful handling the guns.
"Maybe not at me, but you were within fifteen degrees. That's not within acceptable safety parameters."
"Do you even know what fifteen degrees is?" Jude asks. He holds his hands at perpendicular angles. "That's ninety." He halves that. "That's forty five." He halves that. His hands are a thin pie slice. "That's like twenty. Are you telling me I had that barrel pointed within fifteen degrees of you?"
"No, because I said something before you got that close. I'm just saying be careful."
"Anyway, it's your turn," Jude says.
"I'm like the Smith & Wesson better." He shakes out the six spent shells, slips in six new ones, spins the cylinder, and slaps it shut. He takes aim.
To be continued...
Tom Chick has been writing about videogames for fifteen years. His work appears in Games for Windows Magazine, Yahoo, Gamespy, Sci-Fi, and Variety. He lives in Los Angeles. Shoot Club appears in this space every Thursday.