Well, ....... I went. Guess what? One of the nicest guys I know as well as a fellow whom I used to shoot with every week has been promoted to manage the commercial end of the operation. He understood, without being told, 'Why' I've never shot at P.P.C. So he said to me, 'Come on, I know how you feel; but, insult or not, you've got to take the Range Safety Course.’ (So, I was a good boy, swallowed my pride, and took the course. Yes, it was juvenile; and, yes, I could have done a much better job with the safety material than the young man who so politely walked me through it; but, what the Hell …… !)
Now, I can shoot at Dunkies’ indoor range anytime I want to. Here’s the really good part: The Zombie Shoot was absolutely fantastic and, damned near perfectly run! The shoot was well attended; and everybody had a good time. Dunkies has a really good crew there. The Range Master, and Range Safety Officers were as professional as any other officers who’ve ever followed me around a live-fire course.
At no point on the course did I not have an R.O. just behind my left shoulder. I did as the R.O. asked and loudly called out, ‘Reload!’ and hesitated for a moment before lowering my left arm to my belt. (Cost me a target, but I understand, 'Why' this was done.)
Get this! In less than 10 minutes of actual range time I went through 10 magazines and 173 rounds of ammunition!
The farthest target was about 15 yards away; and the closest (and smallest) targets were just past 3 yards. You shoot right; you shoot left; you shoot straight ahead; and about 15% of the targets are moving! At one point I was told to, ‘shelve my pistol’ and got handed a crossbow. I thought I’d forgotten how to use one of these things; but I fired twice and did a, ‘Robin Hood thing’ on the target.
(With ammunition costs as high as they are I wonder how the Pennsylvania Game Commission would feel about me showing up at one of their public shooting ranges with a crossbow instead of a gun?)
What I liked: The P.P.C. staff are polite, highly skilled, attentive, and didn’t miss a beat. I felt very safe from OPGSS’s (Other People’s Gun Safety Screwups) while I was there. Only one guy ended up crossing me with his muzzle; and an R.O. immediately stopped him from stupidly handling his backup gun.
A lot of imagination and effort were put into designing the two courses-of-fire I participated in. The ranges were very dark! It was a great experience in nighttime shooting. By the way, I had absolutely no problems with muzzle flash from my extended and muzzle-ported pistol barrel - NONE! So we can, now, put that old internet gun forum FAIRY TALE to bed!
Neither did I have any trouble seeing my front sight. In fact I was unable to really see that bright green dot. I was forced to hold low on the target, elevate the front sight out of the notch, and fire off the very top of the front sight. (I know that I hit with almost every shot, too.)
There was no round count and no single, or even double, fire restrictions. You could fire as fast as you wanted to; AND you could do it as many times as you want to, as well. (Several of the older shooters, who obviously knew what they were doing, were really burning through pistol ammo!) It was, also, the shooter’s option to fire the course while moving both forwards and, then, backwards.
What I didn’t like: Several shooters showed up wearing backup guns; but, if you were running the course right, there was no time to use a backup gun; and, I'll be perfectly candid: It was, simply, too dangerous to attempt to resort to one while you were shooting in the dark! For the first time in my entire life I dropped a magazine while pulling it out of my pocket; and, as it hit the floor, I was forced to admit to myself that I'm getting old; and my hands aren't what they used to be.
In order, ‘not to overload the ventilation system’ (?) the air exchanger fans were turned off.
To say the ranges were heavy with smoke would be an understatement. Frankly, I don’t know how the R.O.’s were able to suck in all that befouled air! The last time I ran the course I actually had to duck my head a little in order to spot several of the targets! The air was frigg ‘in thick!
Very few of the targets fell over when they were hit. In my opinion ALL of the stationary targets should have. The only way to tell you were hitting was to look over your gun sights to see if the targets, ‘shivered’ as you were firing. (Mine often did; and I could tell by the way they acted that the R.O.’s knew I could shoot.)
The Range Master stopped me on the way out of the upper range to ask what, if anything, I would change about the courses of fire? I told him I’d actually be glad to pay more for the event IF more of the targets visibly reacted when struck. I, also, complained about the smoke. I haven’t tasted, ‘metal’ in the back of my throat for many, many years! All in all, I had a very good time, ran into an old friend; and it felt very good to be able to fire off repeated double, triple, and even multiple taps over and over again.
The one falling zombie they had on the upper course I shot low so that it would fall over forward; and, then, when it started to fall I triple tapped it high so that it would fall over backwards instead. It really was fun!
If I have another chance, the P.P.C. Zombie Shoot is something I’ll, definitely, do again.