Brass Burn: Reasons to Pack a Jacket When You Pack a Pistol

We’re acquainted now, right?  I mean…I can tell y’all the truth about stuff, and you promise to laugh WITH me, not AT me. Correct? If the answer is yes, well, then, read on, my friends.

When I used to torture my hair with crimpers and curling irons on a daily basis (think late 1980s), I would sporadically end up with burn marks on my skin, thanks to my careless technique or impatience, or, perhaps a little bit of both. It would result in some ugly, odd-shaped, red blisters that simply screamed, “I am not a professional hair dresser!”

Fast-forward 30+ years to just a few weeks ago, when I made a quick stop at the range to get in a little shooting practice by myself. That was the defining moment when a flashback from my “big-hair era” returned…this time, though, with hot casings ejected from my 9mm instead of hot plates from my electric curling brush.

Now, I realize that I haven’t always worn the “right” clothing for shooting practice. But this particular, hot-and-humid Alabama afternoon, it was uncomfortably warm at the indoor range. To make matters worse, I was assigned a lane that was, apparently, nowhere near the air vent. (The coveted lane 6 seems to be situated right around Antarctica, but lane 3, where I’ve never had the pleasure of shooting before, is clearly located much nearer the equator!) I was already starting to sweat, even before I retrieved my gun from its case. So, I skipped the light jacket that I brought and just stuck with the peach camisole and floral, button-down blouse that I’d chosen to wear to get some errands accomplished that day.

Ignoring the uncomfortable temperature, I focused my attention on a target with several bullseyes and attempted to practice with different areas and random intervals. I was constantly changing my shooting angle, so I got hit on the shoulder and on the top of my head a few times. (How annoying!) And several casings landed in my purse. (Hooray for reloading!) But that wasn’t anything new or unusual.

Suddenly, though, after just one round from my extended magazine, I felt a blazing-hot jolt on my chest. OUCH! Sensitive, delicate skin! My thalamus instantaneously set off a red alert to my sensory cortex and to the rest of my brain. Oddly enough, however, instead of going with the most sensible course of action and immediately stopping to set down my gun, I decided to work with the pain, use it to intensify my practice, and see if I could still concentrate on shooting, despite the discomfort. I clenched my jaw a bit, determined not to do the “hot brass dance” this day. Oh, no – I was going to push on through!

The searing pain, however, did not push on through. And neither did the hot casing…it was pressed against my skin, held in place by the top edge of my camisole, precariously balanced right above my brassiere!

Since I’d thrice experienced the agony of childbirth, I told myself that this was just a petty annoyance. So, fully feeling the burn, I winced and wrenched my shoulders forward a bit and kept pulling the trigger. YELP! More casings sizzled on my neck and chest, and several dropped into my shirt, where they apparently decided to enjoy an extended visit. I was being burned repeatedly now! And just a few moments later, when the magazine was finally empty—and when 5 of the 9 casings had hit my exposed skin, with one lodging itself against my décolletage—I shook out my blouse…and removed the culprit.

A bit later, after terminating my favorite “zombie Todd” target, I headed off to the restroom to wash my hands. When I blotted off my sweaty forehead and neck, I noticed the angry, scarlet blotch on my chest. Frowning, but still mildly amused, I took a “selfie” of said injury—proof of my bizarre day at the range. But I was surprised to see the curved, red burn mark there for nearly a full week, afterward!

Ouch! Hot brass + no jacket = brass burn.

Ouch! Hot brass + no jacket = brass burn.

The moral of this story? Women should always pack (and wear) a t-shirt or jacket or something that can cover and protect sensitive skin. I now speak from experience. Really. It’s important to protect the girls who shoot…and, well, it’s important to protect “the girls.”

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