A man in the barber shop today was talking about the deer he got this season, his first ever, after 14 years of hunting.
“Two hundred twenty-five yards and running,” he said. “Dropped him.”
I grinned when he said that. I grinned and almost – almost – said, “First man I shot was 100 yards and lying down. Of course he was shooting at me, so …”
I didn’t say that because (a) it would have been one-upmanship, and (b) I don’t really know if I hit the man I was aiming at. It was at night and I saw a blink-blink-blink light from the edge of the rubber trees, the light about the size of the burning end of a lit cigarette, the light muzzle flashes probably from a Russian or Chinese DP light machine gun, that looks like a rifle, but has a bipod near the end of the barrel and a round pannier magazine on top.
When seeing the muzzle flashes, I was surprised. I thought: “I’ll be damned. There really is somebody out there, and he’s shooting at me.” That last part was important. He was shooting at me. He was not shooting at the 30 others in my platoon, nor at the M113 Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicle that sat near my bunker. He was shooting at me. A realization: “He’s trying to kill me.”
So I aimed my M16 low and fired 18 rounds in just over a second. The rifle climbed and the bullets went some into the red dirt road and some into the tall grass and maybe … maybe … into the man who wanted to kill me.
Maybe I shot the man, maybe I came just close enough, and he went to his commie sergeant or commie lieutenant and said, “I don’t want to do this anymore tonight.”
Whichever, the light machine gun did not fire again.
Two hundred twenty-five yards and running is a decent enough shot. So is 100 yards and lying down when you are the target.