In 2012 I  had the chance to visit Spragues Sports in Yuma, Arizona, a number of times to shoot some guns.

Spragues is a fine place, and has an indoor range with a fine selection of guns to shoot. I focused on hand guns since they are not legal in the UK.

It is a relatively simple process to sign-up with appropriate ID. There is plenty of information on range safety, but soon you are given a gun and ammunition to use. At this point I had to ask for an explanation of the gun controls, since I hadn’t shot a handgun before. I am sure for theAmericans who visit an indoor range it is obvious.

With that information sorted, the shooting could begin. Over a number of visits I worked up from the smallest (.22) to the largest (Smith and Wesson 500).

It was good fun, but also a serious business.

This YouTube playlist shows a gradual increase through gun power during my visits.

The picture below shows a set of ammunition cases I collected ranging from small to large. I fired all of these apart from the .40 Auto, .44 Magnum and 30-30 Winchester.

Note the size increase from a .44 Magnum to the .50 Magnum (S&W .500).

.22, 9mm, 0.40 Auto, 0.45 Auto, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, 0.50 Magnum, .223 Remmington, Winchester 30-30
.22, 9mm, 0.40 Auto, 0.45 Auto, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, 0.50 Magnum, .223 Remmington, Winchester 30-30
.22, 9mm, 0.40 Auto, 0.45 Auto, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, 0.50 Magnum, .223 Remmington, Winchester 30-30




.22 Automatic Pistols – Smith and Wesson M&P22, Ruger 22/45 and Beretta U22

These were the smallest pistols I shot, and the ammunition was very cheap ($2 for 50 rounds). They had little recoil and were good for cheap target practice. So I returned to the S&W a few times.

The Smith and Wesson was the better of the two, the Ruger sights seemed to be a bit off.

.22 Video

Ruger .22
Beretta U22


9 mm Automatic Pistols – Glock 19 and Beretta

The ammunition jumped in price – now $14 for 50 rounds. These guns were both good to fire, not too much recoil and seemed to be accurate.

9mm video

Glock 19 9mm
Beretta 9mm


Shooting at 10m

.45 Auto – Colt 1911 Nighthawk Custom

The .45 is one of the largest rounds for an automatic pistol, and the ammunition cost increased again to about $26 for 50 rounds.

This was one of my favourite guns to shoot. It had more recoil than the 9mm, but I was also more accurate with it.

.45 Video

Nighthawk Custom Colt 1911 .45 Auto
At 10m, I decided to go for the little guy

.357 Ruger GP100 chambered with .38 Special

This was the first revolver I shot, and it was enjoyable. A different feel to firing an automatic pistol, but it was accurate and with moderate recoil.

.38 Special video

Ruger GP100 with .38 special ammunition

.357 Ruger GP100 chambered with .357 Magnum

The change to the magnum round make a big difference to this gun. A lot more power and recoil and a big muzzle flash.

Still accurate, and still nice to fire. In the video, watch the ammunition box to my left being blow over by blast from the gun.

.357 magnum video

Ruger GP100 with .357 Magnum

.50 Magnum in the Smith and Wesson .500

I had wanted to shoot this gun for a while. There was one in the rental display case, but never any ammunition.

On my last day in Yuma, some ammunition arrived, and I hurried down to Spragues to shoot it.

I didn’t think there would be a gun with too much power and recoil, but this was it.

I can see that it is suitable for its job description, Grizzly / Polar bear defence and handgun big-game hunting, but for anything else it is too powerful and the .357 Magnum is plenty.

Ammunition cost was high. $56 for 20 rounds. They are big rounds though…

I only shot a couple of rounds at a time. The blast was significant when standing behind the shooter, and a range regular left while we were shooting this as it was too disruptive.

500 Magnum Video

500 Magnum ammunition – large
Smith and Wesson 500 Magnum


Smith and Wesson M&P 15

This rifle fired the NATO standard 5.56 rounds. These rounds are light, recoil was low, and accuracy was high, even using the iron sight.

At 25 yards range against a small target it became hard to see the centre of the small target, so I imagine a magnifying sight is needed for longer ranges .

5.56 video

Smith and Wesson M&P15


Ruger 10/22

This was a .22 rifle, and I fired many inexpensive rounds from it.

.22 rifle video


Ruger 10/22