Sunday was a significant and lethal day for Tricia Snell.
In the morning, she went to a suburban pistol range to qualify for a concealed carry permit.
In the afternoon, she went to an ax-throwing range to qualify for nothing in particular.
Snell, 40, an IT worker from the Avondale neighborhood, was one of several hundred people who attended an open house at Bad Axe Throwing, 165 N. Loomis St., which opened its doors on Friday for a three-day open house in the Fulton Market neighborhood.
“It gets out my aggression. It’s like a release of stress,” said Snell, who sank ax after ax into a wooden target 14 feet away.
First overhand. Then underhand. She was a natural.
“I feel like I’m losing my man card,” said an unsuccessful male ax thrower standing next to her.
Perhaps an ax could fit into her purse next to a gun.
“I need a bigger purse,” she joked. “Or maybe a smaller ax.”
Hundreds of ax flingers stopped in for a free tutorial, which lasts about 90 seconds, and a few tosses during the open house.
The activity will be open to group rentals, such as birthday parties or company outings, on a reservation-only basis.
There also will be a league on Tuesdays beginning Oct. 18. It was not filled to capacity as of Sunday.
The event fit perfectly into the “Zombie Apocalypse Tour” that Chris Russell and his girlfriend, Kate Procter, have been undertaking this summer.
“We’ve already done fencing and archery,” said Russell, a chef from the North Center neighborhood.
“Maybe next we’ll go to nunchaku academy,” Procter joked.
Sinking an ax is not as easy as it sounds.
After learning the basics, Sandsha Andreyev’s goal was to land a double throw: One ax in each hand.
“Now I’ll have a decent answer for: ‘What’d you do this weekend?’ ” said Andreyev, 26, an attorney who lives in the Andersonville neighborhood.
Ax-heaving clientele thus far has been about evenly split between men and women, said manager Julian Rutkowski, 23, of Portage Park.
Rutkowski heard about the job opportunity while listening to the radio a few months ago. He formerly worked security at a rooftop lounge in Chicago and had never thrown an ax when he interviewed for the job.
But the company, which is headquartered in Canada, sent an ax guru to train employees now working at the Chicago ax range. It’s the company’s first outpost outside Canada.
“This would be a good place to bring a girl to see how someone handles something they’re not used to,” he said.
“You get to know a person better for sure when you throw some axes with them,” Rutkowski said.
Two ax-throwing policies that are good to know: No sandals and no alcohol.