Bought My First Gun
3/28/2011 - Shot my first gun as an adult
3/17/2012 - Successfully completed the NRA Basic Pistol Class
7/14/2012 - Brought home my first gun
My, what a difference a year and a half makes...I went from timid hoplophobe to grinning proudly as I drove home from the gun store with my new firearm tucked safely in the trunk of my car.
A little background. Since completing the NRA course, I've seriously considered buying my own gun. My husband owns multiple handguns and shotguns...but not only do I really not consider them mine...they are really too big for me to shoot. My small hands make many handguns really unsafe to control successfully. I completed the NRA course with my husband's S&W Sigma 9mm, but just barely. It turned and wiggled in my hands and I knew I needed a gun sized for my hands.
Since then, I've been collecting makes and models of guns in a list, those that were recommended to me, those that I found online while researching smaller handguns. I thought I knew what I wanted, I really did. It took the wise direction of a female gun store clerk to clarify my intent, and to turn me in the right direction.
2+ weeks ago, a powerful storm came through my area, and the resultant power outages significantly interrupted business in the DC area for multiple days. The engineering firm I work for wasn't spared; our server was dead in the water for several days despite the juice being switched back on. So I had some time on my hands. I decided it was finally time to visit a local gun shop and see what I could see.
I'm not going to name the store - because honestly, I didn't have a positive experience. I entered the shop and realized ( as I told North later... ) I was the only clam in a sea of franks and beans. I was shown A LOT of guns by a well meaning young man. He asked me a few questions, then proceeded a conveyor belt of guns towards me so I could feel the grip, the weight. After a dizzying array of guns cycled by me, I had a better feel for what I wanted in a gun...but not a lot of confidence that this was going to be my gun store. I left the store, having the Bersa Thunder 380 forefront in my mind as the most comfortable gun I was shown.
Most of the engineers at my office own guns - they are an odd assortment of highly educated good old boys who like to hunt. I talked about my experience with one of them, and he immediately recommended I seek out a woman who works at a shop near his house...about an hour away from me in area near where I lived in High School. I made the decision to go there last Saturday.
Immediately upon entering The Gun Shack, I saw the difference in the 2 shops. This one had a clerk who smiled at me and said "Welcome!" upon my entry into the store. I didn't feel eyes upon me as the lone female in the store. I spied a woman behind the counter in the back; I knew this was where I needed to be. She smiled at me, and we began to talk. My level of experience. My interests. My intentions. Firearms my husband already has at home. Next time I was aware of the time, I realized I had been there for 20 minutes, and she hadn't shown me one gun yet. We mutually decided that for my interests ( First, target shooting and marksmanship, and secondarily, personal protection ) - I would look at .22 caliber guns. My level of experience is low. My confidence just above a novice. I've proved to myself if push comes to shove, I can and will pull the trigger on the Sigma. The Sigma will be for protection in the home. The gun I might buy will be for building my confidence and improving my skills.
She didn't produce an array of guns for me to try. She showed me two. Just two.
The first was the Walther P22 with a 5" target barrel. I immediately liked the weight of the gun, and it felt comfortable in my hand. It was balanced well - and I liked that it looked like a lot more gun than it actually is.
The second was the Ruger R22. I liked it as well, but instantly upon handling it, knew the Walther was much more suited to me.
I didn't hesitate. I was comfortable with the store, the clerk, the gun. I bought the Walther P22 on the spot. I didn't need to look further.
Before I picked up the gun on Saturday, my husband was looking in a box in the back of his closet to see how much .22LR ammo he actually had in the house. He came out of the bedroom with a look of wonder on his face - he was holding a very small gun I had never seen before. He had stumbled upon the first gun he ever owned besides his service weapon - an Erma RX22 manufactured some time in the late 60's early 70's. All steel with hideous molded plastic grips. Heavy as sin. Missing its magazine. Filthy as hell. And he grinned at it. He told me he used to carry this gun for protection when he was stationed in Nevada. I studied the little gun, and he said "I want you to have it, even though it's beat to hell. See if the Gun Shack has a magazine and replacement grips for it." Of course, they didn't.
Anyone know where I can get replacement grips and magazine for an old Erma RX22?
I sent a text to North. It said simply "This morning, I owned zero guns. It's just after lunch, and now I own two." ( Insert big cheesy grin here )
This has been a life changing process, overcoming my fear of firearms. My husband giggled at me upon my return with my new gun. I had a pamphlet from Marylandshallissue.org, the advocacy group working to get Maryland's ridiculously restrictive CCW laws repealed. As I showed the pamphlet to my husband, he kissed me on top of my head, and laughed at "his Annie Oakley." I had to giggle a bit myself.
What a difference a year and a half has made.
(Guest post by Maura.)
Posted by Maura at 10:46 AM