My first purchase of a firearm was similar to my first time getting to third base with Emily back in the 8th grade. I was nervous, all thumbs, and had no idea what I was doing. That being said I was excited. It has only been within the last year I have developed an interest in firearms. I would say my interest came from a very unlikely source, my pastor.
Pastor Joe has been involved with firearms for quite sometime now. Having served as a police chaplain in Kansas for more than a few years, he would tell me some really interesting stories about different situations he came upon while serving that little Kansas community. As I would listen to his stories I would ask all sorts of questions. In time I found myself looking at different sites online and purchasing assorted gun magazines. As my interest grew I made the decision to purchase a firearm. This decision was not made lightheartedly. I realized with children in my home, (two boys ages 14 and 7) there were going to be certain precautions I would need to take. In my haste to purchase this first firearm there were a few mistakes I made. I am hoping this article will help to keep some of you readers who may be considering purchasing your first firearm from making those same mistakes.
My first mistake was not consulting my wife prior to purchasing the firearm. Let me explain why I did not go to her regarding this matter. She grew up in a house full of hunters. Duck, geese, and deer were shot and killed regularly. She never went hunting but everyone else in her family did. So I just assumed she felt comfortable around firearms. Well she didn’t. There was a lot of concern for the safety of our two boys, and she was influenced by all the liberal, anti-gun propaganda. It took some getting used to but in the time that has passed she has changed her feelings and she has even gone to a ladies night at our local gun shop and range. She now has a pro gun position and in fact is looking to purchase her first firearm. (See the article How to Make Y our Spouse Like Guns)
My second mistake was not listening to the advice of those who have had a long term relationship with firearms. Specifically my trusted friend Pastor Joe. I consulted with him prior to making my purchase but chose not to heed his advice and went about purchasing the wrong gun for me. It was inexpensive and I thought I could make it work for concealed carry, but it has the profile of a brick. Here in South Carolina the summers are not conducive to concealing full size pistols, but in my pigheadedness I thought I could make it work. Low and behold just as my pastor friend told me, it was entirely too bulky for me to carry under a tee shirt. Lesson learned.
Allow me to say here that I am not bashing inexpensive firearms. I am all for possessing a firearm for personal and family protection, even if said firearm must be purchased within a strict budget. I have always subscribed to the saying: It is better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. If an inexpensive firearm is all you can afford, by all means get it and have something to protect your home and family. I am saying for me and my personal needs the firearm was not a good fit.
So I decided to keep the first firearm and look to get another that was more concealable. Here I made another mistake. I chose to get the same caliber I had for my full sized handgun but in a sub compact. Little did I know the difference in firing the two would be as significant as it was. I didn’t realize shooting a .45 out of a 4.5” barrel could be so different than shooting the same round out of a 3.3” barrel. I really liked that sub compact .45. It was brand new, really aggressive styling, and had won 2013 handgun of the year. Truth be told however it was too much gun for me due to my inexperience in shooting. Lesson learned. So I sold the subcompact .45 and picked up a compact 9mm that I am able to better handle.
So I guess some of the lessons I’m trying to share are these:
- Seek advice from those you know have been involved with firearms for some time. Make sure it’s someone you trust. And most importantly LISTEN to what they say.
- Consult with your wife or significant other prior to purchasing your firearm. Even if she was raised around firearms.
- Prior to purchase, try out the firearm you’re interested in. Shoot it more than once and make sure it is a good fit for why you’re buying it. Remember, bigger is not always better.
I am very new to this firearms community, but I am very interested in learning all I can. I hope to be able to share my experiences, both good and bad, here on USA Carry.