So, as I was on my weeklong trip, I remembered something I really wanted when I was a kid - one of those cool survival guns. I knew that .22 LR guns were the perfect survival weapon - cheap, ammo was abundant and inexpensive and I could carry a lot in my backpack if I needed too.
I remember lusting after the Armalite gun - the one where you stowed everything in the stock. So I looked it up and found that Henry now made them and that reliability was much improved. So I looked at a few online shops and bought one that night - sending it to a local gun shop (not Westside) to pickup. I knew I'd have to pay a bit extra for that, but I'd checked their inventory and they didn't have one. In fact, when I'd asked, they tried to talk me into a 270 or something silly. So I figured this was the way to go.
So here I was, a few days from my first purchase and buying another. Foodgates: open.
When I got back, I rand down and picked up the Bersa. It felt cold in my hand, but it was mine. And I was now capable of at least some level of self defense, although I was extremely leery. Probably not a bad thing for a deadly weapon.
I now had a nice list of stuff to do:
One: storage. One of my biggest fears was that my kids would hurt themselves with it. The news is awash with those stories you know. Obviously I wanted to have access to it quickly, but wanted it safe from the kids. So I bought a small wall safe and bolted it to my wall with big lag nuts. Done and Done.
Two: buy some of ammo to break it in. Done.
Three: read the manual and clean it. Done
First, I knew training would be a good idea. But I looked at classes locally and they were more than I paid for the gun. I'm a quick learner, and I devour information when I get fixated on something, so I figured I start by myself and see where that went.
I'd already started reading gun blogs, read a few books/magazines and asked lots of questions at the gun store/range and of gunnies I knew. Its always worked for me in the past.
So off to the range I went. We have a local range that is pretty inexpensive, so I joined and lined up for my first session with my new gun. The people at the range were nice enough, but I was certainly more than a bit nervous as I loaded the first magazine, inserted it and racked that slide back. Pushing in bullets hurts the thumb, I thought.
Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. I can tell you I didn't know what to expect that first trigger pull. I knew .380 wasn't the most powerful round. I knew it was barely adequate for self defense.
It wasn't a big deal. The guy next to me was shooting a 9mm and let me try his (and XD if I remember correctly) and it didn't feel much different. Then he had me shoot is Mac .45 and some crazy belgian rifle. He kept pulling them out of those mysterious aluminum briefcases that nobody but gun owners really buy. The one thing I was concerned with was getting shot by accident at the range - note that sometime around then that kid with a full auto uzi killed himself at some machine gun event.
It was nice to pull the trigger on a few other guns without renting. I realized that the recoil issue wasn't a big deal and I could easily control whatever I wanted.
I shot 2 boxes and went home. I wasn't a bad shot. Everything was on the paper, and the groups were good enough for me at different ranges.
When I got home I cleaned it out really good and put it into the safe.
I pondered that first shoot for a few days. I noted that the gun really was just an inanimate object. It was completely safe if I respected it. If I followed the rules properly.
As I proceeded to shoot more (to break it in like I'd read) and cleaned it, I got to know it. And most of my fear evaporated.
At one time I'd been incensed that someone had a gun on their hip near my kids. Now I had a gun and was handling it responsibly...
PS. I realize I'm a moderate. Only those *waaay* to the right think of me as a lefty, but being that far in right field can alter your perspective.