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My hubbie keeps telling me about stories he finds where the husband asking what gun they should buy their girlfriend/wife.

Let me give my personal background on guns. Growing up I had heard my father might have (what was referred to as) a squirrel shooter rifle, but I do not recall ever seeing him use it. So I did not have a lot of exposure in that sense. But, I did have a neighbor who actually shot at me (and I lived in the country). I had many negative experiences with guns/weapons etc when I was growing up, but I will spare the details. People who knew me before I met my husband were very surprised when they had discovered I shoot, and own a couple of guns. Even my brother was very surprised. I grew up very much a hard-core pacifist, and I mean the type who would say “shoot (me) first, I won’t ask questions” type of pacifist, I believed people who regret their actions and other really ridiculous things.

So there was a comfort level, I needed to be comfortable on my own terms. I would have avoided it even more if my husband simply bought me a gun. The best thing he did, was encourage me to join him at a shooting range, where they had  (a wonderful rental counter with) a variety of guns to shoot. He also offered me to shoot several of his guns. I immediately had a distrust and discomfort for any semi-automatic. I have consistenly preferred, trust and enjoy revolvers. 

Over the years I have tried several semi-automatics, but still am not at all fond of them. But that is my comfort level, that does not mean all women would resist semi-autos and or prefer revolvers. I am mentioning this to point out the choice is personal. The grip, the caliber, the barrel, the weight, the balance.. it all is extremely personal.

I am going to make this to both men and women, since I do not think men are alone in the quest to get their gal a gun, while they are the majority, I definitely doubt they are alone…

Buying a gun is not like buying an iPod, game, or gadget. Heck buying a cell phone does not even compare to buying a gun. Most people can “work-with” a cell phone they receive, or other gadget.  A gun can (sort of) compare to surprising someone with a car. They might be excited, and surprised, and some people are easy to make happy, but if they hate it, it is tough to exchange, and for many people they will keep it but not handle it properly. But if the focus is for self-defense, if the person is not comfortable they won’t use it.

So item #1.. Do NOT buy someone else a gun. Unless they give you in detail which make/model that they specifically would want, and they know they want exactly that gun.

That aside.. a few questions:

  1. Have they expressed interest in a gun? Because it is personal, because it is a comfort level, they may be afraid or have some other reservation. You can not get someone a gun because you want them to have protection. If a person does not feel comfortable with the gun, if they are not comfortable with guns in general, this may push them further away from approaching the idea on their own.
  2. Have the shot a gun before? They need to try several guns, several grips, several calibers.. they may hate the first thing they try, they may love it.. but if they don’t try a variety of guns, they will not know what works for them. Maybe they would prefer to try something different every time (then a good rental counter is wonderful, for other people they may feel connected and comfortable with something specific).
  3. What will they use it for? Target, conceal/carry, home protection? This will also affect selection. You don’t want a 6″ barrel for conceal/carry or a a 22 caliber (you will just piss off your target). But if target is the focus, a 22 caliber is great since it is cheaper to shoot, not harsh to shoot, and fun.. you also will want a barrel longer than 2″ (which is common on conceal guns).

The best thing on earth is if you have a nearby shooting range with a great rental counter. Not feeling committed to a gun does help! If you have a gun show nearby, those are great just for him/her to just pick up guns and get familiar. They can hold and play with a variety of guns. You will notice quickly what they are drawn too (but again this is not a sign to buy their preference, shooting is proving).

Also remember not all men want (or should have) some “manly” looking hand-canon. It may look impressive, but it likely won’t be fun or comfortable to shoot. Guys should not feel afraid of trying a smaller gun, they may discover it is just what they wanted and needed. Also the high-caliber might sound bad-ass, but check out the price for ammo, it may be completely impractical.

Don’t fall for “pretty”.. because what is pretty you may be fearful to enjoy, or it may be looks alone (and not offer substance… you know like most people).

Women & guns, the smaller gun is not necessarily the better choice. A typical .38 caliber conceal & carry (specifically a snubbie) has a mean kick, and she may avoid practicing with it, or using it. So it needs to be practical, something she can practice with otherwise it may prove pointless. Also just because the gun is small does not mean it will be something she can conceal/carry, it may not fit proper on her body and or not fit in the type of purse she uses, if she uses one at all (and even if she does I would never personally feel comfortable having my gun in my purse, what if my purse is stolen, or I leave it behind.. yikes!)

Here are highlights of how I look at a gun, I found some wonderful links that I noted at the bottom that offer so much more than I have.. but hope this helps:

  • Fit: I can not say enough.. hold it! If it does not fit properly in your grip, you will not enjoy shooting. Comfort is crucial.
  • Barrel: Once you find the right grip, look at the barrel. If you need a conceal, they are typically are about 2″ or less, but some people can manage to conceal a 3″. If you will use it for target shooting 4-6″ is excellent! Anything longer is (or should be) a rifle!
  • Balance: Hold the gun how you would shoot, does it feel front heavy, does it feel too heavy? If you can not hold it comfortably you will not be able to shoot properly. There is no standard on “perfect” weight. I have held many guns that are the same weight, but due to balance each felt different. (I have a light weight & a steel gun, which makes it great to switch off when I am shooting, giving my hand a break).
  • Sights: Some are changeable, some adjustable, some fixed, some are laser, some are hi-viz, etc. Eyeball the sights and make sure you are comfortable with how they line up.
  • Action: Double (best for self-defence, it has a longer trigger pull) or Single action, how comfortable are you with the loading, how comfortable are you with the hammer or racking the gun?
  • Capacity: This is one of the biggest problems people have, they think they want to load the gun less frequently, so they want higher capacity. But with a semi-auto you will often have a larger (less comfortable) grip (unless you are a gorilla). The reloading gives you a chance to rest, to regain focus, so the reload can be relaxing. In self-defense if you can’t hit your target within 3 shots you are likely out of luck.
  • Caliber: Do also weigh the price of ammo, that gun may appear to be a killer deal, or just what you want.. but can you afford to shoot it, or heck find the ammo for it? Also have you shot that caliber before? The comfort of the gun might be there, but the gun may be too light or too much to shoot. But the fit is a good starting point, it makes it easier to find the right gun when you know what fits.

 Here are some great sites that offer more..

  • OC Shooters: recommends a couple of books, as well great advice on various guns for various needs.
  • Keep & Bear Arms: goes over terminology, pros/cons of auto vs revolver, etc.. they offer a lot of great information!
  • Gun Directory: places to buy,places to shoot, and info/guides on guns.
  • CraigCentral: wonderful break down on terminology, calibers, and first time shooter tips,.. excellent info!
  • EverySafe: about gun safes.
  • Gun Safe Buying Guide: does & don’ts on buying a safe, what you need/what you don’t, size, etc.
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Get What It Takes

Go play this flash based game for the New Zealand army’s Steyr AUG. Lotsa fun!

Townhall: This story gives the saying “drop dead gorgeous,” a whole new meaning.

Way to go Meghan Brown!

This proves it is not the size or color of the gun… it is the target!

(Don’t know if she opted for the Charter Arms Pink Lady, but figured this would be a good example).

Definitely a scary situation. It is awesome she had the presence of mind to get her gun! Again.. Way to go Ms Brown!

There is something seriously wrong with our judicial system!  The criminal had been in and out of jail four times!!

According to FoxNews, the suspect, identified as Albert Hill, had a long rap sheet that goes back decades and includes arrests for “burglary, battery, drug possession, grand theft and served a 13-year prison term in 1987 and was released in September after serving a fourth term behind bars.”

Conflicts of Interest

Amish gun owners in Illinois face a showdown over their religious teachings and their Second Amendment rights …. The Amish have a religious edict against having their photo taken. Up till now, the state had allowed them to obtain an FOID card without a photo, as is required of every other gun owner. But last month, the state police director reversed that policy, and said photos would be required of every gun owner, Amish or not.
The firearms laws in Illinois are abhorrent to begin with, but this may lead to a big court fight.  Both freedom of religion and right to bear arms are rights spelled out for protection against government interference in the Constitution.  Surely the state can’t enforce a bureaucratic regulation that requires the violation of one right or the other.

Stuck on Stupid

A bill in Louisiana would require sportsmen to show the serial number on their firearms before purchasing ammunition.

House Bill 8, introduced by Representative Juan LaFonta (D- New Orleans), requires any person selling ammunition to verify that the serial number of the gun for which the ammunition will be used has not been altered or destroyed. Only antique and war relic firearms would be exempt from this new requirement if they are rendered inoperable or if ammunition for these firearms is not available in the U.S. and not otherwise readily available through other means.

Yeah, I know, lawmakers submit bills like this all the time and it never gets any farther than being snickered at in committee.  What is even sadder for the republic is that citizens elected this guy.  But if this were to pass, how would it work?  Would you have to open carry your firearms into the sporting goods store?  Let’s say I’ve got 4-5 AR-15s.  Do I only need to bring in one to pick up a case of .223?  Or will I have to bring them all in?

Via Irons in the Fire

Don’t you just love liberal-biased media outlets? There simply is no question on where they stand, who they support, and what they “believe”. No I am not discussing NPR, just the rest of the left-anti-gun media sources. 

 Chris Cox (Townhall) has a nice little article about the how the Washington Post complains Obama would not stand up to the “NRA Bullies”. And criticized the NRA for not sitting down and to “seek common ground”. What would “common ground” be with someone who is anti-gun?

Let me see if I can offer some perspective… if you are being attacked, can you sit down and find common-ground with your attacker? If you are being robbed should you negotiate with the thief? And now the liberal echos in my head are saying the response would ask me if I am calling anti-gun people thieves & attackers. Ok I would try another approach, a spoiled rotten child hoarding toys, another child would like to play with some, will the child hoarding the toys share? The bottom line is with anti-gun it is ALL or Nothing. A thief does not want to negotiate what they wish to steal, and attacker will not negotiate how they will beat you up, or kill you, and a child will not negotiate if they want all the toys. Just like those who oppose guns. As close we might get is they would permit us guns but no bullets, until they realize we can figure out how to make our own. Giving an inch is taking it all, once the door is open they will continue to come and take. There will be no line drawn!

But we still can fight, we just need to keep our eyes on who is on our side… just like the 2010 Elections, ensuring our rights are protected:

 (Chris Cox) When the dust cleared on November 2 last year, 11 new Senators were A-rated by NRA on Second Amendment issues, one was B-rated, and eight F and D-rated Senators were either defeated, retired or resigned in 2010. The 112th Congress contains 48 A-rated Senators, three B-rated, and just 32 F-rated Senators, 14 of whom are up for reelection next year.

 On the House side, we helped elect 227 NRA-endorsed Representatives. In the 112th Congress, 85 newly elected House members were A-rated by NRA on Second Amendment issues, and 10 F and D-rated congressmen were defeated by voters. In all but one race where an NRA endorsed candidate lost, a pro-gun challenger replaced him.

Function Check!

Rejuvenation of the Colt Government 380 continues.  Yesterday I installed *most* of a new Wolff springs kit. The magazine release bound up a bit while activating, and the current recoil spring was about 1/2″ shorter than the new Wolff one.  So time to replace all those old tired springs.  Everything but the firing pin lock safety spring and the spring inside the trigger, since I couldn’t easily get to either.

On the Colts, the Series 80s include a firing pin lock safety to keep the gun from going off if it’s dropped just right.  On the 380 it’s a little different than the 1911, in that its a spring activated plunger that’s under the rear sight, shown in the pic below as parts 8 and 9 under the sight part 22.

Colt Government 380 Firing Pin Lock

On this gun, the rear sight was, like everything else, kind of stuck in place with gunk and rust.  I figured I’d let the gunsmith handle that spring replacement when he takes everything down for the refinish.  But while reading forums today, I read someone’s post who had the firing pin lock safety not engage on their gun.  So I checked it out.  By using a punch, I was able to push the firing pin all the way forward, even without the trigger being pulled.  Uh-oh.  Since I might shoot it a few more times before it goes to the smith, I figured I might as well get in there and fix it now.

A brass punch and a hammer finally gave me enough force to move that rear sight out of the slide, and sure enough, it was covered in gunk in the dovetail.  The old spring was removed, and the lock (part 8 ) taken out.  All pretty well covered in crud.  Gave everything a thorough cleaning, and replaced the spring with the new Wolff.  Slid in the sight, had the spring shoot out once or twice while trying to get everything in it’s place, but finally got it all back together.  Finished reassembly, and gave it a shot.  Without my finger on the trigger, that firing pin wasn’t going anywhere.  Enough pull on the trigger and it came free and would enable the gun to fire.

I’m glad I read that forum post, I might have never known there was a problem.  Sure it would have came back from being refinished working correctly, but what if it didn’t need a refinish?  Would I have had a problem?

Next up, replacing that plastic trigger with a new metal one, once I find one…