I’ve had the opportunity to make lots of new friends in the gun blogger community and reconnect with old thanks to the recent get-togethers organized by Lucky Gunner and the lovely and delightful Phlegmmy. That list of bloggers I’ve met continues to grow. In fact, I’m fairly certain it isn’t even complete.
But whether I’ve met you or not, I want to know your story. The vast majority of my readers are firearms enthusiasts of some stripe. How did that happen? How did you become gunnies?
I fired my first shot on New Years Day 2008. I was 29 years old. I had no prior experience with firearms of any kind. And I was scared to death.
I grew up in a household with no guns. Not only no guns, but a fear of them. I didn’t know anyone in my family had firearms in their homes until my granddad passed away in 2007 and my grandmother passed his rifle down to his nephew. Seeing Nana holding that rifle was kind of a shock to my system. I took a picture, laughing about the oddity of the image.
It sparked some discussion and the decision was made that we were buying a gun. Michael‘s grandfather had been an avid shooter and gunsmith. He had a pre-24 Smith and Wesson which was inherited by Michael’s father years ago. Michael and his brother realized that would be the one thing they would fight about when it came time for one of them to inherit it. We decided to settle it early and just go purchase a new one.
At the time, I really thought it was just idle talk. You know, one of those do it eventually never really get around to it kinds of things.
But the time came to visit the dreaded gun range. Yikes! I had visions of some seedy place with bad lighting lecherous men. Something akin to a pool hall. I imagined walking in to be greeted with steely looks from people that didn’t appreciate new-comers. But I put on my big girl panties and high-heeled boots and off we went. My heart was racing for the entire drive. What would it be like? Would it be dangerous?
I was completely unprepared for what I saw. I think I stood in the doorway to H&H for several seconds trying to process what I was seeing. It was well lit and welcoming. I was met with rows and rows of locked cabinets full of handguns in more varieties than I dreamed possible. You mean there’s more to this than big blue revolvers and the Glocks I’d seen in movies? The salesmen greeted us with smiles and offers to answer our questions.
We eventually found our way to the big blue revolvers. At the time, Smith and Wesson had not released the 24 in the classic series, but they did have a 29. It looked about the same and could fire both .44 Special and .44 Magnum. We inspected it through the glass and talked some more. A salesman approached and asked if we wanted to see it. See it? As in handle it? My palms began to sweat. I wondered if that would be safe.
Not only was it perfectly safe to handle it, but then he asked if we’d like to shoot one. Shoot one? Really? Oh no. I couldn’t. This was too much. Total. Mental. Overload. And yet, a few minutes later, there I stood in a shooting lane with a loaded 629 in my hands. Even though I’d just watched Michael shoot it, I was not prepared.
Damn! That .44 Magnum packs a punch. And not just in your hands. I felt the concussion in my chest. But hey! I hit paper. Deep breath.
Hit the target hanger. Yeah, probably time to put that down.
In hindsight, I realize that .44 Magnum is not exactly appropriate for a new shooter. Live and learn right? We’d also rented a Smith & Wesson M&P in 9mm on the recommendation of the salesman. The guy at the rental counter even made sure it had the small grip insert installed. He also showed me how it worked since I really had no clue.
You know, after shooting the .44 magnum, 9mm was nothing. Bang! Bang! Bang! Holy Crap! This is fun! And down the rabbit hole we went. We bought that beautiful model 29 that day. My first gun related blog post came a couple days later when we picked it up. And on that day, a pair of gun nuts were born.
Hooray! Now I’ve just got to pick one out for myself. I plan to shoot several of the rentals on the range before I decide what I can really handle. Then we will start the process to get our conceal and carry permits. Long Live the Second Amendment!
And on the 25th of that very same January, I bought my first gun. We became regulars at the range, shooting nearly every weekend. (Man I wish we could still afford to do that.) We purchased more guns. We got our permits. We started carrying every day. Michael became a holster maker. We took classes. We got our NRA certifications as Range Safety Officers. I helped teach classes for women. I’ll shoot anything and everything someone will let me.
Which pretty much brings us to today. So what about you? What’s your story?