Maybe you, or someone you know is considering becoming a gun owner for the first time. I very recently started to consider the idea of owning a firearm for home defense and personal protection. Over the course of these few articles, I will share my journey – the initial event that sparked my desire to own a gun, decisions I had to wrestle with, discussions I had with my wife, and the outcome of my process. Check out the first three articles in this series to find out about my story. My hope is that my story may help you, or a friend who is in the same boat.
Part 4 – Pulling the Trigger
News of yet another shooting and more victims had caused me to question what I would do if faced with a similar situation. I made the decision that it was time to arm myself, and, after discussing the matter with my wife for about a month, she had come to her own decision. I was sitting in the kitchen drinking coffee when she told me I should go buy a gun. Knowing how big of a step this was for my wife, it’s a good thing I didn’t have a mouthful of coffee at that moment. My wife told me that she had considered my feelings and our conversations, and that she agreed that protecting our family with a gun was the right thing for us. It was time to hit up the local gun store.
We are very lucky to have a fantastic firearms dealer literally around the corner from our house. I had already done a great deal of research by asking friends and reading a great deal on the web, including Concealed Nation articles. I developed a list of criteria and knew exactly what my needs were for a home defense weapon. Here’s what I was looking for in no particular order:
- A reliable, tried and true platform
- A reasonable price (for me, that was no more than $600)
- Sufficient stopping power
- Manageable recoil (important for any shooter, but especially a newbie)
- Easy care and feeding
- Quality craftsmanship
- Fairly high magazine capacity
I took my needs list to the local gun store and they were very kind to discuss options with me. They even had me shoot various weapons at their on-site indoor range (after providing proper safety training, of course). It was amazing to me that there were so many subtle differences with each weapon. The recoil on some made it harder to get back on target quickly. Some triggers were more comfortable than others. Sighting systems, safety mechanisms, and takedown and cleaning methods for each weapon were taken into consideration. I finally settled on the right gun for me and my needs – a Smith and Wesson M&P 9. I like that it supports my list of needs, and also offers other weapons within the same family for future needs.
So, I’m a new gun owner. Now what? First of all, my gun is safely stored in a locked safe, out of reach of my children, but with quick access if I need it. Next, I’m investing. Investing in practice time at the range, and instruction. Not only is it important to sharpen shooting abilities, but it’s very important to learn as much as you can afford to. Obviously, a concealed carry class is on my short list.
I’m very happy to report, that as of the writing of this article, I took my wife on a date to the local gun range and she shot for the first time. We eased in with explanations of how firearms work, basic safety instruction, and dry firing practice. While she was a bit nervous her first time shooting, we took things slow and safe and she did a great job. Her first shots were right on target!
My path to gun ownership was unique. It included deeply personal introspection, serious discussions with my wife, and a great deal of research. If you’re considering buying a gun, your journey may be very different. You may, in fact, decide that owning a gun isn’t right for you. That’s OK. Regardless of whether you purchase a gun or not, take charge of your safety, and the safety of your loved ones. Be ready, be aware, and refuse to be a victim.