For quite some time, I've been considering buying a firearm, if for no other reason than I enjoy going to the range to target shoot. It's a game of skill, like bowling or darts, just a rather loud one. With a brief rash of crime in my area last year, I started to think acquiring something for self-defense and getting a conceal carry permit might be a good idea. So, I've been thinking about this for some time, but only recently gotten serious about it (say in the last six months). I hope to take the conceal carry course next month.
The Final Research
Over Mother's Day weekend, I took the wife target shooting. In addition to being intended as a fun activity, it also served a dual purpose of researching something I might want to buy. They didn't have any of the models I'd researched, but they had one vaguely similar subcompact revolver.
Over Memorial Day weekend, I went to the range where I could actually rent the last two subcompact contenders I was considering. I'd started with a list of 4 and had cut the two Glocks (Glock 27 in .40 and Glock 29 in 10mm) from the running. They were both heavier, larger, and more expensive than the other two.
So on this last Saturday, I compared the .357 Ruger LCR revolver (actually a .38 model but close enough) and the Springfield Armory .45 XDS autopistol. Both of these guns are essentially Noisy Crickets (hope you get the Men in Black reference). I started the day having in my mind decided the revolver was what I wanted. I enjoyed the one I shot at the previous range, and I'm biased towards revolvers because of their maintenance simplicity, reliability, and smaller "footprint" for carrying since most of the bulk is in the chamber and handle. After spending 30 minutes and 50 rounds with each, I rather preferred the autopistol.
What I found was that I was much more accurate with the pistol and was able to do a quick follow-up second shot if I wanted. I wasn't very accurate with the double-tap, but it was possible. The pistol also had nice fiber optic sights that made the sights glow.
For whatever reason, my accuracy was dreadful with the revolver. The sights, all black and a bit difficult to see, sure didn't help. I'm not sure it hurt, but the crap reloaded ammo the range sold me probably also didn't help either. All the shots hit the target for the most part, but it was nowhere as good. I used a 9.5 inch wide target at 7 yd (21 ft) and 15 yd (45 ft). I would've done 25 yd, but this range wasn't that big.
It was also impossible for me to do a double-tap with the revolver. I had to re-aim after each shot since the recoil threw me off completely. The recoil didn't actually feel that bad, but I couldn't hit the target doing two rapid shots. This revolver had a concealed hammer so it was double-action only, meaning there is no pulling back on the hammer required between shots. While this is something that might improve with practice, I'm not going to buy something because I "might" be able to use it. However, inability to do rapid fire didn't disqualify the revolver. It still had a lot going for it, such as size, reliability, and ease of use. If I were to get the .357, it would also still be able to fire cheaper .38 ammo when I wanted.
I went home and thought it over. I compared my targets from both range days. I did more Internet research, reading reviews, reading forums, and watching videos. I decided on the .45 pistol. This would be something small I could carry if need be that would also be fun to shoot for target practice. It was also on sale until the end of the month, making it cheaper than the revolver.
So, I went back on the next day to the local gun shop to make my purchase.
The Background Check
When I was handed a 4-page foldout to fill out, I was pretty intimidated. It was full of questions in small type. However, he said I only had to fill out the first page. I had to put basic information and mark yes to the first question and no to all the rest. It asked questions such as, "Are you a fugitive from justice?" and "When was the last time you beat your wife?" I really hope they double-check that stuff because if I was a bad guy, I'd have lied. I then browsed the store while he made a 5 minute phone call, and it was done.
Thankfully, there was no waiting period. I could take the gun home that day. I told him that was good because I'd have been disappointed if I was currently angry and needed a gun right away. Fortunately, the clerk had a sense of humor.
In all, the transaction was quick and easy. I was even able to use my Discover Card and rack up some Cash Back award. I did want some accessories, none of which they had, so that was disappointing. I'll have to shop elsewhere for a magazine loader (since loading magazines hurts my fingers) and an extended magazine for less reloading when target shooting. The extended mag also includes a grip extender for this pocket cannon I've purchased. (I've since found a universal magazine loader on Amazon.)
The store clerk gave me a coupon for an hour of free range time - although I dislike the Target World range because I never see someone on duty and the booth walls allow your neighbor to pelt you with their ejected brass. He also recommended where I could get the accessories I wanted. I was very pleased.
The Concealed Carry Course
I'll provide an update when I've taken this. Given that I'm rarely hanging out in the bad part of town at night, I doubt I'd regularly wear a concealed weapon. However, I think I could use the education the course provides. Additionally, it will prevent me from accidentally breaking some law when transporting a firearm to the range from home. State laws are a somewhat confusing mire about that. For example: "You must have the gun unloaded in the trunk, and each individual bullet must be separately bagged in a separate part of the vehicle - except on Tuesdays." I'm pretty sure that's actual Ohio state law.
What I Bought
If interested, this is what I bought:
I thought I'd leave you witha video of that guy who's videos I found educational. Though, I'm not saying he's not a nut, just an entertaining and educational nut. Of course, we're all a nut to someone out there.