Monday, May 26, 2014

Now that I'm in the system, is the Government coming for my guns?

On Sunday, I bought my first gun. It was an interesting experience for several reasons.

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.

Examining Gun Culture from the Inside

If you've read other posts on my blog (or if you've not and just looked at the titles), you may think I'm some anti-gun zealot. On the contrary, I learned to shoot at a young age and have recently been looking into taking a concealed carry course and buying a gun for that purpose.

Over Mother's Day, I took my wife out to the range so she could get experience with my revolver. I rented a compact .357, a Taurus Raging Bull (a giant Dirty Harry style .44 magnum revolver), and a .44 Deset Eagle. I just tried out some Hollywood-popularized guns since they didn't actually have much I wanted to try out before owning.

One thing I've noticed about gun culture in my educating myself about various things recently is that people who are fans of concealed carry are very passionate about it. You might say... too passionate.

On various forums, they discuss boycotting restaurants and other establishments that won't let them carry their guns inside. My first reaction was, "How terrified must these people be in order to not be able to feel safe without packing heat?" It can't be that all these places are in bad neighborhoods.

This last Saturday, I went to a gun and knife show that was part of a flea market I visited and noticed that the rules required anyone carrying a gun to unload their weapon before entering. They even had to leave their ammo behind. Do people who conceal carry boycott gun shows? Do they ask, "Why do gun shows hate the Second Amendment." I don't understand how the hypocrisy doesn't reach up and smack these people in the face.

It reminded me of how Georgia recently passed some laws allowing guns to be carried in churches and whatnot. However, the politicians still made sure guns couldn't be allowed in the building where THEY worked. Maybe, they think it's not really such a good idea?

At this gun show, I didn't buy anything from the vendor who sold pictures of Obama posing with Hitler as well as plastic target Obama heads. I get that most gun people probably wouldn't be friendly towards me, being what most would consider radically liberal; however, I'm not going to deal with someone who's in your face about it in addition to being fruit loops. Selling Hitler pictures is just in poor taste.

I did buy two survival knives (for just $17) since they're quite different from the five Swiss Army knives I have.

I also got myself a towering soft-serve ice cream cone... chocolate.
I recently watched several Youtube videos by TheYankeeMarshal. He's very entertaining and very educational, despite being what some would call a "gun nut." On the contrary, he's actually very sensible. In fact, he made a joke about guns and ninjas which I myself made just a week earlier. We must really think alike in some regards! The joke was regarding how many bullets should a defensive gun be able to carry? Citing statistics, the chances of needing more than three bullets is the same as being hit by lighting twice. A 5-shot revolver is plenty. The chances of needing three 16-shot clips because you're suddenly attacked by 48 ninjas is very slim. Even then, it probably wouldn't be enough because there might be 49 ninjas or you might miss once. And in 95% of cases outside the home, defensive use of a gun doesn't result in the gun actually being fired.

So, we both made the same ninjas vs ammunition need joke.

Anyway, my point is that I think I'll just carry around a live hand grenade for protection.

But just so you don't think I agree with everything he says on his channel . . .

In other videos, he advises people who conceal carry to just ignore signs that say guns are not permitted and to leave if you get caught and asked to leave. That is a disrespectful attitude bordering on the psychos who take their assault rifles to family restaurants. Concealed carrying where permitted is one thing. Open carrying in a tactful manner is one thing. Upholstering and waving around your weapons in a Chipotle is asshole behavior. I'm waiting for the day when a concerned citizens shoots the guys showing up with rifles because he thinks they're there to rob the place. However so far, all that's happened is employees have hidden in the back when such nuts show up.

All in all, I think it would be best to just not enter a place if they say you can't bring your weapon and you don't think it's safe without one. After all, isn't the best self-defense technique to avoid a dangerous situation in the first place. If you think you might need your weapon somewhere, maybe that's where you shouldn't go with or without your gun.

I'll leave you with some John Oliver since I think he's funny.