Questionable Advice

Here’s a bunch of stuff that I figured out on my own when I got back into all things gun a few years ago. Think of this as a cheat sheet if you’re ready to buy your first gun, are thinking about buying a gun or are just curious. This is an expensive hobby, so the more you know, the better off you’ll be.

The Four Rules of Gun Safety

  1. Treat every weapon as if it were loaded. Every. Single. Time. Always perform a chamber or cylinder check to ensure that there is not a round loaded. If your friend hands you a gun to fingerbang, make sure there’s not a magazine inserted and pull the slide back and make sure there’s no round in the chamber. Be overly cautious, because stupid shit will happen.
    1. At your local gun shop or big box store and want to fondle a gun? When the clerk hands it to you or places it on the counter, see above. Perform a basic safety check. When you give it back to the clerk, lock the slide back/drop the cylinder and place it back on the counter.
  2. Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you intend to fire. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to send a round downrange.
  3. Never point your weapon at anything you don’t intend to shoot. At home, at the range, at the gun shop. Do not point a gun at anything you’re not prepared to destroy.
    1. If you muzzle sweep someone, chances are high you will be called out. In front of people.
  4. Always be sure of your target and what is behind it. Bullets go fast. Really fast. And they will go through things.

Ready to buy your first gun? You’ve done your research online, talking to friends that are gun owners and filtered their bullshit? You’ve decided on what you’ll use the gun for? Excellent! Let’s break this down, though, just to make sure you’re spending your hard earned dollars on the right firearm for you.

Research

Thank god for the internet. Hit up the manufacturer’s websites, see what they have to offer. Get familiar with the differences not only between different manufacturers, but also the different models. Home defense, open carry, concealed carry, truck gun, AR vs. AK vs. hunting rifle vs. sport rifle? With AR 15’s, are you going to buy or build? The choices are endless. One of the best sources of gun information (not knowledge, but information) are the gun related subs at Reddit and the brand specific forums. All user generated content, real world reviews and tons of opinionated assholes. Take all Reddit information knowing that the majority of people who post and respond are full of shit and you’ll be fine.

Don’t know what Reddit is? Ask Mr. Google, he’ll tell you.

Discreetly find out who your friends or coworkers are that are gun owners. Ask them tons of questions. Filter their bullshit with fact driven research.

The italicized “Discreetly”? Guns are a hot button topic, and depending on where you live and work, they can be discussed openly or in hushed tones. Very few people know I own guns and shoot the ever loving shit out of them and that’s by design. It’s no ones business, and I definitely know that some people in my life would sever friendships with me over gun ownership. Work is especially risky depending on the culture of your workplace. Be cool about it. People will think differently about you, either positively or negatively. Thank God I live in Texas where guns are normal and not feared. Well, Texas as in “not Austin”, because they’re all fucked up in Austin.

Here’s a few examples I ran into before I bought my first gun – some of this is way out there in terms of rational thought, but people get emotionally invested in things they’ve spent a good amount of money on, some people are armchair operators who’ve played too much Call of Duty and some people are just opinionated assholes.

Remember, these are my opinions, so filter out my bullshit.

  • Learn the basics of what’s what in the gun world. High level, in general terminology and functionality: Without getting all crazy and going down a rabbit hole (remember, this is not exhaustive and covers the basics), there are two types of pistols:
    • Semi automatics
    • Revolvers
    • Don’t get all pedantic with me and say “what about black powder? Cap and ball? Derringers?”
      • If you’re reading this and you ask those questions, you already know about guns and this content isn’t for you. Go look at some gun porn, Oper8er.
  • Cry once, buy once
    • You get what you pay for. You’ve got the fever. You want a gun. You need a gun. Right now. If you don’t have the cash on hand to buy the gun you want, don’t settle for a piece of shit. You want a Sig Sauer P229 for your first carry piece but can’t swing the $900? Either keep saving for it, or downgrade your expectations and go with a less costly alternative from a reputable manufacturer that you’ve done your research on.
      • In other words, don’t go cheap and buy:
        • Taurus
        • Hi-Point
        • Kel-Tec
      • They break. They blow up. They jam. And you’ll be an unhappy camper and feel like an idiot for going cheap. And your friends will either outright laugh in your face or behind your back.
  • Hit your local gun range(s) to try before you buy
    • Most gun ranges have rentals. Rent as many as your wallet will allow and find what fits you, your hands and your shooting style.
    • Don’t get all gun crazy and buy the rental gun. They’ve had 10s of thousands of rounds fired.
  • If you buy anything other than a Glock, you’re an idiot
    • This deserves it’s own bullet point, because Glock aficionados are somewhat obsessive and vocal. It’s like Coke vs. Pepsi but cranked up to 11.
    • Hell, I own a Glock 22. I like it. It’s…functional. Glocks are like the Honda Accord of the gun world. They just work. People have heard of them. They know someone that owns a Glock. That doesn’t make them the best gun in the world. It’s all about choices and what works for you.
    • You think I’m kidding? Go to your local gun shop, range or in your circle of gun loving friends and state loudly and boldly “Glock’s suck. They’re ugly and they’re like the Big Mac of the gun world” and see what kind of feedback you get.
      • People will laugh, either with you or at you
      • Someone will lose their shit and verbally beat your ass down
  • Decide what your use case is:
    • Concealed carry? Awesome. If you buy a full size pistol, chances are high you’re eventually going to be unhappy with the weight and bulkiness that a compact or sub-compact will provide. You can definitely carry a full size piece, but it’s so much easier with a compact or sub-compact. That’s what they’re made for, you know?
      • Don’t ask me how I know this.
    • Home defense/nightstand gun? You’re in luck. Any quality gun currently on the market fits the bill. If you want to be super awesome, build an AR and use that for you HD gun.
    • Truck gun? Reputable manufacturer, entry level fits the bill.
    • Hunting rifle? Do your research. Bring money. Know what you want.
    • Milsurp collector? The world is your oyster.
      • Get an FFL 03 C&R license. You can thank me later.
    • Mall ninja? Sorry, I have nothing for you. Go play Call of Duty and hang out in online forums.
  • Calibers
    • Holy Jeezus, the caliber debate. 9mm is the best!!! No it’s not, .45 ACP is the best, because .45 ACP kills the soul!!! 10mm is the best mm!!! .380 is for girls!!! Stopping power, kinetic force, expansion, penetration, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.
      • Again, Coke vs. Pepsi, with spurious statistics thrown around.
      • I’ll come back to this, as the bullshit factor around “the best caliber” warrants it’s own page.
      • People are fucking weird.
  • Local Gun Shops (LGS)
    • Do your research so you know bullshit when you hear it. Just because someone works at a gun shop doesn’t mean they know dick about guns. I’ve heard some dumb, dumb things coming out of the mouth of gun store employees and owners. Do your research.
    • Have a good idea of what you want, how much you’re willing to spend and what people have been paying by checking prices online and talking to people that actually own guns.
    • Don’t be afraid to question prices – don’t be a douchebag about it, but don’t blindly pay what the dealer or big box store is asking.
      • Online gun sales is a thing. Find the gun you want, order and pay, then find an FFL to have the seller transfer the gun to. I’ve had mixed luck with this, as shipping and FFL transfer fees can eat up any imagined savings you’ll realize vs. buying local at a markup.
    • Visit several. Visit more than several. You’ll eventually find one that you feel comfortable in where the ownership and staff are helpful and don’t make you feel like a dumbshit for asking what they consider are dumb questions.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. A good gun shop will take the time and answer to the best of their knowledge any question you may have.
    • If you get attitude or condescending behavior from an LGS employee or owner, leave. They don’t deserve your money.
    • When you do find a good shop, frequent it. Even if you’re not actively buying, stop in if you’re in the neighborhood. Establish a relationship. Don’t be a dick, mind your manners, and chances are very high they’ll start hooking you up. Front of the waitlist when a hard to find gun is available, small discounts on merchandise, unlimited fingerbanging of gats.
      • Don’t be a dick
      • Treat them like human beings
      • Spend money, even on little things like ammunition, cleaning gear, morale patches, whatever floats your boat.
      • Don’t be a dick
      • Don’t offer unsolicited advice to their other customers. If someone wants to know what you think, they’ll ask you.
        • This one makes me crazy. Motherfucker, I’m not talking to you, don’t but into my conversation and drop your questionable wisdom on me.
        • 99.9% of the time, people that do this are fucking idiots and have the worst advice possible.
      • Don’t be afraid to question or disagree with the employees or owners, but don’t be a dick about it. If you know they’re talking out of their ass, blow it off. It’s not worth making it a whole thing to get wound up about.
    • Ask if you can dry fire. Some shops area fine with it, some shops will give you the stink eye and act like you just defiled their virgin sister.
    • To summarize:
      • Ask questions
      • Don’t be a dick
  • One is none. Two is one.
    • Google it.
    • Embrace it.
    • Work hard to make more money to buy more guns.
  • Secure your shit
     If you have kids or an unstable spouse/significant other(s) (hey, I don’t judge), lock that gat up. Get a gun safe, even if it’s a one gun nightstand safe.
    • Don’t leave your shit loaded where anyone else can access it. Especially your kids, nieces, nephews or neighbor’s kids.
    • Read the above again.
    • Same goes for your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend.
    • And your friends.
    • Lock. Your. Shit.
  • Bullets. Gatteries. Ammo.
    • Buy ammo online, in bulk. Local stores will ass rape you on ammo. A box here, a box there, no big deal. But 1,000 rounds from a sporting goods store or LGS is a huge price difference when compared to buying via an online aggregator: