Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a father who taught me how to handle and respect guns. This is probably the reason I never had that curious urge to “play” with daddy’s guns as a kid (note to ALL parents – even if guns are not kept in the house, you can still teach your kids how to use and handle them safely). Throughout college I never really thought of owning a gun (youthful ignorance, I guess). Sure, I went to the range a couple of times with my dad and brother but always used their hardware. Cue college graduation. . .
One gift stood out from the rest: my dad’s Ruger SR9. His reasoning was, “now that you will be officially on your own, you need to be able to protect yourself.” Of course, I accepted this great gift and placed it, unloaded, on the highest shelf in the closet. If I really needed it, I figured I could dust it off, find the ammo, have it loaded and ready in no time.
As frequently happens, life went on. Along came the wife and then the true game changer: my son. For me, having a kid made me take a hard look at my ability to effectively protect my family.
At first, I thought to myself, no problem, I have a gun. I probably should take it out to make sure it works. So, I dusted off the case and decided to take this neglected hunk of metal to the local gun range for a refresher.
I bought some targets, ammo, rented the eyes and ears and set up for my first shot. I aimed at the paper target…and missed. I spent the next two hours (buying a lot more expensive ammo) working on my accuracy and got a little better. Certainly nothing to write home about.
At the end of the embarrassing range session I came to the conclusion that I really need practice. The SR9 – even after all that time on the shelf – worked flawlessly. My problem was user error.
Bringing the gun home, along with a healthy load of shame, I remembered that I should probably clean the piece after all that shooting. It was then that I realized that I didn’t have any solvent, oil, tools, etc. Great. Needless to say, I was definitely NOT in a position to protect anyone (I won’t get into how it eventually took me longer than it should have to take down the gun to clean it for the first time).
I am not a fighter. If something were to ever hit the fan, looking tough would only get me so far. But that wouldn’t do much to protect my family if they were ever in real danger.
The playing field indeed needed to tilted more in my favor if a DGU was ever required. I decided that I needed to be mentally and physically prepared for a defensive scenario. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Well, that, and really knowing the inner workings of the tools available to you. So, I practiced and learned as much as I could. And in the process, I’ve really gotten into shooting sports – a great stress reliever after a busy work week.
Home carry and a quick-access gun vault now keep the one-year-old kid safe from the handguns in the house. Also, thanks to Ralph’s review, a closet wall-mounted H&R 1871 Pardner Pump Protector with a Blackhawk Recoil Reducing stock for good measure was added to the arsenal.
About three months after my epiphany, I had decided that only being able to protect my family inside the home was simply not enough and that a CCL would be necessary. Fortunately, I live in Florida so I had my CCL within 60 days.
At the time, though, the only pistol I owned was the Ruger SR9, not the most comfortable carry gun. But I made do. The best holster I found for it was a Theis IWB Holster (great holster) but the sheer weight of the rig tended to pull my pants down.
I’ve since graduated to something a bit smaller and more manageable – still with a Theis Holster – and have no problem carrying just about everywhere. Everywhere I’m allowed without being arrested or fired from work, that is.
Everyone comes to the realization that it’s their responsibility (and right) to protect themselves in their own way and time. I wanted to share my little tale because I am sure that there are many others out there who think they are prepared who really are not. It took years before I came to this realization and I hope my example can help someone take a look at where they stand and start “ironing out the bugs” now. Before they bite you.