P320 Entry: An Idiot’s Guide to Becoming a Gun Guy

800px-Beretta92GElite1A

By Everyday Gunner

I am fairly young. I’m relatively stupid. And I really have no idea what it takes to break into the predominately OFWG (Old Fat White Guy for the newer TTAG readers) gun crowd. However, I’ve been working to find my way as a gunner for a while now, and figure someone might benefit from my experience . . .

Several years ago I purchased a Beretta 92G and had absolutely no idea what to do with it. It was only the second handgun I had ever fired, the first being a couple rounds through a S&W Model 14, and I had done zero research of any kind into handgun techniques/methodology.

I knew I wanted a Beretta 92 due to that absolutely great in-hand feel, but I didn’t even know that it was a “G” until I no longer had the gun. The lack of a safety made me nervous so I kept it with no round chambered. My first magazine had reloaded hollowpoints I’d purchased at a small-town gun show, and the second had some random frangible ammo I’d purchase not even knowing what that meant.

I would still put it under my pillow regardless of my lack of comfort though, because you know, that’s what movies showed the “gun guy” was supposed to do, and of course, I was CLEARLY a gun guy. I shot rarely, had very little knowledge of my firearm or the laws associated with it, and had no means to carry/transport it other than a $9.99 plastic hard case. That was my first step into the world of gun ownership.

Later, I made a more concerted effort to get into the firearms scene. If I hadn’t studied diligently enough, I might have done something like openly carry my FNX-45 into an area that disallows OC by state law. I can only speculate of course that the one comment I might have gotten would have been a compliment followed by “what gun is that?”

Obviously I wouldn’t have been the only uneducated firearm fan that day…if that had happened. Imagine my “relief” when I did more study on state legalities and found out about this restriction and the apparent 4th degree felony I managed to avoid by not putting myself into such an uneducated and stupid position.

Another unpleasant experience involved IWB concealing a full-size handgun in a Kydex IWB/OWB modular holster for 2 days. Wow, talk about a major sore spot. I legitimately thought I had injured myself. Almost limping from the pain, red and nearly raw area, and ridiculously tender raised welt. Sound fun? Yeah, it wasn’t.

Even as I researched more about firearms, I still had embarrassing moments. Shall I tell you about getting screamed at in front of an entire conceal carry class for having my finger on the trigger? Sure I was just dissembling my XD-S to check the lubrication on it just before our next range session. And sure the instructor had dissembled his GLOCK about 20 times to that point in front of the class. And sure my gun was pointed in a safe direction, but….

Uhh wait, what was the “but” again? Oh, I just wanted to vent about getting yelled at? That’s right. (I know I know, classroom setting and all. Relax. It was still frustrating to get hollered at and besides, the whole goal here is to display my mistakes, right?)

Here’s the point: I don’t know everything about guns, but I’ve come a long way. How did I manage it? I read sites like The Truth About Guns, I watched videos, and I listened to podcasts to learn what was acceptable and what information had merit. Do your research. Look at the pros and cons of each firearm-related choice, try your best to understand what constitutes good gun manners, and do so BEFORE claiming to be a “gun person”.

Perhaps, like me, you’re not-so-Old, not-so-Fat, only half White, and wondering how you can fit in. Well, quit trying to. Just be an everyday guy or gal trying to gain knowledge, and you’ll find a place. We’d love to have you.

comments

  1. avatar Matt in TX says:

    “I really have no idea what it takes to break into the predominately OFWG (Old Fat White Guy for the newer TTAG readers) gun crowd.”

    You just did. Congratulations from a not so old, not so fat, mostly white guy.

    1. avatar JasonM says:

      Becoming an OFWG is easy.
      O: just sit back and wait.
      F: eat the heavily processed garbage that most American restaurants and grocery stores sell. Just don’t over do it, or that can interfere with O.
      W: If you don’t have this step already, talk to Michael Jackson’s cosmetic surgeon.
      G: If you don’t have this one, I hear Thailand has the surgeons you’ll need.

  2. avatar Cameron says:

    Do people want to become fat? It is disgusting that people think it’s funny.

    1. avatar New Continental Army says:

      There is actually a fringe of society that are un-healthily under weight and actually want to get fat- and there is another fringe of overweight people who actually want to get fatter.

    2. avatar El Mac says:

      @Cameron, totally agree brother.

      1. avatar A samurai says:

        Guys, I’m pretty sure it was meant as a joke…. You have herd of those right? Jokes?

  3. avatar El Mac says:

    @DZ, why do you believe that all gun owners are OFWGs?

    1. avatar New Continental Army says:

      There is truth that counters to the OFWG myth. Its just typical that most OFWG own guns- there are many more young shapely *insert random race or sex here* than people think. They’re just typically not on forums like these.

      1. avatar El Mac says:

        @NCA, frankly I’m sick of the “OFWG” bullshit moniker. It plays right into the hands of the anti’s. Its about as stupid as calling each other “n*gger”. Gimme a break with the BS TTAG.

        1. Notice the byline. I posted the article, but it was written by Everyday Gunner as a P320 entry.

        2. avatar El Mac says:

          @DZ, “I was just driving the car officer, HE was the one that pulled the trigger!”

          Brilliant.

        3. Gotta say, it’s surprising how many people seem to not get the fact that I just used the OFWG thing as a comedic bit to open and then tie back in as a wrap up.

          Did you not notice that I’m suggesting that I represent an ordinary gun owner (hence the Everyday Gunner name?) and I only fit 1 of the 4 monikers in OFWG? Lighten up peeps. It’s mild sarcasm.

          And rip on Dan? Come on now… Here’s a QotD that Dan posted a year and a half ago: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/09/daniel-zimmerman/quote-of-the-day-gun-culture-2-0-edition/.

        4. avatar El Mac says:

          @EverydayGunner, comedic or not, it’s not a wise move to walk into the ranks of folks you don’t know and start slinging anti-gunner lingo. Like I said, it’s analogous to using the word n*gger. You walk onto a basketball court with a crowd you don’t know and start out calling them n*ggers and then want to duck and cover with the excuse: “I was just trying to be funny”.

          So, as an FNG (like that?) you might consider, a word to the wise: if you want to be taken seriously, then act/write seriously and don’t call your gun friends OFWGs.

  4. avatar Jon Wiggs says:

    Back in the early 90s a Beretta 92G was my first semi-auto pistol.

  5. avatar Dave Gibson says:

    I started the same way 30 years ago. It was a slow process since I didn’t have the resources of the Internet.

  6. avatar mrT says:

    I just realized that not having to rely solely on the Internet to become a gun guy, was a blessing.

    I could see having the exact same experience as OP, had I not been taking under the “wings” of a more experienced gun guy.

    Thanks for sharing

    1. Yup! The “gun guys” in my family live across the country from myself. Though I’ll probably be borrowing some expertise from them even still as I take a look at reloading.

      As far as the internet goes, the upside is there is a ton of information to be perused. The downside is that a lot of it is bad… Gotta be bright enough to figure out what’s what.

      Thanks for appreciating my sharing : ]

  7. Nice read. Well written. Amusing and informative. You don’t take yourself too seriously, awesome.

    And kudos to you for being so brutally honest with us.

    Yes, you made quite a few rookie errors. I prevented myself from making many of the ones you did simply by doing a LOT of reading, research and talking to guys way more experienced than me. But we’ve all been there.

    You learned the hard way that there is a major downside to lugging a huge .45 like the FNX 45 around in an inside the waistband holster. You happened to pick what may be one of the heaviest, thanks to the large capacity mag.

    Hang in there and keep up your study of the gun and shooting.

    Oh, and I can assure you that becoming an OFWG is easy. All it takes it some punk on a gun forum or blog site calling you that, thinking that a personal insult is a substitute for sober minded, rational, mature conversation.

    But I now can reveal the REAL secret to becoming an OFWG.

    First, get old, or older. Remember “old” is relative. A twenty-something thinks anyone over 30 is old. But, at age 52, I am definitely in the “old” category, since, I can’t even be described as “middle aged” … I’m not so sure I want to live to be 104.

    Second, put on a few extra pounds as you get older. I’m around 6’4″ and big boned, but … hey, it happens to a lot of us. We are not proud of it, but there it is.

    Third, be a guy.

    Fourth, be white.

    And there you will have it, you will have become a genuine OFWG. But cheer up, here is what you can expect when you do become an official OFWG.

    You’ll get a membership card in the mail when it happens. It may have the letters AARP on it, but trust me, it is your OFWG membership card. Don’t join the AARP though, it is a leftie anti-gun organization.

    You also get a very nice frame-worthy certificate of membership, and you get all the secret codes and handshakes we OFWGs use, along with a lifetime membership to our secret society with all the meeting places and perks.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Paul. Yours are often some of my favorite replys to read on the articles here, so I appreciate the advice and comments.

      Guess I’ll just have to wait for my chance to learn all the old-guy tricks and handshake stuff.

    2. avatar Comrade Terry says:

      Fifty-two, Paul?

      Whipper-snapper!

    3. avatar Tietonian says:

      “Big boned” strikes again. 😛

      1. @Everyday: I would love to tell you everything now, but it is on a need to know basic and if I did tell you, I’d have to …well, you know.

        @Komrad Terry: I try to respect my elders.

        @Tietonian: What can I say? I try not to brag.

      2. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

        Are there stomach bones?

        Because that seems the be the majority of most OFWG’s problem…

        1. Were you trying to be clever? Sorry, better luck next time.

        2. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

          I was being satirical.

          You missed the irony, as usual, better luck next time.

  8. avatar Josh in Missouri says:

    I learned out at my family’s property, at about 8 years old, shooting soda cans with an old Remington 22 bolt action. Model 512, made in 1941. Same gun sits in my safe today.

    Just got my first polymer pistol. Brand new Smith & Wesson M&P 40, full size. Fully loaded, even has ambidextrous thumb safety.

    I can’t accurately describe the feelings of telling someone at the shooting range that its your first time shooting a semi auto pistol. Fortunately, a range employee was kind enough to show me in detail how to slowly release the trigger after you fire, then once it catches, you get that click, then squeeze again. Lol, I had no idea how the hell to shoot it properly. I grew up shooting rifles and revolvers, and own several rifles, but never anything like the M&P.

    At 29 years old, I’m not old. I’m not fat, either. But I am a white guy, if that matters, who enjoys the hell out of punching paper (and animals).

    Been to the range a few times with the M&P. I think Im in love, its an accurate little sh*t.

    So enjoy your Beretta and your XD-S. And thanks for sharing. Nice to know everyone here isn’t a damned expert.

    1. avatar Yeah says:

      Congrats on that M&P 40; I was just doing some research into the M&P 45 last weekend. I thought about getting one rather than another Glock.

      1. @Josh:

        Where are you in Missouri?

  9. avatar Gunr says:

    Everyday gunner,
    Just remember. Everything you touch, shoot, or wear is not just an item, it’s a “Tactical” item!

    1. Hah! Definitely. You should check out my “Tactical” plaid shorts that I tend to wear when I go shooting. Epic…

      1. avatar Gunr says:

        I’d rather check out the bazoomka’s on that cute thing shooting next to you!

  10. avatar Josh in Missouri says:

    @Yeah: thank you kindly.

    I handled a 40 cal Glock, felt good in the hand.

    I really liked a Sig in the same caliber, but I couldn’t get the damned slide to move without lots of LGS employee interaction.

    The M&P felt right at home in my hands. Everything was straightforward, its forgiving enough with my novice pistol handling level, and its a damned handsome pistol.

    Ive heard such good things about Glocks, Id love to have one of those (perhaps in 45 this time) just to compare. Lots of competition between the Glock and M&P. Suppose you can’t go wrong with either.

    1. avatar Steve Truffer says:

      .45 Glocks can be a bear. My spidery fingers are at their limit on a 10mm (G20).

  11. avatar David says:

    Read some books by people who know what they are talking about, practice what they teach, and adapt it to you. Massad Ayood, Jeff Cooper, Clint Smith and a host of others have great info that is readily available. The Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry by Ayoob is almost always available at Barnes and Noble.

    Cordially,

    David

  12. avatar Denshichiro Kuroyama says:

    Being a gun guy isnt about gender, race, or weight… But being trained and knowledgeable is certainly an important part.

  13. avatar Marcus Aurelius says:

    Breaking into the OFWG gun crowd is pretty easy. First: wait till you’re old. While your waiting, drink too much beer at to many BBQ’s, and somewhere in there but a gun (not while drinking the beer). Then but another, and maybe that SKS. OH! Definitely get a garand…

    Any way, as a YFWH (I’m not old yet) I can tell you: do your research. If the subject interests you, learn about it. cogitate on what you read. Buy something reasonably priced, a specimen of whatever your research and cogitation has indicated fits your needs or interests. And when you’re in a store looking at a package of frangible ammo not knowing what it is, ANYTHING can be googled, usually on your phone from the back of the store before you buy it.

    All this, of course, is in lieu of being raised around guns, which is the best method.

    1. Oh man, my wife hates that I have Google available everywhere I shop. “Wait wait, let me see how much of a price difference there is on gunbroker…” (She’s much more of an impulse buyer than I.) Unfortunately, in the case of the frangibles, I didn’t have a smart phone at that time, and not wanting to seem dumb to the gentleman at the counter, I acted as if they fit my needs perfectly.

  14. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    First I would propose that owning pistols doesn’t make you a gun guy in my eyes. A gun guy is interested in and enjoys all firearms. Regardless of when, where or by who they were made. Regardless to what purpose they are designed for.

    Following the yellow brick road of gundom will lead you thru shotgun sports, museums with 500 yr old artisan pieces and the joys of hunting. Also about a hundred other areas of interest and study for a lifetime.

    Focus on “I own a pistol so I can kill the hordes of miscreants that are going to harm me and mine ” just makes you a guy looking for a tool.

    1. avatar Everyday Gunner says:

      You’re right sir, but to me, a pistol was a logical starting point since self defense is one of my reasons for firearm ownership.

      I still don’t have a ton of long guns, but one is a Winchester Model 94 in .32 Special, pre-64 of course. Would that help satisfy your demands? My hope is to take it out deer hunting this fall, we’ll see if time and funds allow for it. Would be my first time hunting anything other than small game.

      Just got my reloading press in the mail this week as well! That’s something that might take some more time and learning effort to learn to use…

      1. avatar dutchroo says:

        @Everyday

        That Winchester may be the last rifle you need. Keep in mind it was originally designed in 1894 (by John Moses Browning himself). For much of the 20th Century, that rifle was known as “the deer rifle.”

        The dirty little secret about deer hunting is that most shots are taken under 100 yards. This renders most arguments about caliber moot. The .32 Winchester Special round has more than enough power for any deer-sized game taken within 100 yards. You might try Hornady’s LEVERevolution loads to gain an edge in accuracy.

        The lever action is a light, fast handling weapon. If you spend the time at the range, you can get pretty accurate. The time you spend learning to shoot with open sights will teach you much about shooting in general that your shotgunning and handgunning will also benefit.

        1. It’s a special gun to me for personal reasons as well. Made it’s way to me from my grandfather with a brief stint in my dad’s possession until I was a bit older and showed more interest in firearms.

          Looked at the LEVERevolution stuff, but haven’t been able to find it ANYWHERE… Any .32 Spec is hard to find as is, let alone the “new” stuff. Have a box of Winchester and a couple boxes of Remington. It seems to shoot high, but I haven’t spent enough time working with it to make a definitive statement on that. Should be able to work it out next time I head to my longer range.

  15. avatar DamDoc says:

    What does this have to bo with a p320?

    1. avatar Cameron B says:

      its a prize for the contest currently running. the “best” article will win and the author will receive a p320

  16. avatar Mick says:

    I’m no gun guy but i just bought my first gun a couple of weeks ago. I’m glad for sites like this and for people that comment on here also. My first purchase by the way is a ruger gp100 with a blued 4 inch barrel. (For many reasons).

    1. avatar Everyday Gunner says:

      That’s great Mick. Always cool to learn of a new gun owner in my opinion.

      My 2nd gun purchase after the Beretta 92 was a 5-shot blued .38 Special revolver btw. It’s been passed along now, but my wife in particular shot it VERY well. I just never felt like I could get a good grasp on it. Those Ruger revolvers seem to have a great reputation though, good luck with it!

  17. avatar Lfshtr says:

    In answer to your comments, I spend many hours at the range and never have refused to help a new gun owner. There are may things to help him or her with, some safety, how to understand the power in their hand, where to get good data, explain double action vs single, wheel vs auto, on and on. I have always received many thanks for the info. I give them. Before you know it, they start living the experience and enjoying the second Amendent as it was intended. Always my friends be ready and helpful if you can.

  18. avatar Faren Smith says:

    I sure appreciate the OFWGs, like my dad and my grandad, who took the time to take me hunting, and who sat through hunters safety with me as a kid, even though they had spent significant portions of their lives handling firearms in the service.

    I also appreciate the OFWGs at the DOC and ANG for giving me some basic, but invaluable defensive firearms skills/knowledge/ability.

    I have never fired off anything on the internet that increased my skills with a firearm. But my time spent with these OFWGs on the range has been pretty beneficial in that regard. I might go have a beer with one of them OFWGs right now and say thanks 🙂

  19. avatar Floyd says:

    The viwepoint of one old fat white guy… Don’t care about your skin color, waist size or age. Just care that you made the effort to share your experience with all of us. Very cool. And point well-taken on the need for research and knowledge. The fun thing about this stuff is that you never stop learning!

    Thanks!

    1. Hey, he gets it! : ] Your welcome and thanks, Floyd. Workin’ hard to get more learning in, always room to grow.

  20. avatar Grendel says:

    Good article. We all had to start somewhere, and no matter how good a start we get we have all made mistakes. Speaking of mistakes – I think you were “disassembling” your xd not “dissembling” and your instructor probably wasn’t hiding his feelings about his Glock either. 🙂

    1. /sarcasm NO! I meant to say that I happened to put my finger on the trigger while I was being sneaky with my motives. Lol. Thanks for the heads up I suppose.

  21. avatar CoolBreeze72 says:

    The author’s OFWG references got me to thinking. As far as a 2nd A issue goes, OFWG is a poor choice of term. It is the term applied by 2A opponents. The RTBA is for all. It is not restricted by age (Old), body type (Fat), race (White), or sex (guy). Most TTAG-ers don’t use it as a derogatory term,I know. Much like a segment of the black community has co-opted the N-word to diffuse its power, OFWGs (see what I did there) have taken a similar approach. Nothing particularly wrong with that. Let’s just be clear that to be a “gun guy” you don’t need to be O, F, W, or even a ….Guy. Just be an American.

  22. avatar TZH says:

    welcome to the community. everybody starts somewhere and it takes brass ones to talk about these starter experiences.

    get into IDPA/IPSC/USPSA or any shooting sport. don’t get sucked into the gun & equipment race where you think your purchased firearm sucks compared to the everybody else. have fun and get skilled with what you got and make new friends.

    nothing beats using your pistol a lot and getting better at it too.

    you’ll be a pro in no time and will have lots of fun and gain new buddies too!

    1. I’m actually extremely interested in trying my hand at IDPA. Particularly with my XD-S, since I’d want to do it as practice and not just for the game. Just time, ammo money, and the biggest reason of not knowing what/how to do it have held me back this far. Hmm, maybe there’s an Idiot’s Guide to Competition Shooting in my future…

      1. avatar TZH says:

        go for it dude!

        time trumps money coz you’ll accumulate eventually. even hanging out at the club and chatting with other shooters gains a ton of experience points.

        watching the top guys shoot is extremely valuable. I’ve got a venue that is home to 3 grand masters (standard division and classic) and mere exposure to techniques and higher standards goes a really long way.

        oh yeah, I always take videos of them and myself for study at home or when I’m stressed out at work. my gopro and contour hatcams keep me entertained to no end.

        good luck!

  23. avatar ken says:

    “I’m fairly stupid.”
    I don’t think so. Pleae note that stupid is not the same as ignorant, which means; “lack of knowledge” about a certain area, or uneducated. That can easily be remedied, stupid cannot.

  24. avatar Ardent says:

    Great article and I appreciate your candidness. I was practically born with a gun in my hand so it’s sometimes hard for me to relate to anyone much over 16 who doesn’t have a good grasp on all things gun. However I absolutely relish teaching what I’ve learned to interested people. Keep shooting and eventually you’ll find someone, perhaps not old, fat, white or even a guy who has a horde of knowledge he wants to pass on.

    For the record I’m 37, thin, white and male, but I don’t have any children to teach these things to and so make do with mentoring young men (and sometimes women) such as yourself in the way of the gun.

    Having said that though, I’m still always learning because there is always more to learn.

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