Back in the day, when my mother said “Don’t tip back that chair!” she meant it. As well she might; my teenage toches was parked on an honest-to-God Windsor chair. Truth be told, I grew up in a museum, surrounded by an endless parade of rare and beautiful objects. At first, it was African folk art: dark mysterious pieces that spoke of elemental emotion. Then American antiques: minimalistic masterpieces of unpretentious artistic aspiration. Then American crafts: compelling forms with exquisite colors and textures. While I developed an eye for beauty, the collecting bug never bit me. I can count on one hand the number of inanimate objects I’ve owned that captured my heart and thrilled my soul . . .
The Ferrari F335B has pride of place in this short list of masterpieces that have—I mean, had my name on them.
While most automotive enthusiasts associate Ferrari with the race-bred Saturn V-like thrust of Il Commendatore’s V12 engines, I always considered Enzo’s non-Ferrari ode to his son Dino the brand’s essence. (Go figure.) The F355 was the last of these multo delicato flying buttress Ferraris: a car every bit as romantic and capable as the Dino.
I’m proud to say I owned the highest mileage example in Europe. I drove the SNOT out of that car every single day for three years. When it wasn’t in the shop. To the point where I called myself a Ferrari visitor, rather than an owner. Yes but . . . like my first glimpse of Sam, I never got over those curves. Never. Or, at the risk of seeming indelicate, the scream of her engine . . .
I digress. But only because it’s pleasant to do so—now that the monetary pain of ownership [of the car] has [somewhat] subsided. OK, yes, there are parallels between my F335 and my Gemini Customs Ruger SP101.
Like the F355, the modded Ruger is old school made modern. Just as the F355 had the brakes that the Dino sorely lacked, the Gemini Ruger has the five-pound trigger pull that the stock SP101 can’t match. Horsepower? The stainless steel Ruger fires five man-stopping .357s. Handling? The perfectly balanced Ruger’s custom grip is easy to grab, easy to hold. With the XS Big Dot sight out front, the Gemini Ruger is, like the F355, point and shoot.
In fact, there’s only one good argument against using the Gemini Custom Ruger SP101 3″ as my everyday carry gun. The Glock 30. Or as I like to call it, the 996.
I was down at the Ferrari dealer one day, my home away from home, waiting for Godot. In an attempt to distract me from the forthcoming financial tsunami, the salesman put me in the driver’s seat of a Porsche Carrera 4. It was a revelation. I could drive the Porker like my hair was on fire without my hair being on fire. More specifically, I could cane that ass-engined Nazi slot car at 10/10ths and not die. Which was not something you could say about the F355 without fear of contradiction. Or death.
The Glock is like that, too. Whereas I can [now] put together a tidy-looking string of five .357 hollow-point bullets at five yards with the modified Ruger SP101, I can put 10 .45s through the same hole at the same distance with a Glock 30. One-handed. More specifically, I have the sneaking suspicion I could face down a lethal threat with the Glock 30 and not die. Which is not something I can say about the Gemini Customs Ruger SP101 without fear of contradiction. Or death.
So . . . I carry the Glock, right? Right. Ish. Until I receive an inside-the-waist band Glock 30 holster (T&E Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe and Mitch Rosen IWBs in the works), I’ve convinced myself that the Ruger in a Remora is a more suitable choice for T-shirt and shorts weather. When the temperature drops, the Glock sits on my hip in a Galco speed scabbard.
But really, I’m in love with the Gemini Ruger. I love the way it looks, feels and shoots. More to the point, unlike the F355, ownership isn’t in and of itself a clear and present danger. I can walk around convincing myself that I’ve got a good enough gun for self-defense. Which I do. To a point. Like the Ferrari, the Gemini Customs Ruger SP101 is perfectly safe—right up until the moment when it isn’t. And then, by God, it isn’t.
The thing of it is, once I drove the C4, I never thought of holding onto the F355. For me, the thrill of ownership comes from beauty and utility. In other words, I can’t imagine owning a gun I don’t use. OK, I have a couple. A few. But not a lot. Provided you define “a lot” as something between the number of guns a news report would cite to prove that I’m a gun nut and an actual gun nut’s armory. The Gemini Customs Ruger SP101 is destined to join my fly-in-amber-style collection . . .
After all, self-defense is too important to leave to the heart. Isn’t it? It is. I swear it is. But can I get back to you on that after the Glock’s IWB holsters arrive? Thanks.