Pawn Shop Denizen: Buying My First Gun – Content Contest

(This post is an entry in our spring content contest. The grand prize is a Beretta APX pistol. Entries have closed and we will announce the winner one we have run the best entries received.)

By Garrett Owens

Surely designed to withstand doomsday, the exterior of the store is blood red cinder blocks, windows barred and settled just on the other side of the tracks from our sleepy, happy town. In bright yellow paint scribed “Don’t be a Victim” and “Second is our Right” on the exterior leaving little to imagine just what lie inside. “Not a place you want to bring the family,” reads the only online review you’ll find.

The stale smell of cigarettes welcomes you at the door. A mishmash of metal shelving containing God knows what from the store’s isles, contents having sat untouched so long a thick layer of dust outlines their positions. A Macho Man Randy Savage cardboard cutout superimposed with Obama’s face, eyes painted red, with devil horns touting “I Sux” in his duct-taped speech bubble blocks the main isle, leaving one to wander around before entering the heart of this beast.

An impressive collection of half empty plastic soda bottles intermixed with remnants of spent chewing tobacco adorn the countertops and all spaces originally designed for office equipment or supplies. This is Ol’ Pappy’s Pawn and Gun.

Reaching the main sales floor, homemade wooden racks reaching to the ceiling proudly display every variant of AK, AR, SR, bolt-action, rimfire, autoloading, single shot, centerfire, left hand rifle and shotgun available. These guns, needing re-homing, are neatly lined up by barrel length resemble a church’s organ.

An Ol’ Pappy’s employee, semi-auto pistol strapped to his hip, takes a long inventory of his rifle-placing handiwork as he blatantly ignores my arrival. Perusing up and down the row, he slightly adjusts each gun’s barrel to the left or right, perfecting this long barrel gun sanctuary.

The glass pistol display case sits in front of the rifle wall, opaque from years of nicotine and contains a hodgepodge of handguns organized by what I can only guess to be luck. I try not to make eye contact with the gruff long-haired fellow behind the case while doing my best impersonation of a regular.

In all honesty, I’m not a typical gun enthusiast. I voted for Obama both times. I’ll choose vegetarian quesadillas over a steak dinner and I like my beer locally brewed served in the appropriate glassware. As I scan the display counter I quickly spot an opening next to a customer who is intently taking aim at various points throughout the store with a snub-nose revolver and I step in beside. Squinting hard through the foggy glass, I get my first look at the goods inside.

“What-er’-ya’ out for?” the gruff long haired fellow slides over and barks at me, obviously trying his best to seem inviting and interested.

“Don’t you usually ask what are you in for?” I reply, head down hoping he would pick up on the prison joke and break the ice. I felt his stare before he replies a stern “no” creating a wall of tension all of the bowie knifes in the place could not cut.

“Umm. I’m just checking out what you guys have, interested in a XD 9mm…have one?” I mutter, finally lifting my head to make eye contact. In my countless hours of online research, I had decided that was the pistol for me.

“No.” he says immediately, turning to walk down to the other end of the display to help another customer.

Phased and shaken, but not completely deterred, I stick my hands in my pockets and bend down to get a better look at their inventory. Black, gray, blue, pink…every color is represented. Revolvers next to striker fired, next to guns with hammers. As I carefully scan the case, I start to wonder how it came to be that each particular gun is now here.

Where did these guns come from? How far have they travelled? What is their story? How many are family heirlooms pawned in times of hardship? Contemplating the pistols’ origins, one catches my eye. Two-tone, stainless steel with a full size alloy frame and a hammer. A paper tag stringed to the trigger guard states, ‘$299 – Comes with box and 2 mags.’ I try to look past it, but am consumed by the gun’s presence. All other pistols in the case disappear.

Enamored, I stand up straight and look for the gruff long-haired fellow and muster. “HEY… I’d like to check this one out.” I think that’s what you should say. Or do I take a number and wait? The gruff long-haired fellow at the end of the counter perks up and is now headed my way, leaving his other customer mid-sentence.

“There’s a couple hundred guns here, you’re gonna need to be more specific.”

“It’s the only one…I mean that one, right there. Price is $299,” I say.

“Oh, the P right there?” he inquires. Pulling the deluge of keys from his pocket, he instantly fingers the correct one, unlocks the back of the case and pulls the gun from its temporary glass holding cell.

“This is a great piece and ain’t gonna last long here.” He cycles the slide a few times and locks it back. Handing it over to me without emotion, stone cold stare.

Now I can count the number of times I’ve handled a gun on one hand. Spending countless hours online reading everything every pro and vet has to offer on what caliber is best for the beginner, the best gun for my money, stopping power and so on made me believe I was a true gun pro. But when push comes to shove, I’m helpless. This is new ground, a new frontier and I am diving in head first.

I take the pistol from him like a new parent taking their newborn from the doctor for the first time. Scared and unsure, I hold the cold piece of steel in my hands, admiring the raw power it exudes, pretending to know what I’m looking for or at. It seems like what a gun should be. Heavy, made of metal, with a trigger, a barrel and someplace to hold on. Without cycling the slide, checking the sights, internals or gripping it like it was hot, I offer the gun back to the gruff long-haired fellow behind the counter, still cradling it like a newborn baby.

“Cool, thanks.” I say. Nervous, I could feel myself starting to break a sweat.

“You know, this ain’t gonna last in here,” he says, yet again, looking at me and cycling the slide, outwardly confused about my interaction with the pistol.

“These P’s are pretty sought after and in this condition, you just ain’t gonna find another like this.” He places the pistol on top of the case and shrugs off the awkwardness of the situation I just created.

Now I’m running on full auto-pilot, just pure emotions and adrenaline. Without a thought I put my hands back in my pockets and bend back down to take another gander at the inventory behind the foggy glass, not looking at anything in particular, not really sure what I am doing.

I Calculate what my next move should be; run out the door? Inquire about purchasing? Look at a few more guns? Finally, I make my move. Quickly coming to a full attention, locking eyes with this gruff long-haired pawn shop denizen used gun salesman, I state with authority, “I’ll take it.”

Wait, what? I just said I’ll take it. What caliber is it? How does it work? How old is it? Who even makes this thing? Before I fully realize what I just did, he fires back.

“Good choice, you ain’t gonna find another like this,” confirming my decision like a true used article salesman and now wearing a shit-eating smirk.

Returning from a blackout state due to the insane rush of adrenaline, I have a pen in hand putting my John Hancock on the 4473. Passing over my still valid, but non-current in-state driver’s license along with the 4473, the gruff long-haired fellow gathers the documents and stuffs them in between a few of the spit bottles. The he grabs the pistol from the top of the counter.

“NICS gonna be a minute,” He states with his back to me then heads off to the stockroom.

Standing still and in full recovery from the adrenaline debacle gun purchase, eyes glued to the gruff long-haired salesmen, I can see him fiddling in the back and snickering with his cohort. A combination of smoker’s cough, laughs and snorts ensues from the back room.

Breaking my glare, a few gentlemen come wandering from behind the shelves of preowned junk, take a half-assed glance around the main store then quickly file right back out from where they came in. Looking around again, I notice another customer at the end of the store who is intently stripping down an AK he’s been gawking at since my arrival, pulling tools from the shelves to aid his endeavor. Above him a bright red sign with white lettering reads, “DO NOT FIELD STRIP WEAPONS.” Suddenly an Ol’ Pappy’s employee taps me on the shoulder, reaching from behind the case.

“You Garrett?” he asks.

“Yes, are you Nick? I ask.

“Who the heck is Nick?”

“The guy helping me out said that Nick was going to be a minute.”

“No shit. My name’s not Nick, it’s Jay-Jay and Ol’ Pappy, he owns this place. Been running it 22 years. He was referring to the background check, it’s called a NICS.” He starts to break a smile

“Let me guess, you aint’ never been around here?” he asks, now full-on giddy.

“No, Jay-Jay. I’ve never been in the store. In fact, this is the first gun I’ve ever purchased,” I say, feeling rather truthful and trusting at this point.

“Huh, Ol’ Pappy back there said he got a stringer. Guess that’s you,” he says. “Well, Garrett, backgrounds good, let me double in with Ol’ Pappy and we’ll get you all squared up.”

Jay-Jay then heads back to the stockroom. A few minutes pass by before both Jay-Jay and Ol’ Pappy appear from the back room, Pappy carrying a black plastic case. They walk right up to me, both with smiles like Christmas morning. Ol’ Pappy puts the case in front of me, turns around and grabs small a red, green and white box and places it beside the black case.

“Here you go. Your new pistol. Just gave her a good wipe-down,” says Ol’ Pappy.

I turn the case to face me and notice the top of the cases is molded with the name “RUGER.” Popping it open, the gun sits neatly inside, one magazine in the pistol now, with the other magazine sitting perfectly in its molded holding spot. Next to it is a factory speed loader, not a scratch on any of it, and hiding in the top cover is an owner’s manual.

I take the pistol out of the case and have another good look. “Ruger P89DC” is neatly etched into the stainless slide. Flipping the pistol over I notice “9mm x 19” is stamped into the barrel. Well, I’ve got that part figured out…feeling lucky I look over at Ol’ Pappy and Jay-Jay.

“You know, this is the first gun that I’ve ever purchased or owned.”

“Oh, we know. Aint’ but get a stringer in here about twice a year,” Ol’ Pappy fires right back. Both of them let out a laugh.

“We appreciate not having to do the price dance. Saves us a lot of time,” Jay-Jay pipes in.

“For your commitment to fair pricing standard set forth by this establishment, here’s a half box of plinking ammo to get you started.” Ol’ Pappy takes the pistol from my hands, places it back into the box, takes the tag off the trigger guard and closes the box. Almost in unison Jay-Jay holds open a plastic “Thank you for Shopping” bag for Ol’ Pappy to load. Ol’ Pappy places my new pistol and the small green, red and white box of ammo inside. He knots up the bag handles and offers it over to me.

“That’ll be $299 for the gun, $7.99 for NICS and $24.42 to Uncle Sam,” Says Ol’ Pappy while pressing the register keys, shit-eating smirk and all.

“We take cash, cash or cash.”


  1. avatar Hoplopfheil says:

    Ruger P89DC in good shape for 300? With box and mags?

    That actually is a really good deal.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      My first thought as well.

    2. avatar FedUp says:

      My second thought was “They charge for NICS?”

      1. avatar Vhyrus says:

        I have seen some, ahem, interesting places that do that. It’s generally a good sign that I don’t want to buy there.

        OP, do you live in a small town?

      2. avatar Dan Zimmerman says:

        Yeah, my guess is they didn’t inform him if that before he bought the gun. Shady to say the least.

        I bought a gun once at the only indoor range in the city of St. Louis. They charged you for a *failed* NICS check, but made sure to let you know in advance.

        My guess is it was to keep out the riffraff.

        1. avatar Anonymous says:

          Sounds like a place I would avoid.

      3. avatar Anonymous says:

        I’ve never been charged for a NICS check. I have been charged for a transfer. But not the NICS check. Never been charged for a transfer of a gun I’m buying from that shop. Sounds like a bogus charge to me. They probably did a “firearmconcierge” up charge (NICS fee), because they knew he didn’t know what was up. Dbags.

        1. avatar FedUp says:

          But they gave him the half box of ammo that came with one of their used 9mms and didn’t charge for it.

        2. avatar Hoplopfheil says:

          A three dollar and forty nine cent value, YOURS FREE

      4. avatar Jeff K says:

        In PA every shop I knew of charged for NICS, from big stores to one man operations.

        1. avatar David B says:

          That is because PA uses PICS, which is the exact same thing as NICS but filtered through PA state police, and PICS has a $5 usage charge. I believe there are some other states that have state specific backround systems as well.

        2. avatar PeterZ in West Tennessee says:

          Same here in TN – $10 before they run the check. Everyone from Bass Pro to the little pawnshop in my country town.

      5. avatar Nigel the expat says:

        In NV you get the pleasure of paying the state $25 for your BGC (none if you have your CCW). This is since NV uses an internal system.

        On the flip side, it was this internal system that just f’cked Bloomberg’s voter initiative, since it created ‘an impossible task’. The state DA blocked its implementation.

        1. avatar Warren says:

          For a split second there I thought you said the state charges an extra $25 for buying a bolt carrier group. My reading comprehension has lacked lately.

    3. avatar Dave M says:

      My Ruger collection is missing a ‘P’ series, makes me want to get one along with the Carbine that they made that took the P series mags.

      1. avatar Hoplopfheil says:

        I have three Ps, (llllladies), but I would still love to get one of the Ruger Police Carbines.

        The PC9 is the obvious better choice. It’ll take 17 and 20 round MecGar 9mm mags, and I already have a few of those. But the PC40 is a lot easier to find, and goes for a bit less. I may never end up getting either just because of the high price premium.

        1. avatar Frank in VA says:

          Huh. I’ll be damned. I’d never even heard of the Ruger Police Carbine until you mentioned it, and I’ve owned a lot of Rugers. Just googled it and it looks a bit like the Marlin Camp Carbine 9mm I used to have, which was a lot of fun to plink with.

          Collectibility aside, which do you think is the better carbine? I kinda want one of that type again, just for fun.

        2. avatar Hoplopfheil says:

          I’d go with the PC9 as a companion piece to the Ruger Precision series pistols.

          The camp 9 is a different looking beast, but probably works the same. Similar magazine availability (S&W mags versus Ruger P mags), same basic blowback design and standard barrel length.

    4. avatar Charles says:

      I agree. Very good price. I love the P series pistols. Ugly, but strong and reliable.

  2. avatar EJQ says:

    Try “Guns & Oil” Craft Beer if you can find it.


  3. avatar kevin says:

    That was my first gun also, but it didn’t do anything for me. I sold it for a Glock.

    1. avatar Jeff K says:

      I just say NO to glock. Yuck.

  4. avatar Vhyrus says:

    “I take the pistol from him like a new parent taking their newborn from the doctor for the first time. Scared and unsure, I hold the cold piece of steel in my hands, admiring the raw power it exudes,…”

    Okay I’m gonna stop ya right there Rambo.

    What, exactly, about an unloaded 9mm Ruger ‘exudes power’? In it’s current state it’s slightly less dangerous than a roofing hammer. Moving on…

    “Wait, what? I just said I’ll take it. What caliber is it? How does it work? How old is it? Who even makes this thing? Before I fully realize what I just did, he fires back.

    “Good choice, you ain’t gonna find another like this,” confirming my decision like a true used article salesman and now wearing a shit-eating smirk.

    Returning from a blackout state due to the insane rush of adrenaline, I have a pen in hand putting my John Hancock on the 4473.

    Blackout? Rush of adrenaline? You’re buying a pistol dude. Do you bring your own fainting couch to the used car dealership?

    At least you didn’t get hosed on the price.. god knows they probably could have sold you a Jennings for $500 in your condition.

    1. avatar Anonymous says:

      Come on – he’s never held a gun before. Give him a break.

      1. avatar Vhyrus says:

        Did you lose your mind the first time you held a gun? Cause I sure as hell didn’t, and I didn’t shoot a handgun until I was well into my 20’s.

        1. avatar Anonymous says:

          My case is different. I’ve been handling guns since I was a kid.

        2. avatar Ethan says:

          You should try getting out more. Talking to an actual human being. Believe it or not, not everyone is as comfortable around guns as you. Try not to let your superiority complex get in the way when you do.

    2. avatar BLoving says:

      Aww. C’mon. Don’t ruin the magic! I still remember the exhilaration of the first gun I bought with my own earned money (Inland 1942 M1 carbine). It was bliss. Several purchases later I now wish I could get that feeling back – it’s still nice, but you never forget your first time…
      Huh, I wonder what that cliche reminds me of?

      1. avatar Vhyrus says:

        I must be a sociopath because I only remember the slightest bit of excitement from buying my first gun.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          I’ve been meaning to bring that sociopath thing up. Was waiting for the right moment…..

        2. avatar Walter, NOT The Dude says:

          Is this going to be an intervention?


        3. avatar jwm says:

          Nobody expects the Spanish Intervention!

    3. avatar Ing says:

      I didn’t think that was out of proportion at all.

      I had shot .22’s in Boy Scouts, but otherwise had only a rudimentary familiarity with guns when I first started researching and shopping around for one, and my first couple of trips to the gun counter were a lot like that. Not in the sketchy pawnshop sense, but in the sort of dizzy “what am I supposed to do with this?” information overload sense.

      Even having fired guns before and having a decent idea of how they worked, I was still hyper-aware of the latent power lurking in that piece of wood and metal the first couple of times the guy at the counter handed me one to look at. (To this day, for safety’s sake if nothing else, I try to keep that feeling in mind whenever I handle a gun.)

    4. avatar Scoutino says:

      Come on, cut him some slack, he is vegetarian Obama voter! They are SO sensitive.

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    Not a big fan of the decockers in P89 flavor. To my knowledge the trigger pull is horrendous (double action only) – that said, one can buy a p89 double action/ single action (DA/SA) slide assembly (with barrel) from gun broker or eBay. My P89DA/SA is buttery smooth with a 5.5lb break. P89 are notorious for their no so great triggers. Think take up, more take up, some more take up, first stage of resistance, followed by creep, more creep, some stacking, ok! There is the break, oh wait – some overtravel too. That said in SA the reset is very minimal. This is all on a DA/SA so I’d hate to have a decockers only model. That said. The P89 that I have, has never once jammed – ever. My best group I ever shot with a pistol was with my friends P85 Mark 2, which is almost identical to the P89. Also the P89 (P85 actually) is a battle pistol, designed to withstand the harsh elements and was designed as a replacement for the military’s pistol contract in the 80s. A giant heavy rugged brick, the P89 is a great gun in my opinion. You can replace the hammer spring to reduce the trigger pull (Wolff springs).

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      You’re not buying a handgun from ebay I can guarantee you that.

      I almost bought one of these, but the mag release was a deal breaker for me. A very uncomfortable tiny tab you had to push forward instead of in to work.

      1. avatar Anonymous says:

        You’re not buying a handgun from ebay I can guarantee you that.

        “Slide assembly” – not the entire gun or frame.

        1. avatar Vhyrus says:

          Reading fail. My bad.

  6. avatar Swobard says:

    Hey – “I get it!” Trying to blend in where you don’t really fit, dealing with a product you think you’re supposed to know about but really don’t… and it’s no fun to feel like a fool.

    Kudos for telling an honest story, for buying one of my favorite pistol series (I still keep a P85 as a truck gun…) and for actually getting a pretty good deal! Next, I’m wanting to hear about how you made your P89 feel at home, how you felt about shooting it and learning to manipulate it, and whether it was your last gun purchase or whether you’re now a seasoned gun guy.

    Best of luck…

  7. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

    Great story. I’d take a class ASAP. It’ll save you a lot of really stubborn bad habits in the future, and shoot outdoors if possible (it’ll have less “concussion” when you shoot). I didn’t take a class for a couple months, and it cost me.

    I hope to never see the security camera footage of my first gun handling sessions. I was SO BAD. Like, not knowing why I was dropping mags on the floor, not being able to rack the slide, muzzling, finger on trigger, and worse. Also, I got ripped off. Paid like $150 more for a gun than I should’ve.

  8. avatar JackInAlabama says:

    I’m with the bulk of the folks here – good choice for a first handgun, pretty decent deal, and the old-farts didn’t ride you too roughly! I know lots of folks here are experts, or at least highly decorated keyboard commandos, but I’ll give you some free advice (worth exactly what you’re paying for it, IMHO) You got the manual with the firearm – Ruger makes some incredibly solid weapons – and their documentation is actually solid as well – READ IT! Parse it, understand it! The basic Ruger manual will go through every step you need to know to operate that weapon. It does NOT replace hands-on, nor negate the need for someone to give you “the basics” of safe firearm handling, but it WILL save you lots of headaches in the long run if you thoroughly know the information.

    Welcome to the club, man! Congratulations on taking the first step. Pay attention, learn the basics, and you’ll be fine.

  9. avatar Geoff PR says:

    ““Don’t you usually ask what are you in for?” I reply, head down hoping he would pick up on the prison joke and break the ice. I felt his stare before he replies a stern “no” creating a wall of tension all of the bowie knifes in the place could not cut.”

    Well, no sh!t, Sherlock. Folks in the pawn biz are fully aware of what folks like you (clue: you voted for Obama) think of pawn shops, places where only criminals hang out and the shelves are stocked with stolen goods.

    ““Let me guess, you aint’ never been around here?” he asks, now full-on giddy.”

    Yep, both of their reactions are pretty much spot-on.

    ““You know, this is the first gun that I’ve ever purchased or owned.”

    “Oh, we know. Aint’ but get a stringer in here about twice a year,” Ol’ Pappy fires right back. Both of them let out a laugh.”

    You found my favorite kind of pawn shop, a ‘dirt’ pawn shop. You got a solid price on the gun, and they got a good laugh at your expense…


  10. avatar Jon in CO says:

    Seemed like a shady place to buy from, and only taking cash is a no-go for me personally. Good on you for taking a risk and it panning out. Always nice when that happens.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Seemed like a shady place to buy from, and only taking cash is a no-go for me personally”

      Credit card sales cost the stores around 5 percent per sale, more or less. It’s not insignificant.

      Combine that with credit card companies and banks refusing to do business from businesses dealing in guns, it gets be a real problem…

      1. avatar Dave M says:

        Almost all gun shops/pawn shops in my area are cash only. Very few take credit cards and the ones that do charge an uptick for what they are charged. Just business sense.

  11. avatar former water walker says:

    You lost me at voting for Odumbo-twice. The Hildebeast too? I too have been in some “colorful” establishments. If you have cash money they DEAL…

    1. avatar Ing says:

      Hey now, I voted for Zero twice, too. (I’m not proud of it, and I know better now, but I’ll admit it.)

      Anyway, you know what they say… Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice — you can’t get fooled again. At least I think that’s how George W. Bush (who I also voted for) said it.

  12. avatar G says:

    Tbh my first gun purchase pretty much went down like this. I had no idea what i was really looking for or wanted and ended up buying a argentine copy of a hi power for $300. I didnt know if i was supposed to haggle or not, what to look for, it was awful.

  13. avatar rt66paul says:

    It could have been a Hi-Point. That was our first gun. The wife wanted something she could grab if she had to in our business. She said a tiny gun did not look threatening enough.
    She is a dead shot with it – I like a handgun I can hide, so I got a few.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      I like guns I can hide too… from my wife, in the safe.

  14. avatar Aven says:

    This first time gun buyer was fortunate that his eyes picked up a good gun at a good price. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

  15. avatar KMc says:

    Ol’ Pappy seems to be a full on douche canoe. Next time you buy a firearm, don’t darken his door step. Go to a real LGS, you won’t regret it. “I love this place” said no one ever.

    1. avatar Walter, NOT The Dude says:

      “douche canoe”
      I’m stealing that.

      I gotta get out more…

  16. avatar jwm says:

    P89 with a second barrel for .30 luger for 299 bucks brand new was my first 9mm handgun. That gun would not jam. Period. Even using crappy egyptian surplus sub gun ammo at 2.25 per fifty rounds.

    I could have beat Godzilla to death with that gun.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      Only if he were in a coma.

    2. avatar TXMI says:

      Friend of mine has one just like that. The ones with the extra barrel are pretty rare. Frankly, I was impressed enough with it I tracked down a P95DC for myself! She uses her SR9c more since it’s not a boat anchor in comparison, but man that 89 is nice.

    3. avatar Bohica says:

      This reminds me of the first firearm I purchased, back in the time when the United States was still free…

      The year was 1965 and I was a young lad of 13. I already owned a couple of rifles, a shotgun and a pistol, all bought for me by my parents and grandparents. But it was time for me to buy one on my own.

      Back in those times, Sears Roebuck sold arms and ammo. We lived about 5 miles from the store and I walked there. I wanted a Lee Enfield .303 and Sears had several racks of them. I spent an hour or so carefully inspecting them, selected the best and took it to the nearest check-out. The price was $13.99 plus sales tax. Ammo was about $4.00, best I recall. Anyway, I handed over a $20 bill for the rifle and ammo, and the salesman gave me a free extra magazine as a bonus.

      Note that I didn’t mention producing identification or a background check. Nope, in those times America was still free and buying arms and ammo was no different than buying a candy bar.

      Next, I had to get my rifle and ammo home. I walked home, going through downtown and then on down the road. Picture a 13 year old carrying a “military assault rifle” across the town square and along the roadside. It raised no eyebrows, caused no hysteria, the police officers who passed by never gave me a second look. Oh, crime rates were lower then, so I’m pretty certain that the ability of anyone to buy arms and ammo without permission from the local, state or federal government was not to blame.

      Back then you could buy firearms, etc., by mail order. I remember being a regular mail customer of Klein’s gun store in Chicago, from whom I bought about a dozen rifles and pistols before I turned 18.

      Those were the days. And reading this post brought back a flood of memories. Pardon the ramblings of a senior shooter.

  17. avatar TommyJay says:

    Damn. I just had to pay $130 at my local gunsmith just for the FFL/DROS transfer, for a firearm I had already purchased, and paid tax and shipping on.

    Great read. So good, I have a nagging feeling that it could have been “fictionalized” a bit.

  18. avatar deepdive68 says:

    I’ll give props for a well written, honest story (only noticed one typo) and for submitting the story and admissions therein with some potential to get a bit of grief on a gun site. And it all turned out just fine too. I would like to read about his first trip to the range with it.

    Except for those who grew up with family who were active firearm enthusiasts who took them to gun shops growing up, most all had a bit of a nervous first time buying a gun as an adult. My first time was a bit over a decade ago, and even though I had experience “farm shooting” and a bit of hunting and being a voracious reader with an interest in firearm had a lot of book and gun magazine knowledge, and even though I took a friend who had bought several guns himself, I had that bit of nervousness and bit of giddiness feeling. Although I will admit, I still get a little giddy every time I buy a new gun. I guess when I don’t feel at least a little excitement about it I’ll stop.

  19. avatar Paul says:

    First Law of Pawn Shops: Everything in there was dumped by somebody else who either wanted it gone, or didn’t want it back bad enough to pay off the pawn. Which means it’s mostly crap that either barely works or doesn’t work.

    At least you can take a car for a test drive at a used car dealership. You have no such option when buying a gun from a pawn shop. It’s a mistake to buy a gun from a pawn shop unless you know exactly what you are looking for and how to tell if it’s in good condition. It’s definitely not newbie territory.

    All that said, I hope it works well for you.

    1. avatar Dave M says:

      Have never seen a bad gun at a pawn shop (entirely possible though). However, I have seen several junk used guns at Gander Mountain stores. Broken crap that that were asking top dollar for; when I pointed the defects out they said I would be ‘looked into’ and put the gun back in the case. I wonder why they are in trouble?

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “First Law of Pawn Shops:”

      Your understanding of that ‘law’ is deficient. I speak from first-hand experience working at pawnshops at various times over the years. (A family friend owns one, I’ve given them a hand when they were between employees.)

      “Everything in there was dumped by somebody else who either wanted it gone, or didn’t want it back bad enough to pay off the pawn. Which means it’s mostly crap that either barely works or doesn’t work.”

      Horseshit. Junk passed off to pawnshops is in the minority. The typical pawn customer is someone without access to credit. The ‘working poor’. We occasionally had customers you would consider well-off. One I recall was a local builder who would pawn his gold Rolex on occasion to meet payroll. He never defaulted on that loan.

      If pawnshops made a local reputation for themselves selling junk they wouldn’t be in business for long.

      Reputable pawnshops test the function of what they are buying, and they pass on buying things all the time. Practically *any* item you buy used should be considered ‘buyer beware’. Craigslist, Ebay, newspapers, etc. Pawnshops are no different. Deal with reputable pawnshops.

      Where I had worked, if a gun was not functioning properly the shop wold send it to a smith for repair at their expense.

      Nearly every piece of audio gear I own came from pawnshops. Names like Macintosh, Threshold, Nakamichi, Krell.

      When I’m out and about, I make it a point to visit pawnshops I’ve never been in and see what they have.

      It’s very nice to see something valuable on the shelf of a pawnshop that I can make a good return on sold on Ebay… o)

  20. avatar Wilko says:

    Garrett, thank you for a great read through a well written story. If some of this was, shall we say, a bit exaggerated all the better!
    I’ve frequented a few places like that in my long life – the characters have an aura all their own.
    Very brave to mention who you voted for here, I hope you have seen the error of your ways…..

    Please do a write up on the first range trip…..

    Regards, Wilko

  21. avatar sagebrushracer says:

    get the houg grip for the p89, i love mine

  22. avatar Longshanks says:

    Garrett, thanks for that story, you made me feel like I was standing next to you, watching the whole thing.

  23. avatar Lawrence Fraker says:

    I’m looking forward to more stories of the author’s joining the people of the gun-

    well written, and something relatable for everyone. Even if there is a bit of poetic license taken, it rings true. I hope this is our winner.

    I’m a life long shooter, and at 54, can still remember my first purchase, and yes, there was some thrill to it for me, even after growing up with and around firearms.

  24. avatar Darkman says:

    I got a P89DC back in the early 90’s NIB at a pawn shop for 300 bucks. Came with hard case and extra mag. Still have it and never regretted it. Shoots great never fails. Would put it up against any other hand gun at 25 yrds. The wife shoots it damn near as good as me.

  25. avatar Garrett Owens says:

    Thank you for the replies and actually taking a few minutes out of your lives to read my story, I am incredibly grateful.

    1. avatar Matt Matteson says:

      Mr. Owens,

      I’ve been saving your story in my inbox for weeks, too busy to break away, too interested to delete it. Finally got around to it today. What a treat!

      You write a good story and sound like the kind of guy I’d share a lane with anytime. The shooting community could use more articulate enthusiasts like you, vegetarian inclinations, voting record, and all. Besides, armed vegetarians (quasi-, full-, and vegan) make the best meat dishes, and that’s a demonstrable fact! What’s not to like?

      Let me add another call for more, MORE, even if it’s just here: how’s the Ruger treating you? Have you spent some good hours at the range? We gots to know!

      Stay safe out there,

      Matt Matteson

  26. avatar Hooked_On_Ebonics says:

    If you were acting this sketchy I probably would not have sold a firearm to you.

  27. avatar ozzallos says:

    Somebody to be strung along?

  28. avatar PeterK says:

    Great story. The price was not completely unfair from my limited experience, though clearly you could have haggled a bit.

    Not sure how I missed this first go around but great read and well deserving of the prize. Enjoy.

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