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By Mark M.

I became a gun nut in August of 2015 when a string of armed burglaries started in an adjoining development. I went from zero to eight guns in less than eight months At the time, I had neither owned nor ever shot a handgun. So I made it to our closest Cabela’s and was sold into purchasing a S&W M&P 9mm. During September I decided my wife needed a gun too, so she picked out a Beretta PX-4 Storm Compact 9mm. (She was a novice as well, actually crying a little after firing a gun for the first time.) Around the same time, I became acquainted with a new neighbor who, you guessed it, was a full time private gun dealer . . .

Our new neighbor, Rick, made it very clear that our first two purchases had only one problem – they needed companions. So, following Rick’s plan, we would not be complete without a .22 plinker, a 1911, and a CZ-style clone.

By November, I had faithfully followed Rick’s recommendations and purchased a Rock Island FS Ultra Tactical II 9mm, a Browning Buckmark Camper, and a Tangfoglia FS Witness 9mm. Not being content with one CZ style clone, though, I found a great deal at Centerfire Guns for a Tristar P120 9mm (fantastic version of the CZ SP01). Rick isn’t only a great guy and one of the most entertaining vendors at any given gun show, but makes one’s journey into gun purchase bankruptcy fun with his never-ending suggestions.

By this time, I had also joined a new gun club nearby with a state of the art indoor range, gunsmithing service, and retail shop. My son, who also recently began his first job as a teacher in a large nearby metropolitan area, felt left out. In response, I bought him a SIG SP2022 9mm and conned him into splitting a family membership.

Of course, with our growing collection of firearms one must have proper storage, so here comes the gun safe in my master bedroom closet.

As my obsession with 9mm handguns continues, Friday date nights start out with an hour at the gun range. My wife and I consummated our mutual interest in shooting by both receiving our CCW permits by the end of November.

With the warmer months approaching down here in Texas, the ability to conceal carry in lighter clothing would be cumbersome, so in anticipation of this, a new Ruger LC9s subcompact has become the latest of the collection and a joy to carry as well in summer attire. With an assortment of the proper holsters, everyday carry is now the norm for us.

We’ve many great acquaintances, developed a new and deep appreciation for the Second amendment, and found a great hobby and also very necessary form of self protection in this ever changing and unpredictable world we live in.

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  1. You are making good progress. Now you need a few long guns. I’d recommend a 22 rifle, a 12 gauge pump shotgun, and a semiautomatic rifle (AR/AK etc.). It looks like you need a revolver as well, and maybe a pocket gun or two.

    • Dang it Art … you beat me to it! I was going to say that his gun safe looks empty without any long guns.

      By the way I would always recommend 20 gauge over 12 gauge shotguns — especially if a female or a male who is past his prime (apologies if that is rude) is going to shoot it. As I said in another post recently, what can you do with a .73 caliber slug (12 gauge) that you cannot do with a .64 caliber slug (20 gauge) when it comes to home defense?

      • I agree whole-heartedly. 12 gauge is fine if you are in the prime of your life, but a 20 gauge is not the kids toy a lot of people portray it to be.

  2. It’s too bad you can’t go somewhere to rent a gun for the day. See what it’s like to wear for several hours. Would save us all a lot of money.

    • “It’s too bad you can’t go somewhere to rent a gun for the day.”

      That may well be legal in some areas.

      “See what it’s like to wear for several hours. Would save us all a lot of money.”

      I’m convinced that very idea would be fantastic applied to gun holsters, would help eliminate those boxes or drawers full of holsters in that search for the perfect holster.

      There’s a freebie business idea for some enterprising person…

  3. You could also round out your handgun collection with some larger calibers, as well as potentially adding some obscure caliber shooters… Immerse yourself! After your on safe number two, you might be sweating bullets!

  4. Good job Mark! Now keep quiet about your next 8 purchases as you are reaching “Arsenal” quantities. Upcoming President Clinton’s folks are watching.

    • No need to wait on the reloading equipment.
      Anyone who shoots regularly can save a bundle reloading handgun ammo.

      • Riiight. That’s what made me started rolling my own six years ago. Now I reload for 8 calibers, keep buying equipment and components, I had to commandeer small room to keep it in. Now with casting and powder coating my own bullets I’m sure the savings start real soon.
        On the bright side, I can shoot much more than if I had to buy my ammo. As most reloaders will tell you – you won’t save money, but you will shoot more.

  5. Sounds like something I could have written. Except I did shoot some as a kid. Yeah I highly recommend a shotgun for home defense. And if I had $ to blow an AR/AK. Have fun…

    • Tristars (Canik) are just as good as a “real” CZ. I have a CZ 75 Shadow and a 75b polished stainless, but carry a Tristar C-100. If CZ made a aluminum frame Compact I may have gone that way, but I am totally satisfied with the Tristar. (The PCR frame thicker than the compact and full size, never mind the decocker.) And with the price difference, I put on Meprolights, VZ grips and have a couple of 16 round magazines with SPO1 base plates (nice trick for any compact CZ style gun). And becouse the frame is the same size as a regular CZ 75, just cut down, all my holsters for the full size CZs work and visa versa as long as the bottom is open. If Tristar made a Shadow when I bought mine, I may have gone with them. As much as they charge for the new 75 Shadows, I would now.

  6. Congratulations on your new found love of guns. It is great to see new owners who didn’t buy a gun, load it , and throw in a drawer to sit in case something happens.

  7. I’m humbled. I picked up four (and a half) in a year and thought I was moving quickly. The goal is to buy two a year until I reach saturation.

    You remind me of my father-in-law, in some ways, who has focused on handguns and has a home defense shotgun as his only long gun. Not going to tell you that you need a long gun – do what you like and enjoy. The only upside with broadening is that you would be able to benefit from more of what the club offers.

  8. “Eight guns in eight months… shortly thereafter they were all lost in a tragic boating accident.”


  9. That’s a nice start. My wife and I started down that path a few years ago. Now we have his & hers safes.
    One big thing to remember though is that you have a “collection “. An “arsenal” is a rack or room full of military firearms.

  10. And if you don’t mind some advice from an OFWG who has been accumulating guns for a few years, always remember:
    “If you can’t decide between two guns, buy both.”

  11. Thanks for all of your comments, suggestions and humor. I truly believe that responsible gun owners DO save lives and can also give would-be criminals pause to reconsider their actions vs. being later arrested and charged with a felony. As a relatively recent and licensed gun owner, albeit late to the game, I can safely say that any past stigmas associated with firearms and the industry at large have been completely reversed. This is largely due to the character of those people we have met in retail, law enforcement and the sporting arena.

    My wife and I plan to take some advanced personal and home defense training this year. Luckily she finds the gun culture very appealing which gives us the opportunity to enjoy this interest together as a couple.

    Thanks again – please be assured a long gun is in the plans this year….and maybe even a glock, …. and a bigger safe.,,and maybe I should stop here for now.

    Mark M.


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