Reader Benny writes:
I recently took a friend of mine to get his first gun. Ever. To me, its a pretty big deal when you buy your first firearm as it’s basically you deciding to protect yourself and your loved ones with the best tools available. A little background first. My friend Dre works with me at FedEx and he just became a driver. He was told that he was going to be working and driving overnight and he would be leaving his 6-month old son and his girlfriend at the apartment by themselves . . .
Naturally, he didn’t want to leave their safety to fate so he called me one day.
“Hey Benny, I need your expertise, bro.” We’ve known each other for a while now and it was no secret by any means that I knew a few things about guns. As soon as he said that, I knew exactly what he meant.
“Sweet dude, you’ve called the right man! What are you looking for?”
“I need something for the crib. Since I’m working nights here soon, I don’t wanna leave my lady and my son at home alone. I can’t protect them if I ain’t there.”
“Tell you what, let’s hit up the local Bass Pro in Grapevine and see what you need.”
Two days later, we’re in his truck driving through DFW airport (thank you, terrible GPS) to the Bass Pro Shop. On the way he told me that he was looking for a pistol for his home defense weapon. Before any of you start grabbing torches and pitchforks and yelling how the shotgun is the home defense king, know that I asked why he didn’t want a shottie and he had a good reason.
His girlfriend is petite and afraid of the recoil. He’s discussed it with her, but she won’t budge. He didn’t want to buy something she wouldn’t use. I then asked if he wanted to be able to carry the same gun in public, but he said he would buy a different pistol for that.
Dre asked a whole bunch of other questions too, such as the difference between centerfire and rimfire, what bullets to buy and the granddaddy of them all: what’s the best pistol to buy. I told him what somebody on TTAG said one time in a comment.: “This isn’t Lord of the Rings, sadly. There’s no one pistol to rule them all. You have to find a gun that doesn’t feel like it’s a gun, but more like something that feels like an extension of you. In other words, find one that’s the most comfortable to hold and shoot.”
We pulled up to the adult Toys ‘R’ Us and immediately went into OMG ITS A HUGE OUTDOOR PLACE WITH TONS OF OUTDOOR STUFF AND GUNS AND BOWS OMG mode. But we were on a mission and went straight to the gun section. He immediately began eyeing every pistol he could find that didn’t cost $600+. While that was a little limiting, I knew he’d still find something. He almost settled on a Smith & Wesson SD9VE without even looking at anything else.
“Easy there, Seabiscut. Don’t commit to the gun until you’ve looked at everything. Five hundred smacks isn’t a decision you want to make hastily. Check out these M&P series pistols if you like the Smith guns.”
“Damnit, Benny I knew I brought you here for a reason.”
We looked at Springfield XD, GLOCKs, Rugers, the M&P series, the FNS-9 (used, of course) even a used STI Spartan 9mm. But just like in Highlander, there can only be one. The pistol he chose was the Ruger SR9C.
Yes, I’m well aware that the SR series is absolutely crawling with safeties. Yes, I’m also aware that they have stiff recoil springs so racking the slide requires the strength of an angry god. I made Dre well aware of both, but since he’s not going to be carrying it, the safeties won’t be a big concern. In fact he liked having so many because he knew it would that much harder for his son to fire in the HIGHLY unlikely event he ever got his hands on it.
“It fits like a velvet glove that sings.” Nothing else needed to be said. So $567 and one background check later, he was the proud owner of an empty gun.
“BRO we can’t leave until we get you some defense ammo. What is your girl gonna do? Use harsh language and throw it at em?”
Hornady’s Critical Duty ammo was perfect for the job. Getting Dre to buy the ammo was simple. Convincing him not go shoot some on Bass Pro’s range wasn’t as easy. He had the fever to see what it felt like to use his new-found power. We all remember the rush we got the first time we hold a pistol. I had to temper his with a sobering reminder.
“Careful now Dre. You have to remember what it is you have here. A handgun is as close to being God we as humans will ever be. You literally have the power to take a life just by pointing your hand and moving your finger. You have to be careful with that.”
I also sent him a link to RF’s recent article about STFU after a defensive gun use. Afterwards, we left Bass Pro and drove home. Despite the whole thing only lasting about two hours, we were both tired. It felt like I had done my duty as a gun owner. Dre told me that he took it shooting the next day and it handled like a champ. I felt pretty damn good about that.