A Hand Of Man Practicing Firing Using A Glock
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By Patrick Buchanan

I recently purchased my first gun and, if you’re scoring at home, shortly thereafter I bought a second one. My story is not unique. There were over 3.7 million firearm background checks done for firearm purchases in March alone. New gun owners often get accused of jumping on the bandwagon when the world gets a little scary, which is fair. Our side of the story doesn’t always get told however, and perpetuates the mystery that surrounds gun ownership for the uninitiated.

At the age of 55, I had yet to ever fire a single weapon. Even my BB and pellet gun experience could be counted in minutes on one hand, all before the age of 15.

No paintball, no “kid’s” .22 rifle. Nothing. I simply had no interest in using or owning a firearm, nor was it part of our family heritage. I never recall seeing or hearing a firearm discussion in our home, despite having parents that had served in the military.

I never had a problem with the 2nd Amendment. The sad truth is, I never gave it much thought at all. I knew others that had guns and didn’t have a problem with them. I did have enough sense to realize, even in my neophyte state, that banning legal gun ownership or even specific types of guns didn’t seem right.

I assumed the criminally inclined weren’t simply going to stop using certain weapons because they were illegal, so why keep them from tax-paying Americans? Still, there seemed to be a lot of anger on both sides of the equation I just didn’t understand.

pitol glock jhp personal defense ammo ammunition

Frankly I had never really been afraid for our family’s well-being enough to even consider owning a gun. I could put some of the blame on a wife who didn’t believe a firearm should even exist in the same house with six children, but the truth is I didn’t disagree with her. Every year or so a new story about how a toddler got a hold of a loaded gun and shot themselves or someone else would circulate, and any thoughts I had about owning one would dissipate.

Before you start flaming me in the comments, hear me out. I now understand what’s completely wrong with that statement, but let me get there first. At this point in my life I still had no measurable interest in gun ownership, however there was now a curiosity about the concept. The first piece of the puzzle was put down in late February when the company I work for put aside a few days for team building, which included time at a high-end indoor shooting range as one of the activities.

I couldn’t tell you much about what we shot that day. We had four handguns to try out and a couple of machine guns we could shoot. I used my very first shooting opportunity to focus only on the handguns, which were what I would have called at the time, “full size.”

As I considered this a mostly one-and-done experience, I didn’t put much more thought to it. Then just a week or so later came the pandemic. Call it coronavirus, COVID-19, or the Chinese virus…it doesn’t really matter other than it provided a profound jolt to my gun ownership sensibilities.

That same week, an extremely close friend surprised me with a random text. “Hey, thought you should know, I just got my LTC.” Of course, I had no idea what that was, but I learned that in Texas it’s a License To Carry, usually referred to as a CCW in most states. I thought the timing was a bit ironic, it’s not something that happens overnight, but OK.

Now my mind was churning. Though not particularly comfortable with the idea, I knew how to shoot a handgun. A great friend not only has a gun now, but a license to carry it as well, and there’s this little thing called COVID-19 that’s turning the world upside down.

Do I need to protect my toilet paper stash? Are we at risk of a home invasion if food supplies dwindle? How would I protect my home against these things? Despite all of the evidence, I was still in the thoughtful stage, with no real intent to buy. Then the wife walked in.

Had my bride of 33 years came into my home office and said that she thought she might be turning into a zombie, I would have found that to be more believable than what she actually said.

“Honey, do you think we should get a gun?”

I could write for hours on reasons why I would bet it all on red that she would never speak those words. Suffice to say that was the final piece of the puzzle and the picture was clear, I was about to own a handgun.

I returned to the gun store and range I had visited just a few short weeks prior. I’m not sure I would have felt comfortable anywhere else, and they were one of the few still open during the lockdown. I walked in with zero knowledge and only the expectation that I should leave with something.

I was nervous. No one wants to be labeled a noob. It’s one thing to suck at Fortnite, it’s quite another to be an idiot with a real handgun.

Texas Gun Experience
Fortunately the Texas Gun Experience remained open during the pandemic (Photo: Facebook, Texas Gun Experience)

The vibrant gun store I had seen previously was basically gutted. Virtually everything on the walls and in the display cases was gone. Most of the ammo was gone as well.

I asked to see something that might do well for myself as well as my left-handed wife, who has smaller hands. I was shown the SIG SAUER P365 Tac Pac, which included three 12-round magazines and a holster.

They had some 9mm ammo, but I was told it wasn’t personal defense ammo. Really? They’re bullets right? A quick 30 Texas minutes later I left the store as a first-time gun owner.

JHP hollow point ammunition
How well do you know your handgun ammo? (Dan Z for TTAG)

I brought the gun home and the wife and I looked it over, trying to figure out what all the levers and things did. The guy at the gun store had shown me, but apparently I hadn’t seen enough John Wick movies to retain any of it.

I knew it wasn’t loaded however, and it would stay that way until I learned more. I’m kind of an all-in guy, so I pursued knowledge with vigor. Since golf and hockey had been eliminated from my nightly viewing repertoire, I watched YouTube videos to learn the basics.

I memorized the four basic firearm rules. I learned how to clean the P365. I studied aiming techniques and learned enough acronyms to start my own doctorate program.

The SIG SAUER P365 with additional 12 and a 15-round magazines (Photo: Patrick Buchanan)

More out of ignorance than desire, I applied for and went through the steps to obtain my own LTC. The knowledge was invaluable. Whether I actually carry or not remains to be seen.

The day I took my LTC proficiency test on the range was the first day I shot my new handgun. Fortunately, I had shown up a couple of hours early to practice. I quickly learned that this little P365 is not the full-sized gun I had learned on a few weeks earlier, and I have the scabs on my left hand to prove it. Apparently, I overcompensated by gripping right into the path of the slide with my non-shooting hand.

I made the necessary corrections and an hour later, still bleeding, I passed my LTC test and am now waiting for my LTC/CCW license to arrive in the mail.

Those two range sessions got me thinking. I dove back into YouTube with both eyeballs wanting to learn more. The next time I went to the range, I came back with better results, no scabs, and a new SIG P320 in my bag. The larger gun felt amazing and was super easy to shoot. Perhaps it will just be a range gun or a home defense weapon while the P365 will be an everyday carry gun. Who knows, those are all questions for the next chapter of gun ownership.

SIG SAUER P320 with Crimson Trace laser (Photo: Patrick Buchanan)

The most interesting thing to come out of all of this is perspective. I now understand the strong feelings regarding 2nd Amendment rights. I get why negligent discharges can actually be managed (prevented) by careful, conscientious gun owners. I can see why banning guns and restricting rights is not the solution.

I’m also thankful I have no small children at home any longer. I am still afraid of guns, but only in the same way I am afraid of chainsaws. When properly handled and managed, they are a good thing. When not, they are dangerous. For now, I’ll shoot more, train more, and learn more.

Perhaps next time we’ll talk about all those new acronyms you’ll need to learn like; EDC, CCW, IWB, OWB, FMJ, JHP, and WTF. Never mind that last one, it came up when I was shredding my hand. You probably know that one already.

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  1. Now carry it. Everyday.

    You know… a part of your EDC 😉

    The only way to break your fear, is to use it, and carry it. When you conceal with a round ready to rock, you realize a lot of things and your mentality changes. With carrying a gun comes the responsibility of know when NOT to use, but most importantly, when to. Hell, even the same can be said for home defense.

  2. Welcome to the society of gun ownership! Thoughtful, motivated, and trained folks such as yourself are a great addition to our extended family.

    Keep up the education, go to the range often, and mostly, enjoy the new skills you are learning. You will find many people who would like to help you along, so please ask!

  3. Welcome. I hope you and your wife enjoy the pistols.

    Remember to do some fun shooting in addition to defensive practice.

    Makes it much easier to become familiar with your pistol and how you interact with it IMO.

    Oh, and buy a 22 now……and then revolver…..and then….

  4. Funny, but I would have thought that Pat Buchanan would have bought guns decades ago. The dude must be close to 90. I remember him being on CNN Crossfire back when I was a kid in the 80s. He was well into middle age at the time. What kind of conservative political commentator waits until he is old to buy a gun?

    Better late than never.

    Maybe this is a different Part Buchanan.

  5. Whether the story is true. I can not determine. I can however attest to the process. I’ve seen it happen before. The stimulus for the change was different. The results were similar. Welcome to the fold. Be safe out there.

    • As a doctor, lawyer, police officer, Vietnam veteran, and 16th President of the United States, you should believe me when I say the above internet story is 1000% true… ‘ish.

    • Yea, I thought the same thing. True? Hmmm.
      I ‘d like to know what the company name is. Y’know, his company, that had the team building event? I’d start buying their product. Anyone know??? Patrick?

      • It true. The Jedi, the Force, it’s all true. Seriously though, yes, It’s all very true. I work for a very cool company for sure. I was too chicken to try the machine guns though on our company getaway.

      • At a company I previously worked at, I would have an annual team builder that involved a ropes course and sporting clays. My staff loved it!

  6. Enjoy your new guns. See if there are any ladies only shooting nights at the range and encourage your wife to go. She may not want to carry but she should at least know how to shoot it safely. Ladies night offers her a less stressful way to learn. And it can be a lot of fun.

  7. Don’t get me started on chainsaws. I knew one guy that fell into a chain saw he was using. How he survived is beyond me. He got his arm and his leg and the blood was every where. If he’s still alive, this was nearly 40 years ago, he’s still limping.

    Another dude I worked with fell on a machete during a camping trip. His hand was permanently effed up. And I knew a dude that cut 4 fingers off one hand with a power saw.

    I could go on. Power tools and edged tools scare me worse than guns. Hell, cars scare me worse than guns.

    And don’t get me started on snakes. Phucking things don’t have hips. Shudder.

    • Well, I gotta tell a tale on one of my bosses from long ago.

      While working for a military equipment contractor, there were rare times when I was welcomed into meetings with engineers (being just a dumb bomber pilot who still doesn’t understand how flying is possible because wings are sucked). Always aware that non-engineers were considered non-essential employees, some of the meetings were really interesting. Anyway…

      One afternoon, sitting in the executive conference room, I noticed the VP of Engineering had a strange-looking forefinger on the right hand. The VP sorta fiddled with that finger during the briefings and questions, after a particularly lively disagreement between one of the program engineers and the VP, the VP raised his voice and said, “Stop talking, and let me make my point.” Whereupon, the VP literally threw the upper half of his odd forefinger at the program engineer. It was a fake piece of digit, but an actual stump of the finger remained on the VPs hand.

      As the meeting broke up, I asked my director what had happened to the VP. The director said, “The smartest engineer in the company cut his finger off trying to dislodge a wad of grass from under his operating lawn mower.”

      • I am a recovering (Electrical) Engineer. I approve this message.

        My six years of Air Guard time were in Civil Engineering (a.k.a Construction Battalion). Always found the non-engineers to be far more real than the credentialed pukes.

        • “Always found the non-engineers to be far more real than the credentialed pukes.”

          Seems every “professional” occupation suffers from round peg/square hole syndrome. Hammers looking for nails.

          Working in a software development group, the programmers titled “Business Analyst” were a puzzle. When faced with a request from one of the operating departments, the BA’s eyes seemed to glaze over after about ten minutes. My job was to understand the business case, and create the document for the needed functions in terms the BAs could understand. Except, they often didn’t.

          One afternoon, working with a programmer (BA), the programmer was telling me about how the operating department needed to understand coding. I asked if the programmer could explain all the operations of the engine in his car. He said, to the effect, “I don’t care; it just works”. So I asked how much of the business he worked for, he understood. And when talking to the different department representatives, what were the first thoughts. He said that while listening to the department rep, the BA was thinking about all the complications of code he would encounter. I told the guy that his first thoughts should be whether he understood what the department was trying to accomplish. The BA said he was just a programmer, and the business details were the responsibility of the people requesting new, or changed code. After a few beats, I asked, “What is your title, again?” After several blinks of the eye, the programmer said, “Programmer”.

    • I was 20-30 feet up a fir, de-limbing, when my feet slipped. Forgetting that I was wearing a safety harness, I gave the tree a hug to keep from falling.
      Chainsaw still running in my left hand.
      Right hand getting in the way.
      Had a great surgeon for that one. I was back to work in 8 weeks.

      • Ow. I’ve been blessed. Between the military and my work life I’ve witnessed a lot of bad shit. But other than a few minor dings I’ve skated through.

        Hell. I even rolled a car and walked away with just bruising.

        • Addicted to fast cars and motorcycles for 60 years now, retired military with participation in 3 wars, one in actual combat, busted my ass (literally, resulting in hip replacement) by falling off a ladder while trying to change the battery on a smoke detector.

        • How about falling asleep at 65-70 mph on a freeway, on a motorcycle? Been there, done that, got lucky as all hell.

        • “How about falling asleep at 65-70 mph on a freeway, on a motorcycle?”

          Ditto, in a car on the way home from work.

          The worst episode was driving to work one morning (1.5hr drive). Took the usual assortments of freeways and interstate segments; radio blasting. Suddenly became aware of a traffic signal showing red. After pondering a few minutes over how a traffic signal got installed overnight, I looked around and learned I was amidst a residential area, at an intersection. No memory of leaving the freeway. No memory of even stopping at the intersection. Just, shazam, and there I wuz.

        • “@Sam I Am Abducted by aliens?”


          It could happen. It could happen.

          Jes’ sayin’.

    • I once fell from a massive oak while preparing to remove a 25-foot length of bough. I had already been doing this for several years, and the *one* time I forgot to leash myself was the one time the bough snapped earlier than planned (I pre-notch for larger cuts) and I free-fell almost 20 feet straight down to the ground. Hit with a thud, was immediately black & blue, about 400 pounds of tree limbs came down on top, and the chain saw landed right next to me. My guardian angel did his duty that day, then undoubtedly face-palmed at my stupidity for not leashing myself to the trunk before making the cut.

      I used to have no fear of heights. I’ve had a very strong respect for them ever since. And the wife has never allowed me back into a tall tree again.

      • My wife and oldest son forbade me to ride motorcycles after my last ‘incident’. Hence the scooter in my avatar.

        • Ahhh…the pieces begin to fall together…

          I rode on- and off-road for two decades. Two-, three-, and four-wheelers. Miss it terribly, but the kids are all grown now and I’m in the last stretch of my mortgage payments, so our money is being funneled to pay off the note so we can enjoy the Holidays completely debt-free.

          I told the wife, though, that I “haz the itch” and *might* get one of those midsize supermotos next year.

        • Haz. I cannot stress enough how wonderful it is to be debt free. Only quality, mind blowing sex is better.

        • Thanks, I was wondering what your’s family inside joke about the scooter might be.
          I started riding when I was 13 years old, had my share of mishaps, still go for a ride once in a while, weather permitting. My wife loves to be a motorcycle passenger, but is too scared to learn how to drive one herself. Now my 10 years old son wants a dirt bike.
          Motorcycle riding is the next best thing to flying.

        • Someone. The full joke goes something like this. I’ve wrecked at least one of every type of vehicle I’ve ever driven. At least one. The punchline is that my wife and others are glad I don’t have a pilots license.

          My hunting buddies have opined it is not a real hunt until I fall at least once. But I almost never require medical attention. I did spend time in the er the last time I rode a motorcycle. But I left after the gravel removal and bandages. I was only there because I thought I had done serious damage to my knee. Looked and felt worse than it was.

      • I have always had a great respect for gravity. The closest I came to a serious injury from gravity was when I was shingling a roof with a 45 degree pitch, and 35′ straight down from the eaves. A nail on the toe board I was using pulled out, and I suddenly found myself sliding down the roof and unable to stop, no harness. I was so very thankful there was another toe board at the edge of the roof.

        • I wouldn’t climb on 12 roof without a safety line. But once I found that I can slide from much less steep one as well. I pulled my hammer out of the tool belt faster than ever before and used the claw as an ice pick to stop the slide.

    • My power tool phobia isn’t the chainsaw, it is the table saw. I have been to jobs where the things didn’t have guards on them. A gruesome accident just waiting to happen.

      • It’s amazing, and scary, how fast people get complacent around truly lethal equipment. If people were half that casual with firearms the streets really would be running with blood.

      • A table saw is, in fact statistically speaking, the most dangerous tool made.

        I’ve used a table saw occasionally for the last 45 years and they still scare me.

        • Actually, the bandsaw is responsible for more injuries than the table saw. I know, it doesn’t seem possible, but it is because of the same thing that causes all accidents: complacency. Be careful out there.

      • I have healthy respect for the table saw. I’ve seen men losing digits and my teacher’s father got killed by a board thrown by kickback. But the guard is the first thing that gets thrown out. Some cuts are impossible to do with that damn thing in place and it just gets in the way.

      • Half a century ago I knew a young USAF pilot who managed to cut off a finger with a electric hedge trimmer. He readily expounded on how stupid that was, but the AF allowed they could find him a flying job even missing a finger, as soon as he was recovered. Something like 3 weeks later, a friend asked him how he could do that, so he demonstrated. USAF allowed they had no use for him missing 2 fingers, and separated him.

    • Chainsaws and cutting tools don’t bother me. Rotary tools are the ones that make me nervous.

      The best safety briefing I ever got was actually in high school shop class and it was about safely operating a drill press. “The emergency stop is to limit the mess, not stop the injury” was part of that briefing. I never really liked that devilish machine.

      Years later I was slinging drinks in college when I met a lady who was missing the pinky, ring and middle fingers on her left hand, odd wounds with what was left of each digit. Definitely not the kind caused by a saw or something but none of my business at the time. She was a machinist and a nice enough lady. After she’d been a regular for six or so weeks she was talking to student, a Geography major IIRC who’d never held a job of any kind, when she got annoyed with his cavalier attitude about something. As I was walking back down that end of the bar she holds up her hand and shows him her mangled mitt and tears into the guy about safety and not being stupid.

      Anyways, now I have to ask so a few days later I do. She asks if I’ve ever run a drill press. Yup. Metal work? Yup. Well, you know how they tell you to never wear gloves while working with a press? Yup. She holds up her hand again and says “This is what happens when leather gloves get caught in a drill press” and proceeds to explain that the odd wounds I’d noticed weeks before are due to the fact that the way the bit caught her glove they didn’t rip her fingers out but rather twisted the gloves down so tight, while wrapping them around the bit, that her fingers were crushed to the point that the bones were essentially sand in a meat/skin casing before she could hit the stop with her other hand.

      To this day seeing someone running rotary tools while wearing gloves sets my teeth on edge.

      • When I worked at BeechCraft in the early 80’s I was inspecting a bond jig and a guy near me was working on the biggest jointer I’ve ever seen. Must have been 20HP. He was working on an aluminum form block about 2 inches thick. He had taken the fence off and was cutting the form block close enough to file finish.

        I thought “that is one idiotic thing to do”. In a millisecond that thing kicked and he ran that bit up between his middle and ring fingers up to the knuckles. I never saw him after that but I heard he lost them both. The glimpse I got in terms of the day, pretty gnarly.

      • Even without gloves you are just a brain fart away from injury when working on rotating machinery.
        My childhood friend and budding saxophone player had a huge one in his teens when he decided to open a small tin can by holding it to a rotating cutter of a milling machine. In his hand.
        His doctors did great job literary wiring his fingers back to his palm and reconnecting his tendons inside his forearm. But he will never play the sax again.

      • I’ll consider myself lucky that the worst I’ve done is some stitches in my hand from a sheet metal cut and a scar on one knuckle from a chainsaw sharpener. I did have a high school classmate lose a finger tip to a wood large and a friend who happened to be an engineer had a messed up finger from a circular saw.
        While I have a healthy respect for table saws I think radial arm saws are even more dangerous.

      • Aunt and Uncle both lost a ring finger in a milking machine.(different years) Their wedding ring got caught. I don’t wear a ring. Still married. (Still never milked a cow.)

    • jwm:
      “Power tools and edged tools scare me worse than guns. Hell, cars scare me worse than guns.”

      Plus one on power tools, and particularly chain saws. I don’t use one often, but when I do, I get a queasy feeling every time. The very physical layout of those things is just dangerous. To a certain extent, I feel the same way about my table saw, which I use more often. One slip and goodbye fingers.

      • My husband has a pair of chainsaw pants. It’s multi-layered cloth. The tree/chain saw class instructor demonstrated how it stops the chain…jams it. Husqvarna pants, I think. It saved my uncle’s leg 30 years ago.

    • I think it was sometime around one million BC, but I remember a guy in FFA in high school who drilled a hole through a piece of wood and through his leg, because he was holding the piece of wood on his leg at the time… It’s ok, he stopped when he hit bone.

    • Speaking of machetes…
      For years, I’ve collect knives and swords (among other things), never had any problem with them. But then a few years ago, I bought a new sword for my collection, and this one came packed in grease. I decided to wipe off the grease with a paper towel and almost sliced off my finger, with blood spraying everywhere, because this sword was razor sharp!

      After my 18-year-old son drove me to the emergency room, I answered the doctors’ and nurses’ questions by saying with a straight face, “It’s the usual story; I’m sure you see this kind of accident every day — I was just cleaning my sword…”

      After that, I bought cut-resistant gloves for cleaning my swords. Five years later, I still have the scar, but I sold the sword that bit me, as it brought back painful memories every time I looked at it.
      Now whenever I watch a Hollywood movies with swords in it, I find myself repeatedly saying, “No way! That actor would have just cut off his hand if his sword were sharp.” Hollywood makes as many mistakes with swords as they do with guns.

  8. For the editor. Why the stock picture of the Glockenspiel? When the story referenced a couple of Sigs.

  9. You avoided the first mistake most people make, buying a cheap crappy gun. Sigs are a good choice. Now pick put a AR and a decent shotgun and youre on your way.

    • A cheap crappy gun can always be relegated to your toolbox or be there for a bar-b-que gun. I would rather have a cheap High Point as an extra gun than not have an extra gun.

      • To true & some people can’t afford anything better. A Hi-point may not be pretty but they are reliable.

      • “A cheap crappy gun can always be relegated to your toolbox or be there for a bar-b-que gun.”

        The BBQs I’ve been to have had the trophy guns as the BBQ guns.

        “Is that a Dan Wesson you got there?”

        • “The BBQs I’ve been to have had the trophy guns as the BBQ guns.”
          “Is that a Dan Wesson you got there?”

          No, it’s just a banana in my pocket.

        • Wesson? I’ve had Wesson oil in my kitchen for years. Switched to the metal S & Wesson lately. Both products are good for the home.

    • At this point, you simply *must* at least get the nice man to let you play with a nice revolver, many of us find the action mesmerizing. Even if you don’t buy one.

  10. Anyone calling another gun owner a noob, needs kicked in the junk, ( yes Clay Martin that means you) don’t ever self-identify as such you’re a firearm owner, possessor, and carrier. We are all learning.

    Welcome to the party, now invite others.

  11. Also, welcome!

    Now go get a long gun or several. 😄

    .22 rifle Marlin 60 or Ruger 10/22
    12 Gauge shotgun
    AR15 (or AK if you prefer)

    Handguns are great, but so are long guns.

  12. That was a nice story, documenting what sounds like an average urban Joe’s evolution into becoming a gun owner. Nice story and welcome! We can’t all grow up on a farm and own our first .22 at 6 years old (as I did). Glad you had a pleasant experience during your team building event and that it provided a good basis for your progression into ownership.

    As others have noted, a .22 handgun would be a great next acquisition. They are fun and economical to shoot. As to whether you’ll be come a gun enthusiast, who cares! My interests in guns vs. other hobbies has waxed and waned over the years, but I’ve always been very pro 2A, no matter if I’m shooting every weekend, or every few months.

  13. Welcome to the gun world. Where your learning never stops. Now go take a beginner class at your local range. Not only will you learn about safety and marksmanship. But you will also learn just how much it costs if your serious about keeping proficient.

    Get involved in your childrens school to get 2A education and rifle teams back into the public schools. Its their civil right as adults to have arms. Making them educated about this helps to make sure, they won’t be talked into giving up their rights.

    • Speaking of learning, I was really surprised to read this in his article:

      “I brought the gun home and the wife and I looked it over, trying to figure out what all the levers and things did.”

      That’s a scary sentence right there. No self-respecting LGS owner/employee should ever allow any customer to leave with a gun until that buyer can show they understand “all the levers and things” on it. Especially a newbie who has never owned one before and needs some extra help and patience.

      • “No self-respecting LGS owner/employee should ever allow any customer to leave with a gun until that buyer can show they understand “all the levers and things” on it.”

        The author did note that he learned he didn’t understand everything he though he did while at the gun store. Info overload. And….no gun store operater/owner/sales person can know if a buyer is actually absorbing info the buyer claims. Even a quick, “Now show me” might only work immediately after explanation.

        • Hey! Wut da heck!! I wrote and posted a reply here well over an hour ago, it appeared below Sam’s comment, I went out on an errand with the wife, and now ii’s gone upon refreshing the page. This “removal” has happened at least twice before in the past. Why, TTAG??

        • “This “removal” has happened at least twice before in the past. Why, TTAG??”

          Had to develop the habit of keeping “Notepad” open, for copying comments against loss of a response. Mostly a precaution unneeded, but there have been times…

        • Yeah, good advice. I should probably start up that habit myself. Really shouldn’t have to, though, but there been gremlins in the works here for months.

        • “Really shouldn’t have to, though, but there been gremlins in the works here for months.”


          You would be simply be utterly amazed at the number of clever, insightful, illuminating, sophisticated, swave-ay riposts to blog entries I have lost. Most of my best work, gone into the troposphere.

        • Well, it wasn’t like they found the pistol at the side of the road.
          Hopefully, it DID come with an owner’s manual!

        • “Well, it wasn’t like they found the pistol at the side of the road.
          hopefully, it DID come with an owner’s manual!”

          That would be a good thing. The “noob” forgetting most of what was learned/demonstrated at the LGS isn’t a bad reflection on the gun store staff.

      • This is why I tell a newbie to buy a revolver. It’s very simple to operate. No “levers”. In today’s world the learning curve on guns is huge. The older generation is gone that would have taught the grandchildren.
        I’ve got a s&w 38 snubby and a judge 410 revolvers. Both are great for a beginner.

      • “No self-respecting LGS owner/employee should ever allow any customer to leave with a gun until that buyer can show they understand “all the levers and things” on it.”

        I have literally never had someone at a gun store even attempt to show me how the controls work. Ever.

        Of course I also tend to field strip the gun at the counter without asking (because they never say yes if you ask but they stand there slackjawed if you just do it). and then reassemble it. Woooo boy does that piss of the old guys at Cabela’s! They start huffing that you don’t know how to put it back together and get really hot if you look at them and say “Well, in the unlikely event I can’t put this back together correctly, you can, right? I mean, it’s not like you work here at the gun counter or anything”.

        • So you’re “that guy”. I was the 30 something gun counter guy at Cabela’s that had to tell the boss why the Dan Wesson 1911 frame has that rookie swipe mark on it from a customer disassembling a gun he didn’t own.

          So yeah, when you take apart a gun you don’t own without asking, it’s kind of annoying. Common courtesy goes a long way.

  14. Better late than never…Now join a Gun Rights Group and help us pull the wagon and vote accordingly. That means No democRats.

  15. Now, don’t put the thing in a drawer or a safe and leave it there. Go to the range, with your wife, and shoot it. Get some professional instruction. Network with other gun owners. Join the GOA and/or the 2AF.

    And don’t vote Democrat.

  16. Welcome! Yours is a thoughtful and probably fairly common story. I’m going to guess that nobody who works at the store thought of you as a “noob”, and it seems they worked with you to figure out a good fit. Your comment about figuring out all the levers on the first Sig is why I commonly suggest a revolver as a starting point. Simplicity of loading, firing and maintaining. No manual safety, not fussy about ammo, etc. My bride loves revolvers. But starting on a semi-auto will make learning a revolver that much easier if you decide to go that way. I also like the P320. And some have mentioned getting a 22 – I also have a Sig P250 in 22 – something like that might be useful in training (and plinking!) with your Sig family. Especially if your wife is a bit recoil (or noise) sensitive. Congratulations, welcome to the family, and here’s hoping you never have to fire a weapon in self defense. Last word: If you do start carrying, may want to check out some of the insurance policies available. Not all that expensive when one considers the possibilities.

  17. One gun in the house is a good idea.

    Two guns is better.

    If one of them, or the third gun, is a pump action Mossberg of any gauge (12 being best) you are doing even better still.

    Seriously though, if a first time gun owner it can only help to take in some training. If you are truly that much a noob, seek out a “BASIC PISTOL 101” or similar such name. You are very likely to find more than one outfit offering classes, so ask around among gun owning friends or at local gun shops for their opinions.

    One thing you will always find cannot be reduced by a pandemic or a gun buying panic is the supply of opinions.

    And do buy that Mossberg ……

    • Once in a while we do agree. The 2 Sigs are great. Add a his and hers shotgun to the mix and you’re golden. And mossbergs work without breaking the bank.

    • I agree on the shotgun idea, but a 20 gauge is much easier on the spouse (typically) and just as deadly from the couch to the front door.

  18. Welcome to the responsibility of being a firearms owner. I would strongly recommend that you and your wife take lessons from the local range, and seek out education regarding guns and gun safety. When you feel up to it I would recommend taking a class at a reputable shooting school. My own personal favorite is Gunsite Academy is Paulden, Arizona. The school isn’t cheap, but you will have a strong understanding of the proper way to use a firearm and the proper steps of gun safety. Welcome to the club! This is an encouraging story! BTW, feel free to e-mail me with any questions that you might have. I am licensed by the NRA as a basic pistol instructor.

  19. “Honey, do you think we should get a gun?” And by “we,: she meant you.

    Hey, Pat, please post the rest of the story about your wife taking some responsibility for helping both of you stay safe and protected. You have her back. Does she have yours?

    • She’s been very supportive. Didn’t balk too much when I came home with the P320. 33 years of marriage will do that. I won’t get away with that one again for a while though. Just ammo, range time, and instruction for a while.

  20. Patrick..
    Are you “thee” Patrick Buchanon from the former seat on the John McLaughlin Group???

  21. Well done, sir. Welcome. Good choice on the 320, it’s also on my list to get. It’s a long list. I appreciate your diligence to learning and safety. Like others have said, the best way to get used to carrying, if you choose to do so, is to just do it. Carry it around the house, do chores, maybe go for a drive when you get the LTC. Then to the store or gas station. No one will see it, except other carriers maybe. Just don’t fidget or mess with it, that’s when people notice.

  22. I think there are a fairly decent amount of folks out there just like the OP. Not anti gun but just not really on their radar to consider owning one….or many. I don’t care how they get to the point of finally deciding to become gun owners, I’m just glad they do. We need to embrace these people into the fold and encourage them.

  23. at least you picked two good pistols, usually newbies pick junk guns or guns that are really oddballs. Since the lock downs are coming to an end will your opinion change since nothing happened and you really didn’t need it?

  24. Welcome !

    I might suggest when the time allows read the Federalist papers to gain a working understanding of the 2 nd. amendment and what the founders thought about it and in their own words.
    Why all gun control is un Constitutional and doomed to fail from the start

    Then when the world returns to normal, to get more comfortable with the use of your arms ,look up a couple of competitive shooting sports and one doesn’t have to be competitive to learn much in the way of firearms safety and proper use of ones arms.

    They would be USPSA/IPSC or one geared even more towards every day carry, called IDPA,just go to one or all and watch, talk to the shooters then give it a try, you will learn much. Should one day you decide to carry you will be miles ahead in that endeavor by shooting any of the mentioned sports. Again Welcome

  25. Welcome to the family! Great article. I view every man and woman, every ethnicity as a potential 2A supporter who will vote for our rights not out of fear. Enjoy your guns and the rights and responsibilities that go along with ownership.

  26. Honestly I have a few similarities to Pat. Didn’t own a gun until I was 56. I hadn’t shot a gun since I was a teen. Never anti-gun. And I thought I was a badazz who could protect my family. Some crap happened and I got “woke”. And I had some $. I NEVER had a wife or girlfriend who was anti(as far as I knew). Even though my insane ex carried a revolver(quite illegally). As mentioned vote pro-gun and get some shooting under your belt. Your initial choices seem good…I don’t feel like I knew anything until I got an AR15. Welcome!

  27. For “noobs”…..

    Learn the self-defense laws in the places you likely will visit. State laws, county laws, town/city laws. Know the politics of gun ownership and use in your area(s). Know what you can and cannot do, like you “know the back of your hand.”

    Next, consider possible outcomes from using your firearms, anywhere. Consider the expense of the aftermath of a Defensive Gun Use (DGU). The loss of income from an investigation. The cost of cleaning up the mess in your home should that be the scene of the incident. Know that you will likely have your firearms (plural) taken as evidence in the investigation of a DGU. The cost of litigation if a relative of the perp decides to sue.


    Have a solid plan of how you would respond to the unexpected entry. Who goes where? How do you ensure your wife doesn’t “get in the line of fire”. How your wife ensures you don’t get into the line of fire. Take into account whether your response plan depends on whether the event happens during daylight, or at night.

    Decide now if you intend to venture outside (day or night) should you detect suspicious activity. Should the situation arise where one of you is under duress, and the other needs to be called from a different room or from someplace away from the residence, decide upon a safe word that can easily be used in conversation, but not used routinely, so as to avoid confusion.

    And…when you are out and about together, and you feel the need to defend yourself in a confined situation (restaurant, theater, mall, etc), you have a word that declares whether you stay or flee (there is no time to figure all this out when a situation arises).

  28. To all beginners.
    Search TTAG for “new gun owners” posts. There lots to good information that will help you be a safe and responsible gun owner. And it’s free.

  29. once you finally realize that the “left” and the Democrats just plain want to take away your guns because doing so is to win some sort of struggle, a validation of power, a coup, then you will understand their fervor. the words that come out of their mouths are just lies- nothing but underhanded excuses, two-faced pleadings and rotten lies, meant to fool you and an excuse to rally around themselves- but there remains a truly festering need they have to take away people’s guns. to take away their right, to have power over them.

    the pro-gun people are angry that their right would be taken away. simple as that. do they want to take away any rights of the “left” or the Democrats? no. in fact they would have them enjoy all the same rights they do.

    now do you understand what is going on?

    • Because the GOP wants what’s best for us? Who was it that srewed Floridians with some gun control laws after the school shooting in Broward Cty? Both parties stink, most GOP congressmen are also completely useless, they just watch the dumbocrats and whine.

      • Politicians seek power. The amount of power available expands greatly if you can take away all guns not directly under your own control. If you wish to be free, you need to have a gun, and never relinquish it.

  30. A Glock is SO not the right choice for a first gun. (Afterwards you should pick up 3 or 4 of them.)

  31. Good write up.

    Welcome aboard. The head is forward and below deck, snacks and beverages are in the cooler.

  32. Welcome!

    We were all “noobs” at one point*** (me far more recently than most others on the site, as you might surmise from my handle). Never be afraid to ask a question. Lots of good folks here, and all of us are constantly learning. I bought my very first rifle a couple weeks back and it’s opened up a whole new area of firearms for me.

    ***Except maybe Paul Harrell. I’m convinced he was born holding an M14 and wearing a hunting jacket.

  33. Welcome to gun ownership. First, be warned, you are now a member of a club that us universally hated by several very vocal, very well funded, anti-gun, anti-freedom groups of lunatics and you are now their enemy.
    Second. Practice, practice practice. You will get better, it’s like playing the piano, it takes practice to do well.
    Third. Don’t be influenced by know-it-all bullies on the range or off, but also ask for help if required, you will be surprised how many people are willing to help, it’s genetic to most gun owners. Forth, always have plenty of ammo. You decide how much is right for you, makes you comfortable. Then double that. Good luck.

  34. You know the reason I belong to no gun carrying groups is your inane absorption into crappy politics. I own way more than most, but would never vote for someone like Trump for a million gun gifts. I do not think my lifelong hobby of owning/firing handguns or rifles has got anything do to with the stupid political comments that ruin a bond of gun onwner-ship because you have been brainwashed by FOX News. Keep them to yourself, and I will do the same. Just do not mention the man making Americans look like morons to the rest of the world, and I will do the same.

    • About the only thing I can figure from your post is “Orange Man bad” so why not just say that?

      • Just another leftist troll trying to corrupt from within. I miss the days when we had good trolls here.

        • ” I miss the days when we had good trolls here. ”

          Now you miss me.

          So many took such pleasure in chasing me out of the pub.

        • 2asux. You ran yourself out. And what an inflated ego to think you were one of the better quality of trolls here. The good trolls were before your time.

          But thanks for finally owning up to being a troll.

        • “But thanks for finally owning up to being a troll.”

          “Troll” is such an easy label to acquire. It is used so carelessly here, by people who object to any input not endorsing the echo chamber, the term no longer has any useful meaning. But, interestingly, those same people shaking their virtual fists at “trolls” keep responding to “trolls”, as if the word somehow makes “trolls” go away (or somehow makes the claimant more intellectually mature).

          The worst of it is that the slings and arrows intended by the person declaring someone a “troll” simply validates claimant beliefs too fragile to defend. If you wish to only reinforce your prejudices, talking to oneself in the mirror should be sufficient.

        • sux. I do thank you and the others like miner49er. Without you guys we would never have had Trump. And now we will have him for two terms.

          Thanks almost entirely to you towering intellects on the other side.

    • Yo, Tate! You do realize, I hope, that if Trump had lost in 2016, you would not be a gun owner any longer, right? Nobody is asking you to marry the guy, but it would be nice if you at least considered the result to the nation.

    • We don’t need Fox to tell us which party has gun control as one of the main planks of its platform. It’s hard to stay off politics when leftist politicians can’t stay off gun grabs.

    • Hey “Tate”, let me help you with some spelling – take away the “e”, add an”in” between the “a” and the “t”…there, fixed it for you Taint…

  35. I’m glad we have another pro 2nd amendment person on our side. I’m sure the pickings were slim on guns. But I hardly think an auto pistol is a good choice for a NOOB. I’m also not saying revolvers are strictly for NOOBs either. But I firmly believe for people with little experience and also if the gun is going to be used by other family members a revolver is the best choice. While I have no experience with his chosen weapon, I personally feel if one of less experience has to get an auto pistol a Glock 19 or 17 is the best choice.

  36. Awakenings, such as this one, always make me smile. It’s a sign that a person has reached maturity. Some never do.

    “We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

  37. Be careful. You bought one gun and found that it did not do everything you thought you needed and suddenly there were two there. The darn things seem to pop up magically and pretty soon you will have a gun safe full of them and the national media will call you as someone with “an arsenal at home.”

    • That’s not even the worst part! Sometimes the damn things follow you home! Just ask my wife, she knows of several downstairs right now! Doesn’t irritate her as much as when that BMW followed me home, but still …

  38. Last night I sat in my chair with YouTube on while I was learning to disassemble, clean and reassemble my brand new mossberg 590 pump action 12 gauge. I was thinking back to when my brother and I were kids. We were not allowed access to any guns. Pop guns, water guns, even guns we made out of Legos. The actions of my parents didn’t take. I bought my first gun, a glock 27, in 1997. Currently I have:
    3 glocks
    2 1911’s
    3 revolvers
    2 desert eagles
    3 hunting rifles
    2 shotguns
    Ar 15
    Ar 10
    These lead to a Georgia concealed carry license and membership to a local gun club.
    OP beware its contagious. In no time those 2 WILL multiply. Welcome to the club and be safe.

  39. I am glad there weren’t any nattering nabobs of negativism commenting on Pat Buchanan’s article.

    Welcome to the Hoplophile Club, Pat.

    • “I am glad there weren’t any nattering nabobs of negativism commenting on Pat Buchanan’s article.”

      That’s because we, of the effete corps of impudent snobs, have not yet been heard from !

  40. Welcome to the people of the gun.
    You did not mention your race, but it’s completely immaterial if you’re black or white or yellow or red-you are welcome here.
    Lots of good advice from all the other commenters.
    I would suggest that you get what is called “carry Insurance”.
    This is actually a pre-paid legal plan that will pay for your legal defense if you are involved in a defensive gun use.
    They are available from many companies for instance USCCA, Ccw Safe, and others.
    For about $300 to $400 per year, you will be covered for the bail, retainer, investigators, expert witnesses, clean up costs and even psychotherapy.
    A stand your ground hearing here in Florida will cost you $15,000, and a trial will be $300,000.
    There is a huge difference between the defense you can pay for and the one these companies can mount.
    Everyone with a gun should have one of these pre paid legal plans, erroneously called insurance.

  41. First time I bought a gun was in a pistol permit state. I went, passed my basic knowledge questionnaire, and politely asked for my permit to purchase. Lady at the counter asked “how many do you want? remember you have to buy within 10 days or else come in and get it reissued.”
    I said “well, just one, i think?”
    She laughed right in my face…
    Out of spite, i left the counter with my ONE permit, and she called after me “we’ll see you soon for more permits!”
    She was right though. going back again for another permit a couple weeks later just slowed down my shiny new buying habit.
    Got a CPL as fast as I could so that I would be permit exempt.

  42. Welcome to the family. Now get the wife out to the range and get her a license to carry too.

  43. The next stage is getting your Wife to carry….. like I did….
    Last year you couldn’t have paid her enough to carry…..now she does WITHOUT FAIL!….. AMAZING TRANSFORMATION!

    • My wife carried religiously from the time she was 19 until she was 71, when she decided she wasn’t sure she could fire/control her Airweight .38 anymore, it was time to put it down. By then, she had carried a .25 Beretta, a Colt Detective Special, a Sig P230, and the S&W. Needless to say, the first 35 years or so were illegal. The route she walked from her dorm to her classes, a classmate had been drug off the street and raped on the front porch of a house between 11 am and noon on a weekday, the police chief had come to the school and advised the class that his department considered it legal for a woman to carry a firearm in her purse (!), and I put that .25 in her hand a week later.

  44. The most important thing is training. Plinking at a range is NOT training. Find a certified firearms course and keep doing them. You’ll quickly realize your brain is the weapon and the gun just a tool.

  45. Welcome to the Fellowship Of Arms.

    You mentioned nothing of your wife shooting. There are shooting organizations for women out there. Sure Shots has a chapter in San Antonio, Austin and Pflugerville I would think there would be similar in other areas, perhaps that gun store of yours knows of one. She should not rely on you for protection all the time because you might be on the golf course when the home invasion or whatever occurs. Plus, having a wife who can shoot is fun at the range, watch the faces on some of the guys there when she shoots a couple of tight groups…

    The learn to double tap, both of you.

  46. The interesting thing about firearms is so many people go out, buy one, then think they are done. No, that’s just the start. You need training from a competent gun trainer and maybe several of them. While you learned the knuckle vs slide issue the hard way, a good trainer at the very beginning would have saved you that damage.

    Also, if you have a tool box, is there only a hammer in it? While just about any problem CAN be solved with a hammer, things go a lot easier if you have a proper tool for the job at hand.

    There are LOTS of different guns for various jobs. For instance, a proper shotgun (no Biden jokes, please) may be better for you for home defense. Maybe an AR style pistol that is currently popular. These are much easier to shoot and usually have more effective chamberings.

    You have just started in the firearms culture and there is a lot that can be learned. There is a wealth of good (and bad) knowledge out there, and LOTS of good people too. Take it up as an adventure and explore a world you never knew about, you will have a great time!

  47. Welcome to the People of The Gun.

    For having limited choices, you have made some nice purchases. You didn’t mention if you bought cleaning stuff for the guns, but you should get some (mostly to clean the inside of the barrels), along with oil or grease (really, most any generic lubricant will work). You also should have some way to secure your new guns when you both aren’t home and can’t take them with you, other than the near-worthless gun locks that come with them.

  48. Welcome aboard. My history is similar to yours. My dad was in the Navy in WWII and after the war, he’d saw enough shooting. We had a used BB Gun that fell apart after a couple of summers. Lived in a “safe suburb” and no thought was given to guns. Used a bow and arrows instead. I had begun to read period history from the Founder’s and Framer’s after 20 years of reading period history of the War Between the States and learned what gun confiscation did to the southern population (Read about the Union League and arming freed black mobs during Reconstruction). Then Obama was elected and the historical “cataracts” were removed from my eyes. I had bought a Taurus Judge for snakes in my country home but then began to learn about the other snakes in government. I had been a Democrat my whole life, raised that way until the Marxists took over and have sought to destabilize our republican form of government. No more. So now, you as I, have a carry and a full size. And I actually found that shooting is fun. It helps me relax and is good mind exercise for my 68 year old brain. The camaraderie at the gun range and in stores is enjoyable and I am always learning. Gun owners at a range or store are more polite to each other than some churches I’ve served. Enjoy your new hobby. Just a thought, depending on your wife’s physical capabilities, you might have her shoot a .22. My wife can no longer use her .380 and a .22 is the only thing she can shoot because of her hand weakness exacerbated with the recoil. Best though if you allow her to choose for herself with a knowledgeable FFL dealer. I made the mistake of getting my wife a .38 snub nose with wad cutters and after 5 shots, she wouldn’t touch it. Of course, she might enjoy a .45 as I know other women do. Just depends on the person. But taking her to the range can be a fun date and help you train together in case something you don’t want to have happen, happens.

  49. Be careful: 32 years ago my brother told me he would give me a pistol if I got my ccw. Five safes and 62 firearms later I need a room addition!

  50. One thing from your “Saul of Tarsus” moment that bothers me, is the statement of still being fearful of firearms. Firearms are a tool. Only capable of damage in the hands of a user. Like a chainsaw, or any power tool, Safe and Proper Handling, Application, and Awareness are all that’s required to safely use the tool. Those three or four (depending upon if you separate Safe and Proper) apply to every tool you’ll use in your life, but there’s a difference between respect for the potential dangers, and fear of the dangers. Fear can often cause inaction and increases the probability of improper and unsafe use. It’s better to confront the fear, and what’s causing it, and recognize that what you really want, is to develop a RESPECT for the dangers that improper Handling, Application, and Awareness will cause. Respect means a positive change in our lifestyle and habits when we look at, pick up and propose to use whatever tool we have in our arsenal/garage.
    In summary, I’m not busting your b*lls here, but attempting to get you on board with the safety culture that’s part and parcel of responsible gun ownership. Our actions and inactions determine the dangerousness of this tool, whether it’s a .22LR or a .50BMG (or even a BB or Pellet gun). Respect for this tool is a much better step forward than fear of it.
    A Big Welcome to the fraternity/sorority of Responsible Gun Owners to both you and your wife. I encourage you both to join one of the many Gun Rights organizations out there. Whether it’s the NRA, NGOA, GOA, FPC or others. Help them ensure that the 2nd Amendment is protected for our children and grandchildren.

  51. Patrick, congratulations and nothing but the best to you as you start on your journey. Welcome to the Patriots club my man, lots of great people out here who will advise, answer questions and show you little tricks that will make you better, more confident and more competent…it’s only a tool, no better, nor worse than the user. In reading your post, you seem like a very logical, practical and purposeful Person. Practice, do lots of research and ask Questions. Most will be glad to help. Welcome aboard and enjoy .

  52. Love this article. My two cents is that target shooters find no pistol is good enough but for self defense most any modern pistol is good enough.
    Let the fun begin!

  53. Good, now get trained up on it’s usage, & the little lady too. It took a lunatic, paranoid delusional sociopath stalker to make me decide to tool up again, despite the fact it wasn’t affordable at the moment. Aaaand here we are.

  54. Well, welcome to the club. I’ve been teaching and competing [in registered matches] since 1970.
    There’s a joke among us “old timers,”….. Guns are like potato chips. … You can’t own just one.”
    It’s not just the personal defense angle. It’s the love of the sport, the discovery of a new piece of machinery, and countless other things.
    Your next job is to join an active NRA affiliated gun club. Newbie or not, it’s a fast track to knowledge and skill, and can open up worlds you never thought even existed before.

  55. Enjoyed the article and welcome to the club! I agree with others above, stay interested, keep having fun practicing, and encourage others to take personal responsibility to defend themselves and their family. A lot of people in a lot of countries are reading your article wishing they could also buy firearms for personal protection – but can’t. Good on you for exercising your God-given rights confirmed by the 2nd amendment Mr. Buchanan!

  56. Welcome, just remember everyone starts some … You didn’t mention it but one of the biggest misconception about those of us that do carry and carry everyday are not looking for a chance to show’m …. In fact, there is one thing that is common for anyone that has carried for a length of time is that we do all possible to keep from using that gun… We don’t get in road rage, fights with the wife, boss the guy that just cut in line … In fact, you may find yourself looking for a smaller gun for deep carry because just don’t want to draw attention. Not because of cowardliness, cowards often find courage outside of them self … But because the gun is the last line of defense that can not be pulled back afterwards… The life after is nothing anyone would look for (losing the gun, hiring a lawyer, being in the paper, estrangement from your wife, family or friends, losing your rights even your life). Learning how to use your gun is so much more then hitting a target… It’s something learned in time and education beyond the shooting skill. So, learn as much as you can, carry and carry everyday for no one knows the day or hour that the thief will come…

  57. Now there are two great fails! One breaks after 2 rounds and the others fires every time u bump it…..great pic choices! New Gun owners are ignorant ones… never buy those unless u want to die! Carry a big rock instead! Its more likely to work 100%…..Incoming trolls beware……..


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