Wilson Combat Beretta 92G Centurion Tactical
Courtesy Wilson Combat
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By Everyday Gunner

I’m fairly young. I’m relatively stupid. And I really have no idea what it takes to break into the stereotypical OFWG (old fat white guy) gun crowd. However, I’ve been working to find my way as a gunner for a while now, and I figure someone might benefit from my experience, especially given all of the first-time gun buyers out there.

Several years ago I purchased a Beretta 92G and had absolutely no idea what to do with it. It was only the second handgun I had ever fired, the first being a couple rounds I put through a Smith & Wesson Model 14, and I had done zero research of any kind into handgun technique or methodology.

I knew I wanted a Beretta 92 due to that absolutely great in-hand feel, but I didn’t even know that it was a “G” model until I no longer owned the gun. I kept it without a round chambered. My first magazine was reloaded hollowpoints I’d purchased at a small-town gun show, and the second was loaded with some random frangible ammo I’d purchase not even knowing what that meant.

I’d still put it under my pillow, regardless of my lack of comfort with the pistol though, because you know, that’s what movies showed a “gun guy” was supposed to do. And, of course, I was clearly a gun guy.

I shot rarely, had very little knowledge of my firearm or the laws associated with it, and had no means of carrying or transporting it other than a $9.99 plastic hard case. That was my first step into the wide world of gun ownership.

Later, I made a more concerted effort to get into the firearms scene. If I hadn’t studied diligently enough, I might have done something like openly carrying my FNX-45 into an area that disallows OC by state law. I can only speculate, of course, that the one comment I might have gotten would have been a compliment followed by, “What gun is that?”

Obviously I wouldn’t have been the only uneducated firearm fan that day…if that had actually happened. Imagine my relief when I finally did some more study into my state’s legalities and found out about this restriction and the apparent fourth degree felony I managed to avoid by not putting myself into such an ignorant and stupid position.

Another unpleasant experience involved IWB concealing a full-size handgun in a Kydex IWB/OWB modular holster for two days. Talk about a major sore spot. I legitimately thought I had injured myself. I was almost limping from the pain, red and nearly raw with a ridiculously tender raised welt. Sound fun? Yeah, it wasn’t.

Even as I did the work and learned more about firearms, I still had embarrassing moments. Shall I tell you about getting screamed at in front of an entire conceal carry class for having my finger on the trigger? I was only dissembling my XD-S to check the lubrication on it before our next range session. And I’d seen the instructor dissemble his GLOCK about 20 times to that point in front of the class. And my gun was pointed in a safe direction, but….

Uhh wait, what was the “but” again? Oh, I just wanted to vent about getting yelled at. That’s right. (I know I know, classroom setting and all. Relax. It was still frustrating to get hollered at and besides, the whole goal here is to display my mistakes, right?)

Here’s the point: I don’t know everything about guns, but I’ve come a long way. How did I manage it? I read sites like The Truth About Guns, I watched videos, and I listened to podcasts to learn what was acceptable and what information had merit.

Do your research. Look at the pros and cons of each firearm-related choice. Try your best to understand what constitutes good gun manners, and do so BEFORE claiming to be a “gun person.”

Perhaps, like me, you’re not so old, not so fat, only half white — or none of the above — and wondering how you can fit in. Well, quit trying to. Just be an everyday guy or gal trying to gain some knowledge, and you’ll find a place. We’d love to have you.


The Four Rules of Gun Safety

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      • Handing firearms especially loaded firearms is like a trapeze act without a net. You best know wtf you are doing because once zee projectile leaves zee barrel you cannot put zee projectile back in zee barrel.

        • I like this example. I’m going to use this when appropriate. I always use the analogy of doing electrical work on your house. You must follow the rules and the rules are there for a reason.

        • “so, reform it, put it back.”

          Tom in Oregon did just that.

          Yearly his range ‘harvested’ the lead from the backstop, and Tom collected 5-gallon buckets of it for remelting and making practice reloads…

    • To be honest this is the more typical urban/suburban initial learning curve when the parents don’t own/are actively against firearms. More than a bit of this is familiar.

  1. Gotta start somewhere and always more to learn. Just helps when your parents teach you young vs tv/video games/youth camp 22 range as is more typical for introduction.

    • My first time shorting a firearm was in basic combat training when I was 17 years old. Pretty solid place to learn as well.

      • Mine was …….. suboptimal involving a double barrel too heavy for the age involved. Fun but a lifetime of unlearning bad habits.

  2. newbies quickly distance themselves from the unfamiliars.
    become comfortable and proficient with at least one setup.
    there’s a lifetime of info to gather.
    the appreciation of firearms transcends barriers.

    • When they get to interact with others. But internet helps with that a bit compared with 20 odd years ago.

    • It doesn’t hurt when first learning to get some proper instruction. It sets you on the correct path. There will be mistakes but if in doubt refer back to the 4 rules.

      The old adage applies: Ignorance is curable. Stupidity isn’t.

      • “It doesn’t hurt when first learning to get some proper instruction.”

        I’m more than a bit suspicious of self-proclaimed ‘Gun Guys’.

        To me, its like being actually ‘Cool’. Coolness can only be bestowed by someone who actually is Cool. Someone who proclaims themselves to be Cool is forever disqualified from being Cool.

        The real gun guys don’t consider themselves gun guys, and the ones that can’t wait to tell you they are gun guys give the worst and most dangerous advice…

        • Preferred discussion to advice usually learned more on both sides. Argument even more so once the info has a chance to sink in. Didn’t agree that the newer Sig was a great option at first but be damned if the grips and triggers being super comfortable for me. Probably helps I didn’t get the first releases of 365 or 320 though.

  3. “Gun Guy” isn’t a name you give yourself. Someone else gives you that name. Otherwise it’s just something you sometimes do. No one is a ‘mechanic’ because they changed a flat tire once. When your there, those closest to you will know it.

    Trump was never a gun guy. He is pro-American and that is why he gets my vote. But I will likely never own a Trump themed firearm. If he were a gun guy then things would be very different.

    There is a process and that path is what you heart will direct you to. The reason to do this is clear but each of us decides for ourselves and before you know it, suddenly you know enough to see it for yourself. Then you proceed to the next step. Maybe somewhere along the way you become a blessing to someone else by influence, passed on knowledge, or in materials given. Take someone to the range for the first time. Just be there to answer questions.

    Best of luck.

      • And TheBiden is pro-Biden… at least that’s what Jill and his handlers tell him via TelePrompTer during his increasingly rare lucid moments. The administration is diligently trying it’s best to get foreign imports of critical juvenile medications, including Ritalin, fast-tracked…for obvious reasons.
        And Miner?? Well, he’s whatever HIS handlers tell him to be.

      • I would completely expect every president that ever runs for office (win or lose) to be pro-self. That’s a prerequisite.

        • Hey, you’ve seen Bidens tax returns, they’ve been public for years.

          You’ve seen Obama‘s tax returns, they’ve been public for years as well.

          The sources of their income are clearly listed, as well as the hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes they’ve paid.

          However, the mango Mussolini has continuously lied about releasing his taxes, continuously lied about being under audit, and continuously lied about his sources of income (and debts to foreign adversaries.

          And just what did Donald Trump do to secure $2 billion in cash for his son-in-law? That one deal is more money than both Obama and Biden have ever made.

          “Jared Kushner’s new private equity firm got $2 billion from Saudi Arabia because maybe that’s how you can cash in when your investing experience is slender but your father-in-law may wind up back in the White House. It’s also possible that you can get billions for a firm with no track record because the White House did favors for the Saudis when your father-in-law still occupied the Oval Office.”


          But now that the rule of law and the Constitution has prevailed, we’ll all be getting a close look at Donald Trump‘s tax returns. The details that are already coming out are not surprising, but sad.

          As a patriotic American myself, I must share the joy that I feel almost daily watching the January 6 insurrectionists receive prison sentences of 5, 10, 15 years in the federal pen for their treason against America.

          Many of them swore an oath to protect the United States and the Constitution from all enemies including domestic enemies. But they violated that sacred trust by enlisting as foot soldiers in Donald Trump’s fascist brown shirt Army… And now they’re paying for their treason, bravo!

          And the Michigan insurrectionist just received 16 years, his co-conspirator is due to be sentenced today. I bet he gets double digits as a guest at Club Fed.

          I must say, the icing on the cake, the cherry on top, will be Donald Trump’s indictment, trial, conviction and sentencing… Coming soon to a federal courthouse near you, stay tuned!

  4. I get asked all the time by people if I would take them to the range and teach them how to shoot. Notice that they always ask “how to shoot” and not how to safely handle a firearm. Based on some of the people and what I know about how they conduct their life, the answer is to bow out gracefully. “Sorry, I am just so busy, I just don’t have the time, Translated that means “Hell no, you shouldn’t be around any firearm ever, If you had a BB gun you would shoot your eye out within 10 minutes, as well as driving any vehicle, maybe you should take a driving course, starting with a wheel barrow”‘. Many of you know exactly what I am talking about.
    That being said, there are the few who actually are responsible and have an attention to detail, a few who you would actually trust. I don’t mind those, they ask questions and actually learn. But hey, just my opinion.

  5. Can’t hold “being a beginner” against someone; we were all beginners when we first started shooting. What I’m more sensitive to is, “Does the beginner seem to have taken the time to learn the rules? Are they getting training? Are they amenable to, or even seek out, advice from more experienced shooters?”

    I can’t get huffy about someone being a noob – I was one, once. But if you are a responsible person/shooter, you get the knowledge and training you need.

    • As for beginning firearms it helps if a newbee does not belong to the do-it-for-me-crowd and has some distance related experience such as using hand tools, machinery, etc. I.E…Like an electrician who knows a mistake can be costly. Or even a home cook who understands knives, stoves and things that spin can be hazardous, etc. Or a car owner who knows where the hood latch is and how to change a flat, etc. Some foundation is needed with firearms and that foundation for kids needs to be experienced adults in the room and not their dumbazz friends, movies, TV, etc.

      • Why my club said my son had one of the best instructors. I had been teaching him theory and he had dry practice for years. Even he said he was surprised by how much he knew. His instruction now is me repeating the range commands and telling him what the next stage is. He has the experience to take it from there.

      • Debbie,

        All true, and surprisingly, martial arts training also helps – if done right, martial arts requires patience, letting go of emptions, calmness, discipline, concentration, strength, and flexibility – and what part of that is NOT applicable to shooting?

  6. Too many years ago I carried out in the world for the first time. I was standing in line at the grocery store and a uniformed LEO got in line behind me. I was legal and gun was concealed but none of that relieved my paranoia and thinking I was on my way to jail. Ah good times.

  7. “….I purchased a Beretta 92G and had absolutely no idea what to do with it.”

    You could do a lot worse than that, son. Ask me how I know.

    • Indeed. 92A1 with trigger work, XS old guy sights and rosewood grips. If I could only have one that would be it.

        • In 1976 I had an original mark 1 5.5” bull barrel Ruger, should never have traded it. I can’t even remember what the trade was, but I’m sure it wasn’t worth the Ruger.

        • @Miner49er
          I’ve been around guns all my life and have shot a few over the years but never actually owned one till later. Just never had much interest in it. Having a complete line of Ruger Marks would be nice but all you can get new now is the 4 and I’m not all crazy about that one.

  8. It’s pretty sweet these days with the Internet and the free availability of videos from Ayoob, Clint Smith, Louis Awerbuck and others. I foolishly put my faith in jackass friends who I thought knew better but it turns out they knew nothing. I wish had access to those old gurus when I first started.

    The manuals themselves hold a lot of info. Many times I’ve countered a ranting anti going on about mandatory safety classes just by handing them a manual from one of my guns. 80% of those manuals are a concise NRA safety class. The other 20% is half maintenance and half advertisement.

  9. I now refuse to teach someone how to shoot. Get a couple training classes done professionally. I can show you how to shoot a gun, but I have neither the patience, skill or desire to teach. I’m always willing to help you learn about your guns, load, safety, finger off trigger etc. if you have zero experience, I’m smart enough to say go learn properly.

  10. ” Clean up the scene of your demise”, bullsht their just making off with your carcass. I already talked to a cop about that, he said at the end of the year they have a big party barbq and drink all the booze they took from the DUI’s.
    Train , train , train
    Take me on out of this town.
    Firing a warning shot,,,, makes sense to carry a revolver doesn’t it.
    Look mah no spent casing’s

  11. Most of my “experience” comes from YouTube. I remember stating on TTAG perhaps 8 years ago that I was only a gun owner for a few years and a dude was “shocked” as I sounded knowledgeable. My OCD kicks in when I educate myself about everything I’m interested in. And I’m no expert on everything gun related. Part of being old(68)gives me humility. Especially when I ventured into AR’s. Semiautomatic shotguns are next…and I dropped a bunch of weight and got fitter & stronger. OFWG nope!

  12. I didn’t know what I was doing when I started in 2007. Fifteen years later, I must say that I now at least have an idea about how much I still don’t know.

    I didn’t really progress much until a range opened in town and I started going on the regular. Being around and shooting with other gun people who weren’t busy trying to sell me something was the key that unlocked the joy of shooting and consequently freed me from my reigning ignorance of the field. The initiation of competitive matches nearby accelerated this.

    So the best way to learn in my estimation is to find good people to learn from and work with. If this isn’t easy or possible you can visit guntubers and websites, but they aren’t a replacement for personal relationships.

    • I admire your honesty…Because too many think they can plop down a credit card and buy their way in. If it applies the only thing I can add is exploring what makes your weapon tick from its forge, billet, etc. beginnings to you learning to take it all apart and reassemble it. I find being in tune with springs, intricate little componets, calipers, etc. helps one understand the meaning of Center X.

  13. Some on this site have said it’s not if but when you will have a ND. I am doing everything I can to make sure this doesn’t happen to me. I do however admit that I have muzzled my weak hand when going to rack the slide with poor form. I now bring the weak hand up to my chest then out over the slide not up in front and on top. One saving grace is my finger is never on the trigger until I’m ready to shoot.

  14. Well if you show up and introduce yourself by asking “How do I fit in with you old fat white guys?” then you might be told to go home and start work on your big coloring book of etiquette.

  15. “stereotypical OFWG (old fat white guy) gun crowd.”

    I am old, I’m a white guy, but I ain’t fat.
    2 outta 3 ain’t bad.

    • Ok, you beat me by three years… but only because it took that long for my younger brother and me to figure out how to drive the ratty pickup with a three-on-the tree to the local dump to shoot rats. One to steer and shift, the other to work the pedals. Also, 22LR was probably 40 or so cents a box, and you bought it at the local hardware store with a forged note from your parents, same way you bought cigs later in life… good penmanship was a handy life skillset.

      • My dad(who WAS an OFWG) took us to the range when I was about 10-12. Shot his really cool 22 six shooter & a 22 bolt rifle. Only learned sighting in. No ear or eye protection. Ditto shooting a .410(?) with the Buy Scouts. Dad was a NRA member & we shot at the local NRA range in Kankakee,ILL. Guns were no big deal then. Normal.

      • Yes, public comment was ignored. Its routine for anything Biden to ignore the public that doesn’t agree with him or to which he can’t pander or will not just roll over and say “sure, take my rights.”

  16. As people of the gun it is incumbent on all of us to share what we know with newbies. To my mind the best way to learn to shoot is a casual introduction at an outdoor range (preferably private/ nobody else around). Let them shoot a 22 rifle from a rest at clays set on edge so they get instant feedback and the rest helps them reflexively keep the gun pointed down range.

    Having introduced the very basics of manual of arms, and 4 rules you can now expand upon them if the interest is still there. I am supportive of formal training but firearms are one of those things that need a deserve one on one instruction at the beginning and letting the student set the pace.

    And as far a being “That Guy”, how cool is it to be the person who gave them a memory of a life time. I have fond memories of teaching Nieces an Nephews to shoot for the first time and you better believe they remember what a great time they had with Uncle BASHer years later.

  17. You’re an old fat white guy when you get to the point when you quit thinking how stupid you were X amount of time ago and you also quit worrying about what others think.

    When you get to THAT point, you’re in the old fat white guy club and I tell you what, it’s damned nice.

  18. Here’s one for the etiquette pile: Offering to shoot someone for questioning the reliability of your preferred caliber or weapon.

    Seriously, knock that shit off; it is not clever or witty, it wasn’t clever or witty when the first guy thought it up, it makes you look like a deranged idiot, it’s not an effective rhetorical device (nobody wants to get shot with a damn BB gun either, but that doesn’t make it a good self-defense option), and if you are sincere, then the person you’re threatening just might be willing to test their preferred choice out on you in turn.

  19. Despite the flatulence of that miner49er idiot, I enjoyed this article. One of the things I noticed when I was younger was that no matter what opinion you got from someone, there was always someone right there willing and eager to argue it. I’d leave the conversation knowing less than before it started. I dont ask much anymore.
    Want to really drop a cat into a dog show? Ask a group of guys which is better, 9mm or .45.

  20. Tagging along on hunts by the time I started school, packing my own single shot 20 by 8 or 9, old man swiftly and memorably corrected any lack of safety, children and now grandchilden same thing.
    what’s a gun guy?-

  21. I recently had a long time female friend ask me to take her to the range. I gave her a noncommittal answer – “sure, sometime”. Now, this particular woman does not care for her vehicles properly and drives around with the maintenance light, in her new car, glowing for MONTHS. She is careless with her home maintenance as well. I have decided to steer her toward a local gun range that holds “women only” type classes that include live fire. If she completes the class I may take her to the gun range, not sure. She does not seem like a good candidate to own a firearm because of her carelessness. I don’t know.

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