Last week, I shared some of the lessons people have learned from having a gun that wasn’t quite right for them. Whether the firearm was just the wrong fit or feel, it seems that many of the lessons were realized when folks were new to firearms and perhaps a bit unsure about guns overall.
But honestly, the “moral to the story” reminds me a bit of the process of dating — as painful as wading through the potential sweetheart pool may sometimes be. There are bad dates, embarrassing moments and memories you wish you could forget. There are so many things you can learn from the right and the wrong person, just as you can learn from the right and the wrong gun. And, just like with dating, it’s nice to know that sometimes it isn’t you that’s the problem.
Missy W. confessed that she felt like a complete novice when it came to guns and shooting. She decided to look for a women’s shooting group to get some tips and ideas before purchasing a gun. “The ladies I tutored under were very generous in allowing me to try all of their pistols,” she stated, “and I decided on one — a 9mm semi-automatic.”
“I purchased the pistol that I had fallen in love with at the range, but there were soon problems,” she continued. “It misfired, jammed and stove-piped often. I could not hit the broad side of a barn with it! The most logical thing for me to do was take it back to the store and ask them to help me. (Again, I was a novice.) They charged me $60 to tell me that there was nothing wrong with the pistol. This made me feel like a very unsuccessful shooter … and that the problems were all ‘user error.’”
“I had some friends who had purchased the same make and model of this pistol, and they loved theirs! Meanwhile, I was hating mine,” she added. “Deciding to sell it, my husband (who really knows very little about pistols made after 1865) suggested that I send it back to the manufacturer to make sure that it was in good working order. So, I did, and I found out that this pistol was part of a recall. They replaced the recalled part and replaced another part that was faulty, as well. It now operates like a dream — smooth every time!”
My friend Wenda N. mentioned that she also has a first personal purchase that she has some regrets about. “It’s a Springfield XD-S .45,” she said. “I love Springfields, but they have come a long way since I made this purchase. I bought it having never fired it. Not that I don’t like a .45, but just not this one. I hate that it is far too heavy to conceal carry comfortably, and when firing it, due to the material that the frame is made of (and the shape of it), it will eat your hand up! I wish they made these with the materials they use now. And I wish those many years ago that there had been somewhere I could have actually shot this firearm before purchasing it.”
All in all, whether it’s you, the firearm or maybe a little bit of both, I hope you don’t look back at that first gun — or that worst gun — with disdain or despair. Just like with almost every life situation, I hope you can cherish the lessons learned. And whether it was good or bad, right or wrong, I believe there is an opportunity for all of us to learn and improve our skills based on any gun that comes our way! At the very least, I’m staying open to the possibilities!
About Beth Alcazar
Boasting several training certifications including TWAW, SIG Sauer Academy, ALICE Institute and I.C.E. Training, Beth Alcazar is enthusiastic about safe and responsible firearms ownership. She has nearly two decades in the firearms industry and is a Certified Training Instructor and Senior Training Counselor for the USCCA and Training Counselor, Chief Range Safety Officer and Certified Instructor for the NRA. The associate editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, Beth also uses her experience and degrees in language arts, education and communication management to author Women’s Handgun & Self-Defense Fundamentals.