Sooner or later, your friends will find out you’re into the shooting sports, and this will lead to one of four reactions:
1. “Huh. I never knew that about you.”, followed by a gradually distancing of the relationship as your friend doesn’t like being around a “gun nut”.
2. “Huh, I never knew that about you”, followed by a normal continuation of the relationship as your friend thinks that the shooting sports is just another hobby, akin to building ships in bottles or needlepoint.
3. “Cool. Whaddaya shoot?” (The best outcome).
4. “Huh. I never knew that about you. Say, I’ve been thinking about getting a gun for the home and…”
That last answer is the trickiest. Giving advice to another person on what gun they should buy is kinda like married people giving dating advice to a single person. Yes, I know what works for me, but that’s only because I’ve made some mistakes, thought about things, and put a lot of time and effort into selecting what I shoot.
A PGB (Potential Gun Buyer) should start by asking himself several questions. What do I want this gun to do for me? Is it for self defense? Will I carry it concealed? How large are my hands? Will I seek professional training? Once trained, how often will I practice? Do I know what level of recoil I can tolerate? Who else in my home will have access to this firearm? Would my spouse have the necessary skills to use this firearm? Once you have made this list you should prioritize your requirements.
Unfortunately for the PGB, there isn’t a whole lot of resources out there for guiding such decisions. There’s a lot of places for raw data, such as gun manufacturers websites, online gun stores and gun magazines, but very few places that have a list of guns in a certain price range and with a list of the the pros and cons of each, and worst of all is the gun-owning friend him/herself, who has the tendency to evangelize what they shoot and like to any all (buyCZs!:) ) around them.
That’s why I always, always, recommend that a PGB goes to a gun range that has a rental counter before making their first gun purchase, and ideally, go with a friend who can steady their nerves and help guide (but not direct) a PGB through the process. Spending $50 and trying out a few guns before they buy will help calm nerves and give a sense of empowerment: It’ll be the the PGB who makes the decision of what they’re buying based on their experience and their priorities, not someone else handing them a gun and saying “Here, this is the gun for you.”
Owning a gun for personal protection is fundamentally an act of self-reliance: It is taking your safety and the safety of your loved ones literally in your hands. Anything we as the shooting community can do to extend that sense of self-empowerment to the selection and buying process can only add new shooters to our ranks.