This Valentine's Day Turn Cupid's Arrow into a Gun!
Valentine's day, evolving from an anonymous romantic proclamation of love to what is now considered a "Hallmark" holiday of romantic gift giving. This Valentine's Day thousands of firearms will be purchased by good intentioned loved ones for significant others, siblings, parents, and children. But most of those firearms purchased will be just that, a gift of good intention.
So how can buying a firearm for a loved one, or for your own use for that matter, be transformed from a good intention, to a useful life-saving device? By considering the following things when purchasing a firearm that a loved one should carry.
Buying a "sexy" firearm, is just that, sexy! --- But is it practical? It can be - if the grip fits the hand properly, the caliber and recoil can be easily managed, if the trigger pull feels smooth and fluid, basically if the gun "just feels right", like it's an extension of the shooter's hand, arm, body. So, how can ALL of that be accomplished?
The first thing to do is to go to an indoor range, rent and try their firearms. Or go to a range with a friend, or a number of friends who have a variety of handguns in all sizes, shapes, calibers, makes, and models. Try revolvers, try semi-automatics, try double action, and single action. And not to be trite, but, "if at first you can't decide keep trying until you do"! A carry gun is a huge purchase and an even larger responsibility, don't just buy one because it looks good, is cheap, and feels ok. Remember the main reason for purchasing a handgun is to own a life saving device that is reliable as a last, and only resort, to be used to save your life, or the life of a loved one, during a violent confrontation when no other option is viable. So when said like that, would anyone agree that "sexy" alone will save a life?
Ok, ok, so what if you are considering a firearm purchase for a loved one? Well now you can use going to the range as another reason to bond with your Valentine, you know, something along the lines of:
"Hey Mom, I was thinking, we talked about you learning how to shoot, why don't we go to the range this Saturday. We can make it a girl's day out, the range, lunch and I'll arrange appointments for mani/pedi's, how does that sound?"
- Or -
"Hey Honey, I really want you to learn to shoot. I think we can make target practice a common shared sport. So what do ya think, Friday after work? We can go to the range and then let's grab a bite at that cool little Italian joint you love, sound good?"
Now your loved one thinks they will be spending some quality bonding time with you, when you actually have a "hidden agenda". Using this time to turn your gift of good intention, into an opportunity to find out which pistol works best for your loved one. Not to mention providing a "marriage" of sport, and bonding, not just another "one night stand".
(Photo credit; PRLog)
So this Valentine's Day, if you are considering a "gift of gun", remember the following considerations when trying out various handguns:
The grip of the pistol should feel like it was molded for the shooter's hands, comfortably, not too big, or too small.
The caliber of the firearm should be the largest possible caliber the shooter can accurately and comfortably shoot while maintaining complete control over the gun. An advanced shooter will be able to shoot any caliber, but sometimes a new shooter needs practice time on a smaller caliber to gain the confidence necessary to handle a lightweight, large caliber pistol.
Trigger pull also needs to be negotiated, for some a long trigger pull of a double action is most comfortable, for others a feather light short single action is the only way to go.
And yes, "size does matter" for carrying concealed depending on body size and shape. Many sub-compact guns are not only small in stature, but also made of lightweight composite material for ease of concealment. But remember, the lighter the gun, the more the recoil can be felt. For this reason, a sub-compact gun may not be appropriate for everyone.
For someone with limited hand strength such as arthritis, a revolver may be the best option.
Safety first. Consider manufacturer safety options, some people will only carry a gun with an external safety device; others prefer a firearm with internal safety features. It is mandatory that prior to a firearm purchase the differences are noted, and understood. Then include the safety device feature as part of the selection process.
Also it is worth noting, pulling the slide back on a semi-automatic firearm can seem tricky and difficult to first time shooters. IF this should be the case, let the Range Safety Officer, or any range employee explain and demonstrate the "push/pull" technique. Not being fully informed on the proper use of a semi-auto, is not a compelling enough reason to overlook the purchase of one, especially when a simple technique can be applied.
Purchasing a firearm is an expensive endeavor, and should be thoroughly researched. This Valentine's Day, if you are planning to buy a loved one a Valentine's Day gift of a handgun, make a smart purchase. Implement the previously noted considerations and surprise "Your Valentine" with the firearm that may look sexy, but more importantly, is their best fit, the one with which they fell in love...
Pamela J. Jablonski is a recently featured contributing writer to our Forum. She is an NRA Instructor Certified in Basic Pistol, Personal Protection Inside the Home, Personal Protection Outside the Home, as well as Refuse to Be a Victim. She is also a Chief Range Safety Officer and an Eddie Eagle Volunteer. Other Certifications include Neighborhood Watch Coordinator through The Department of Justice, and various certifications in Executive Protection. Ms. Jablonski trained with The Department of Homeland Security, and has taken many private classes in Use of Lethal and Less than Lethal Force. She is an Advertising and Marketing Consultant who specializes in Strategy, Writing, and Experience Design. Her other specialized interests include Culinary Arts and writing non-fiction. For comments, or topics on future articles, please feel free to connect with her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.