I’m privileged to be a man with a larger-than-usual group of close friends, and as a result, I find myself introducing someone to their first firearm purchase relatively often. No, I’m not on a crusade to convert everyone I meet to the gospel of the gun, but I do enjoy sharing my life and interests with my friends. Truthfully, I have a fair number of friends with whom I’ve never talked guns, but most of my closest friends know how easy it is to get that gun-gleam to sparkle in my eye.
Individuals are unique; their situations, desires, aesthetic draws, and budgets are diverse. So it’s always interesting to me to see how a friend’s first gun-buying journey plays out. Typically, it happens something like this: I invite a buddy to the range with me — he shoots and gets that smile, you know the smile, it’s that kid-in-the-candy-store smile. A few days later, I get the text; “hey man, you going to the range again anytime soon?” We arrange a time to go again, and we’re on our way. A month or two in, he starts asking questions about a gun article he read and two or three months in, I get the text that says: “what gun should I buy?”
At this point, lots of gun guys I know would have just sent a short response message because their answer is always the same.
The 1911 Purist would say, “Buy a full size, steel frame, 1911 and buy quality—the best you can afford.”
The Glocks Rock Guru would say “Glock Perfection, baby! Pick a size and caliber & rock on!”
Retro-Revolver Man: “You need a Smith! Revolvers mean reliability and new shooters need simplicity!”
The Fundamentals Instructor says, “Buy a .22 handgun, like a Ruger Mark II or III.”
I personally see merit in all of these recommendations but don’t feel that any one of them fits everybody.
I mean, my father didn’t hand out relationship advice like that — he didn’t say to me, “Son, be sure to marry a tall red-head and you’ll never be sorry.” I’m super glad that he didn’t because I’ve been really happily married for quite a while now to the cutest tiny blonde girl that I ever met. So, rather than giving an answer to my friends, I start asking them questions. And once I have an idea of what they want the gun to do, I give a few opinions. Mostly, my role is to help narrow the field and encourage them to find a way to shoot the handful of guns remaining on their shopping list.
If you end up becoming your friends’ “gun guy/gal,” let me encourage you not to assume that they want what you want, that they like what you like, or that their primary purpose is exactly what your purpose was when you bought your first firearm.
So what did my newbie buddies most recently take the plunge with? Well, Wesley bought a Beretta M9, Sam bought a Springfield XDM, & Zach bought a Taurus PT1911 in 9mm, & you know what? They all love their picks. After all, guns aren’t one size fits all!