Intended use is the most important factor in selecting a new firearm. Is the gun for home defense, self defense, target or competitive shooting? Is it for hunting? If so, what type of hunting? These are all questions a new gun owner should be asking themselves before buying a new firearm.
Most of my students come to class with very specific goals. The most frequent of which is Home Defense/Self Defense. The first question to ask yourself is ‘Am I going to conceal carry or just use it for home defense’? If the answer is home defense only then I would suggest buying a shotgun. Using a shotgun for home defense is ideal for two reasons. First, 12 pellet 00 Buckshot fires 12 .33 caliber lead pellets with a devastating affect on a target. Bullet impact is measured in foot/lbs and a shotgun has the greatest force on impact when compared to rifles and handguns (suitable for home defense). Second, muzzle velocity reduction in a fired buckshot round from a 12 gauge shotgun happens faster than that of a rifle or handgun. Helping to reduce the likely hood of over penetration through interior and exterior walls. This should be a safety concern when defending your home with firearms since you are not able to tell what, or who, is in the next room. Remember, know your target and what’s beyond it!
If your answer is ‘self defense with the intent to conceal carry outside of the home’ then the right gun for you is a handgun. The simple reason is that, unlike shotguns and rifles, a handgun is easy to conceal. Now, should you conceal or open carry? Again, for me, the answer is easy. You should conceal the handgun. There are two reasons for this. First, surprise is a tactical advantage. Why would you want to give up that tactical advantage by open carrying the gun? Second, you will draw unwanted attention from the general public and ultimately with law enforcement by openly carrying the handgun. This is especially true in a state like Connecticut.
The type of gun that is appropriate for target or competitive shooting is going to solely depend on what type of competition the shooter is participating in. 3 Gun Competitors will actually need all three platforms. Trap, Skeet and Sporting Clay competitors will need a shotgun. Cowboy Action Shooters will need a lever action rifle, side by side shotgun and 2 single action revolvers. Each type of completion will have a specified gun type associated with it. This is very similar to hunting, the type of game will determine which gun is suitable. For example, you would want to use a 12 gauge shotgun to hunt squirrel.
Other factors that should be considered when purchasing a new firearm are pistol fit and ergonomics. Does it feel comfortable in your hands and are you able to hold it comfortably?You should at the very least try and hold the gun before you buy it. If at all possible you should try and shoot it. Pistol size, weight and recoil will also be a factor. For shotguns, if the 12 gauge has too much recoil move on to the 20 gauge. For handguns there is a direct correlation between the weight of the gun and how much recoil there is: the lower the weight the more recoil there will be.
In short, you should do what’s best for you and not listen to the know it all gun store clerk that thinks everyone should buy a Colt 1911 Single Action Only handgun for self defense. When purchasing a firearm you should do your own research, consult knowledgeable shooters and purchase from a reputable dealer. There is no right or wrong here. There is however appropriate and inappropriate. Become knowledgeable, gain experience through training, have a lot of self awareness and make the best decision for you.
If there is one thing you can count on in the “gun world” it’s strong opinions. Everyone has got an opinion and no one has ever been wrong. That’s a problem in my eyes because it can cause some serious safety issues.
As most of you know, I teach quite a few firearms related classes. Ranging from the most basic of classes, the NRA Basic Pistol Class, to advanced classes like our Drawing From a Holster Class. In each one I always emphasize the importance of self-awareness, common sense and consistent training with each student in order to become a safe and responsible gun owner. I also express my disdain for the “know it all” gun owner/gun salesperson.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to guns. There is no “best caliber”. Glock’s (or any polymer frame striker-fired pistol) are no better than 1911 style handguns, or vice versa. There is no best way to conceal carry your pistol (with a chambered round or with without). What’s best for each gun owner should be determined by the gun owner themselves. Not the grumpy, crusty old guy behind the gun shop counter.
Frankly, it’s gun owners like this that give the rest of us a bad name. It makes it more intimidating for potential new gun people to join our ranks. Who wants to be ridiculed for their choice of firearm manufacturer? No one wants to be looked down upon because of their choice of caliber. We should be looking out for one another not hindering the growth of our ranks
Ultimately, this sort of behavior can lead to safety issues. Most notably it can lead to unasked questions. The unasked question is the only “dumb” question when it comes to firearms safety. It can also create other issues concerning the safe operation of a firearm, such as proper unloading and clearing of the firearm to make it safe. Of all things related to firearms it is safety that is of the upmost importance. This “I know what’s best for you” attitude is a real safety issue.
Gun owners (especially new gun owners) need to make good sound decisions about what’s best for them. They should do their own research, consult knowledgeable shooters and purchase their firearm from a reputable dealer. All too often gun owners allow others to influence their decisions and then end up with an inappropriate firearm. Gun owners need to be self-aware enough, and use their common sense, to make an informed and appropriate gun purchase and related decisions. Listening to someone who thinks one size fits all when it comes to firearms isn’t a smart idea.
The saying goes, elections have consequences. For the anti-gun liberal left that certainly rings true over the last 12 to 18 months when it comes to Supreme Court nominations. The election of Donald Trump in 2016 was the best thing that could happen for gun owners and gun rights organizations. With his election came the promise to appoint conservative Supreme Court Justices. President Trump has come through on his promise.
The appointment of Justice Gorsuch and recently confirmed Justice Kavanaugh is exactly what gun rights proponents needed. These appointments have flipped the balance of the court to a 5-4 conservative or strict constructionism interpretation of the constitution. Meaning that the second amendment should be interpreted as it was when the constitution was written. Therefore, ensuring the right to bear arms to all citizens.
This opens the door for many opportunities to right the wrongs that have occurred since the renewed push for anti-gun legislation in the months and years after the tragedy at Sandy Hook. Overturning the assault weapons bans that occurred in many states, as well as the universal background check legislation in states like Connecticut and New York. The ban on so called “high capacity magazines” could also be overturned with the new make up of the court.
With National Reciprocity already passed in the House it could now be passed in the Senate and would, in all likely hood, stand up to judicial review in the Supreme Court. This would be a big one and is the “holy grail” of pro-gun proponents. Imagine being able practice your second amendment rights in all 50 states. The way the founders intended it.
Remember though, elections have consequences. Republicans must retain the majority in the Senate to pass national reciprocity. They must also retain the majority in the House. Don’t let the effort to confirm Kavanaugh under the worst conditions possible (created by the liberal left) go to waste. Every vote counts. If you aren’t registered to vote then do so now. Become informed on the candidates at every level of government. National campaigns matter, but so do the elections at the local and state level.
Complacency kills and, as President Obama once said, “elections matter”.
Use the link here to register to vote if you are not registered. Deadline to register to vote in the November 2018 elections for Connecticut is by midnight October 31, 2018: