I purchased my first gun today.
I have been around guns for much of my life. As a kid I would scare rabbits from brush piles so my uncle could shoot them, afterward we’d shoot clay pigeons until we ran out of ammo or clay. As a teenager and beyond I would spend summers on a buddy’s property shooting tin cans with AK-47s.
Up until now I was always shooting someone else’s gun, until today. I purchased my first gun, a Smith & Wesson M&P9. I walked into a gun store with a vague idea of what I was looking for and walked out 45 minutes later with my first gun and a bag of ammo. Fairly simple.
I had been considering buying my first gun for some time. I can’t really say why I never owned guns up until this point. My parents never owned a gun, and it wasn’t something that I ever felt compelled to do. I was never against them, just never had reason enough to buy one, I suppose.
As I think about the future of our nation and I look at my children I realize one cannot be too careful. I recognize that in the end it is force that wins out over all other methods of conflict resolution. I didn’t want to bring a knife to a gun fight if one broke out.
With President Obama’s recent speech regarding gun control I knew gun shopping would likely involve crowded stores, and this prediction turned out to be true.
What will you use your first gun for?
This really was the most important question going into purchasing my first firearm. My initial thought was to get one gun that could do it all. I wanted something that I could ultimately use for concealed carry, but also something that was made for home protection as well as range practice.
Most veteran gun owners laughed at this notion, sharing stories of how many guns they eventually accumulated after they thought they’d only need one. They preached the importance of focusing on a single use for my first weapon, what was the most important reason for buying my first gun?
While I ultimately want to get my concealed carry permit and keep a gun on me at all times, that is not the primary goal right now. At this moment I am focused on home protection. I want something that can protect my kids and I against threats at our home.
I also decided I wanted a handgun for my first gun. It was important to me that I was able to quickly access the gun, but also keep it discreetly hidden in my home.
Once I had made the decision to purchase my first handgun, to be used primarily for home protection, it was time to figure out which one. Not knowing where to begin I set off on the fruitless effort of a google search. What I found was an article with a great case for darn near every handgun out there. I was changing my mind with each post I read. There was simply too much information to make an educated decision for my first handgun purchase.
What I did glean from the online search was a confirmation of what my friends and family had told me, to focus on a single use at first. I decided the next logical step was to talk to those most knowledgeable about guns, the guys at the gun range.
Going to the range and store
I walked into the gun store/range expecting to purchase one after perhaps trying a few out under the direction of a helpful expert. This was partially the case. Jeff, my guide during my first gun purchase, was excellent. He answered every question I had and knew the in and out of every gun in the store.
I wasn’t able to shoot any of the guns today. The range was packed, with over an hour wait for a lane. I decided it wasn’t the best use of my time to wait.
I was determined to walk out with my first handgun, so I was leaning on Jeff to guide me in the right direction. After looking at some .38 Specials (probably a good bet for concealed carry) he took me right over to the 9mm handguns.
Making the decision to buy my first handgun
Jeff took me straight to the Smith & Wesson 9mm M&P (short for Military and Police). He explained the reasons he felt it was a great handgun for a first-time buyer. Easy to disassemble and clean. Cheap ammo. Good stopping power with low recoil. Coming from a seasoned expert, that was enough for me, I was sold.
I decided to spend $500 on the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm as my first handgun.
How do you buy your first gun
I didn’t know a lot about Michigan gun laws going into this purchase. I did not know if I was even going to be allowed to walk out of the store with a gun that day as I had heard of waiting periods.
As a first-time gun buyer I had a lot of questions about laws and procedures. Jeff was fantastic and answered all of them. Here in Michigan the laws seem to be pretty fair, allowing for law-abiding citizens to purchase and carry guns pretty freely.
I was going to be able to walk out with my first gun today so long as I passed a FBI background check. Jeff had me fill out some paperwork and then he went off to enter it into the computer. While I was waiting I started getting visions of which gun I would buy next.
Which Gun To Buy Next?
Walk in empty handed, walk out with a gun
Proceed. That was the response from the FBI background check. I was approved to purchase, and leave with, my first handgun.
It was that simple. Jeff helped me pick out some range and home defense ammo and explained that I get a free range membership with the purchase of my first gun.
I paid, shook hands with Jeff, and walked out with my first gun in hand. All told I was in the crowded store for less than 45 minutes.
Like a kid with a new toy, I have been disassembling and reassembling the handgun constantly all evening. I am getting quite good at it.
More importantly I feel better able to protect my family now than I did this morning.
Next up is to spend some time at the range getting comfortable with my first handgun. Next month I will sign up for and attend a concealed carry course which will lead to my CPL permit, at which point I will likely buy another, smaller handgun for carrying purposes.