Someone asked me the other day how long I’ve been into guns. I was surprised when the words “two years” came out of my mouth. It feels like just yesterday I was all, “Uh-uh. No guns! Not up in here!”. But then, you know, the times are a’changing. Now my sweet Smith and Wesson Shield rests a mere sleepy arm’s length away from me every night and trips to the gun range are like candy for a greedy child. I certainly don’t consider myself an expert (and truth be told, I have some qualms with that word, in the first place) but there are definitely a few things I’ve learned along the way that would have been helpful earlier in my journey. So, I put together a little list of things I wish I could go back and tell myself about shooting and the gun world.
1. You’re better at this than you think you are. Stick with it. Try not to get discouraged.
2. Focus on the fun. Gun safety is serious, but shooting guns is just plain, dumb fun. Don’t get overwhelmed by all that tactical operator, extreme carbine, pistol manipulation, super ninja, gun nut stuff. You’re not going to be La Femme Nikita right off the bat. (But seriously, some of that gun nut stuff is pretty rad and you should check it out on YouTube. You’ll like it).
3. Even though you don’t see many people in the gun world like you, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for you or that you aren’t providing a valuable perspective.
4. When your real-life friends and family give you horrified looks after you tell them you own guns, just smile sweetly and be patient. You know you’re not crazy, they know you’re not crazy. It will all work itself out.
5. When the cranky, old fart at the gun range tells you not to put your finger over the barrel of the gun while you’re shooting, smile sweetly and tell him to eat a bag of dicks.
6. You’re going to run into outdated thinking, bad attitudes, preconceived ideas, ignorance and outright disrespect just because you don’t fit into the “traditional gun owner” mold. Eff that. You’re not in it for those people anyway. There is a community of supportive, encouraging people who are thrilled to count you among their ranks, and will welcome you with open arms. Be friends with them.
7. Don’t rush into buying a gun for concealed carry. Once you make up your mind that you’re going to carry, it’s easy to get impatient, but there are a lot of considerations and a lot of guns to choose from. Don’t settle for something you don’t really like or isn’t comfortable to shoot. Take your time or you’ll end up kissing a lot of frogs.
8. You CAN carry concealed in (cute) women’s clothes! Do not despair! You don’t have to dress like a lady cop or a homeless person, and you don’t have to buy some Mickey Mouse, pink, sparkly gear just because that’s the ladies’ model. Just put a little time and effort into it (You already like to shop. How much of a hardship is this really going to be?) and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you can hide under your t-shirt. (wink)
9. Prepare to be underestimated. Then prepare to not give a single shit.
10. Listen to what everyone has to say about guns, but don’t believe anything as gospel. The gun world is a rapidly evolving place filled with countless would-be experts, especially on the internet. Many ideas that are espoused as facts are really opinions. There’s also a lot of good information out there. Do your own research. Ask a lot of questions. Try things for yourself.
11. You will mostly learn by making mistakes, but that’s ok because it will still be plain, dumb fun. Don’t let failures, mistakes or missteps spoil the pure joy of shooting.
What would you tell your former newbie self about shooting and guns?