January 28, 2023

By Everyday Gunner

I’m fairly young. I’m relatively stupid. And I really have no idea what it takes to break into the stereotypical OFWG (old fat white guy) gun crowd. However, I’ve been working to find my way as a gunner for a while now, and I figure someone might benefit from my experience, especially given all of the first-time gun buyers out there.

Several years ago I purchased a Beretta 92G and had absolutely no idea what to do with it. It was only the second handgun I had ever fired, the first being a couple rounds I put through a Smith & Wesson Model 14, and I had done zero research of any kind into handgun technique or methodology.

I knew I wanted a Beretta 92 due to that absolutely great in-hand feel, but I didn’t even know that it was a “G” model until I no longer owned the gun. I kept it without a round chambered. My first magazine was reloaded hollowpoints I’d purchased at a small-town gun show, and the second was loaded with some random frangible ammo I’d purchase not even knowing what that meant.

I’d still put it under my pillow, regardless of my lack of comfort with the pistol though, because you know, that’s what movies showed a “gun guy” was supposed to do. And, of course, I was clearly a gun guy.

I shot rarely, had very little knowledge of my firearm or the laws associated with it, and had no means of carrying or transporting it other than a $9.99 plastic hard case. That was my first step into the wide world of gun ownership.

Later, I made a more concerted effort to get into the firearms scene. If I hadn’t studied diligently enough, I might have done something like openly carrying my FNX-45 into an area that disallows OC by state law. I can only speculate, of course, that the one comment I might have gotten would have been a compliment followed by, “What gun is that?”

Obviously I wouldn’t have been the only uneducated firearm fan that day…if that had actually happened. Imagine my relief when I finally did some more study into my state’s legalities and found out about this restriction and the apparent fourth degree felony I managed to avoid by not putting myself into such an ignorant and stupid position.

Another unpleasant experience involved IWB concealing a full-size handgun in a Kydex IWB/OWB modular holster for two days. Talk about a major sore spot. I legitimately thought I had injured myself. I was almost limping from the pain, red and nearly raw with a ridiculously tender raised welt. Sound fun? Yeah, it wasn’t.

Even as I did the work and learned more about firearms, I still had embarrassing moments. Shall I tell you about getting screamed at in front of an entire conceal carry class for having my finger on the trigger? I was only dissembling my XD-S to check the lubrication on it before our next range session. And I’d seen the instructor dissemble his GLOCK about 20 times to that point in front of the class. And my gun was pointed in a safe direction, but….

Uhh wait, what was the “but” again? Oh, I just wanted to vent about getting yelled at. That’s right. (I know I know, classroom setting and all. Relax. It was still frustrating to get hollered at and besides, the whole goal here is to display my mistakes, right?)

Here’s the point: I don’t know everything about guns, but I’ve come a long way. How did I manage it? I read sites like The Truth About Guns, I watched videos, and I listened to podcasts to learn what was acceptable and what information had merit.

Do your research. Look at the pros and cons of each firearm-related choice. Try your best to understand what constitutes good gun manners, and do so BEFORE claiming to be a “gun person.”

Perhaps, like me, you’re not so old, not so fat, only half white — or none of the above — and wondering how you can fit in. Well, quit trying to. Just be an everyday guy or gal trying to gain some knowledge, and you’ll find a place. We’d love to have you.

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