Friday, January 9, 2009

Adventures in Gun Shopping


I have never been a gun nut. I enjoy shooting -- I think it's a fun passtime -- but that's about it. I don't hunt. I think owning a gun for home-defense is ludicrous. However, there are strong statistics that show that firearms actually create a safer community. The problem is research on this topic is nigh-impossible to find from impartial sources since the only people doing statistical research on this topic are either the 18th century-style militia-supporting NRA leaders who carry a .45 on their belt, a .380 on their ankle, two shotguns in the cab of their truck and an AR-45 in their homes, OR the tree-hugging pot-smoking hippy who thinks we should all just love each other and that guns are nothing more than means of destruction and hate and that we should solve all our problems by having sex with each other.

In short, impartiality is impossible to find in this debate. So is non-biased information
-- every statistic can be twisted and every methodology flawed by one side or the other.

But that's not what I'm going to write about. I've searched for as many straightforward facts as I could find and both sides of the gun control debate have their pros and cons; the side you choose is very much personal preference. Claiming otherwise is little more than self-delusion or righteousness.

What I am going to write about is the time I spent yesterday looking at guns with my brother and our friend Mark yesterday.

Several months ago I went shooting with Mark and had a lot of fun. At the time I had a good amount of money saved up and thought I might as well look into picking up a handgun for fun -- something to go sport shooting with. Again, I'm not a hunter and my feelings about using one for home safety is that it's laughable. But when it comes to shooting for fun, yeah, I like them. At the time I was looking at picking up a High Standard 1911 .45 which was recommended to me by some friends who are more knowledgeable about firearms than I am as a good quality, well priced handgun. I looked it up and I liked it.

It is a pretty gun

I went to Cabela's to just see what they had in stock (Mark informed me not to buy there since they overcharge, but they have a good selection so I should go look around). I looked around, found one I liked -- not a 1911 but a Cougar. The salesman was helpful and friendly and I thought "I'll get it, sure" and went to purchase it. I found out you need to be a Utah resident to buy a handgun here and I wasn't at the time, but I needed to get my residency changed and my car registered, so I did that the next day. I never did go back to buy the gun. This was back in August.

Two days ago I went back to Cabela's with Mark and Jeff. This time the place was a lot busier than the first time -- when I walked in there were about a dozen men, all looked to be between the ages of 35 and 45 and all wearing hunting jackets and/or something that looked like it belonged in a Little House on the Prairie episode. I was in a black polo shirt and khakis, coming off of work.

Words cannot express...

Needless to say, I was out of place. Coincidentally, while thinking to myself "wow, they're busy today" I heard a salesman tell a customer "yeah, this is the quietest it's been since the election." I promptly facepalmed. I don't think anyone noticed. I texted my brother that I felt like I was at the RNC, he responded "you're at a gun store in Utah; it's pretty much the same thing only without any moderates." I laughed because he was probably right.

When Mark and Jeff showed up we started looking around. The first thing Jeff noticed was something I somehow missed completely: a stockless short barrel shotgun. This is not a hunting shotgun nor a military shotgun. This was designed for one purpose and one purpose shall it be used for -- zombie defense. It was perfect.

Eat lead, Einstein

Lightweight, short barrel for maneuverability, comfortable grip... while holding it I was secretly hoping for zombies to bust through the front door. At $480 the price tag was surprisingly reasonable, too. We opted not to purchase it because at the moment we both have things we should be putting money towards -- me a credit card bill and him a new TV -- but I'm still fighting stopping there on the way home from work to buy it.

The next thing we found was a Bersa Thunder 380 pistol, which looked exactly like James Bond's Walther PPK only cost about 1/2 as much. When it comes to the guns I'm seriously considering getting, this one is a strong contender. It looked great (silver and black) and priced at only $280. I'm a huge James Bond fan so that was really the strongest pull for me, but in a more logical sense, it was just cool.

Mark and Jeff were looking at other guns with a grizzled, bearded, old man helping them behind the counter. As they talked with him it became obvious he knew his trade, which was reassuring. When Jeff asked about the stopping power of a 9mm vs. a larger caliber another clerk came over to join in the conversation and share his story about getting shot by his ex-wife with a 9mm. Twice. The bearded guy helping us responded with basically "yeah, I got shot by my friend in the back with one and it bounced off."

For clarification, that's two guys who work in a gun store who have both been shot, one multiple times. I hate to be a quick judge, but that seems to be a strike against the "guns make you safer" theory.

During the conversation Mark was having with the clerks I was getting more and more perplexed that people who have previously been shot, one maliciously, were still hardcore gun fans and still believed they make their lives safer, but hey, it's their life. Jeff and I also discussed getting the zombie shotgun further, since we both desperately wanted it. Not for defense or hunting, but for the sheer fun factor. I recently posted on blowing away zombies online in Left 4 Dead so the appeal was that much stronger for me. I'm still thinking about it.

So bloody awesome

Shopping around online I'm finding that $480 for such a shotgun is actually a reasonable price and cheaper than what many sites I found listed. It should be noted that it's illegal to sell guns over the internet directly so it's hard to find pricing outside of online classifieds -- prices vary a lot from place to place and seller to seller.

Even now I'm thinking I might buy the James Bond gun. The company seems decent and the look was just beautiful. It'd even match my new suit.

1 comment:

--jeff * said...

you get the bond gun-- the zombie shotgun is mine.

i was under the impression that both guys were shot on accident. still, your essay is written well enough that, instead of writing my own, i may just link to yours.