Thursday, August 11, 2011

Buying The Right Gun

Brigid takes a look at finding a pistol that suits you in Home on the Range: Range Report - Finding What Fits.

I have an acquaintance who ridicules the concept of "ergonomics" in a handgun, with a somewhat crude analogy to bra size. While I agree that he may have a point when it comes to using a pistol in a life or death situation, I disagree that the fit and feel of a pistol on your hand should not be a consideration at all. You're looking for your pistol not mine.

Especially, you should have several grains of salt handy when talking to people who say things like
  • "Any caliber as long as it starts with a 'four' and ends with a 'five'*".
  • Refer to "The Gospel According to JMB (pbuh)*".
  • Give advice based on what Kiefer Sutherland, Bruce Willis, or Steven Segal carry in movies.
  • Refer to issued guns of any law enforcement agency or military unit, including the Navy SEALS.
  • Maybe especially the SEALS. 

Caliber or magazine compatibility with your family members or fellow militia nutjobs friends may be a legitimate consideration.  If so, it's your consideration, just like "does that grip suit you, and can you reach the controls without potentially unsafe contortions" is your consideration. (Which, BTW, is an ergonomic consideration.  So much for crude analogies...)

My three criteria are
  1. Can you shoot it safely?
  2. Can you shoot it comfortably?
  3. Can you shoot it well?
  4. Can you carry it well?
Yes, that was four, not three.  ("Cardinal, the rack!") Number four only comes into play if you actually say you're planning to to carry; "Carry it well" varies according to whether you're going to carry concealed or openly, which, of course, depends on a lot of other factors, like method of carry, holsters available, style of dress, all of which are influenced by climate, etc.

Not that there's anything wrong with walking into a gun store or show, seeing a gun, and deciding that"I want that!", based on purely visceral/emotional factors.  I'd be lying if I said that neither Mrs. Drang nor I have ever purchased a gun based on "DO WANT!"  So far, we've always had the discretionary funds to do so, not to mention spousal buy-in, so to speak. 


*Yes, I know, guilty as charged. If I make the caliber joke, it's a joke, and I say so immediately. As for the firearms artistic genius of John Moses Browning, well, he was the greatest firearms inventor of all time. But that doesn't mean that the 1911, or any of his other pistol designs, are right for you.


DaddyBear said...

I'd add #5 - Will you enjoy shooting it enough that you will take it shooting often?

No sense in getting something that hurts to shoot or is a pain to shoot well and never go to the range with it.

elmo iscariot said...

Refer to "The Gospel According to JMB (pbuh)*".

I say stuff like this all the time.

But still, newfangled plastic guns are just the bee's knees, and when your goal is self defense against ordinary criminals, all modern handguns that shoot accurately and reliably basically do the same job. Making sure the gun fits your body and your budget the supreme consideration.

CTone said...

Your four criteria are perfect. Those should be printed out at every gun store counter for shoppers to look at before making a purchase; unfortunately they normally get the advice from the Ganderous Mountainous clerk that includes mention of the SEALs.