Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Firearm Serializing & Cataloging for Insurance and Theft

Firearm Serializing & Cataloging for Insurance and Theft
Proving you actually owned them.

First off I will spare you the pictures, because if my wife ever saw in one picture all the firearms we currently own... I would surely be in for a long lecture.  Bear with me on the explanation of words that will have to be worth a couple pictures.  Yes unfortunately your beloved guns could be stolen, burnt, crushed, smashed, drowned, lost, burn, lawfully or un-lawfully confiscated, and other otherwise damaged.  Hopefully you have a separate firearm and jewelry insurance rider policy that catalogs and covers all your guns and gold, and hopefully you have a safe that protects your valuables from theft, thugs, or damage, however at some point your may have to either prove stolen property is yours or prove your loss to get the cash for a replacement.

Generally your home owners policy will not cover your guns and jewelry so you should clarify the extent of your coverage with your insurance provider... hate for you to find out after theft or fire that you actually were not covered.

One simple thing you can do in preparing the information for your insurance agent is to photograph your gun collection with your drivers license and then photograph each gun's serial number separately with your drivers license.  This does a couple things, first it proves you owned the gun... because no one in their right mind will let you do this, and second you clearly document that that serial number belongs to your driver's license.

Gun receipts can be tough, because we all are used to trading and hitting the gun shows where receipts can be a little dubious.  I actually had one that listed "Gun - $225" as the line item.  The other problem is that I for one don't hold on to all my gun receipts or I should say I do now, but didn't previously.

Working up word document and list of all your guns with:

  • Serial Number
  • Brief Description
  • Approximate value to replace
  • Picture

We have all heard of that guy who had a gun stolen, but could not prove ownership of the recovered item.  Police are not in the habit of forking over guns to dubious owners.  Sadly we have also had friends and family whose homes have been affected by natural disaster and fire and lost far more than they should because all documentation was lost regarding the home damage.

Bottom line is a recommendation to call your insurance guy and assure you have the docs and coverage to assure if anything happens to our firearms that you are covered.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ruger is now a Black Ops Shop?

Ruger is now a Black Ops Shop?
Ruger's Newest 22 Rimfire the 22/45 Threaded Barrel

A big round of applause everyone for Ruger... now this is a gun I need..  The first major mainstream gun manufacturer to have the balls to start selling pistols with threaded barrels for the masses.  Drum roll.... it's the Blackops favorite super quiet Ruger Mark III series that has been suppressor equipped in the military since the Mark I series days. And now freaking finally, we can buy an off the shelf high quality 22LR pistol that is threaded and ready for a suppressor or compensator.... yeah!!!  OK sure HK and a few other did produce a couple guns, but they were retarded-ly priced and might as well have been custom guns.  I just say an HK with a threaded barrel USED and it was still $1400.... nuts.



Many do not know, but suppressors are legal in many states with the purchase of a $200 tax stamp (takes about 45 days)... a small price to pay to be courteous to your neighbors. Suppressor sales have been rumored to have exploded in the last couple years.  Honestly it's about damn time. I for one would like to hear less bang in my bang, if you know what I mean.  For hunting it would be ideal to not spook game and for plinking in the back yard or even basement, a suppressor would be handy.  Personally my next major purchases are going to be for 22, 9mm, and 308 suppressors.

Since suppressors are legal in my State, I have been dieing to have one to screw into my TacSol Ruger 10/22 barrel and that same suppressor could also be used with any other .22 caliber gun with a threaded barrel such as the above Ruger pistol. With the Ruger 10/22 a barrel swap is simple and easy to obtain a threaded barrel, such as the TacSol barrel I used.  On the Mark II/III, however it required the purchase of a more expensive serialized upper which effectively replaces 1/2 the gun.  Kind of a waste.  Ruger has obviously made this process a whole heck of a lot easier and considerably less expensive with the introduction of the 22/45 threaded barrel pistols.  Pick up the $399 street priced Ruger 22/45, $500 for a suppressor and tax stamp and you got yourself a universal critter getter that won't piss off the neighbors.  Neat!

I also like that a designer at Ruger popped his head up and realized that a real top and bottom rail would be mighty useful.  Why it took decades to realize this is beyond me, but I am elated to see this gun.

http://www.ruger.com/products/2245ThreadedBarrel/models.html

Will this be the beginning of hopefully the de-vilification of the suppressors and possibly the removal of the asinine tax stamp restrictions on suppressors and machine guns? I hope it will. Now if a few other manufactures would start to step up we might actually see public sentiment change a little and save use some cash swapping out barrels.

Go Ruger!


Introducing two new 22/45™ rimfire pistol models with threaded barrels. These new models allow owners to attach an assortment of muzzle accessories to one of America’s favorite rimfire handguns, the popular Ruger 22/45RP rimfire pistol.

Both models feature a 4.5 inch, factory ½-28 thread barrel, which accepts many popular muzzle accessories. When not using a special application attachment, the threaded barrel and barrel crown are protected by a muzzle cap.

The 22/45PRRP model (10149) comes without sights and features a Picatinny rail on top of the receiver for mounting optics. A shorter Picatinny rail is mounted on the bottom of the barrel for attaching lights, lasers and other accessories.

The second model (10150) features a fixed rear sight and Partridge-style front sight. The receiver is drilled and tapped to accept a Weaver-style scope adapter (available at ShopRuger.com) so shooters can mount a variety of optics on the pistol.


© 2011 STURM, RUGER & CO., INC.


Keltec's New KSG - 12 Gauge 14+1 Bull pup Shotgun

Keltec's New KSG - 14+1 Bull pup Shotgun



Keltec has done it again with groundbreaking innovation and this time it looks pretty good too.  Could be fun.
  • 18.5" Civilian Legal Barrel
  • Pump Action
  • Selectable Dual 7 Round Magazines (use one for slugs and the other for buckshot)
  • 26.1" Total overall lenght
  • 6.9lbs
  • Integrated Picatinny Top and Bottom rails
  • Bottom Ejection
  • Receiver is the serialized part

Below is Keltec's Official Shot Show Release
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
The time for secrecy is nearing its end.  This SHOT Show, Kel-Tec will be revealing its next ground-breaking product: the KSG (Kel-Tec Shotgun). 

The KSG is our first entry into the shotgun market.  The size, shape and design are similar to the currently available Kel-Tec RFB rifle, but the KSG ejects downward, instead of forward.  The KSG weighs 6.9lbs and is as compact as legally possible with a 26.1" overall length and an 18.5" cylinder bore barrel.  Even with this compact size, the internal dual tube magazines hold an impressive 14 rounds of 12 gage 2-3/4" rounds (7 per tube).  The simple and reliable pump action feeds from either the left or right tube.  The feed side is manually selected by a lever located behind the trigger guard.  The lever can be positioned in the center detent in order to easily clear the chamber without feeding another round from either magazine.  A cross bolt style safety blocks the sear, and the pump release lever is located in front of the trigger guard.

The pump includes an under Picatinny rail for the mounting of a forward grip, or a light or laser.  The included top Picatinny sight rail will accept many types of optics or iron sights.  Forward and rear sling loops are built in, and a basic sling is included.  The soft rubber butt pad helps to tame recoil.

MSRP has not been officially been set, but we are looking at the $800.00 range.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Tragedy in AZ should not Target our Gun, Glocks, Magazines, and Ammunition, but it will

The Tragedy in AZ should not Target our Gun, Glocks, Magazines, and Ammunition, but It Will.


[Before I start, I will note more information becomes available and I have tried to keep this updated]


As I read, read and read some more on the incident down in AZ, I would like to share my observations and research. It was a horrible tragedy in AZ, however let's not let the hollow minded and lightly educated politicians and others spin this to become the new 2011 Brady Bill and potential reinstatement of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.  This was not some Joe Gun Owner who suddenly decided to start shooting, no he is a sick individual who was a hard core socialist, hated George Bush and thought we was responsible for 9/11, had numerous encounters with law enforcement, but didn't listen to the "evils" (Glen Beck & Rush) of political radio. He did have a history of threating the AZ politician and had a criminal record.


The individual broke over 20 laws including questions during the event. He also was not channeling gun tooting Sarah Palin either, this guy was so far left on the socialist side of Sarah that I doubt he knew she existed.  Sarah, nor any other sane person would advocate running a muck and shooting defenseless un-armed people.


The shooter targeted the AZ Republican turned Democrat politician, not because she was a Democrat, but because he believed she was not Socialistic-ally extreme left enough.  It was politically motivated, but not in the way people think it was.  Nope he was a pure and simple psycho that planned and committed pre-meditated and attempted murder of six and wounded more.  Yes is was wrong and sick to shoot defenseless adults, but a whole different level of sick is the nine year old he targeted.  I hold my head down and pray for strength of the families affected.


My first thought was how the heck did he legally purchase a gun, however although he did have an arrest record and and exhibited strange behavior, he was not considered a danger to himself or society.  We can't start limiting people's rights just because they act are not normal he was obviously someone who slipped through the system and was never recorded as nuts or as criminal and it seems passed the Federal (Brady Bill) Background checks.  Of course as we all know, it wouldn't matter, illegal firearms purchases are easily acquired.


Rohm RG 14 S .22 LR bellyThe unfortunate reality and fact is that "they" will target the firearm, firearm capacity, and ammunition as the villain and use it at a political football.  When John Hinckley Jr. shot James Brady in an assassination attempt on Reagon it was with a  politically correct.22LR Rohm RG 14  6 shot revolver, one of the lightest power cartridge available and with only six shots, but yet somehow the politicians spun this into the Brady Bill and Brady backed Federal Assault Weapons ban which banned some semi-auto guns all together, limited magazine capacity and added additional nationwide gun restrictions. If the Gun Control could spin a shooting with a 6-shot 22 revolver into a ban of high capacity magazines, certain assault type weapons, what the heck do you think is going to happen when a Glock with a 30-round clip is involved.


Additionally, regardless of the incident violent or otherwise, politicians only seem to act if they become personally affected and it almost always results in more limitations of our rights, not less.


Politicians are already asking the questions that could end up limiting our right to bear arms:
  • Why do we need any more than 5 rounds in a magazine? - I smell another magazine limit
  • He bought 200 rounds on a "Shopping Spree", why would anyone need 200 rounds of ammunition? - How do you feel about only being able to buy 50 rounds at a time?
  • Glocks and other defense related guns have no practicle use other than to kill people, why do we need them? - They have banned guns before, remember the Keltec Tech 9 it was a 9mm with a 30 round magazine as well?
  • Can we make it a law that you cannot have a firearm within 300 feet of an elected official? - Sadly yes they are considering this as a law and yes that means even local politicians as well.  Imagine that... it would effectively eliminate concealed carry.
The gun is not the fault, the weapon is not the fault, it was the individual. Sadly this sicko could have silently killed and injured a higher number of people with a 8" chef knife before anyone could have stopped him.  There is little that can be done to prevent a psycho hell bent on killing people so it seems easier to look to the firearm and make that the focal point for the next political agenda.


Before a bill is drafted and begins to gain momentum, this is your opportunity now to take just 10 minutes to contact your Senator and Representative and tell them you do not want them to support any further restrictions to our right to bear arms .  A simple email from thousands will let your politicians, know he has the support of the people to say no to further gun restrictions.  State that you understand the loss and pray for victims, however you do not want this horrible incident to become about gun legislation and restrictions.


Look up and send your Senator and Email
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm




Look up and send your Congressman and Email
https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml


-------------------
Sample Letter


Dear X,


I am writing to you because I am saddened by the shooting in AZ, but am concerned that this incident perpetrated by a mentally deranged individual will be used by some to limit our right to bear arms.


I understand the loss and pray for victims, however I do not want this horrible incident to become about gun legislation and restrictions.  As a voter and a supporter, I am asking you not to support any proposed legislation which includes further regulation of firearms and amends our constitutional rights.


Regards,


YOUR NAME
-----------------------------

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A snow day reminds me of the nuances of survival...it's the little things.

A snow day reminds me of the nuances of survival...it's the little things.

How many times have we heard " if only they had made it to [insert destination] a little sooner...they would have been fine"

As I read The Survivor's Club, they make the case that there is no "Good Luck or Bad Luck".  The book goes on to say that in medicine they even say there are no accidents because we all make decisions in life that inevitably make us lucky or un-lucky. Like when I decide to test my luck and lift five plates at a time out of the dishwasher that would of course decrease my luck quotient and eventually I will chip or break a plate.... which I have. Other little things in life such as making sure you have a go bag for household head to the hospital emergencies, your car is good working order with a full tank of gas in your vehicle, and a Bug out Bag.

Luck is Controllable
Of course you cannot control 1 in a Billion chanced acts of God considering a random meteorite striking your forehead, but most luck is controllable. In my case today it was the realization of why I was snow blowing the drive even though all of Eastern Nebraska was shut down and there was now place to go... and at a time most neighbors still had impassible drives.

Walking my dog around the apocalyptic-ly quiet neighborhood. Those neighbors that were out looked under-equipped with most sporting something like tennis shoes and a thin leather jacket. My feet were tucked in waterproof -30 rated Sorels and my jacket was a three layer system. I had a snow blower they had a shovel and I am just guessing here that I am probably the only one in the neighborhood with 20 gallons of extra gas.

In my mind good luck is a set of smart educated choices, paying attention to what is going on around you at any moment and good preparation.

The Example
Let's say for instance on this snowy wintery day where pretty much everything in eastern nebraska is closed that my wife and a mythically ill-prepared neighbor's wife both fell and sustained compound arm fractures that required immediate attention to reset the bone and stop the external bleeding.

  • Starting off I have a little emergency medicine training.
  • I have an household emergency bag prepared with closes, copies of insurance cards, and other information for such emergencies, bujt my neighbor will need to run around and gather everything to head out.
  • We both jump in our vehicles to head to the hospital to take care of our wives. 
  • My drive is already clear, my neighbor will have to do a high speed drive clearing to even be able to back out of the garage.
  • Chances are that my neighbor at this point in a pretty panic'ed state unless he has serious meditation skills.  Once in a panic state he won't be thinking clearly and will make progressively worse judgement  calls all the while decreasing their luck.
  • I have a 4WD truck, he has a 2WD car. If my drive is already clear of snow I am already that much ahead of the game in getting my wife help. If the roads are bad I will probably fair better in my truck and if we get stuck I will be in the right gear to get use going again. 
  • I try to always keep my vehicle tank at least 1/2 full, he may need to stop for gas on the way to the hospital
Who will have better luck at getting his wife safely to the hospital?

Most people are reading thinking, "pretty far fetched example", however we all know at least one person who is unlucky and a complete train wreck.  This person seems to always be ill-prepared, always finds themselves in a bad situation, and always has bad luck.  This is the same dude who heads out in a dangerous snowstorm, and slides off the road, and nearly freezes to death in his tennis shoes and leather jacket with no hat all because he didn't have any food on the shelves.  It's also the guy, who's gun magically jams constantly, but has a gun that looks like it was completely cleaned the last time it was new. It also the guy who uses his hand to push things down in blender that is on, shocks himself becuase he didn't turn the power off before replacing an outlet...etc.  We could go on, but there is already a show called 1000 Ways to Die that pretty much sums up a level of stupidity required to off yourself.

 I believe in luck, but you can see how being prepared and making some good decisions could make you luckier.

It's the little things that add up to good luck.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Review Kel-Tec Sub2000 9mm Glock Format - A 9mm Carbine for Everyone...or at least a Carbine Everyone should have.

Review Kel-Tec Sub2000 9mm Glock Format
A 9mm Carbine for Everyone...or at least a Carbine Everyone should have.



(Above is the stock condition of the KelTec Sub2000 without all my special modifications)





Over the last couple months, I am having a great time shooting, modifying, playing around with the versatility of the Keltec Sub2000.  Admittedly, my more aggressive modifications have gone far beyond what 99.9% of owners of the Sub2000 would, but many modifications were so simple that any shooter could do.

WHAT I LIKE
Even in stock state the Sub2000 is great fun approach-able gun that I think ever willing, capable and able person should have in the home for home defense, hunting, and a who lot of fun at the range.

First off at right around 4lbs it doesn't weigh 8-12 lbs like a typical loaded assault rifle so it's easy to hold up and handle.  It's a light weight rifle that any lass or kid would feel comfortable with.   If you have a waif like 200+lbs stature like me, the Keltec feel like a feather comparing in weight to a Ruger 10/22.  The gun is also more approach-able.  For some reason, most non-gun folks feel a lot more comfortable starting off shooting with a rifle vs a handgun.



As far are recoil goes, pistol caliber carbines have very light recoil about the same as a .22 magnum so even the most recoil sensitive folks will find the 9mm Keltec Sub2000 easy to shoot... and once they send a couple rounds down range with the Keltec I can almost guarantee they will be hooked.  When the time comes familiarity of the Sub2000 to a pistol's magazine, charging, and shooting provides a great transition for novice shooters from rifle to pistol.

ACCURACY & SIGHTS
When it comes to accuracy, a rifle/carbine will out-shoot a pistol in most situations and certainly for those shooters who are less practiced.  The Kel-Tec Sub2000 offers simple AR/Military style peep and post sights which only require the user to center the top of the front sight blade inside the rear hole/peep sight picture on target and shoot. When the sights are finally adjusted they work just fine, however with a non-adjustable rear sight, the front sight has to handle both windage and elevation adjustment which it can do, but is a total pain in the ass to adjust.  If I had only one thing I could change about the Sub2000 it would be a real adjustable sight set.

The Sub2000 is not a target rifle but I would not consider it inaccurate either.  Off hand 100 yards groups inside of a pie plate are common and some do much better.  Mine does 1.5" groups pretty regularly at 25 yards and about 3" at 50 yards.  At this point I have not tested it at the 100 yards mark due to the current winter weather.  I term this level of accuracy as Ranch Rifle Accuracy which is similar to Ruger Mini-14 or AKs that will do its job of delivering good accuracy and rounds quickly on targets under 150 yards with more ease than with your pistol.

FIREPOWER

For sending pounds of lead down range, as a high capacity ranch rifle, or providing home defense, the Keltec is unique in that it can accept your stock high capacity and 30+ round stick magazines from your Sub2000 compatible pistol.  The Sub2000 is available pistol compatible Glock 17, Glock 19, Smith & Wesson, Beretta A92, and Sig 226 magazine formats as well as some .40 caliber Sub2000 variants.  My Sub2000 is the Glock 19 format which accepts all variants of Glock 17 (17 round) or Glock 19 (15 Round) magazines + Glock high capacity 33 round magazines.  With 15 to 30 rounds on tap, you are definitely equipped for lots of range plinking and more than enough on board ammo for any realistic home defense/invasion situation.

Despite the light recoil the 9mm round carries more power when coming out of a 16" barrel than out of a pistol and is plenty powerful matching the flight path and power of a .357 magnum all the way past 100 yards.  Many people actually hunt deer sized game successfully with the 9mm and shooting non-hollowpoints at small game won't tear up the meat.



SIZE & FOLDING
Finally there is the size.  The Sub2000 is tiny folded at only 16" long.  A compact stowable, packable, and trunkable rifle that will even fit in a briefcase or nightstand should the need be required.  It's easily folded, unfolded, and is even lockable in the folded state to prevent un-intentional use... very neat.

The folding capability, assuming it is not locked, does not hinder deployment at all and can be left with a loaded magazine in the gun. If you hear a spooky noise downstairs, you simply pull the latch on the butt stock to unfold, extend and unfold the gun out straight, and rack a round into the chamber.  Starting with a magazine in, is quick. According to my stopwatch this is a sub-three second drill to go from folded to loaded.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
The good points aside, there are some complaints.  This is a bare bones rifle which at $399 street retail which lacks some luxuries and unfortunately some polish.  The sights function once adjusted work fine, however they leave MUCH to be desired. The Sub2000 does not have a last shot hold open, but that would necessitate a release and a whole bunch of gadgetry and this gun is about being bare bones with the primary design features being compact and fold-able.  This is a gun that needs to be broken in before it will start working without failure. Stovepipes and jams are expected before the first 1000 rounds have been run though the gun, but after that the break in settles everything out for a very reliable gun.

I do have to mention that I had a FTF (Failure to Feed) issue which it turned out to be a burr on the firing pin retention pin which created a number of issues.  Basically when I cleared the weapon including the final step of dry firing, the firing pin would stick in the forward state which would knock the round out of chamber when cycling the first round. Technically I should have sent it back to Keltec for a repair, but I do so much gun-smithing that it was an easy fix for me.  Keltec does have exception service as I have been told by a number of people.  The above little issue leads me to a couple overall complaints about the quality and finish of the gun.  Quality wise it's a great quality gun with good materials for the price, however the fit and finish is pretty cheap.  Lots of companies have made inexpensive guns with cheap parts with great fit and finish, the Sub2000 would be the opposite with very high quality parts, that the manufacture didn't pay attention to the final fit and finish on.  There really was no reason for that gun to have left the factory with a sticking firing pin.

Some may like the looks, but my final complaint is style and ergonomics..  The Sub2000 could have been so much cooler looking in a Massod style with a number of great integrated features like, better sights, picatinny rails...etc, but it instead sports typical Keltec's 100% function, 0% form design.  Hopefully in future revs, it is updated to something a little cooler. ergonomic, and user friendly.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Front a reliability perspective it gets better every time I shoot it like any gun after it breaks in.  During the last range session I put over 300 rounds through it without a problem, hitch or hiccup.  The Keltec is like that car you wanted which took a little patience... in the case of the Keltec Sub2000 after a few months and a little tweaking the gun has become one of my favorite reliable fun guns which even serves sentry defense duty in my home.

  


Six Gun vs Semi Auto and Typical Hit Ratio

The Israeli Mako Defense training pushed me to some quick realizations one questioning the realistic capabilities of a revolver versus a semi auto pistol for concealed carry personal defense.

Most people CAN cover 10-15 yards in about 7-8 seconds. Most people CAN'T reload a semi auto and get a shot off in less than 7 seconds. Most shootings happen at an average distance of 7 feet, with two shooters, with an average of 2 shots fired and an average death of 1 and of course if you can do math the average shooting has a 50% hit ratio. Further most less practiced shooters have below a 30% hit ratio, average is 40%-50% depending on the source and experienced shooters have a hit ratio on average around 75% in stressful situations. It's also unlikely that you will get off more than three shots at the 7 foot distance.

A question I brought up was that if I indeed will most likely not have a chance to reload, with the exception of a long gun battle, wouldn't it be better for me to carry my Ruger GP100 that I can use an a substantial blunt impact weapons once empty? The answer was stunningly in most situation yes. The follow up comment was a rhetorical question back to me on how comfortable I was with my hit ratio and whether I felt the need the extra ammo.

Something to consider is that even if you shoot your worst with a 5-6 shot revolver you will most likely put 2 shots on target. The 357 mag round has been a proven one shot stopper round, so mathematically a revolver could still be a multiple target engagement tool with resulting to bludgeoning.

In my observation, most inexperienced shooters have a higher hit ratio with a revolver and of course less experienced shooters typically feel more comfortable with the super easy to use and simple operation of the revolver.

My point here is don't let anyone tell you that you need a billion round magazine. If,  heaven forbid, you ever even have to pull you gun, stats show you 90% of the time you will only fire less than three shots so maybe the new super light and compact Ruger LCR in 357 may be the ultimate in combo of power and capacity.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Selecting and buying your First Gun - Gun buying 101




Selecting and buying your First Gun - Gun buying 101

Obviously if "IT" happens, one of the critical components is protecting yourself and loved ones.  The clear weapon of choice is the gun, however surprisingly in this crazy world, one of my friend's homes is among one of the homes in the US that is still firearm free.  He has just has not been a gun person, but seems to want to make the commitment.  He asked for some pointers so I thought this would be a great article.

State Firearm Card
Applying for a state firearms card is your first step and is easy, cheap and highly recommended whether or not your want to be a gun owner right now.  Usually it only requires a visit to your local county sheriff's office, filling out a form that asks you about 50 different ways whether you are insane or a criminal, and finally paying a fee of around $10-$25.  The Sheriff runs a criminal background check on you to assure you are not a trouble maker.  In my county, it takes about 3 days for your background checked gun license to appear in the mail, however I know in other states it can take as long as 30 days.  I recommend getting your firearms card done now for a number of reasons.
  • First if you do see "IT" coming, you will have a chance to go down and buy a weapon and ammo if you already have your card (some states will not allow ammunition purchase without a firearms card).
  • If you didn't have a firearms card by the time "IT" starts happening, chances are you won't get one in time to purchase a gun.  
  • Having the card also opens up the options for you to legally poses a firearm that has been rented or otherwise borrowed in most states (see your local laws) and allows you to shoot at gun ranges.
  • Note - some states require that you have a firearms card to handle a firearm
  • Some states only require a firearms card for handgun purchases, but not rifle or shotgun.
  • It makes you legal.  The last thing you want is to be on the wrong side of the law from day one and once stabilization happens you want to assure you are legally in the right to have a gun.
Learning to Be Safe and Shoot
The next thing is to go to a gun range with a friend who can spend a little time to educate you on proper gun handling safety and let you shoot a few of his guns.  The other option is to rent a gun from the gun range and some instructor time to assure you are safe in handling and shooting.  Most gun ranges allow you to rent a gun if you have a State Firearm Ownership/Purchase card - laws differ by state.  Some will even let you rent the gun for a couple days to go hunting...etc off site.

Considerations for Your First Gun
Everyone wants a handgun as their first gun, but I believe your first gun should be a rifle or shotgun.  Starting with a longer barrel makes it so much easier from a safety and learning perspective and even as you advance, the long barrels will always be easier to shoot more accurately than a pistol.  For rifles it should be a light kicking caliber (non-magnum rifle caliber) and for shotguns a .410 gauge; both providing very mild recoil.

Twenty-Twos (.22LR) are great fun and versatile gun, however if you are looking for a gun with some knock down power to also provide home defense, a larger caliber is recommended.

Semi-auto rifles and handguns are a lot of fun, however they do without question require more training to effectively use them for defense.  After my training with the Israeli Special Forces, I realized as much time as I had spent with semi-autos, you have to train regualrly with them to be effective and accomodate for jams, or malfunctions.  With lever and pump action guns, jams are very rare and if one round doesn't go bang, then you simply cycle the action and you are ready to go again. Revolvers, are even easier, just keep pulling the trigger. I have seen people safely and un-safely fumbling with semi-auto rifle and pistols because of malfunctions more times than I care to mention.  Remember when the shit gets pressed through the fan, you already have enough to worry about and the simpler your gun is, the easier it will be to use in a crisis.

Lever Action Rifle
A great first gun that would fit the bill for anything from home defense, hunting, to survival is the all purpose Henry Big Boy .38 Special/.357 Magnum Lever action rifle. .38 Special/.357 Magnum rounds are also pretty inexpensive and about the same as 9mm, but far cheaper than .40, .45, 10MM and other larger calibers. Lever action rifles are infallibly reliable and extremely easy to use and shoot.  The Henry holds around a dozen rounds, is simple and easy to use, and very accurate. You can shoot the near-recoil-less .38 Special rounds, or heavier .357 Magnum rounds out of the same gun - this is a gun that has near non-existent recoil that still packs a big punch.  As a plus, if you pick up a 357 magnum revolver later on, you can share all the ammo between the guns which is a huge plus from any perspective.  Almost any hollowpoint round will be an excellent home defense round.

870 Wingmaster Shotgun

.410 Shotguns
If you want to go the shotgun route, a .410 is a extremely viable, versatile, and popular defense and hunting round with a extremely light kid friendly kick.  Many of us gun people started with .410 shotguns as kids and they are a fun to shoot.  Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 Series pump shotguns are priced inexpensive and are extremely reliable and Stoeger makes some nice inexpensive double barrel shotguns.  The .410 gauge is very versatile and can shoot everything from light high count (#8 shot) for junk birds, to BB for small game, to the very effective buckshot and slugs for home defense.

Pistol vs Revolver
If you are planning to get the training and permits for a concealed carry license or you are dead set on buying a handgun as your first gun, I recommend a revolver instead of a semi-auto pistol. Revolvers are safer because for some reason everyone expects them to be loaded and that is not the case with semi-auto pistols.  Revolvers are really simple to make safe, open cylinder, and remove bullets - semi-auto pistols require a 7 step clearing procedure to be safe.  Auto-pistols take a fair amount of practice to use effectively, and effectively, but revolvers are simple to use. Additionally, most new shooters can shoot a revolver more accurately than a pistol from day one.  One of my all time favorite revolvers is the Ruger GP100.  The 4" barrel is an excellent choice that is a little heavy but still concealable for everyday carry, but is plenty accurate for hunting and target shooting purposes.  For a lightweight concealed carry gun the Ruger LCR (Pictured - Light Carry Revolver) in .38 Special or .357 Magnum is a hard option to beat and can be purchased with integrated red dot projection laser sight which makes the gun a confident point and shoot option for those that simply do not want to practice often.

Semi-Auto Pistol
If you decide to throw all my advice to the wind and buy a semi-auto pistol anyway, DO NOT BUY A GUN WITH A SAFEY LEVER!  Buy a Glock, they have three integral safeties - I recommend G19 - 9MM.  Glocks have proven themselves as the most reliable gun made and I can say from person experience that their service is top notch.