Sunday, February 20, 2005

On a lark, I checked out some handguns today. When I was quite young, I was a crack shot with a small-bore rifle and was in a gun club that produced at least two national champions and one West Pointer. However, I haven't fired a gun of any kind in at least 15 years. I don't have any interest in hunting per se but I would like to try my hand again at some targets, this time with a pistol.

Wandering around Gander Mountain amongst taciturn men with beards dressed in camouflage I found a prodigious display of Smith & Wesson automatics of various calibers with a company representative on hand. What caught my eye, though, were the blocky Taurus .44 magnums. A lot of heft and their .45 was even larger - if just waving this pistol didn't scare away an intruder you could probably kill them simply by throwing it at their head.

Frankly, not being a " gun nut" and not really know that much about the fine points of handguns and since I'll need to apply for a FOID card first, I'm going to take my sweet time reading up before shelling out ( pun intended) $ 500-$800 for essentially a new and time-consuming amusement. If there are any gun aficianados out there with recommendations for something reliable, I'm all ears.
Ah, the fun of examining an array of guns! You mentioned an interest primarily in target shooting. For that purpose, seems to me that a .22 pistol would be the best option. The .44 is a manly round, but the cost per is pretty daunting. Ditto for the .45. If you get to the point where you want to get a concealed carry license [if doable in your state] probably a good idea to go out to a range where gun rentals are allowed, to check out pistols for fit with your hand size, etc. I got a concealed carry license some years ago in Alaska, and the instructor recommended the .40 Glock. I got one, and have found it ideal ever since. Much depends on individual preferences of course.
hi John,

Thank you very much! Fortunately, there are two nearby gun ranges. There used to be an outdoor range for high-powered rifles but the land was bought up for housing developments.

Regarding the .22, what do you think of Ruger ?

Most unfortunately. Illinois is one of the most restrictive gun-control states in the Union. If Daley had his way, all guns would be outlawed but that legislation would never fly downstate. So, to get a conceal& carry permit here you must be a sworn police officer or licensed private detective or member of the military en route to duty.

Very tough laws on transporting guns as well which do a lot to harrass hunters but not much for Chicago's crime rate on the very scary West Side.
Hi Mark!

I am also considering a buying handgun. In Michigan we went through a liberalization of concealed weapons permits a few years ago, which led to the wailing on the part of police chiefs and liberals (how can they be called that?) as to the impending doom as people would shoot one another at the slightest provocation.

I am also looking for advice, but I have heard a few things from knowledgeable friends and through research:

1) I am very concerned about the safety of a gun in a house with young children. I understand that a revolver is the easiest weapon to secure and the most reliable. Being fairly low cost I may go with one of these to get the premits and training out of the way.

2) I also can't get my mind off an exotic piece from Israel called the Desert Eagle (originally designed as a military pistol for tank commanders with a phenomenal range (built like a tank - more like a handle held machine gun). It is available with a variety of interchangable barrels up to .50 caliber! Hardly practical, but if you are going to indulge.... Perhaps after getting a revolver and permits, it would be easier to justify and get permits for...
Hi Mark and Stuart,
Deepest condolences on living in the People's Republic of Ill. I happen to own a Ruger .22, an excellent piece. It is a bit of a learning curve to disassemble and clean. Smith & Wesson makes a really nice .22 revolver. A pal of mine has a neat Walther .22 semiauto, very light and compact. You should consider fleeing to a state with saner gun laws.
Check out www.kimdutoit.com, he has tons of reviews and good advice for beginning shooters.
Stuart, Desert Eagle looks pretty neat in the magazines, I have never fired one, or see one in real life. If you can afford the major bucks, why not? for a beginning shooter, the Smith/Wesson .357 revolver has a lot of fans. you have to keep a high level of safety with little kids around.
for both of you guys, a basic pistol course from an NRA instructor would cover firing basics plus safety, would be a great idea.
Also, check out www.thehighroad.org, a discussion board with lots of good info, intermixed with some degree of ranting. on the philosophical/history aspect of guns, check out Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, www.jpfo.org.
Hi Mark,
Guns are like women and wine,each man has his own likes and dislikes and even an expensive one can be bad once opened. You must remember that a gun is a tool and as such you must define what you want to use the tool for. To start with pick a current model with a warranty from a commercial source. It's hard to beat a .22 for cheap practice. I would not buy anything over 40 cal untill you have had a chance to shoot some of the big bores. A double action revolver is about as simple as it gets and as safe. Autos as a rule take more practice to shoot well and there's always that fear they will jam at a bad time. You will need training if you ever think to use the weapon for defense as each state has it's own rules for self defense in and outside the home. I would join a local sportsman club and then I would do as much research on the weapon of your choice as time allows. Visit all your local gunshops and go to at least one gun show to get to touch and handle as many models as you can. Try to rent the model you have chosen then and only then should you buy a weapon. Good Luck
p.s. I believe it is the duty of every American to own a weapon otherwise how can the peace be kept when a disaster strikes, L.A. roits FL hurricanes.
John and LC

Much thanks for the advice. I intend to take it slowly and do my homework first. One of the ranges nearby offers both gun rental and NRA gun safety instruction so I should be able to try my hand with a variety of weapons before settling on the one to buy.

Mostly my intent is target practice but there is always the worst-case scenario where there is no substitute for stopping power. Like Stuart, I have young children so gun safety is a must ( nor would I just rely on owning a gun, I have a security alarm system as well. I find redundancy to be a good operating principle).

Self-defense law isn't too bad in Illinois compared to some states, it is based on the the *perception* of the threat posed to the person acting in self-defense. Frequently prosecutorial discretion errs well on the side of homeowners as we still elect our states-attorney's here. Even Richie Daley tread lightly on this issue when he was a prosecutor
Here is my recomendation for a newbe. Smith,Ruger or Taurus revolver. I would get it in 5 shot .357 mag and a 2" or shorter barrel with a concealled hammer ie" s&w 649. For defense I would use Federal 38 +p hydro shocks or glasser safety slugs. I would also buy the same gun in .22 or as close as is offered by the same company. I like revolvers with concealed hammers because you can get off a few shots with the gun in a coat pocket with out having to draw the piece. You may not have time to draw, but you can usually have you hand in your pocket on the gun. With an auto you might get off one shot in a pocket but the gun will jam after that. For home defense a 12 ga with an 18" barrel beats a pistol every time. As far as your children a lock box or small safe works well. I trained my kids as soon as the could hold the gun. If you dont hide them and allow them to handle and use them with your help they won't be tempted to sneek a look when your out of the room.
Looking for wireless home security system info and perimiter cams I found our site. I agree totally!
I found you while surfing for interesting blogs. I like it, good content. I've left an invitation to you to visit me if you are into ebooks - Thanks, Neil
Wow! Great site you have here. I was looking around for other rent to own homes sites when I found yours. Very excellently done. If you have time check out mine! **Rent-2-Own-Homes**
For more news and information about browingcom gun safe. Have a look at this site browingcom gun safe. You may find it useful as well.
Hi - You have a great blog. I have a webpage about self defense seminar I'd like you to visit. Here's the link
Awesome - Save $50 on a playstation 2...Whoopee!!


This is a great site people!
good resource here. I would also link to auto body part
As a firearms affecionado, I must offer congratulations on looking to return to the sport, and condolences on living under the unfortunate politicians you've got out there.

I'm going to offer free advice, with no obligation to follow (or listen to) any of it.

If you're going to own one handgun, I'd recommend a Ruger GP100 in .357 Magnum in a 3 or 4 inch barrel. Here's why.


A .357 is rarely the best gun for one situation or another. It is, however, an *excellent* gun to have in *most* situations. Excluding the need to conceal a pistol in form-fitting clothing or defend yourself against bear attacks, quality .357 hollowpoints will stop anything in North America that weighs less than, say, 300 pounds.

A gun that powerful must kick like a mule, and it can. That's the beauty of a .357- it's nothing but a (relatively anemic) .38 made a milimeter or so longer. Any .357 can be fed mild .38 ammo for target practice or plinking, while retaining the ability to load up the full-bore stuff in anticipation of a threat. Likewise, there are several adequate, yet mild-kicking, .38 loads that someone intimidated my a Magnum load could easily handle.

Why a Ruger GP100? Several reasons. Ruger has a reputation for building their guns like tanks. They are *strong* and can handly *plenty* of abuse. They are well-designed and reliable. They are made out of steel, which makes them heavy. The heavier a gun is, the less it will recoil- we're talking about inertia and Newton's Laws of Motion. A 4" barrel is heavier than a 3" barrel, which eats up more recoil, and puts more weight out forward, which cuts down on 'muzzle flip', or the tendency for the gun to rotate upwards during recoil. Lastly, the Ruger sports hard rubber grips, which act as a cushion and eat up a bit of recoil.

Note: I don't work for Ruger, and I don't own one of their revolvers- I've got one of their .45s, and I'm looking for a (cheap, used) revolver like I described to you. I *do* have a Taurus .357 with a 2" barrel, in hammerless configuration, like another commenter recommended. I bought this gun as something I could easily conceal and use as a backup to my primary work gun, qualified with it and BossMan let me carry it. It seems that concealability isn't an issue to you, and that's really the only reason to buy a 2" barrel 'belly gun'. I like it and would recommend a Taurus, as well, but both prices being equal today I'd get the Ruger.

As for .22s, any Ruger .22 autoloader is a great gun. They're still selling the same design they sold in the .50s, along with several adaptations of that same basic design. Great gun, excellent choice for target shooting or competition. Your local gun club probably has a .22 league that you and the wife and maybe a kid or two could join. A .22 is really only good for inanimate objects and critters weighing less than, say, 20 pounds. If you're only going to have one gun, and meth-fueled home invasions are common in your county (as I suspect they may be) I'd go with the .357. I used to work alarm-response and response time (at my company) was, at minimum, 30 minutes. That's a long time to wait for help, or to wait for a meathead to bleed out from a fistful of .22 holes.

I know my language might be morbid; that's intentional. Defensive firearms are used to protect youself from a violent attacker by violently rendering that individual incapable of hurting you or your loved ones. I've never had to shoot anyone and praise God I never will, but if I have to I will. If you can't say the same thing, then please keep them unloaded and locked up at all times, where your felon can't use it against you or yours.

Anyway, cheers
Post a Comment

<< Home
Zenpundit - a NEWSMAGAZINE and JOURNAL of scholarly opinion.

My Photo
Location: Chicago, United States

" The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances as though they were realities" -- Machiavelli

Determined Designs Web Solutions Lijit Search
02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 / 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 / 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 / 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 / 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 / 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 / 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 / 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 / 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 / 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 / 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 / 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 / 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 / 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 / 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 / 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 / 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 / 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 / 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 / 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 / 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 / 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 / 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 / 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 / 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 / 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 / 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 / 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 / 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 / 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 /

follow zenpundit at http://twitter.com
This plugin requires Adobe Flash 9.
Get this widget!
Sphere Featured Blogs Powered by Blogger StatisfyZenpundit

Site Feed Who Links Here
Buzztracker daily image Blogroll Me!