Written by: Greg Ellifritz
I made a rare trip to the gun store last week. I decided to replace what Recoil Magazine calls “the ugliest gun on the planet” with a new Gen 5 model 19. I’ve been carrying the old ugly 19 since 2001 and have almost 70K rounds through it. I have big hands and a bit of arthritis in my knuckles after a lifetime of heavy lifting, lots of shooting, and punching people. The finger grooves actually hurt my knuckles now after a long shooting session. I’m also tired of getting “railroad tracks” from the slide on the web of my hand with my normal shooting grip. The Gen 5’s lack of finger grooves and beavertail grip adapter solve these problems for me.
While waiting for my background check to go through, I was people watching.
Besides being absolutely astounded at all the people interested in the Mossberg Shockwave shotgun/pistols, in a 20-minute time period, I saw/heard all of the following:
“I’m looking to buy my first handgun. I’d like a S&W Shield 2.0. In .40.”
“I just don’t understand how this grip safety thing works on this XD,”
There was a guy looking at an AK pistol. He told the clerk he was going to buy it and attach an underfolder stock. He didn’t understand why the clerk told him it was illegal. “But I’ve seen those underfolder stocks on all kinds of AKs.”
“I want a .45. I heard them nines don’t penetrate. And do you have that police-only ammo that has extra penetration?”
“I’m looking for either a rifle or a shotgun. I don’t really know what kind.”
“I need a home defense shotgun. What do you have in 10 gauge?”
And the best: A woman walks up to the sales counter. She says “I bought a gun here yesterday. I took it shooting today and this happened.” She then pulled a loaded Hi-Point .45 out of her purse. It had a feedway stoppage. The slide was out of battery with a jammed round on the feed ramp. She muzzled half the store with it before the sales guy took it out of her hand.
Why, with all the information in the world at our fingertips, is the average gun owner so ignorant?
I could never work in a gun store.
People wonder why I don’t go to large gun events like SHOT or the NRA show. The willful ignorance present in large groups of average gun owners is just too much for me to handle. Gun owners, I love you all, but I really don’t want to hang out with you. If I could experience this much ignorance during 20 minutes in a gun store that contained 30 people at maximum, I can’t imagine spending several days in an event with 70,000+ people with a similar lack of training and knowledge.
“With rights come responsibilities.” We all cheer the right to bear arms and celebrate the end of restrictions making it difficult for the average person to carry a weapon. Why aren’t we also embracing the responsibility of learning all we can about safely handling, carrying, and shooting the weapons that we bear? I think we need to do better.
…or perhaps I am just an old, grumpy, misanthrope who hates human interaction. Either could be a possibility. Maybe you shouldn’t pay too much attention to what I have to say.
In any event, I saw one cool thing at the gun store. Check out this saw this beauty. Can you believe they are asking $179 for a Jennings J22! I still have mine. I bought it in the early 1990s for $49. It wasn’t a horrible gun to play with. It jams one or two shots out of a box of 50. It’s not reliable enough to carry for personal protection, but it’s still a fun little gun that’s cheap to shoot.
At this rate of price appreciation, I might hold on to my little Jennings and sell it to fund my retirement in 20 years.