I've made a couple of firearms posts recently (and about time!), to which at least one aggrieved comment has been made.
Chill. I'm not an expert -- we have one here at Roseholme, who will assure you I'm so very not -- and I didn't even start out as a shooter.
I grew up with guns in the house, a .22 rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun -- and I was taught how to handle them and shoot them at an early age, just as my siblings were. My Dad was a good shot and had excellent habits when it came to gun safety, but he wasn't a gunnie; he was a hunter. A child of the Great Depression, he wasn't even a plinker. He took a shot if he had game in his sights, a squirrel or a deer, or he didn't shoot. (He had obviously done a lot of backyard shooting growing up, or he wouldn't've been that good, but Dad apparently thought that range shooting was a game for youngsters).
After I moved out on my own, I didn't own guns. Didn't give the mater much thought, either, until I ran into L. Neil Smith's fiction. I'd read Heinlein's The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress in Jr. High and had identified as a "Rational Anarchist" ever since, but L. Neil had a whole package to sell and provided pointers to real-world examples. ...And I still didn't own guns. They were expensive and I was stuffed with misinformation about Indiana's License To Carry Handgun, and there was the little matter an arrest record stemming from the time I showed up at a bar where a fight was in progress just enough ahead of the police that I was running out when they were running in (turns out if you bump into a LEO and keep going when told, "Stop!" they just naturally give chase and sort it out later), which I thought barred me from owning a gun. By then, I wanted one; I was convinced that self-defense was not just a right but a responsibility, but I thought I'd lost my chance at the single most effective means of so doing.
I learned better from my ex; he bought me a handgun for my birthday (Beretta 9000) and despite the limitations (fat as a running shoe, tiny grasping area on the slide and mine was DAO), I was hooked from my first trip to the range. An LTCH application soon followed and I bought my first handgun before I'd even got the little pink card back. I've shot a lot since then and managed to shoot quite a wide variety of guns. I'm good with my hands, so I've had most of 'em apart and back together, too. I even put the fancy Cylinder & Slide lockwork in my .38SA 1911.
But I'm no expert. I didn't even start out as a gun hobbyist: politics drove my initial interest. I'm just someone who shoots. When I render an opinion, it's just my opinion, YMMV, dealer prep and destination charge are extra. If you want expert advice about firearms, you should ask the other spinster of Roseholme Cottage.
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