…Don’t be that guy…

Just about every other gun blog has done one of these but, I think that Post World Patriot will have a little different take on the whole situation… Some call it gun shop do’s and dont’s… but I would like to just call it “don’t be that guy”.

Yes that picture above is me (the little guy holding the rifle” circa 1986.) It is pretty safe to say two things. First of all, I’ve had my hand wrapped around a shootin’ iron for a long time. Second, I’m getting old. I have always loved all of the shooting sports. My Dad isn’t a hunter and for the most part he wasn’t a gun guy. As you can see in the picture he did have a sidearm (ruger mk.2 govt., that is now mine :)) but that was pretty much all he had firearm wise until he finally broke down and bought a Ruger super Blackhwak .44 mag (also mine now) after a hike up around Smith creek. But I still became a gun nut, mostly thanks to  gun annuals and American rifleman’s that my Dads friend Fred would bring me every time he had a chance. I memorized everything, if Fred bought a new rifle I would grill him about it. You got a Remington huh? What caliber? Box, floor plate,  or blind mag?  What finish? Then I would tell him what he bought… ” oh, thats cool that you bought a 700 bdl, did you know that you could have got a cdl with a longer barrel.blah, blah, blah.” he would laugh, then tell my dad that I had found my calling…Who cares that I was only 6 years old. Fast forward 25 years and guess who is working at a sporting goods store selling firearms? And was pretty good at it? Upon finishing my training, they sent me out to the floor to have a hands on safety check with my supervisor (I will tell stories about him later, but its safe to say that Stu is a God among men gun wise.) When he walked me through and gave me the “fng” speech, (for those of you who don’t know “FNG” is an acronym for eFfin New Guy) he realized that I actually knew my stuff. He didn’t treat me like I was some dumb kid, he treated me as a co-worker and respected what I knew. as opposed to handing me a baikel over under, he handed me a Benelli 828.  Where someone else would have safety checked a stoger side-by-side shotgun, he handed me a Perazzi (if you have never felt the craftsmanship of a Perazzi shotgun you should do yourself a favor and pick one up, wear mittens and lift it over a box of kittens, because it $25,000 plus dollars. But it gives you a whole different respect for craftsmanship.) The first pistol he handed me was a Colt 1911 that was made in 1925 and had a full manuscript of both world wars that it had seen… yeah I was winning and winning big!  One thing that Stu always instilled in me was “don’t bullshit, tell the truth. People see through stories, just be honest and everything will be good.” I took that sentiment to heart, it’s just too bad that the people across the counter didn’t receive the same lesson…

So who is “that guy”? Well “that guy” is the one that you see at your local gun shop that is always “just seeing if anything new came in”, which in all reality means he is waiting for an actual customer to be talking to a salesmen, and with perked ears and mis-information a plenty he will dive in and try to hijack the conversation. Don’t get me wrong, some customers are super knowledgeable, and will sometimes have personal experience with a particular firearm, those customers are awesome… But then there’s “that guy” and In order to keep this blog slightly shorter then the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I will keep this list of my favorite “that guy” statements on the short side.

  1. “A women should only carry a revolver, its less for them to think about if they actually have to use it”. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard one of those idiots drop that stupid line. Pretty much they are saying that women are inferior and can’t understand how to rack a slide or use a safety, and that is completely ignorant and wrong. Yes I personally sold quite a few Ruger LCR’s and Smith and Wesson J-frames to women as there  carry pistols, But it was not because they weren’t smart enough to manipulate a semi-auto. More frequently then not it was because they lacked the hand strength needed to pull back the slide. We all have physical limitations in one way or another, and they were smart enough to know there’s. My wife can put on make-up, be styling her hair, talking to our son, and giving me the stink-eye, all at the same time. Needless to say being able to flip a safety off, or rack a slide is not beyond her skill level.
  2.  “A 9mm is garbage, and it won’t kill anybody”. Let me actually expand on that a bit, its not just the 9mm, it is actually any caliber that “that guy” isn’t fond of. .22, .38 spl., .380, .45 acp. etc. You name it, I’ve heard it. One of my first days behind the gun counter I had a guy drop that exact line, out of no where Stu came to my rescue and said “a 9mm won’t kill anyone huh? I can kill you with this pencil”. I don’t know who was more slack-jawed, me or “that guy”. And the best part is that Stu was completely correct. Its a proven fact that we have a predetermined number of holes that our  body can function with, any time that a new hole is introduced, there is a negative reaction. Ask anyone that has been shot, it doesn’t matter how big the hole is, or how fast the bullet was going, its all  about where it hits. I have had people tell me that a leather jacket will stop a .22 bullet, when I inform them that I often carry a NAA mini revolver and that I have a leather jacket that I would gladly let them borrow, none of them ever take me up on the offer. Kind of strange huh? Shoot whatever firearm that you feel comfortable with, and practice as often as possible.
  3. “Just the sound of racking a shotgun slide will scare away anyone trying to break into your house”. Yeah cool story, and maybe sometime it has scared away  a potential burglar. But lets be honest here, wouldn’t you get the same reaction if you were to yell through the door ” I’ve got the Cops on the phone, and a gun in my hands, do not come any closer”? Most burglars are looking for a house where they can enter and steal things without having to put up a fight. Most of the time if they know that there is someone home, they will just go to another house. On the rare occasion that someone breaks into a residence where they know the homeowner is there, they are usually prepared for a battle. In a situation like that I seriously doubt that the sound of an 870 slide is going to be that big of a deterrent. Now on the other hand, even a modest load of number 8 shot coming out of that 870  will probably be enough reason for any bad guy to start re-evaluating there life decisions. If you are willing to take up arms in defense of your life, you had better be willing to pull the trigger.
  4. “I would never have a laser on my pistol, the bad guys will just follow the red line right back to where you are and shoot ya”. Holy cow man, have we really played so many video games that we believe that a Crimson Trace is just a road map to  the firearm? This isn’t Splinter Cell, this is real life. In all reality a laser can be a visual deterrent, but just like the sound of a shotgun being racked, that isn’t always enough. If a situation arises where you feel the need to pull your pistol , you had better be prepared to use more then just a laser. If the sight of the laser de-escalates the situation (I.E. the bad guy runs away.) that’s great, but remember the first rule of firearm safety, “do not point a firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy”.
  5. ” I would never carry one of those, it doesn’t hold enough ammo FBI statistics say…” O boy, get ready for a run on sentence or two. People, especially those new to personal carry, always try to search out “averages” in order to establish a base line for what they need to carry in order to best defend themselves. So the first thing they do is google up “average gunfight statistics”, bang there are all the numbers you need right? The FBI has released a set of statistics for the year 2012 called Law enforcement officers killed and assaulted, and if you read through all of the  graphs its plain to see that there is no average gunfight. But after doing a little math, it looks as though on average 8 rounds are fired. These are FBI agents in altercations with bad guys who are intent on having a firefight, not your basic armed citizen. The more that you look around (especially in forums, or by watching gun channels) you will start to notice a lot of conflicting stories. So once again, I  did a little math and tried to establish an average.. Once again there is no average gunfight, but it looks as though most firearm incidence happen at a distance of several inches to as far away as 35 yards (yes I said yards) and somewhere between 1 and 16 rounds are fired (back to an average of 8). but what this doesn’t take into account is the number of times that  a firearm is drawn, and that is the end of the situation. If you were to factor in every scenario where a firearm is involved, and were to then find an average I would be willing to bet that the average number number of shots fired in each situation is probably between 2 and 3. The one thing that no one wants to say is that gunfights (much like fist fights) are all ended with one shot. When the nervous system is interrupted, the fight is over. Period. “But my friend has a buddy who is a cop and he said that he shot a guy all hopped up on PCP one time, he shot him like 16 times in the head and the guy just kept coming…” Maybe he did, and maybe he didn’t. But for the sake of being fair lets just say that situation actually happened. So dude hopped up on PCP takes 16 rounds to the dome and keeps fighting, would 17 rounds have done any better? how about 30? Is a person “under-gunned” by carrying a 5-shot .38 snubby ? Or for that matter would any kind of firearm short of the Paris railway gun have stopped the situation any faster? Who knows for sure, but one thing that I can say about this scenario is that it is not “the average gun fight” in fact it is so far away  from what any normal human could possibly endure that I really feel that it carries almost no relevance what so ever as to what should be your carry pistol. “But no one has ever lost a gunfight because they had too much ammunition”. Yeah that’s probably true, but how practical is it for a guy to have to strap on a tac-vest just so that he can run down to the store and get a gallon of milk. For that matter why don’t we all just carry a CZ Czechmate with only the big mags, if you carry 3 extra mags with you that’s 105 rounds of 9mm (26 per magazine and one in the pipe).O, wait its only a 9mm and that won’t do anything against a bad guy right? Boy we could “well what about?” on this one forever, but the truth is the best gun you can have, is the one that your willing to carry all of the time, and practice with constantly. Remember 1 shot inevitably stops all situation, and no amount of ammo will ever make up for inaccurate shooting.

So what I beg of you is to not be “that guy”. If you walk into a gun shop and you already have the answers that you believe to be truth, don’t waste your time (and the salesmen’s) by trying to start a debate. If you are asked for your opinion, or if you feel that the guy behind the counter is doing a disservice to someone who is trying to take the first step in become a responsible gun owner, by all means speak up. The other instance where I think it is wonderful to help out, is when you have a lot of experience with a given discipline, and your input may be able to give a potential buyer a little more incite into there buying decision. I had this happen several times while I was selling firearms. The first time I was helping an individual with an over-under shotgun, he wanted something that he could upland hunt with as well as shoot sanctioned trap and skeet competitions. As we worked our way up the ladder from shotgun to shotgun trying to find something that he thought felt comfortable with, a older gentlemen came up and started chatting  with both of us. He then looked at the customer holding the shot gun and asked a very simple, but very important question. “Are you a hunter or are you a target shooter?” To which the man replied, “well I hunt birds every chance that I get, but I also like to be able to shoot some trap in the off season to keep my reflexes sharp”. To this the older gentlemen smiled and said “you can shoot trap with anything that will fling shot, and there ain’t a clay pigeon in the world that won’t turn to dust with the same exact equipment that you use for putting meat in the freezer. With that trap gun your holding you have to change your shooting form in order to make it fit you right. Why try to fix what ain’t broken?” With this the customer handed me the trap model he was oogaling and exchanged it for the same gun, just set up in the “hunter”configuration. He snapped it up and low and behold, he was looking right down the bead and was grinning ear to ear. The other gentlemen just wandered away with a nod. About 15 minutes later one of my co-workers walked over to me and asked if I knew who the gentlemen was that had helped on that over-under shotgun. I said that I did not, but he seemed to be really knowledgeable about sport shooting. “Well he ought to be, he and his brother are both nationally ranked trap and skeet shooters. They have been shooting rounds of 100 since before you were in diapers.” boy was I humbled, but I had learned something, and every time that he came into the shop I made sure to ask him lots of questions, and listen to what he said like it was gospel. He didn’t walk into the store to give advise, or to brag. He usually just came in to pick up a case of ammo, but if a situation arose where he felt that he could help someone out, he would add a bit of advise and knowledge gained through experience. He genuinely just wanted to help, and if you go about helping people in that manner I commend you.   But if your whole purpose is just to lurk around in the gun department waiting for your opportunity to climb upon your soap-box and and show the world how smart you are… Save your breath. Most firearm knowledge is gained through practical experience and is largely based on opinion. And you know what they say opinions are like…

-Grant Willoughby 06/04/2016-


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