|Me and my XDM, taking our bad selves down to the range.|
From a novice’s point of view, buying your first gun might sound like a fairly straightforward, if not exactly simple, process: go to a gun shop or sporting good’s store, try a few pistols or revolvers out for size, see how they fit, look for a good deal, lay down your money, and you’re good to go. With expert advice at hand, I have done that more than once, the first time ending up with a Springfield 1911 that I love shooting. But even though the 1911 was the first gun I paid for and brought home, it wasn’t the first gun I bought for myself. Coming up with that firearm took five more years.
The difference is subtle but profound. Buying a gun based on someone else’s expert advice is a very long way from having enough knowledge to make your own informed, personal choice. This being The GunDivas' blog, I’m specifically curious about women buying guns for themselves. As for facts, I was unable to find any statistics on the number of women buying guns. Gun retailers don’t track sales by gender. A Gallup Poll in Feb. 2012 stated that 23% of women are gun owners, up from 13% in 2005. What I’m wondering is how many of those women gun owners chose and bought their own guns. If anyone out there knows, I’d love to hear from you.
In my experience, personal and anecdotal, men buy most of the guns women own. Of my own personal firearms, six were either bought for me, or expertly advised for me long before I knew which end was up on a gun, two were inherited, and then there’s the one I bought for myself. It was a watershed moment in my life as a shooter.
The epiphany came on the second day of a two day, thousand round, barely above freezing, kicked-my-butt tactical class. I took my handgun to the class, my Springfield 1911. I took a thousand rounds of .45 ACP ammo (can you hear the cash register ringing?), and I took a good bit of misplaced confidence. The class was amazing. It beat the crap out of me, and I couldn’t help but notice that all the guys I was shooting with were faster and smoother and more accurate than me. Almost to a man, they had these sleek, semi-automatic, 9mm polymer pistols.
|What I was up against at that kick-butt class,|
I'm fourth in line, you can see my leg and boot.
We had drills where we practiced racking the slides one-handed, using our boots and our holsters, and all I can say is “unprintable.” With a leather holster, a 1911, and an 18 lb. recoil spring, I was well on the other side of “not a good idea.” All the guys with their polymer guns and polymer holsters were breezing through the drills. When we “buried” a snap-cap in our magazines so we could practice our tap-rack-n-shoot drills, I spent half my time at the reloading table while they were going through their double stack magazines.
And then it hit me. I needed a gun I could handle, a gun I could manipulate with ease. If I wanted to be fast and smooth and safe and in charge, I needed a gun that fit me like it was part of my hand. Nothing less would do. The next few months of the hunt were some of the most fun I’ve had. GunDiva and I spent a lot of time at the Springfield booth at SHOT Show, and in the end, I bought for myself a Springfield XDM 4.5” 9mm. And it has been exactly what I expected it to be. Yes, I still shoot all the guns I was given, all the guns the experts advised me to buy, but it wasn’t until I accumulated enough knowledge to figure it out for myself that I got a gun that feels natural in my hand, easy, the gun that fits me like a glove.
|The first gun I bought myself,|
Springfield XDM 4.5" 9 mm