It's been a while since I've darkened this space with my presence. It's been for good reasons I assure you (none of them "fun with a gun" related unfortunately). I had an interesting encounter at work yesterday which prompted me to put pixel to internet.
My office employs about 150 people; and, being in a gun friendly state, there are a quite a few of us who are well known to be "out of the closet" gun nuts. There are also several young people just getting their feet wet in the shooting world.
Among those young people is a 20 something female who is looking to get her first gun for self defense. She recently had her first visit to a range to try out some guns.
Her first comment to me was: "It was so loud."
"Indoor range?", I asked.
Sure enough it was. I explained to her that it's loud because your are essentially setting off small explosives each time you pull the trigger, and the overpressure from those explosions bounces off the walls of the range and impacts the entire body. Outdoor ranges mitigate that issue somewhat by having fewer hard surfaces for the overpressure to bounce off of.
Her next comment: "Guns are so expensive. It's a car note."
I asked her what she had been expecting. Her response: "I thought they were like $20."
My first reaction was something along the lines of "Seriously???". Then I got to thinking about it. If you've never looked at buying a product (any product) or paid any attention to ads for such a product, how would you know what to expect?
So, I spent a few minutes educating her on the gun market and what she could expect to pay for a gun with which she could reasonably trust her life. She had a little sticker shock since she kept repeating "It's a car note" over and over. There was even a discussion of Cerakoting as she mentioned a desire for a "pretty" gun (pink, in fact).
I mention this encounter not to make fun of her ignorance (literally "lack of knowledge" in this case). The reason I tell this story is that I've been reflecting on what I know about guns and more importantly what I don't know. We all start out at one time or another in the same place my co-worker is coming from which is an interest and not much, if any, knowledge.
I started out shooting when I was a kid, and most of what I know (and many a bad habit) I picked up here and there along the way from other shooters, Boy Scouts, my lunatic grandfather, magazines and the internet. Some (perhaps most) of what I know is pure fertilizer (in fact, some of the things I've written here probably fall into that category). I've spent a lot of time seeking out accurate information from reputable sources to correct some of that fertilizer, but I have a long way to go still.
It would be easy to say new shooters should take an intro to shooting course from a reputable trainer and progress from there. Based on personal experience, some of those classes are better than others and the worst of those are more harmful than helpful.
Unfortunately, I don't have an easy answer to offer since learning to sort fact from crap is part of the learning process. For my part, this encounter served to renew my commitment to learning and being a resource to new shooters. Hopefully, I can serve up more insightful help as opposed to worthless fertilizer.