Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Storytelling Firearms

They say that some guns can tell you stories. I never really understood the idea, but figured it seemed like something that would be true.

When I picked up my used GP100, I had spoken to people smarter than I about checking the quality of revolvers. My initial inspection made it obvious it had not be fired very much. Subsequent inspections by aforementioned smart people confirmed that this gun was, in fact, near new.

Extremely pleased with my purchase, I took the gun to the range to see how well I shot it. The first few cylinders seemed to be high and to the right, which was confusing because no manner of flinch I usually experience should put the shots there, and I shot the range's GP100 extremely well. I switched to my left hand, and found the shots to still be high and right. Afraid of dusting off the cliche, "Obviously, something's wrong with this gun..." I waited until one of the range workers was free, and asked them to shoot my new revolver. (we're quite friendly, first name basis and all :) Three of them wound up shooting, and each (in addition to shooting extremely well!) shot high and right. Sights were adjusted, and it was discovered they were turned severely up and to the right. Once the correction was made, I returned to shooting out the X, and generally marveling at how well I shot my new gun.

It wasn't until later that I realized that the sights being turned up and to the right meant the previous owner was shooting low and left. This is usually indicative of a new or otherwise untrained shooter, as flinch (in a right-handed shooter) causes the shooter over squeeze the trigger, pulling the muzzle down and to the left the split-second before the gun fires. This creates the illusion that the sights are off. The fact that the sights were adjusted so liberally, seemed to indicate the previous user did not seek help when he or she experienced trouble with the gun. That the firearm was in such good shape, and had little wear where wear quickly develops indicated it was barely fired. Personally, I've often heard spoken to new gun owners, "All you need is a big, scary revolver." and thought this "advice" might have played a part in this obviously new shooter's decision.

Pardon me, while I indulge in some extrapolation of the story of this Ruger GP100.

A man or woman saw fit to buy a gun, and spoke to a friend or family member who simply replied, "Get a big, scary revolver." and offered no follow up instruction or training. The man or woman bought the revolver, and a few boxes of ammo, and went to a local range to try it out. The man or woman was unaccustomed to the loud noises of the range, and the skill required to accurately shoot a handgun. The man or woman developed a nasty flinch which manifested as shots that fell low and left. The man or woman later spoke to their friend or family member who simply replied, "Adjust the sights, then." The man or woman returned to the range, screwdriver in hand, and adjusted the sights as he or she shot, moving them higher and to the right. However, once the sights were realigned, flinch still put the shots in the same spot, low and to the left. The sights were moved up and right until they would go no further, and the man or woman became frustrated with either the obviously broken gun, or the whole experience. The Ruger then made it's last trip to the local Turners, where it was sold at a significant loss.

I don't think I've been too presumptuous. In fact, I feel quite confident this is how things happened (or at least, as the revolver tells me).

Only the details remain.

Was this person simply an interested person, who thought they might give guns a shot?
Could this person have been a woman in need of protection from an angry ex-boyfriend?
Why didn't whomever made firearm recommendations suggest training, or offer assistance? Maybe this firearm "expert" couldn't shoot the revolver either.

But what happened next?

Did this person simply put down the revolver to try his or her luck at an automatic?
Or did this person, finding no support, or help, (nor seeking it) give up on the entire firearm ownership idea?

I take minor comfort in the knowledge that if this gun was meant for protection from a specific threat, it seems unlikely it would be given up just because it shot low and left; as the gun would still be effective at close range, and certainly retain effectiveness as a visual deterrent. Maybe it wasn't sold until the 10 day wait was complete for an automatic. Also, that the previous owner sought no assistance makes it likely the previous owner was a man. (sorry guys, it's just statistics.)

Now the gun makes me a little sad when I think of the last owner, who's ignorance denied him the opportunity to get the most from this exceptional firearm.

But I feel better when I start shooting clovers with a practically new gun that cost me about $100 less than I expected to pay!

Besides, with the internet and instant knowledge on any topic across the globe in the blink of an eye, I just don't suffer ignorance well.

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