Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Gunday: Gun Shopping with Mom

Two weeks ago, mom and I took our mandated CWP class. As predicted, it was basically a class on "Don't be stupid," although the instructor was an entertainingly animated good old boy and we finished 30 minutes early. After the class, though mom had decided that she wanted a Sig Sauer P238. How did she come to this conclusion? Let me back up....

Not a Sig Sauer. Read on.

The Friday before, we needed to do some qualification shooting for the class. This is essentially a formality designed to weed out those who are too physically infirm to safely shoot a pistol, and those idiots who cannot master basic range safety. We shot 10 rounds with a Ruger Mark III, and we both kicked ass (I had the higher aggregate score, but mom somehow managed to pull off 3 bullseyes. Don't know how that happened, but we are both happy with the result.) After that we took a look at the guns behind the counter and gave them a good fondling. Mom knew she wanted an automatic, but she has arthritic hands and weak arms and cannot work the slide on my Glock, so we were looking for something with a lighter spring.

Funny story: I locked the slide back on the Glock and asked her to see if she could work it just enough to load a round. She pulled and strained and then let loose the loudest fart I had ever heard. I swear, it sounded like tearing cloth! After we both finished laughing, I admitted that she was clearly trying her hardest...

So there we were, looking at 9mm and .380 pistols in various formats, and she couldn't move any of them. I wanted to say "Maybe you should consider a .38 revolver" but she had her heart set on an auto, and I believe that the gun must fit the shooter, not the other way around, so I kept my mouth shut. When we left the store that afternoon she was very disappointed.

Fast-forward to Monday night, and once the class was over my mother was able to corner the instructor and ask him "I was in here earlier and I couldn't work any of the pistols, can you suggest any?" The man obligingly pulled out his pocket P238 for her to try. Lo and behold, she could work the slide... and easily! She was elated to have found something she could operate.

The rest of the week was a combination of getting ready for Easter, and getting our CWP permits in order and in the mail. During my down-time, I did some pricing of P238s and...

This is my shocked face.

... holy crap are they expensive. As in, "The cheapest I could find were around $700, and most were in the $800 range." Now maybe this is standard for all you gunnies out there, but I thought paying $500 for my Glock 26 was a princely sum, and I needed fundraising help to accomplish it.

Not really sure what to do about this dilemma, I waited. And then, the Saturday before Easter, I saw it, Grail-like in its intensity: A glossy insert from Gander Mountain advertising the Ruger LCP LaserMax for about $350 (with rebate).

Now I realize that many of you are saying "Hey now! The Ruger LCP is in no way the Sig Sauer P238." And I'm all, "Well duh, but this one had the built-in laser (mom was really keen on the Crimson Trace grips I put on my Glock) and the price was definitely within our budget. And the LCP was a model she hadn't tried before. So if she could operate it, then this was a definite score for everyone.

Care to guess what happened?

It was like a bad sitcom. We were at that counter for over an hour, trying to find something that would fit her.
Every pistol she tried didn't work for one reason or another. The LCP's slide was too stiff, and had a long trigger pull. The Sig P238, it turns out, has a thumb safety -- and mom is a lefty, meaning she couldn't thumb it off. I think we tried every damn pistol in the store, and for one reason or another they didn't work. I don't mean, "She didn't like them because she was picky," I mean she could not safely operate them for one reason or another.

Well , okay, maybe she could have used the Beretta Tomcat with tip-up barrel, but I really didn't like the notion of her using a .32 caliber pistol. Still, if that's what it took to make her happy...

About that time, the clerk said "Let me try something I think you'll like," and he went over to the revolver case, and came back with a nice snub-nosed hammerless chambered in -- you guessed it -- .38 Special. This was the Ruger LCR, the revolver cousin of the LCP.

Amazingly, mom loved it. It fit her hand perfectly; she could pull the trigger effortlessly; she didn't have to worry about a safety. I tried very hard not to facepalm.

The facepalm wasn't about the gun, you understand, but because of the irony of the situation. When women go to gun stores for the first time, so many men try to force the "little ladies" to buy a cute little revolver in .38 -- "This model even comes in pink!" -- and so I was determined not to do that, regardless of the fact that I thought it was the right choice. Ironically, it WAS the right choice for my mother, and she's quite happy with it.

Well, theoretically happy with it. She hasn't shot it yet (but I'm nagging her to do so). Oh, and we didn't get the .38, we got it in .357 magnum because the price was basically the same. That way she can practice with .38 rounds but use the beefier .357 for self-defense, if necessary.

And no, it isn't pink.

1 comment:

  1. The LCR has some snappy recoil with +P loads. The recoil from a .357 magnum will be nasty. There are some good standard pressure hollow points like the Winchester Silvertip, Federal Nyclad and Hornady Critical Defense that don't have heavy recoil.


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