Tuesday, March 9, 2010

On Pistols and Parents

I grew up in a somewhat remote part of Sylvania Township, Ohio. When I was in grade school urban sprawl had just crawled out of the storm drain and a very few home builders had tipped to the fact that in ten years they could retire comfortably with a second home in Florida, a major toy (boat, RV or airplane) and a twenty something mistress that the ball and chain would never find out about.

Dad always kept a pistol in his top left dresser drawer, and from the time I was old enough to understand English I knew that the pistol was real, and that I wasn't allowed to touch it. One evening my parents had another couple over for cocktails prior to going out to dinner, and the woman wondered if we were ever afraid of burglars because we lived off by ourselves without any neighbors around. My father replied that he was not worried, as he kept his pistol close at hand. The woman was politely horrified.

“A gun? You have a gun in the house?”

“Sure.” Dad said. “I keep it in the top drawer of my dresser.”

“Well, it isn't loaded is it?”

“Your damned right it's loaded.” Dad said emphatically. “All you have to do is point it and pull the trigger.”

And that was that. I wasn't old enough to understand the herd mentality that made this bovine feel safe living in the midst of others just like her, or ask her just what her neighbors might do to prevent everyone from reading about her and her docile family in the morning paper in their new (and possibly more useful) office as victim of the day.

My father's pistol of choice was a Smith and Wesson Model 17-3 in .22 Long Rifle. This amounts to a .22 on a .38 frame which means that the pistol is somewhat overbuilt. I don't see that as a detriment, although I'm sure some people would.

The .22 caliber is light for home defense, but has the advantage of light recoil. Additionally, it's cheap to shoot. I can shoot all afternoon for $10, and prior to The Anointed One moving in to the White House I used to be able to shoot all afternoon for $5. Thanks, Obama.

The revolver is dead easy to operate. As my father pointed out, you just point it and pull the trigger. It has no safety to worry about, and in the case of a misfire you just pull the trigger again. If you carry your revolver (either concealed or openly) you have the option of leaving the chamber under the hammer empty so as to prevent doing yourself a mischief, but in doing so you haven't added any complexity to using your weapon – you still point it and pull the trigger.

When I feel the need to carry my pistol with me, I choose a revolver over an automatic. But that's just my preference, and it wouldn't prevent me from putting Betsy in a shoulder holster when I feel like it.

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