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"What should I buy to go with my gun?" (firearm accessories) (Lethal Force)

Every day retailers have to help customers who want to buy a gun for self-defense. Although each customer is different, most of them have the same questions, the same concerns, and the same needs. In this situation, there's always a danger for the retailer: It's easy to fall into the trap of engaging the mental "tape recorder" and giving the same, tired answer you've given hundreds of times in the past.

You're doing that customer a disservice, however, by not listening to his specific needs and giving a fresh answer to his question. This month, self-defense expert Massad Ayoob presents his answer to the question: "What can I buy to make my self-defense gun more effective?"

The customer has just filled out the 4473 form and the transfer of their first defensive handgun from your inventory to their warm, dry palm is about to be complete. Whether they ask for more information or you offer it, the time has come to talk about accessories.

You and I, quite frankly, are not the best people for them to ask. We've spent our lives as firearms professionals, developing certain habits and preferences, and it becomes almost second nature to tell others to use what we use. We tend to forget that they aren't necessarily at the level we are, and what works for us may not work for them.

Let's you and I do an exercise. Say we've been smacked on the squash and come back to consciousness in some generic Smallville, USA, not only with a rollicking headache, which will quickly fade, but with a case of total amnesia which has wiped away everything we ever learned about firearms safety, handling, and use.

As we go about building our life anew, it occurs to us that violent, armed criminals are a very real threat in this new and unremembered world, and countervailing force seems like the logical way to ensure our survival against them.

So we go to a gunshop and buy a handgun. Okay, let's pause with our fresh, new, amnesiac minds, and figure out what we need to go with that handgun.

Self-Defense Necessities

Depending upon which state Smallville is actually in, the possibility may exist to get a permit to carry this gun concealed as we go about our daily lives on the mean streets. For this we need a holster. Actually, we may need a repertoire of holsters to go with our wardrobe or clothing. We hope that the gun dealer is smart enough to realize this and help us pick out a hip holster, an inside the pants holster, a shoulder holster ... whatever we need.

While the majority of gunfights are over after only a few shots, we won't have to read too many editions of the Smallville Times to realize that every now and then one of these incidents turns into a high-volume firefight. Hmmm. Sounds like we need some speed-loaders or some spare magazines.

We won't need our memories to realize that many aftermarket magazines are junk -- we'll find out when we try them in our new incarnations. Because the 1911 pistol has been out so long there are a few aftermarkets for it that work very well -- Wilson-Rogers, Metalform, McCormick Shooting Star -- but for any other gun, we'll want magazines made by the people that made the gun or the results would likely to be so bad we'd never trust the dealer to advise us on another purchase.

I would be worried about my new gun being stolen or being accessed by kids, presuming that the new friends I made in Smallville had children with them when they came to visit. (Non-amnesiac customers might have children of their own to worry about too.) In many states, new laws have made this such a concern that even the most negligent of people don't dare overlook it anymore.

To protect my kids from harm and my savings accounts from litigation, I would want my dealer to show me containment alternatives in different price ranges that would at once allow me immediate access to my gun, yet deny access to those not authorized to touch it. On the low-price end, I would probably select a Waller Soft-Safe from W. Waller & Son.

If I was willing to spend some more, I'd probably buy the ingenious Gun-Vault from Gun Vault Inc. This device can be programmed easily by the owner for a four-digit push-button number that instantly opens the steel box to reach for the loaded gun stored safely inside, or overridden with a key for instant access.

Loading The Gun

Either you or I would quickly figure out that something wasn't kosher when the guy behind the counter at the gunshop said, "You want these special exotic bullets for $3 a pop."

We'd say, "Wait a minute ... we can't afford to shoot enough of those to see if they work in the gun 100 percent of the time. You just told me that I should put 200 to 500 rounds of ammo through my gun before I trust it. I can't afford your specialty ammo."

I suspect we would go with a proven, mainstream hollowpoint. A wise dealer would carry the full line of Remington jacketed hollowpoints, the one such round designed to feed in any gun made to military specifications, or milspec, designed to feed reliably only with military-style full-metal-jacket rounds. If the guy behind the counter sold me a wide-mouth hollowpoint that wouldn't go a whole magazine without jamming in the milspec gun he just sold me, I'd never take my business back to the gunshop, and neither would you.

I would also want to do some practice shooting, wouldn't you? If the dealer didn't have a range as part of his business, it would be nice if he had a deal going with some local range where I might get a little discount my first time there, might feel welcome, might join, and might -- consciously or even subconsciously -- thank the dealer for introducing me to this warm, good thing.

Finally, I would want to know more about this sport/defensive practice I was getting into. I would want my dealer to have gun books, magazines, and videos right there where I could ask about them as I was buying my merchandise.

It would be nice if the books and vids were laid out from elementary to advanced so you and I, who had lost our memories, would know where we'd get useful information and where we'd be over our heads. For instance, the basic books and videos could be on the left side of the rack, the intermediate stuff in the middle, and the advanced items on the right.

If the dealer does it all right, you and I won't even need to regain our memories to be well-protected. All we'll need to recover fully is to know that we have our trusted advisor/dealer there to go back to. That, and a little bit of aspirin.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Publishers' Development Corporation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Ayoob, Massad
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Sep 1, 1992
Previous Article:Computers track hunters and their bullets.
Next Article:Special intelligence: ammunition for strong sales.

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