<b>GOODIES:</b>  A brand-new Glock comes with two 10-round magazines, an instruction manual, cleaning supplies, and a couple of spent shell casings to show it has been test-fired by the manufacturer.

Paul Wellman

GOODIES: A brand-new Glock comes with two 10-round magazines, an instruction manual, cleaning supplies, and a couple of spent shell casings to show it has been test-fired by the manufacturer.

My First Gun

The Excitement and Remorse of Buying a Glock

Thursday, July 11, 2013
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The day I bought my first gun, a friend asked a pointed question: “Now that you have that thing, if someone is breaking into your home, do you grab your gun or your cell phone?” I didn’t have an answer. But now, after a nasty confrontation with an edgy stranger outside my apartment a few weeks ago, I finally do.

That night, at 4:30 a.m., I snapped awake to an angry burst of hard knocks ​— ​not the familiar rap of knuckles on wood, but the deep thump of a closed fist that rattles walls. Alarmed and annoyed, I spoke loudly through the locked door. “Yeah!?!”

“Sorry, wrong place,” the person on the other side mumbled, seconds later pounding on the door of my neighbor ​— ​a twenty-­something woman living by herself ​— ​screaming her name, kicking the door, and twisting the knob.

I wasn’t alone in my studio, and as this went on for 10 minutes, I felt a protective, adrenaline-infused concern emerge. Had this happened a month ago, before there was a semiautomatic pistol sitting in my closet, my response scenarios would have been as follows: (A) Stay inside and call the cops, (B) Crack the door and announce I was calling the police, (C) Step outside, tell the guy to hit the road, and follow up with authorities if need be. The gun changed everything.

My mind ​— ​quietly and almost mechanically ​— ​considered the option of loading up, of wielding a tool that would no doubt outmatch whatever threat lurked outside. The thought was a gross overreaction, of course, and the fact that a gun entered the mental equation of what could barely be called a “situation” was a strange and upsetting reality to consider. At the same time, simply knowing the weapon was within reach delivered an inarguable sense of power and comfort.

Choosing Option C, I stepped into the hall and exchanged a few choice words with the sweaty, wild-eyed man. It took some convincing and posturing, but he eventually left. I went back to bed and continued to chew on the heady knowledge that I was a gun owner. It was a new responsibility that would take some getting used to.

Why Buy?

My decision to buy a gun was a serendipitous mix of personal desire and professional curiosity. As a reporter, I’d recently gone to the Santa Barbara Historical Arms & Blades Show, fired the Santa Barbra Police Department’s short-barreled AR-15 rifles in their basement range, and attended a forum on gun violence and suicide. For fun, I’d been shooting a friend’s Mosin-Nagant rifle and Remington 870 at the range atop Camino Cielo, and I had also checked out a number of lead slingers at Island View Enterprises’ indoor range in Ventura.

So when my colleagues suggested someone write about the process of buying a gun, I volunteered. Knowing that pistol laws are the most restrictive, I decided to go that route and began reading up on what models and makes were most popular, practical, and affordable. I looked at classic Smith & Wesson revolvers, military-style Berettas, and iconic 1911s and checked out tiny derringer two-shooters, Dirty Harry hand cannons, and every caliber in between.

But it was a midsize design heavy on the minimalism and light on the bells and whistles that caught my interest: the Glock Safe Action Pistol. Manufactured in 1982 by Austrian engineer Gaston Glock, who had zero experience making guns but wound up creating one of the simplest, most reliable firearms in the world, the Glock ushered in the era of polymer-frame pistols that are carried by the majority of U.S. law enforcement officers. To me, it hit the mark when it came to ease of use and upkeep, effectiveness in a self-defense situation, and versatility on the range.

By Paul Wellman

Easy as Pistol Pie

I decided to buy local, but upon walking into the Santa Barbara store that eventually would sell me my gun, I was immediately anxious and out of place. After visiting other gun shops near and far, I found this vibe to be ubiquitous. Seasoned gun owners quickly sniff out rookies, and rather than offer some wisdom or explain the basics, they’d rather dismissively talk shop with their regulars. When I waffled between a Glock 19 and a Glock 21 ​— ​chambered for 9mm and .45 caliber bullets, respectively ​— ​the shopkeeper peered over his glasses and sighed, “Son, these aren’t toasters.”

Bummed but undeterred, I started asking basic questions and soon had a sense of how easy the purchase would be: I’d have to take a 30-question multiple choice test, pass a basic safety demonstration, submit to state and federal background checks, bring a second form of ID, and wait 10 days. When I asked about hands-on certification training or beginner’s classes, the shopkeeper looked at me like I had sprouted a second head. I left to give the whole prospect more thought, but returned a few days later set on the compact Glock 19 after studying the test-prep handbook I bought for 50 cents.

The California Department of Justice’s written handgun test was easier than the one I took at the DMV to renew my driver’s license. The questions were intuitive in the extreme and few of them concentrated on actual gun law. Most had to do with not pointing a firearm at anyone unless you intend on shooting them. I scored a 30 out of 30. The safety demonstration involved simply loading and unloading the gun with dummy rounds and showing I could figure out the padlock-style security bolt. Surrounded by the rolling eyes of employees and customers, I fumbled the first attempt but managed to pull off the second without dropping anything. The background checks and accompanying paperwork took 15 minutes. After no red flags appeared, I handed over my car registration as proof of ID.

With all that out of the way, the clock started ticking on the 10-day waiting period, or what the store owner called a “cool off time,” meant to prevent people from buying a gun in a moment of anger or despair. When I picked up my gun, I realized I didn’t know where I should legally put it in my car. That wasn’t on the test.

Waning Novelty

Since then, the Glock has spent most of its life unloaded in a locked case next to my linens. It’s been to the ranges a few times, where I quickly learned how to handle it with confidence, and where I was schooled in safety tips from other shooters and friends who know what they’re doing. But the longer I’ve owned the thing ​— ​I spent around $600 on it, not including ammunition ​— ​the more doubtful I’ve become that it was a sound or practical investment.

To be sure, unloading a few 10-round magazines at a paper target is fun and satisfying, but ammo is expensive and surprisingly hard to come by. I’ll never be a competitive shooter, I’m not in an especially dangerous line of work, and the home defense system I’ve employed since I was a kid ​— ​a Little League–sized Louisville Slugger next to my bed ​— ​seems like more than enough to keep safe in a town with little crime and even less gun violence.

Nevertheless, I like having it. It’s tough to articulate exactly why, especially because I never want to do with it what it’s designed to do: shoot human beings. I’m not even sure I could. But the fact that it’s there should the worst occur is a deep-down reassurance that can’t be denied. Maybe that feeling will wear off like initial buyer’s excitement did. Maybe the Glock will gather dust and be relegated to what seemed like a good idea at the time.

Either way, should the situation arise where I fear for my life or the lives of others, I’ll be happier to first let the cops decide whether or not to use their Glocks.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

To the Author: Return your Firearm (gun) for a consignment sell or to the local SBPD station for a $50.00 exchange, your more likely to shoot yourself than anybody else.
I say this because of experience with firearms, pistols in general are used to execute one self more often than any other firearm and if your NOT prepared to take a life, you'll use it against yourself than anyone else.
As for me, I cut my gun teeth at the Santa Barbara Sheriff's (at the time) Outdoor range firing a Semi-Auto, Smith & Wesson Combat M-39, 9mm., at the tender age of 15, under the direct supervision of a trained Range Master who served both in Vietnam and as a Deputy with many years of shooter experience.
Later I qualified with a Semi-Auto, Smith & Wesson Combat M-59, 9mm, before moving on to a Semi-Auto, Smith & Wesson Compact M-659, 9mm with the Santa Barbara Police Dept while attending the Santa Barbara City College's Administration of Justice course in Firearms Qualification (scored 295 of of 300 for a passing score).
I worked as an Armed Security Officer for the now defunct Romer Security Service of Santa Barbara, I qualified with the same score (295 out of 300) on a Smith & Wesson Revolver Model 10, 38 cal. and was trained to use it by the same Range Master from the Santa Barbara Sheriff Department (then retired) back when I was 15.
I moved to Michigan and then to Northern Virginia between 1995-2000, was then trained to use a Smith & Wesson Revolver Model 64, 38 cal. for an armed job as a Force Protection Officer at The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), after six years went to work for Lockheed Martin Co. and trained, qualified and carried for another 5 1/2 years a Beretta SF92 9mm semi-auto. I now own a Beretta 92 G (Government), 9mm, semi-auto and feel the same but the one thing I have that most citizens don't is experienced infield formal training from qualified, licensed combat experienced professionals who have to take a life in the line of duty. These Range Masters have worked as Soldiers in Wars, Sheriff's Deputies, Federal Police Officers, Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) members with CIA, FBI, and Secret Service. I have drawn my weapon in the line of duty with the intent to use it and was prepared to take a life but lucky for the offender they chose to become unarmed very quickly.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
July 11, 2013 at 7:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I do own and am qualified to use an ASP, Pepper Spray and non-lethal ammunition. I carry concealed and open carry here in Northern Virginia but not because I feel safer or because I feel tough or more masculine but because I can; it's my civil right to be armed but not all the time and often without my Beretta, just the ASP or Pepper Spray (still considered weapons). Will I keep my Beretta? Yes, unlike most American's, I know that my Beretta was manufactured for the Federal Police force, mine was issued and carried by Uniformed Secret Service Police and the officer who carried, retired with his weapon, I purchased it from a Gun range frequented by Federal Police officers who witnessed my range etiquette and shooting skills and directed me to the officer selling the Beretta, I showed him how I can safely handle his weapon and he sold me his Beretta after I completed the paperwork, along with proof that I'm trained and qualified by the State of Virginia through the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), the same Department that certifies all the Virginia Police Agencies.
I continue to practice with my Beretta at least weekly, and when a class of Armed Security officers are either qualifying or re-qualifying I join them just to make sure I'm scoring 295 to 300 passing. I buy my Ammunition on-line through, I 'm preparing to purchase a Semi-auto rifle that fires a 6.8 Spec round and yes, I have formal training in all NATO weaponry (pistols, rifles and shotguns, even explosive launchers). I just purchased earlier this year a Semi-auto Benelli, M-1 Tactical shotgun, yes I was another qualified and licensed for this also and had carried while working at the NRO right after the 9-1-1 Attack we were trained and issued this weapon.
So in closing this long winded qualification list I am very well trained and qualified to own mt own firearm and am prepared to use any and all of them to protect myself or another from a mortal threat of bodily injury or death.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
July 11, 2013 at 7:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

A $50 exchange? What does that mean?

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 11, 2013 at 7:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It means he's out $550.

Botany (anonymous profile)
July 11, 2013 at 8:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Only if he follows the idiotic "advice" of Mr gun "expert".

I mean really, first someone posts a comment on another thread implying that they've openly carried a firearm here in SB without any problems, when in fact they seem to reside in the state of Virginia where open carry is and has been legal. Then, in this thread they come out as some sort of trained firearms "expert" and "advise" that the best course of action is to more or less give a brand new, legally purchased firearm away for a token $50. Really?

Up here in Lompoc, a DARE officer was in front a class of 5th graders showing off his issue weapon and shot himself in the leg. I submit that the officer in question had at least as much, if not FAR more training and range time than Mr "expert" - my point being that many so called "experts" couldn't find their own ass with both hands and a flashlight and really aren't qualified to be giving any sort of advice.

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 11, 2013 at 8:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Congratulations on the purchase of your Glock. Here are my two cents.

Muzzle control and keep your finger off the trigger until you are sure of your target and what is behind it.
2. GET TRAINING! Basic classes are in expensive and worth every penny.
Lots of good friendly people who are more than willing to help out. There are more than a thousand members to date. Under "Instructors" you will find NRA certified instructors. Look at the newsletter for upcoming events, don't be shy show up and talk to the range officer and other participants, you will have instant friends. You will also find a membership application.
5. BUY THIS BOOK. "California Gun Laws" by C.D. Michel MAY help keep you out of prison.
6. Join the NRA, CALIFORNIA RIFLE AND PISTOL, GUN OWNERS OF CALIFORNIA AND THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS. They are the tip of the spear fighting for your natural rights to keep and bare arms.

TyreByter (anonymous profile)
July 11, 2013 at 2:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I too congratulate you on your purchase of a firearm (Glock 17). It's nice to see someone from a "progressive" news outlet make the attempt to understand/gain knowledge about something that has been labeled "evil" by so many.....I hate to use the term, "ignorant" people.

While you chose "Option C" in your effort to confront the person knocking on your, and then, your neighbor's door. I believe "Option A" was the best option. This is because you could: Make your announcement (calling law enforcement), from behind protection (secured/locked front door), and protect yourself (legally) with your Louisville Slugger, (should this person make a forced entry into your residence and you feel your life was in danger).... Jump ahead to after you purchased your firearm. If the same event had occurred, you could protect yourself with your firearm. That is if the person made his way into your residence and you feared for the safety of yourself and/or anyone else inside.

I highly recommend you follow the advise of TyreByter, at least as far as points #1,2,&,4 go.

I must say, I disagree with your comment:

"Nevertheless, I like having it. It’s tough to articulate exactly why, especially because I never want to do with it what it’s designed to do: shoot human beings".

Guns are not "designed" to shoot human beings anymore than cars are designed to hit people. A lot more paper/steel targets and roadways come into contact with firearms and cars,respectively, than people.

I could go on and on. However, I'm to anxious to hear from "Spiritwalker" to go further. Should you choice to learn more about firearms and wish to go shooting sometime, please let me know. I'll make sure you have a good time and, I'll supply the ammunition.

One last thing, if you are going to keep your firearm as you say, "unloaded in a locked case next to my linens". May I recommend, that you keep a loaded magazine.... That's a "clip" for all you experts, next to the firearm. That way, all you have to do is insert the magazine into the firearm & "charge/rack it" prior to discharging it.... Should it be necessary.

Man, it took me almost an hour to compose this comment to make sure I covered all my points, accurately, and I did not offend the "progressives" our there. It was "Exhausting" to say the least.

ChrisR (anonymous profile)
July 11, 2013 at 10:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Please lock your firearm in a SAFE or RSC, its not the law and is not fool proof but will help in a "smash and grab", when you are not home, you have a moral and ethical responsibility to do as much as possible to control access to the firearm. If you have $600.00 for a firearm then $299.00 for a RSC (residential security cabinet) is nothing.

The HSC is a TAX, anyone can pass it, every five years, which burdens low income persons.

The legislature just stole the excess $24,000,000.00 in the DROS (dealer record of sale) fund for something else. The DROS fee you paid is way more than the cost to the government to process the background check but they keep the money anyway and will not reduce the fee, again burdens low income persons.

Did you pay $25.00 for the HSC and $10.00 to the Test Giver, $25.00 for the DROS fee, if in store, and up to $100.00 if the FFL's brings it in?

Get some training and read this book, "In the Gravest Extreme"

Opinion "A" was the best choice.

Using a firearm is always the last choice and only when no other option exists to protect your LIFE, even then you need to understand the legalities involved as most likely the Legal System is not going to be on your side in California.

Pondering all the legal, moral and ethical questions beforehand will enlighten your understanding, if a firearm is right for you.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2013 at 2:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)






penelopeb (anonymous profile)
July 14, 2013 at 11:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

ChrisR - I don't know why you feel the need to hear from me before telling us what you really think - anyway, I don't have anything against ownership and use of firearms in the state California - my point was, is, and has been that merely having a CC permit would give someone a false sense of security.

Just look at G. Zimmerman - he jumped through all the "legal" hoops and used his weapon to defend his life, and was still destroyed. Am I saying that no one should be allowed a CC in Cali? NO! All I'm saying is that I wouldn't want to be publicly burned at the stake for exercising a so called "right".

(As for shooting guns in general - no problem - I'm a fantastic shot! When I was in the Army, they used to put all the MPs who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn next to me on the range, then give them credit for "shooting" my target - it always had just one ragged hole where the bulls eye was supposed to be, so they got away with it. Anywho, when do you want to go, and what should I bring?)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 15, 2013 at 12:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I hope for justice for Trayvon Martin.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 15, 2013 at 12:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Tyler Haden

My vote would be for option (A), with or without gun ownership. You would be protecting yourself first, and if the police investigated, the object of the stranger's search might at least have something on record, should anything involving that same stranger happen at a later time.


"Up here in Lompoc, a DARE officer was in front a class of 5th graders showing off his issue weapon and shot himself in the leg."

That happened quite often, in the early-adoption days of the Glock in law enforcement circles. IIRC, the previous weapon chosen for officers was a double-action model revolver, which had a much heavier trigger-pull. Another point, which possible dou4now might be able to corroborate or not, is that the *training* involved having one's finger on the trigger when drawn. The later change to the Glock, which has the trigger-integrated "safety", and a lighter-pull trigger, combined with the habit of finger-on-the-trigger, to create a condition which led to the effect known as "Glock Leg". GL of course, is what happens when one shoot's oneself in the leg with a Glock! [As TyreByter commented, "...keep your finger off the trigger until you are sure of your target and what is behind it."]

As for the acquittal of Zimmerman, I have read accounts on the jury decision which placed the blame on Trayvon Martin, stating that he had the option to run away. The irony is, that this is exactly the action for which the "Stand Your Ground" law was created to eliminate--the DUTY TO RETREAT. It make is seem that had Mr. Martin had a gun, then it would have been okay to shoot Mr. Zimmerman--but beating the man for stalking him was not! IMO, Zimmerman was the aggressor, regardless of at what point he found himself "in fear for his life".

equus_posteriori (anonymous profile)
July 18, 2013 at 12:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Stand your ground was not applied as a defense in the Zimmerman trial. And Trayvon had justice. The person that shot him was judged not guilty by a jury of his peers

Botany (anonymous profile)
July 18, 2013 at 12:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Among those peers were a few bonafide racists. Be that as it may, unlike some of the commentators he no longer hide behind a pseudonym, everybody knows the trash he is.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 18, 2013 at 1:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Look, armed, unarmed - it really doesn't matter what GZ did prior to the physical altercation. (In some jurisdictions "fighting words" come into play, but generally speaking, people have a right to be mouthy, annoying a-holes - you NEVER have a right to beat someone down just because they're a pest. EVER! Get over it!)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 18, 2013 at 1:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bigelow's new film "Zero Dark Alley" is all about the hunt for George Zimmerman. Should be great.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 18, 2013 at 1:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Complete sour grapes. The prosecution also wanted this jury, if you don't like our system of justice. Either try to change it or move somewhere else.

Botany (anonymous profile)
July 18, 2013 at 1:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Or are you confusing justice for vengeance?

Botany (anonymous profile)
July 18, 2013 at 1:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Plugging the usual establishment propaganda - how "progressive"?

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 18, 2013 at 1:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)


"Look, armed, unarmed - it really doesn't matter what GZ did prior to the physical altercation. (In some jurisdictions "fighting words" come into play, but generally speaking, people have a right to be mouthy, annoying a-holes - you NEVER have a right to beat someone down just because they're a pest. EVER! Get over it!)"

According to the Declaration of Independence, Trayvon had an "unalienable" right to Life. Perhaps, he feared that the "cracker" was dangerous, and so he attacked him--we'll never know.

What *is* known, is that what led to the confrontation was COMPLETELY the fault of Zimmerman--regardless of Martin escalating to physical contact. And the results--the shooting/killing of Martin--was only possible because Zimmerman carried a gun while stalking the man.

If Zimmerman had followed a wild animal and gotten mauled, would the animal be to blame? (Not to equate Martin with an "animal", but to show that if Zimmerman thought he was dangerous to being with, why would he follow him--was it because he felt secure carrying a gun?)

Trayvon paid for his choice of fight over flight with his life. Zimmerman should NOT get off completely scott-free for causing his death. It wasn't murder, but certainly should be manslaughter, or what might be something similar to a "wrongful death" (I know, that's a legal term that doesn't correctly apply, but hopefully the point is clear.)

equus_posteriori (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 1:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Zimmerman was out looking for trouble; Trayvon Martin only wanted to go home.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 2:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Gosh ... I almost wish I had something better to do than swat tired, pathetic arguments down like flies, but since I don't, here's your dose of reality:

The only reason poor little innocent Trayvon was even in the city of Sanford, Florida is that he'd been expelled from high school.

Why? Because the little douche bag had been caught, on campus, with jewelry reported stolen in a burglary.

Would you like to TRY again?

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 2:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

He didn't have stiolen items on his person that night, nor was he committing any crime nor was he or is he suspected of committing a crime at anytime in the time period in discussion.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 2:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

douche bag, little piece of trash......he was 3000 odd miles away and had nothing to do with you.....yet you spiritwankstilitssore feel compelled to slam this dead youth as best you can.

your hate issues consume you.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 2:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

He werdn't be havin' no sh*t on him at the time he be shoot... therefores (and thus), he be innocent!

(BTW, WTF is SSI?)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 2:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

and to hammer home your strident slide into ebonics. you are in a kkklass of your own.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 2:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Strident", "bigotry", "ebonics", what do that mean?

(I's just be's an innocent lil' chile window shopin' in da white folk's condos - what be wrong wit dat?

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 3:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well, at least I see what gets you up wanktilitbleeds. A rope and a sturdy branch.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 4:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually, if I was forced to guess right now, this very second, my guess would be that you ARE in fact the Sheriff of Santa Barbara county, lawdy - what say you?

(Do you have any more "backbone" than that slimy little witch you hired to be your PIO? I seriously doubt it, but I just gots ta ask anyways!)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 4:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I hope the sheriff of Santa Barbara county has more on his plate than chewing the fat with self important bigoted blowhards like yourself wankwank.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 4:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ooh, did I overestimate? Well, please forgive me... your bloviating certainly seems to be on a par with anything Sheriff Fat Ass could do.

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 5:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here's an idea: For those who carry guns, also have non-lethal weapons so that if a situation escalates to the point where you can't take down your opponent on your own, you don't have to go straight for a *deadly* weapon yet still bring down your opponent.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2013 at 5:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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