I know a lot of people who got started shooting when they were young. They were introduced by a father or grandfather, usually through hunting.
I’m not one of those people.
We had no guns in my home growing up. My Dad had been in the Army and National Guard in the 60’s, but once he left the service he never took another shot as far as I know. I was as interested in playing Cowboys and Army as much as any kid in my neighborhood, but except for a brief summer of BB gun shooting, we never got involved with real guns. Guns were a mystery, and admittedly a source of fear because they were unknown.
After college and getting married, I moved to Texas to take my first job, and there I got to know people for whom guns were just an every day part of life. But I was also playing a lot of company league softball, and I took up golf at that time. So between a young wife, my job, softball, and golf, I didn’t look to add anything new.
In 1992, I decided to change jobs and move back closer to where I grew up in Georgia. I ended up with some money from stock options, which made for a very nice Christmas for my family. I even had some money left over, and I wanted to buy something I would not have bought otherwise.
I can’t say what made me first think about getting a gun, but once I got the idea, I ran with it. I researched the caliber and type of gun I wanted to buy, and I visited lots of gun stores. My youngest brother had just joined the Army, and his advice was to go with 9mm as the caliber, for a couple of good reasons – magazine capacity and availability of ammunition. He told me he could probably walk into a roadside shop in Karachi, Pakistan, and buy a box of 9mm. (Years later he found out he was right.)
My wife was not entirely sold on the idea of having a gun in the house, but she warmed up gradually. I remember her requirement was that it be able to hold a lot of ammunition. “I want to be able to run down the hall shooting at the bad guy, without having to count my shots. Just like Bruce Willis.” So 9mm it was.
After a month of research, I was in a sporting goods store in Marietta, Georgia, with a pistol in my hand, ready to make a buy, only to find I couldn’t buy it because I was a resident of Alabama. That was my first encounter with what I was to find out is an astoundingly stupid collection of gun laws.
So I went home to Alabama and ended up finding a Glock 17 at a pawn shop in the town I lived in. My brother’s opinion of Glock was not the best, however, since the idea of a polymer frame handgun was still new. Glock had been in the US market only about 6 years. But one of his sergeants convinced him it was a good choice, so I made an offer on the gun, and it was mine.
It's now 19 years later, and I still own that gun, which I named “Bruce” in honor of Bruce Willis, my wife’s model for magazine capacity. I'm shooting Bruce in my banner photo, in fact. He's my favorite.