Everyone has a favorite something. I have recently started doing a good bit of sport shooting and I enjoy it very much. I am actually hoping to one day become sponsored and big and important in the gun industry, but that is another story for another day.
My current three favorite guns, the three I could not live without, are my Glock 19, Gen 4; my custom built AR-15 and my Mossberg Semi-automatic 20 gauge shotgun.
I am under the same mindset as a popular Glock figure, Ermy. There are many Glocks, but this one is mine. I know exactly how mine with perform every single time I pick it up. I know how it acts when I change ammunition, I know how it acts of I’ve put it down for too long without shooting it. (here’s a hint on that one: the gun will never act any differently, but I usually need 50 rounds to warm up if it’s been a while since my last range time.) I let other people shoot it, and I know no one else has shot as many rounds through it as I have, and they may like it, they may love it, but it’s still mine.
If you’re interested in learning more about shooting sports, it is likely that at some point you’ve been on one gun forum or another. If you have been on any of the many, many forums, you may have seen the discussion between Gen 3 and Gen 4 Glocks. Everyone thinks one is vastly different than the other and one is definitely better than the other.
Well, here’s another opinion: I’ve put many rounds through both, and they function and feel very much the same to me. The differences in the two generations are: gen 4s come with changeable back straps, the Glock kit comes with a third magazine that the gen 3s never came with, and the recoil spring is different. The new (gen 4) recoil spring is supposed to make for less noticeable recoil, but I think you’d have to be using a machine to measure the difference, because I sure can’t tell.
MSRP on a Gen 4, G19: $649. If you’re in an area that happens to be saturated with Glocks, they may be as low as $450-550.
Now, when it comes to my AR-15, I had a look that was important to me, more than anything else. I’ve seen all the brands, handled some of them in person, and I knew a few things were important. When it comes to a modern sporting rifle (MSR as they are correctly called) you will want it to be mil-spec (this means that they would meet military specifications. If you aren’t building a gun for military use, then this may mean nothing to you.) You may have a rifle that isn’t specifically mil-spec and it functions perfectly fine- that’s okay- but mil-spec is supposed to be specifically durable. Whatever you do, I would not recommend any polymer parts other than maybe a buttstock or magazine. I know that polymer technology has come a long way and I love my polymer Glock, but there is a lot going on in a rifle to make sure it functions correctly, and you want the strongest, most durable parts possible. At the end of the day steel is stronger than polymer.
So! For Christmas I asked for AR parts. (In case I have anyone anti-gun lingering this far, I feel it important to say that AR does NOT stand for assault rifle. That term is made up. AR stands for Armalite Rifle, the inventor. Duh. ) I specifically did not want a stock AR because I wanted to put together my own rifle so I would know how to do it and I would understand exactly how it functions.
So! If anyone is interested, these are some of the parts I used:
Pink Aero Precision Lower Receiver
Palmetto State Armory Lower and Upper Parts Kits
OSS Flash Hider
Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle
I wanted it to be feminine, hence the pink lower receiver, but still Cool looking, so the rest is all black. I love it, I think it fits me perfectly. I have only gotten a chance to put about 100 rounds through it so far but I am very excited about it. As much as anything I’m excited to learn more about them.
My AR is custom built, (and I work around guns so I got mine cheaper than retail). I estimated all of my parts (including the ones not listed here) and if they sold retail the MSRP would be right around $1450.
Now, last but not least… My shotgun.
Now, let me start this section by saying that I am a small human, relatively speaking. I am 5’2″ inches tall and I weigh…well, that’s none of your business. 😉 I have never been afraid of shotguns, I have just always assumed that they would never be of any interest to me because I am small and the amount of recoil on them is big. Boy, was I wrong. I would be lying to you if I said there wasn’t any recoil, but there certainly isn’t so much that I felt it so much that I stopped shooting.
Let me break it down for you (shotgun pun intended). The first shotgun I ever shot was an old, side by side 16 gauge with a wood stock and absolute zero padding on the butt stock. This made for a very unpleasant shoot, but I still hit paper. Then, thankfully, a few weeks later I got my hands on a semi- automatic Harrington and Richardson (H&R for short) Excel Auto 12 gauge shotgun. It was so much shorter than the old side by side. It was so much lighter. It was so much prettier. I decided to give it a go.
My dad introduced me to skeet shooting that day. We had a skeet thrower in storage and he found a box of clays (I believe that’s what they’re called, I’m still fairly new to shotguns.) He wanted me to feel a sense of accomplishment, enough so that I’d be interested enough to keep learning. So we set up the thrower, I loaded my shells and… “PULL!”
…I missed. “That’s okay,” he said. “Don’t follow it. Lead it.”
I nodded my head, repeated the phrase a couple of times. I understood the concept- look where you want it to go. This concept is a little different than pistol shooting because with a pistol I paid very little attention to anything other than my sight alignment. I stared down that front sight and squeezed the trigger. Then, just as planned, my round went exactly where I knew it would. Well, back to my shotgun experience.
With the correct idea in my head, I tried again. “PULL!”
The clay went soaring through the air and then, even with my hearing protection on, I could hear a “CRACK!”
I hit it!
That’s really all it took for me to love the sport. The idea that on my second try I could hit it and even if I didn’t hit it… I had a semi automatic shotgun. My shotgun held 3-4 shells at a time, so if I needed to shoot again, I could do that with minimal effort.
So, now for some details on my shotgun. My H&R Excel Auto 12 gauge retails for $500-$600 dollars. I have since also shot a Mossberg Automatic 20 gauge (also retails $500-$600) that I also love. If I was going to be spending a day at the range, I think that I’d probably use the 20 gauge just for the fact that it doesn’t bang up my shoulder quite as much. Now, don’t get me wrong, both are very comfortable and have a lot of pudding on the end, but I bruise easily and you will still feel the sore muscle the next day.
Both of these shotguns come in two different lengths (a standard length and a shorter, tactical version.)
Well, that about wraps it up for this entry! Let me know what guns you can’t live with out!