This past weekend the husband and I attended the Nation's Gun Show. This was our second time attending this show. Last year, it was more of a last minute decision and we really had no idea what to expect. It was a little overwhelming at first because of the mass amount of vendors and things to see but it really helped to prepare us for our second visit. There is really something for everyone interested in this industry ranging from knives, guns, survivalist kits, tactical gear, historical memorabilia, and even jewelry. You can interact with vendors to learn about their products and make purchases. If you wanted to you could also purchase a gun on site.
The main reason for attending the gun show was for me, which seems so odd for me to even type that. As you know, part of this blog and the 'Girl Meets Gun' journey is all about whether or not I decide if gun ownership is for me. And part of that is not just about understanding my responsibilities as a gun owner, going to the range and learning to shoot but also about finding a gun that I'm comfortable with. And the gun show is the easiest place to do that. There are hundreds of guns for sale from different vendors where you can essentially try guns on so-to-speak. All the guns are displayed out of their cases and on open table tops secured by a security wire. We basically hit each table and I started picking up different guns seeing how they felt and fit in my hand. After each table I would make mental notes and sometimes iPhone notes (hey there is a lot things to remember) of what I liked and didn't like. Basically, it was like Goldilocks but with guns instead of beds & porridge. Going into this journey, I knew that a 9mm pistol was what my focus was going to be on. It's a good caliber pistol for home defense and target practice.
As I made my way from table-to-table, gun-to-gun it was interesting to see what immediately felt good versus what didn't. The salesman at these tables were all super friendly, nice, and willing to help. I informed them that I was there trying to get a gauge on how different pistols felt in my hand and then they would in turn make some different recommendations for me to try. I distinctly remember feeling very nervous handling the guns the first time we went to the gun show. Going back to the range a couple weeks ago definitely helped me out here as I felt more confident in how to properly grip the pistol and was familiar with many of its components.
A few things I learned was that most grips on a pistol have a back strap that can be interchanged to different sizes. Most pistols come standard with a medium sized backstrap with options to change out the backstrap to small or large. With some brands you can even change out the side grips. This was pretty important because if the pistol felt somewhat comfortable with the medium backstrap and had an option to go smaller then I could add it to the list of pistols to consider. This handle/strap is one of the issues why I'm not comfortable shooting the husbands pistols. The backstraps he uses is a size to fit in his hands comfortable and that's just too big for me. And the backstraps aren't something you change on the fly when you're at the range.
I gravitated to pistols that immediately felt good in my hands taking into account the grip and overall weight. I was able to narrow down what I liked based on this to the Heckler & Koch VP9, Sig Sauer P-226, and the Walther PPQ. I spent about the last hour or so focusing on those three. Trying and retrying. The Sig Sauer felt okay in my hands but compared to the HK and Walther it was definitely larger & heavier right off the bat. Then I found out that the backstrap on the Sig was not interchangeable so that made my decision easier...scratch it off the list. What I found was that I kept going back to the HK. Every time I picked it up, it felt good & not too heavy. I soon learned that not only could the backstrap be interchanged but so could the side grip panels. This basically sealed the deal for me. The Walther PPQ felt good in my minds but for some reason I just really liked the HK. Although, now I'm not surprised because it's one of the more higher end brands out there. Leave it up to me to pick that one out.
We were at the gun show for four hours and 90% of that time I was "trying on" guns. My goal for the trip was to walk away with a couple of pistols in mind that felt good in my hands. For me, that meant my grip on the pistol was secure, it didn't feel too big in my hands, and it didn't feel too heavy. And I pleased to say I've got a good starting point. I'm going to start researching the HK VP9 and finding ranges around that stock it so I can see how it shoots. I'm still in no way at the point where I'm ready to purchase a gun but as things are progressing I'm starting to think that the road does end with me owning my own firearm.
I still have another range session to schedule. So it will be good to see how I feel back in the range.