Sunday, September 25, 2011

Coming out of the gun closet part III

Not your average collection...

Ways to buy a gun
In part 2, I talked about buying a gun from the store, which is a great way to see how a gun fits you. The other way is to go to the range and ask people to let you hold their guns (If done politely chances are that many will let you shoot it as well). It’s important to realize that any gun you buy fits you. It doe not matter how good the reviews are, or which police/army/big game guide uses which gun, what really matters is how it fits your hand and body shape. Almost every modern handgun and long gun are excellent guns and you are really choosing on fit and details like “ambi-safety”, decockers, left hand/right hand, etc.

 How not to buy a gun

  • When purchasing your first gun, avoid anything with the word magnum, Casull or Lapu in it, these guns are expensive to feed and requires good technique to hit the target repeatable.
  • Not everything a gun store clerk tells you is true! Chances are that the gun he is telling you will never be available again, will be on the shelves next month.
  •  Don’t be talked into buying a particular gun, because someone claimed that anything less is placing your life and your family in danger.
  • Do not buy a gun based on what you saw in a movie and please don’t base your firearms handling on them either!!
Suggestions for a first gun
It really depends on your budget which gun(s) to buy first. If you have lots of money then your options are much wider than what I am suggesting. Keep in mind the gun is just the beginning of the shooting hobby, you will need carrying case, trigger locks, gun cabinet/safe, lots and lots of ammunition, gun club membership, possibly optics, safety glasses, ear protection and of course a cleaning kit. Ammunition is by far the most expensive ongoing cost of shooting which why serious shooters reload their own (covered in a later post).

My Dlask 10/22

.22cal rimfire
Your first gun should be a .22cal, this will allow you to practice and learn at very reasonable costs and they are just plain fun. For a rifle I recommend the Ruger 10/22. This rifle is very common, has a huge amount of aftermarket parts and modifications. For a pistol it gets a bit harder. There are several routes to go. First is the dedicated .22cal target pistol like the Buckmark. These are accurate and reliable, but all of this type of firearm are finicky to take apart.

The other option is a centrefire pistol with a .22calconversion kit. You can get aftermarket kits for the Glock and CZ line. Sig offers their classic .22 models which is a fullsize frame fitted with a .22cal slide and magazine. You buy the 9mm/.40cal slide and mags later.

If you love the 1911 model, there are dedicated guns made by GSG that are in .22cal.

Sig 226 with conversion kit on and 9mm slide below it

Centrefire choices
 If your first gun must be a centrefire I recommend rifles in .223Remington or 7.62x39. The Warsaw Pact guns like the SKS are the cheapest centrefire to shoot and lots of fun. Just keep in mind that most 7.62x39 ammo is corrosive and you must clean the gun as soon as you get back!

Norinco SKS with Tapco stock

Rifles in .223 offer very good accuracy with little recoil for a reasonable cost. You can get this calibre in either a bolt action or semi-auto, keep in mind most of the semi-autos in this calibre are restricted and can only be used at the range.

Norinco CAR

For a centrefire pistol I recommend 9mm to start, my preference is the SW M&P, but the Glock 17, CZ models, Ruger SR-9 and the Sig 226 are all fine choices. In fact you really can’t go wrong on any modern pistol. I like the 1911 models as well, very accurate guns, but most are in .45acp which is not cheap to shoot. Also being single action they require excellent muzzle control and trigger finger discipline.
SW M&P with weapons light and Blackhawk Serpa holster

Where to buy?
 So you have figured out what you want and how much to spend (your spouse may have different ideas here!) but none of the local stores have what you want! Relax there is another couple of ways which I will explain;

Exchange Forums
Many popular gun forums such as Canadiangunnutz, Canadiangunslingers and HuntingBC have exchange forums where you can buy and sell guns, gun parts and shooting/hunting related stuff. While the forum cannot guarantee that everyone is perfectly honest and will not refund you any lost money, what they have done is to create a “Trader rating”. This means that buyers and sellers can rate people on the transaction and this will give you an indication on how much to trust someone. As you buy and sell on the forum you too will get a trader rating.

Retail outlets websites
Most successful gun stores operate websites that allow you to buy guns and gun stuff online. This is a great way to comparison shop and to get the best price. Keep in mind shipping costs and taxes when calculating the final price. Here are few; Reliable, Epps, Candaammo, Questar, Marstar

US gun online stores
When you surf the web you will find great deals in the US, however many items including parts for AR-15 type rifles, scopes, and other certain parts are barred from export under the ITAR rules. Basically if it’s used by a modern military it’s likely to be blocked from export. Parts for rimfires and hunting rifles are likely cleared for export, however keep in mind shipping, duty and taxes payable upon crossing the border.

While Ebay does sell some gun parts, Ebay is anti-firearm and won’t allow the selling of guns. When you do order from the US Ebay keep in mind many sellers won’t ship across the border. It is a good place to get odd bits like grips, holsters and such. Paypal is very anti-firearm and will give you grief if they find out the item is gun related.

 While an excellent place to sell baby clothes and such, I would very much discourage you from selling gun stuff on Craigslist. There are too many non-nice people that cruise there. If you must sell there, do not let people come to your door, offer to meet them somewhere public, this can be awkward with a firearm and hence one of the reasons I don’t support it for firearm related stuff.

Gun shows
I find gun shows a great place to buy gun related stuff, but find the guns often overpriced, do your homework before shopping at a gun show.

The CFC and buying guns online
There some legal steps to go through to buy a gun online. Once you contact the seller and make the agreement to buy, you must give the seller your name, address and PAL number. The seller will contact the CFC and initiate the transfer. The CFC will give the seller a transfer number and then contact you. You then call the CFC to confirm the transfer giving them the number.

There is no requirement to call the CFC for a Non-restricted firearm, you can call the CFC to confirm the PAL number of the buyer, but people report the CFC asking for more information than required. It is your responsibility to ensure that the buyer has a PAL. Easy to do person to person, but harder online. some ask for a scan. be careful here as when someone gets a scan of your PAL, they can use that to buy guns as well. If you do send a scan, perhaps watermark it with a date saying from then to then.

Mailing a gun
Guns can be mailed in Canada using the most secure mail available which requires a signature at the door. The CFC gets around the Firearms Act by claiming the gun is not really a gun when in the mail system (sigh), but it’s not in our interest to rock the boat here, but shows you how bad the Firearms Act is written.

In Part IV of the series I will deal with joining a gun club, cleaning a gun among other things.

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