Almost 30 years ago, my wife and I were visited by her then 66-year-old father. As a young Marine, he had served in the Pacific in World War II. Among his decorations were a Navy Cross, Silver Star, and Purple Heart.

On the second day of his visit, he asked me if I would take him shooting, telling me he had brought his pistol with him on the bus and he needed some practice. His once nice neighborhood in Southern California had deteriorated, taken over by gangs and crack dealers on every corner. But it was his home, and he stubbornly refused to move.

When we arrived at the range, I was busy laying out my cool guns, which I was sure would impress him, when he produced a Raven Arms .25 Auto. I gently chided him about his “mouse gun” and made a comment to the effect of, “Don’t you know that if you shoot someone with it and they find out, they will be very upset?”

I was deeply ashamed of myself as tears welled in the old gentleman’s eyes and he told me that, being on Social Security, it was all he could afford. Here was a true American hero and all he had was a pistol most gun owners would turn up their noses at.

He practiced with his .25, but I could tell he really took a liking to my Lightweight Colt Commander.

He called me after he returned home to tell me how delighted he was when he found out that the Gun Fairy had slipped a gently used Lightweight Colt Commander, holster, couple extra magazines, and 100 rounds of .45 ACP in his bags. The Gun Fairy hated to see that pistol leave, but knew it could be replaced later.

I have been reminded of that incident many times over the years when someone, usually a new shooter, asks on the Internet for an opinion about an inexpensive pistol. This is usually met with responses along the lines of, “What you really need is an XYZ Super Blaster with lights, lasers, high-capacity magazine, and glow-in-the-dark sights.” Perhaps, like my former father-in-law, the pistol he asked about is all he can afford. Think about it the next time you respond to a fellow shooter.

By the way, that .25 Auto never made it back to California. Until my house fire took it, it sat in a frame on my desk to remind me every day to never look down on anyone who is not “appropriately armed.”

Until next time, stay low and watch your back.


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