Suits you, sir

Shooting Times & Country|June 24, 2020

Suits you, sir
Forget love at first sight, buying a new gun should be a slow process, says Tom Payne
Tom Payne

It always amazes me how many people are seduced by the aesthetic of a gun before they’ve even analyzed how well it’s built and given some serious thought to how it handles.

I suppose, in many ways, that’s the point. We all like pretty things, it’s simply human nature, so if a manufacturer can churn out well-figured stocks and laser up some pretty engraving, a potential customer decides to buy at first glance. It’s love at first sight and no matter what you do your mind will allow that gun to feel and handle perfectly for you while you’re in the shop and even for the first couple of outings. It’s a condition I like to call ‘new gun syndrome’. You have no hang-ups with the gun so you shoot with a clear mind. Then suddenly the wheels fall off and your shooting is doomed because the gun was never right for you in the first place, no matter how pretty it is.

In truth, we’ve perhaps all been guilty of falling for a pretty but inappropriate gun at some point and the reality is that, in doing so, we’ve got it all the wrong way round. Aesthetics should be the icing on the cake, not the starting point.

The first thing to do, and this goes for all bore sizes and men and women alike are to try and first establish a make. This is easier said than done. The only way to get a feel of a particular brand is to test various guns out at your local shooting ground. This is important as you are trying to gauge build quality, how well different brands truly handle, and how compatible you are with a brand as an individual. This process can and should take some time but it is important because you are already starting to focus your attention on the right gun for you and not the prettiest gun in the rack. In an ideal world, we’d all get a gun made for us but as the past few months have shown, an ideal world this ain’t. Buying off the shelf won’t give you exactly what you want but setting a bit of budget aside to pay for a gunsmith to make a few tweaks is money well spent.

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June 24, 2020