No doubt you've heard about the most recent demand for firearms. As one who sells them and performs background checks it's true. What's most interesting is to see who's buying.
What I notice with this current batch of first-timers they aren't much interested in conceal carry personal protection. Their interest is to protect the home.
Many of them arrive at my desk as couples, husband and wife. They arrive in all ages and admit to never having any interest in firearms before. In fact some tell me they are still have their doubts. But now is the time. Due to current events many citizens no longer believe law enforcement is capable of protecting them. It may have taken decades to arrive at this conclusion but they finally get it.
My approach to first-time buyers is to educate them on how each type of firearm functions and performs in very simple terms they can understand. Some of them arrive with no idea of what to buy while others insist on a specific firearm recommended by a gun owning neighbor, or friend, or the guy at the private gun shop four miles away. These folks come right out and ask me what it is that best suits their needs when it comes to home protection. I proceed with great respect and admiration that they decided to exercise their 2A right…
For them I will pull bullets out of an ammo box to explain the visual difference between rifle and handgun cartridges because honestly they have no clue. I show them the difference between FMJ and JHP bullet heads. Diagrams on shotshell boxes help me explain the difference between a target load, hunting load or self defense load. They learn the difference between a bullet and a big wad of lead shot and the effect each has once it leaves the muzzle. These are basics to seasoned gun owners but enlightening to these fine folks. It is my awesome responsibility to educate the first-time gun buyer and steer them to the best solution.
In my experience most first-time buyers want inexpensive, simple-to-use domestic protection and never intend to carry a weapon outside the home. These buyers have made a huge leap to even consider purchasing a firearm and are most deserving of my attention. But they wouldn't understand why a Remington 870 costs about $400 compared to a Benelli Ethos costing $2000 or more and most don't care.
My recommendation is they purchase an entry level reliable short barrel shotgun. In our store the single most popular firearm of all is the Maverick 88 by Mossberg. Last week we offered it on sale for $189. (usually $219 with MSRP $300) and they flew off the shelf. This week they sell for $179. I will show them a range of SBSG's in both price and features but the under $200 price generally tips it in for the 88.
The 88 is an entry level short barrel (18") pump action that lacks some features of the Mossberg 500, one of their biggest sellers of all time. The model 500 has countless variants but the 88 has seven I know of.
The 88 has fewer inexpensive aftermarket options to dress it up compared to Mossberg's popular 500 models. This is why it makes sense for the first time buyer. They want basic home protection not a higher priced weapon capable of getting beat to hell when used by SWAT teams or in military combat.
Here's what I see happening in many instances unfortunately. The first timer will buy that Maverick 88 and a box of 00buck, take it home, admire it, point it, load it and stick it in a closet waiting for the day when duty calls. I encourage them otherwise.
If the newbie buyers are smart they will take my advice and get some range practice with personal instruction. I urge them to take it out and train with it before loading some 00buck and sticking it under their bed or in a closet. Some will, some won't. As long as they keep their new family addition well lubricated and stored in a dark, dry area the very capable and affordable Maverick 88 by Mossberg will serve them well. Of course I encourage some form of locking safety device if they have children.
After they pass the check and the transfer is completed there's one last thing. I encourage them to join The National Rifle Association.
If owning one gun enables just one family, just one father to save the lives of his wife and children isn't preserving the Second Amendment worth it?