I’m not going to lie; growing up in Seattle sort of infuses in you a certain belief about gun ownership that seems awfully one-sided. And while I will keep all politics out of this discussion, I just want there to be some level of understanding regarding my background.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been raised in the beautiful Pacific Northwest outdoors. Hiking, climbing, adventure camping, survival techniques, etc., are all in my repertoire. My 4WD truck always has my survival pack with a sleeping bag, tactical knife, fire starters, hiking boots, flashlights, first aid kit and at least enough gear to keep me safe overnight, so I’m not a typical city dweller (however, I do take pride in my coffee making abilities).
Either way, the fact is, until about a year ago, I had never shot a gun. Yes, 20some years without pulling the trigger once. It’s not even that I was particularly reserved about doing so; I just wasn’t in an environment that really actively encouraged such an activity.
This all changed when I got an opportunity to join some friends in New Mexico for a few days of camping, hiking and hanging out in the southwest two years ago. For those unfamiliar, this area is absolutely filled with unique beauty, and as someone who is completely in love with the Pacific Northwest, I don’t commonly offer compliments to other regions of the country.
While planning for the trip, it was disclosed that I lacked any experience with a gun, so my friends quickly decided this was the perfect opportunity to change that. Little did I know that I would have the opportunity to fire not only “a” gun, but rather a whole bunch of them. From pistols to assault rifles, shotguns, long range rifles, you name it, they had it. And I got to shoot them all, multiple times.
After some great training (Thanks Kyle!), I was immediately in love. I think my bias almost immediately fell towards the AR-15. The rate of fire and accuracy were overwhelmingly fun. After some time just getting used to the power, we worked on tactical movements and reload times. That was the tipping point where I saw not only a fun activity, but a challenging one. We had accuracy contests, which I of course lost, but none the less thoroughly enjoyed.
As spring approaches, this will be our third year going to the same spot. And as the day nears, my excitement keeps growing. I still don’t own any of my own guns yet, but I think it will only be a matter of time before I take the plunge.
What was your first gun? What would you recommend knowing what you know now?
This guest post was written by Rob Toledo. Rob resides in the Pacific Northwest and is an avid outdoorsman and blossoming survivalist. He still has not purchased his first gun, but is definitely open to suggestions. He can be reached on Twitter (@stentontoledo).