Most gun owners have a story or two of regret, usually the result of ridding themselves of a beloved firearm. Call it “seller’s remorse” or whatever, why anyone would sell a beloved firearm, I don’t know. But I think “beloved” at times gets redefined or at least reprioritized as we go through life. A variety of factors can contribute to this: Sometimes finances get tight and something’s gotta go to help pay a bill. Sometimes we are wooed by other firearms and something’s gotta go to pay for the cost of the new gun. Sometimes it is just sheer foolishness. One of my stories of regret is the day I got rid of my Smith & Wesson K-22 Masterpiece. I’d like to think it was out of necessity but it was probably just foolish.
How I Got It
I’ve always enjoyed firearms and shooting but didn’t really get into it until after graduating from college, when, not surprisingly, I could actually afford to purchase firearms and ammunition. I had already inherited from my grandfather a beautiful Remington .308 semi-auto hunting rifle. Unfortunately, I could never get out to hunt to actually use it. And I wanted a handgun. And a friend wanted my Remington. And he was willing to part with his K-22 in order to get it. So, we traded, straight up. He got a fantastic rifle. I got the K-22, in excellent condition, in the original box, with the original manual and owner documents, and even with the original wax wrapping paper. I was thrilled to get the K-22 but someday I’ll write the article about how I wished I had never parted with that Remington rifle.
The K-22 provided years of faithful service, firing .22 bullets down many a range with incredible accuracy. Credit the six-inch barrel, super-smooth trigger action, and easy-to-see iron sights that never needed adjusting. I plinked away in single action, easily hitting empty shotgun shells, one after the other, at over 10 yards. I fired in double action, putting all six rounds into a paper plate at over 30 yards. I cut smiley faces into paper targets, shot through the same quarter-sized hole, round after round, and shattered clay pigeons placed against plywood at the outdoor range. After firing 60 or 70 rounds I would wipe the gun down and do it all again. Afterwards, cleaning the K-22 always resulted in a beautiful, shiny metal handgun with wood target stocks that was perfect in every detail and a true classic.
How I Let it Go
Soon, I became interested in concealed carry and my home state of Michigan became a “shall issue” state. Even though six rounds of .22 in a full-sized steel revolver with a six-inch barrel is better than nothing for a carry gun, I wasn’t about to carry the K-22. I wanted something smaller with a bit more punch and settled on another classic: A Smith & Wesson 642 — an aluminum-alloy framed .38 Special built on the smallish J-frame. It weighed only 15 ounces, sported a 1.875-inch barrel and carried five rounds of +P. Perfect.
Except I didn’t have the money to purchase it. What I did have was an old 7mm Mauser rifle and the beloved K-22 Masterpiece. I visited my local gun dealer who offered me hardly anything for both of them. Convinced that the S&W 642 would easily win the practicality test, I handed over the Mauser, the K-22, and chipped in some additional cash. The 642 came home with me.
Not many range sessions have gone by where I haven’t wanted that K-22. And not just for myself. I’ve had the privilege of introducing several young people to firearms and shooting and every time wished I had the K-22 to start them off. Yes, other firearms can fill that first-gun role, but not as well, especially not for younger shooters who struggle to keep a heavy stainless steel S&W 686 revolver aimed at a target or, unless they’re a bit older and stronger, to rack the slide on a Glock.
The 642 was a nice gun, of course, and fairly accurate for a snubbie. But, being so light in weight, it quickly became tedious to shoot for more than, say, 25 or 30 rounds. Sure would be nice to have that smooth, old six-shooter .22 back… Ironically and regrettably, the 642 is no longer with me, either. I foolishly traded it in for another gun. But that’s another story.
What firearms do you regret letting go?
— Mark Kakkuri