As blue steel and checkered walnut seem to be museum pieces,
Gun Geezers struggle to adapt to modern ways….
The first handgun I ever fired was a Colt New Police .32 double-action revolver, at the age of 9 (yes, it had a history behind it). My first 1911 was a circa 1918 production military surplus Colt, its walnut diamond grips worn flat where the checkering used to be, that I got for my 12th Christmas.
At about that time, I was a newbie at Rundlett Junior High School in Concord, N.H. The school’s Latin motto (which I’m not sure I remember correctly) translated to “What you are to be, you are now becoming.”
Principal Samuel Richmond and Assistant Principal Carl Bartlett, and the school motto itself, had me nailed coming into the entry gate. What I was to be, I was indeed becoming, and that was a gun guy who had bonded with the concept of conventional pistols and revolvers from a little before the turn of the 20th century to, oh, the early 1960s.
(Mr. Richmond and Mr. Bartlett had me on the carpet a few times, and rightfully so. I learned lessons, one of which is that it’s better to engage in fistfights where the teachers can’t see it happening. But they also taught that when you live up to responsibility, you earn privilege, and that was a lasting lesson. Mr. Richmond allowed me to bring my Pre-War S&W K-22 Outdoorsman revolver to school for a science class show and tell, an action which today would have gotten the kid expelled and earned the principal a career change.)
The “old values”: blue steel, checkered walnut, all of that. So why am I sitting here, an anachronistic geezer who should be carrying a 1911 in the Centennial year of that classic design, with a polymer-framed Glock 31 on my hip in a Kydex holster?
There’s this little thing called “practicality,” and that was one of the “old-time virtues,” too. Lightweight for all-day carry, to make sure the thing is actually with you when you need it for that rare life-or-death emergency. More efficient grip configuration, which allows more cartridges on board for those even rarer, but definitely real, occasions when it’s not going to be a brief life-or-death encounter. Shootability, because polymer frames absorb recoil well, and they tend to be part of newer designs that are more ergonomic. Reliability, because these new guns have simply raised the bar for that, and we “gun geezers” have to face it.
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