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The Justice Cooperative


Tom gave a sigh of frustration, then held his hands about a foot apart. “I want the biggest, most
powerful gun you can sell me. Something like ‘Dirty Harry’ used in the movies.”
The proprietor leaned on the counter, eyed Tom for a moment, then asked in a quiet voice, “Ever fired
a gun before?”
“No,” came the hesitant admission.
“I don’t recommend a .44 Magnum for first-time gun buyers. It kicks like a mule. It’ll take you a couple
of seconds to get your sights back onto your target after your first shot. If you don’t stop your attacker
with that first shot, you may not live long enough to aim a second shot. Even if you hit the guy with your
first shot, the bullet is likely to go right through him, and hit whoever’s on the other side. If you’re
unfamiliar with guns, a .44 Magnum is likely to scare you even more than it scares the guy you’re
defending yourself against.”
“Okay, what do you recommend?” Tom asked.
The proprietor straightened up. “The usual rule is, the biggest gun you feel comfortable shooting. You
ought to test fire several guns to see what suits you. But you’ve let yourself run out of time for that. Even
if you place an order now, it’ll take seven days before I can let you walk out of here with it.”
“But I never needed a gun before.”
The proprietor gave a negative shake of his head. “No, you did need a gun. You just didn’t realize it.
The time to buy a gun is before the bad guy comes bustin’ through your door. Since they passed that
waiting period law, that means at least seven days before.”
“Well, if you recommend against a ‘Dirty Harry’ gun, what should I get?”
“Your basic choice is between a revolver and a semi-automatic pistol.” The proprietor pointed to some
of the guns in a display case. “The revolver has the advantage that it’ll put up with a lot of neglect and still
work when you need it. The disadvantage is that the trigger pull on a revolver is pretty stiff, which means
it’s harder to shoot accurately, and it holds only six shots. With an automatic, there’s more mechanical
stuff to go wrong, which means you can’t just let the thing sit around for years. You have to keep it
cleaned and oiled. But it holds more cartridges than a revolver, and the trigger is usually easier to pull.”
“I’m a machinist. I’m willing to do what has to be done to keep the gun in good shape. I think I’ll go for
the automatic.”
“Okay, then you have to decide what caliber you want. For someone just starting out, I usually
recommend a 9-millimeter. A 9-millimeter gun holds more cartridges than one for the .40 or the .45. Even
though they’ve got this ten-round limit on magazines, the most popular .45’s hold only seven rounds.
Besides, with a 9-millimeter the kick is less. You’ll find it easier to learn to shoot.
“Once you get used to shooting, you may want to move up to a bigger caliber. Guns hold their value
pretty well, if you take care of them, so you won’t lose much money if you decide to trade up later.”
The proprietor stopped for breath, then eyed Tom. “Now, are you married?”
“Yes. It’s my wife that I’m worried about. I need to protect her.”
“You can’t be around her all the time. She has to be able to protect herself. If you need a gun, she needs
a gun too.”
“I’m not sure she’ll want a gun.”
“If there’s really some guy after you, she doesn’t have much choice. And the longer she puts off
ordering one, the longer it’ll be before she has one.”
“I guess you’re right. What do you recommend?”
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