Wanted: Good Arguments

I would like to ask the readers and contributors here at RNS for some help.

Some back story: I’ve been married for almost two years now. Two teenage step-kids and a baby. We’re planning another baby eventually. About nine months ago, I started a new job in a field I plan to make my career.  The job doubled my salary overnight; I love it, I like more than ninety percent of the people in my immediate work unit.  Life is great.

Now that I am making decent money I have been able to set some aside for long-delayed projects.  Things like Glamdring, who languished for seven years waiting to be whole. I have a lot of projects waiting in the wings; more than I can tackle at once and certainly more than I have money to pay for all at once, even with my shiny new paychecks. My mother told me when I was in middle school, “Successful people make lists.” Well, I don’t know if all of them do, but once I started keeping lists I at least didn’t forget things as often. And I have quite a few lists, probably none of them particularly exciting or unusual for most of our readers. Among them, inevitably, is my “Firearms List.” It’s fairly long and involved, I’ve spent quite a bit of thought on it. Finally seeing some progress on that list has been nice.

Wolf’s “cane gun” post of the other day triggered this post. My current project involves reconfiguring my childhood hunting shotgun, a 20-gauge Remington 870 Wingmaster given to me when I was ten years old. I want to be able to convert it from a hunting weapon to a home-defense shotgun that my wife or daughter could use at need. They are both small women: the standard length of pull is far too great, and the 28″ full-choke barrel, while it has bagged me many a bird on the wing, makes the gun unwieldy indoors, and adds to the girls’ difficulty in handling it. The project has hit some snags, but it proceeds. I’ll be sure to provide pictures and so forth once it’s complete. I was updating my firearms list last week regarding this project while my wife was reading over my shoulder. She expressed concern about my overall firearms list: “Are you preparing for World War III?”

I doubt any self-respecting “prepper” would consider my current state of readiness for most scenarios anywhere near up to snuff (subject of another list), so no I can’t claim to be preparing for WWIII. Her immediate worry was that if I spend too much money on “gun stuff” that our home improvement projects will suffer. I tried to explain the utility of a more compact shotgun for defense, but it became clear that we were talking past each other. In my wife’s view, I have a .45 caliber bedside gun; home defense is thus achieved. Anything else is just fun toys for me to mess with. I don’t see it that way, but my arguments clearly didn’t convince her.

So I ask you folks: how do I explain my concerns and make my points without winding up on the couch? My wife is not anti-gun; far from it. She is, however, relatively new to guns and not extremely experienced in their use or the sorts of mindsets that go with them. We are going to be getting training together, (it’s on a list) but I feel that I could stand to have more ammunition, so to speak, when we discuss these sorts of things in the future.

Fire away! And thanks in advance.

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10 Responses to Wanted: Good Arguments

  1. Phil says:

    One way to make it easier to understand is that you are going to either buy a new barrel, flashlight & mount, and a stock for the existing gun (Less than $300) , or you will have to buy a complete new gun (more than $300).

    The shotgun is a necessary tool for home defense and will do more/better than a handgun for the household (just ask Joe Biden).

    Either way, the household will have a shotgun, so that is her choice.

    Just as she apparently feels she needs to put her foot down, marriage is a two part proposition and it is not fair for her to be the only one who gets to do so. Put your boots on. The choice is hers: New parts or new gun.

    What is the use in having a well remodeled home if you can’t defend it effectively?

    Or you could whip out the nuclear option and bring to my house and show her my gun/guitar room. Make sure she’s wearing Depends beforehand.

    While I understand these pieces of advice may lead to her not wanting to ever make my acquaintance, if it works then I’ll accept the sacrifice. I’m used to middle aged women seeing me as a corrupting influence. Before I was married it was mothers versus their daughters. These days it is wives versus their husbands. See, I’m growing up.

  2. Firehand says:

    “Honey, what if I’m not here? You can use a scattergun a lot better than a pistol(in case she’s not a good handgun shot), and you need it to fit you” is what comes to mind first.

  3. Steve Ronin says:

    I would recommend a hybrid of what Phil and Firehand suggested:

    “you need to either buy a new barrel, flashlight & mount, and a stock for the existing gun (Less than $300) , or you will have to buy a complete new gun (more than $300).”
    “Honey, what if I’m not here? You can use a scattergun a lot better than a pistol.”
    and then I’d suggest you help her to make the decision on what and how for herself.
    It ceases to be something that YOU blew money on, and becomes her household protection device that she picked out herself.
    I’ve only been married 18 years, but the last weapon I bought; I roped her into the decision making. Tis easier to share the blame for the $300 hole in the savings account.

  4. Rivrdog says:

    Work on the mindset first. If you don’t get the midset right, she’ll never use the gun no matter how Tommy you make it.

    Word on Tommy Flashlight: not required. Get a Youth stock for the gun and have a new 20″ Cylinder Bore barrel fitted. That pricing might very well well work out as the new barrel + fitting + stock = new Mossberg 500 or Hawk. You could cut the present barrel down yourself, just get the right crowning tool to finish the job properly. You could also put the stock on a bandsaw and cut it down, then hand-shave the buttplate to match. Buy some low-recoil ammo for the vimmens.

  5. Rolf says:

    Well, there are two of you, so obviously you need AT LEAST two guns suitable for home defense (more if want a backup), and Glamdring, fine piece that it is, is NOT an optimal choice for a bunch of reasons. Ask her to try to maneuver the fill size 870 around the house, like you had to go check something out, let HER experience the problems with a full sized scatter gun. Point out racking the slide is a great deterrent to someone in the house as an audible indicator that the shit just got serious, but only if it’s really ready to use. If the teens are old enough, ask what THEY might use when you are away (carrying said .45). Giver her some say in the matter – ask “given that we really should have at LEAST two good home defense guns, do you have a lower-cost option you’d want to look into?” Then ask her to go shopping with you, and when she see prices on some of the other options you were “seriously considering” (like a spiffy new AR), suddenly the frugality of your current choice may become apparent.

  6. Mollbot says:

    I think the issue is two-fold. One, the idea that good home defense requires more than just a handgun, which will be easy enough to discuss with her. I think a mix of several of your suggestions will work. The second is the overall amount of money I plan to invest in firearms, accessories, and so forth. The cost of the parts to re-purpose the shotgun weren’t so bad.

    But as she read the rest of the list, which includes price estimates on most of the items I’m considering within the next year, I think the cost of the entire thing began to seem like, well… a whole lot of money. Because it is quite a bit of money. But that’s why I have the list, to keep track and chip away at it a piece at a time, within our budget.

    Rolf, I do have an AR on order, but the delivery date has moved back once already, I’m not sure when it will get here. I think her objection is mostly to the rate of acquisition – she married me knowing very well I’m a “gun guy” and that I had plans to expand my collection once I was able. She has even mentioned that if my AR is as fun to shoot as my buddy’s she might want one of her own someday.

    Thanks all for the quick and useful responses. Phil, I may take you up on the visit – if only to introduce the family. Be warned that my step-son will probably get drool all over your collection… and the baby will probably get drool on most everything else. :)

  7. PMain says:

    If you do come up with a winning argument, please post it. Mine is convinced all she needs is her 5 shot S&W .38spl – which she can honestly shoot amazingly well.

  8. Davidwhitewolf says:

    You know, getting a sitter and signing the two of you up for a pistol or home-defense course would probably be the best way to both inculcate mindset and also lock her in to the idea that you’re both in this together. You’ll also expose her to a whole bunch of other folks’ opinions, including the instructor’s, and likely emphasizing that a handgun is not a sufficient tool for home defense, but needs to be part of a package.

    LMS Defense has a pistol course up in Washington state coming up, and I know their curriculum always includes a big chunk of mindset, so there you go.

  9. john says:

    The Box o’ Truth: Shotguns don’t punch thru walls like jello, scoring “preserve the children” points.

    Buckshot penetrates 2 or 3 walls


    Even 9mm penetrates 6 walls.


    Just another argument to go along with economy, backup, scattershot, intimidation, learnability, and coolness.

  10. Mollbot says:

    Today I am reminded that list or no list, the Demon Murphy always has the last say. As of Monday evening, my commuter car’s motor has been graded as dead: not revivable. $2500 to replace the engine, for a car I bought for $3500 nine months ago…

    So, the discussion may yet happen, but the firearms list, and training, are on indefinite hold and I have to start car shopping tomorrow. Whee.

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