The question I get most on my Instagram page is, “How did you get into guns?”, so I figured this would be a good place to start for my first blog post! But before I can tell you how I got into guns, I first have to give you a brief history of Monica BG (Before Guns).
I was born and raised in San Jose, California. In case you didn’t know, San Jose is smack in the middle of ultra-liberal Silicon Valley, which was probably a big reason as to why I didn’t grow up with guns in the house (aside from my dad’s old shotgun that was locked away somewhere in the garage – to this day, I don’t think I’ve even laid eyes on it). I don’t recall my parents ever talking about being against guns, or really anything super political at all, so it wasn’t like I grew up with the anti-gun narrative that is so common today. Guns just simply weren’t a part of our lives, and it was a topic that never crossed my mind.
The first time I encountered a pistol, I was 16 years old and I walked into my house to find a holstered Glock sitting on the kitchen counter… which was quite alarming considering we didn’t ever have guns around. Uhh…. Mom? Why is there a gun on the counter?! “Don’t worry honey, Jeff is here.” As it turns out, my mother’s boyfriend, a sergeant with the local police department, was over for dinner and a movie that evening and had taken his holster off to get comfortable. It’s funny looking back on that now, as Jeff has played a big role in my concealed carry journey and is still someone I call for advice and to chat about guns.
Fast forward to my early-twenties and my first experience in a live-fire situation. I was with my boyfriend at the time visiting his friend on their family’s ranch. My boyfriend put a pistol in my hand and told me to give it a go, to which I replied, “no thank you”, as I handed it back to him. I tried to play it cool, but in reality… I was scared. I was totally fine watching them shoot, but I didn’t know the first thing about gun safety, how to properly handle a firearm or how they functioned, and simply didn’t feel comfortable taking that thing for a spin without any education or basic training.
When I moved to Oregon in 2014, there were two major shifts that contributed to my journey into guns. First, I had the opportunity to spend more time with my extended family across the state. That meant being on the orchard and farm, where I had the space and opportunity to shoot with people I trust. My uncle taught me the four rules of gun safety and gave me a quick intro to shotgun on the orchard. I haven’t touched a shotgun since then (update: I now own a shotgun, but at the time I wrote this post the first part of this sentence was true), but it was a safe and positive experience that opened the door for me and shooting. From then on, I took the opportunity to shoot whenever I could at the farm or orchard. It certainly wasn’t “training”, but a gathering with family where we could enjoy a fun activity together. Christmas mornings turned into bonfires and rifles and it propelled me into being comfortable around firearms and taking an interest in shooting.
Second, and perhaps the most influential part of this journey, I started coming to the realization that I didn’t have an effective method to defend myself. I was living alone for the first time in my life and was spending a lot of time adventuring across the Pacific Northwest by myself, both in urban and rural areas. Luckily, nothing “bad” ever happened to me, but there were certainly moments where I felt uncomfortable and helpless. I hated feeling that way, and I knew I needed to do something about it and take my safety into my own hands. A firearm seemed like the most effective way to do that.
That being said, I definitely didn’t rush the process of getting into guns. I wanted to learn first and find out if handguns were something that I would actually be comfortable with before moving along in the process (at this point, I had only fired rifles and a shotgun). Thankfully, I had a couple firearms instructors in my life at the time that were willing to help me out. My first lesson was… interesting. It started with the basics: the four rules of gun safety, grip, stance, breath, sight acquisition, trigger press, etc., and ended with a tricked out Glock on my hip and an AR-15 slung over my shoulder, sprinting (okay, jogging and fumbling around) up and down the range and doing some semi-basic drills. It was intense and stressful and probably way too much for a complete newbie, but it was exciting and I LOVED IT and I was on a high for the rest of the weekend. From that day, I knew without a doubt that a firearm would be my self-defense tool of choice.
From there, I took a step back and focused on the very basics with a different instructor who was more beginner-oriented and less operator-oriented. Our lessons were slow and intentional, almost to the point of frustration. When I wanted to step on the gas and have more fun, my instructor would keep me grounded and focused on the fundamentals. It drove me a little crazy, but those lessons were so valuable and helped drive home the basics that I needed in order to build a solid foundation.
The only problem with those lessons was that I was shooting a full-size pistol that I strongly disliked and was far from what I would consider for concealed carry. My next step was to start looking at my options for a sub-compact pistol. Taking my time throughout this part of the process was incredibly important. You can read more about how I decided on my first firearm in this post.
Finally, after about a year and a half of lessons, shooting everything I could get my hands on and doing lots of research, I felt like I was ready. I applied for my concealed handgun license and bought my first gun, a Glock 43 known as Gus The Glock! But of course, my journey didn’t stop there. I’m incredibly proud of Monica AG (After Guns) and I’m thrilled to be able to share more of my journey with you here on the Pinot+Pistols blog!
Thank you for taking an interest in my journey! Make sure to subscribe to get updates on new blog posts in the sidebar on the right. 🙂
How did you get into guns? If you haven’t yet, what questions do you have? Let me know below in the comments!