Gun Chronicles: A Beginning

This is the first of a series of articles where I intend to share my journey into gaining an understanding of firearms. I am sure there are others out there who, like me, were either taught to be afraid of guns, or else simply have no knowledge about guns at all. I share this in order to help any who might be on the fence about the topic itself, but as an admitted novice I must add that advice from experts who may visit this sight will always be appreciated!

Almost a year ago, I made a request to my Facebook friends to offer some advice. I finally reached a point where I had decided to buy a gun and needed some help. Keep in mind, this was a big deal to me. I was raised to be afraid of guns, never taught anything good about them, and knew next to nothing about firearms.

My gun expert friends were quick to help. There was a ton of advice that I will be forever grateful for.

I started with what seems to be the classic dilemma; semi-auto or revolver.

As it turns out, there are some pretty strong feelings on both sides of the argument.

With a semi-auto, you sacrifice some accuracy (I am told) in order to have extra rounds to fire at the bad guy. With a revolver, you get to pack some extra punch in some cases, but at the cost of needing to reload much more frequently.

Even as I write this, I am not an expert. I am at the very beginning of learning.

What finally set my mind and allowed me to make this purchase was when a friend of mine, John, former Military and former Police Officer, told me that it all really boils down to personal preference.

I had been debating the issue, when all along I really knew what I wanted.

I freely confess that this is more than likely due in large part to being raised on westerns, but I wanted a revolver.

And that is what I bought.

This is a Smith&Wesson 686 SSR 357 Magnum Revolver. This is what I purchased today.

I like the look and feel of the revolver. I have never fired a gun in my entire life. I shot BB Guns when I was a kid, but that really doesn’t count. I will be detailing my first experience of actually firing it here once I get to the firing range to try it out.

Before I made the purchase, I went through some gun safety training, and will be doing more.

Here are some points that I would like to share regarding gun ownership:

  1. Don’t be a hothead. If you are prone to fits of rage, owning a gun is probably going to end in disaster. If someone calling you a douche is something that has to be met with force, do not buy a gun. You still have some growing up to do.
  2. You have to start somewhere. While in the midst of my inner debate about which gun would be the right gun, my friend Daniel said, “I have never made a gun purchase that I regretted.” He went on to add that sometimes he wished he had waited for the price to drop, but never had true regret over a purchase. Go with your interest, and use that as a starting point for learning more.
  3. Be willing to take safety precautions. Educate your children about what you are going to buy, and how to stay safe. Do not use fear, but use knowledge to make them clearly understand in order to prevent tragedy.
  4. Know that this is an expense. Guns are not cheap. Neither is ammunition.
  5. My martial artist readers will already understand this, respect the weapon. It is not a toy, it is not to be used to for playing. It is a weapon of a higher order than a knife or sword. Treat it with the same respect that you would a live (sharp) blade sword or knife. Playing with a gun can get you killed by accident.

This is where I will stop my initial entry in Gun Chronicles. I welcome comments from readers, especially those who know this subject. I am still a beginner and as such would love to hear from experts on what they would add to or change about what I have presented here.


  1. Jeffery Coder says:

    Wallace, As a long time martial artist and firearms instructor I would like to say welcome to the journey! I say it is a journey because like martial arts, firearms training is a journey. In fact I would go on to say that firearms training is also a martial art, just a different aspect of it. I think it is prudent for a person to at least have some level of firearms training because of the reality of the world we live in today. I also think it is important to be skilled in martial arts (reality based) as well as firearms. I look at it this way. A gun is a very powerful weapon. To make an analogy let’s call it a hammer. If the only tool you have in your tool box is a hammer then every problem you encounter becomes a nail! There are many problems that don’t need to be solved with a gun. A firearm should be your last resort if you have other options such as good karate skills. However some situations might be so violent and frightening from the onset that a firearm (hammer) should be your first choice. As a martial artist you will come to the conclusion that karate and firearms training (gun-fu!) go hand in hand and compliment each other. In closing, I’ll say again welcome to the journey!

    Cheers, Jeff Coder


    1. Wallace Smedley says:

      I appreciate the reply!

      I 100% agree that firearms training is a martial art. It is an aspect that, due in large part to my upbringing, I avoided and wrote off for many years. But I finally came around and I am finding this to be a fascinating study. I am not rushing things though. I had a friend tell me that I should have gone straight to concealed carry. I had a hard time explaining that I simply do not know enough about the weapon to even consider that yet. I will look into that after I start to have some understanding of the weapon, the responsibilities of concealed carry, and the legalities of this complicated issue.

      I came across a quote in my study that I find very appropriate. “Lethal force is never a good option, but sometimes it is the best option.”

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


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