The new year is bringing a new feature to the site. I’m going to call it Whatever Wednesday and it will be my writings on various subjects related to the fun aspect of handguns and sometimes for a change of pace I’ll post some of my photography work!
Thanks In advance for taking the time to indulge me!
The Handgun That Started It All!
I am asked every once in a while about how did I get into guns and holster making? Well this is the story and the gun that started me on a life long fascination with handguns.
I was in the sixth grade and always had a problem talking in class. The teachers used to write our name on the chalk board when they felt we had been talking in class to much and as you can guess, mine was up on the board quite a bit!
Fast forward to the end of the year. There was a final field trip coming up to someplace I don’t remember all these years later. In order to go I would have to keep my name off the board for the entire week. I didn’t make it of course and would be staying home for the entire week. Since my parents had to work, I would be staying with my Grandparents at their farm. Little did I know at the time but my Grandpa had a surprise for me that would change my life!
I was pretty disappointed in the loss of the trip and was playing with my old Daisy Red Ryder BB gun, when Grandpa pulled out a maroon box and said, “Let’s see how you shoot this!“ I had seen the box before and knew what was in it but had not shot it yet. Inside was a High Standard Derringer in 22 magnum that my Grandpa had purchased for self defense and kept in his bedroom. My Grandparents were children of the depression and did not spend money very often, so I knew this had to be special for him.
I don’t know exactly why, but the standard target at the farm had always been the gallon milk jug. One was produced and I filled it with water and off to the pasture we went,Grandpa carrying the box and me the jug. If you can remember the first time you shot a real gun and the excitement, I don’t have to tell you how excited this pre-teen was!
Before we get on with the shooting, a little history on the gun in question may be in order. The High Standard Derringer was produced from 1967 to 1984 as an over and under design containing two rounds. It came in both 22 rimfire and 22 magnum rimfire. The barrel length on all models was 3.50 inches and was available in both blued and nickel finish. There is no external safety on these little pocket rockets as the trigger pull is comparable to a staple gun!
My Grandpa’s gun was the blued model with the white ivory color plastic grips and chambered in 22 magnum. I still remember sliding the top of the gold ammo box back and carefully chambering the two miniature rounds and closing the gun. I’m sure I was shaking with excitement when I began to squeeze the heavy trigger from a distance of a few feet from the water filled jug.
I managed to hit the jug with my first ever shot from a “real gun” and from that moment on I have been in love with handguns! I do not know how many have passed through my hands in the ensuing years but it has been more than a few! I’ve competed with them, hunted with them, carried them not only as a cop but also as a citizen with a concealed handgun permit. I’ve instructed numerous people in the safe use of them in both civilian and Law Enforcement capacities, and now I earn a decent living making holsters for them.
I don’t think my Grandfather had any idea what he started that day when he took a 12 year old out to shoot his first “real” gun. I still own the gun that started all this and every time I touch it I remember that summer day and more importantly, the man that started me on this journey!