Ask the Pro

This page is devoted to questions asked by clients. Most will be handled on a personal basis, the best will be posted here for all to see.

Responses below are intended as an overview. If you have a specific problem, contact me and we can discuss it. Detailed questions and answers will usually pinpoint the problem. Contact me to discuss it, and remember, thanks for asking Mygunpro.

I am new to guns. What should I buy as my first (and probably only) gun?
This is a question I get a lot. The complete answer is long, detailed, and requires personal attention. I'll try to give an overview here.

If you are like quite a few people, and want to have a gun "just in case," I usually recommend a 4" medium frame .357 magnum revolver. This is a simple machine to operate, can use .lower recoiling 38 special ammunition, and can be left loaded with no fear of mechanical failure. It is the original "point and click interface." Simple, rugged, and requires only minimal training (basic pistol course) to become sufficiently proficient.

Another choice for the casual owner is a 20 gauge short barreled pump shotgun. Yes, I said 20 gauge. Most folks who keep a shotgun for home defense hardly ever, if ever, shoot it, and the 12 is just too much to handle. Don't think a 20 will do the job? I have never had anyone volunteer to stand in front of one to test it!

If you are willing to dedicate regular practice sessions, then the choices open up. A medium sized double action (or "safe action") semi auto pistol works well. I strongly recommend night sights and do NOT recommend a light on the gun. In my professional opinion, the dangers of a light on the gun far outweigh the benefits. Whatever you get, remember to practice. There are any number of suitable handguns on the market. Contact me for further information.

For those few who are wiling to dedicate serious practice time with the handgun (several hundred to a few thousand rounds a month) then the choice is really only one: a well tuned, properly fitted 1911 style pistol. This is the most prolific pistol type on the market, with quality going from Olympic grade great to oh my gosh abysmal! The old canard "you get what you pay for" applies here (as it does to most of life.) A 1911 points well, has plenty of power, is easy to control, and can be supremely accurate. It does require more practice to maintain skill, however, and so I can recommend it only to those wiling and able to practice regularly.

That's the short answer. For your individual answer contact me here and we can work out the details. Thanks for asking Mygunpro.
My handgun keeps jamming. What's wrong?
This question is like calling the auto mechanic and saying "my car is making a funny noise, what's wrong? " I'll try to address a couple of common causes.

  1. Operator error. Yes, that's right, it's probably the fault of the shooter, assuming a modern gun in good repair. I realize that in this day and age, the concept of personal responsibility is foreign to many, but that's the way it is. It's usually the shooters fault if the gun jams. "Limp wristing" is the condition that occurs when a loose grip is taken on the gun, allowing the whole gun to move in the hand, instead of the slide moving relative to the frame. Corrective measure? Hold on to the gun!

  2. Sub standard ammo. It never ceases to amaze me how people will spend big bucks on a gun, then buy the cheapest ammo they can find. Unknown origin, uncertain age, questionable quality, doubtful reliability, inconsistent pressures, and yet they blame the gun when problems occur. Incredible! Buy first quality ammo from major U.S. manufacturers and you minimize the chances of ammo problems.

  3. Magazine problems. Yes, the magazine is a machine too, and must be maintained, cleaned, and checked for mechanical problems. Cleanliness, spring strength, lip condition, follower movement, all these and more must be checked and verified before blaming the gun for a problem.

  4. Poor maintenance. Proper cleaning and lubrication is essential to your guns well being. So is inspection for broken or worn parts, and proper fitting together of moving parts. This is your responsibility as the gun owner. You would be astounded at how many guns come into the shop filthy, caked with grime, bore full of lead, and somehow the problems are the guns fault. I don't think so! Take care of your equipment and it will take care of you.

  5. Problems with the firearm itself. This is the last, and least likely, of the causes of a jam in any modern, properly maintained firearm. In fact, the incidences are so rare that it is astonishing when it does occur. Only after I had checked all of the above would I begin to suspect the gun itself. If you have eliminated all the other possible causes, then and only then should you take you gun to a gunsmith, or back to the factory for warranty work.
Which ammo will shoot best in my gun / which ammo is most effective in my gun?
These questions come up quite often, and the answer is neither easy nor popular. If I could lay hands on your gun and by some strange psychic power determine which ammo would be most accurate, I could drop this website and be a rich man! People would line up waving $100.00 bills at me for that service. The reality is that each gun is different, and what shoots spectacularly well in one gun won't shoot worth beans in another. The ONLY way to know is to try them all, or at least as many as possible, keep a record of the groups, and then use the one that shoots best in your gun.

As for which is most effective, let's face it, all the modern high performance ammo is pretty much the same. Penetration, expansion, reliability, and consistency are all very high. It's like comparing the top end speeds of a Ferrari, a Maserati, and a Lamborghini. After about 175mph, who cares? Find the high performance ammo that works best in your gun (accuracy AND dependability) then use that one. And practice, practice, practice. Oh yeah, and then practice some more. Remember, the bullet is the only thing that contacts your target. In a self defense situation, it must perform consistently, and in a hunting situation, the bullet it the thing that "brings home the bacon" so buy the best, and again, practice, practice, practice. Contact me for more details, and thanks for asking Mygunpro. And, don't forget to practice!
I'm hunting big game here in the States. (Deer, Elk, Moose, Bear) What rifle/caliber should I buy?
There are as many combinations of rifle/caliber as there are hunters. The reality is that the good ol' 30-06 has taken every game animal on the Continental United States, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Are there "better" cartridges out there? Sure. Will they kill that Elk any deader? Nope!

Buy a rifle from a major manufacturer, be sure that it fits, take some lessons and practice, practice, practice. Buying the latest, greatest, super gee whiz extra-magnum master blaster won't make you a better shot, practice will.

Here's a news flash. All the rifles will perform better than 99.5% of the people who pull the trigger. The big money should be spent on the scope! If you can't see it, you can't hit it. The old rule of thumb was half your money on the rifle, half on the scope. That has changed to 1/3rd on the rifle, 2/3rd on the scope. I would rather see a $300 rifle with a $600 scope, than the other way around. Contact me for particulars, and thanks for asking Mygunpro.