Firearms,  Shotguns

Jessica’s Starter Shotgun

Jessica with TVPPs Fabarm 14 inch

Jessica, my girlfriend and occasional camera-lady, has decided to take the plunge and submitted her NR and Restricted license application to the Canadian Govt in June. I’m very pleased.

She’s still waiting, but has been doing plenty of research and window-shopping.

I’ve had to come around to a very different buying process when choosing a firearm for Jess. She doesn’t care about history, pedigree, or reliability in the same way that some shooters obsess over them. Upgrades and accessories aren’t currently on her radar either. All the assessment she’s done on various rifles and shotguns seems to boil down to:

1. Is it aesthetically pleasing?

2. How heavy is it?

3. The great intangible: Do I like it?

She saw a Rem 870 Marine magnum, which scored high on numbers 1 and 3. That prompted a drive down to Wholesale Sports for a “test pump” where the surprisingly accommodating salesperson showed her the Mossberg 500 Marine as well.

For her: they’re both nice looking, nice feeling, shotguns. But one is approx. $550 and one is approx $700

For me: the 870 is the platinum standard of pump guns, with lots of easy upgrades, replacement parts, and universal flexibility. While the mossberg feels like a rattly, loose, unoriginal knock off.

The question is:

Do I convince her that the 870 is a better buy? Or am I just being a shotgun snob? I’ve never owned a Mossberg of any kind, so maybe its not my place to judge. Everyone I have ever talked shotguns with has been an 870 owner. And maybe thats made me biased.

I let her shoot my 14.5″ Fabarm on a regular basis, but she’s looking for something that’s exclusively hers.

After some consultation with the kinds of guys who are happily married with spouses who shoot, I decided to follow Jess through the buying process rather than try to lead her. I’m clearly not as knowledgeable as I could be when it comes to these firearms, and she knows her own mind better than I will.

What she settled on was an interesting choice. The Hatsan Marine is an 18.5″ pump action shotgun with a nickel finish. But because its made it Turkey she spent $290 and got an excellent gun as a result.

It’s not the gun I would choose for me. But that’s sort of the point: she found something that she liked, without having to make a huge cash commitment. The Hatsan is something we can afford to try out, and graduate up from if she feels the need later.

Jess with the Hastan Marine Escort

We’ll have to try some serious testing, but the few field trips she’s taken with it have been great.

Hatsan Marine Escort 12 Gauge

Alberta, Canada: The perfect place to play with black rifles, tactical shotguns, and all manner of other fun gear. Plenty of wilderness, and plenty of toys to try out.