Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Shot at Love with Elsie Pea

At long last, after a two and a half month long investigation by our elite and highly competent State Police, the great state of New Jersey finally granted me its grudging permission to bring home the Ruger LCP I paid for at the beginning of last November.

I picked her up last week, and she's been settling into our place nicely. Here's the first picture of Elsie, who's a bit of a bookworm:

From Firearms

As you can see, she's a petite one. The photo doesn't show it well, but she's svelte, too. She doesn't disappear in my small, girlish hands the way she does in some people's, but still, the difference between this gun and my only marginally smaller but much stockier Browning 1955 is striking. The half-inch shorter barrel, slightly narrower handle, and much lighter weight (courtesy of all the plastic in her frame) put her in a whole different category. She still prints through my pants in her cheap Uncle Mike's pocket holster, but I'll be buying her a swanky, fitted black leather ensemble in the near future. I can't wait to take her to Maine, and should probably step up the plans for a PA-compatible permit. (Is this metaphor gonna put me on the wrong side of the Mann Act?)

She's a classy girl, who obviously cares about her appearance. Where her twin sister tarts it up and looks a bit unkempt, with Elsie not a hair is out of place. Her magazine can accessorize with either of two interchangable floorplates: one has a lower profile while the other has a little horn on it. I find I need the horny one to keep a decent grip on her when she gets down to business. It's the only way I can get purchase with two fingers at the same time.

But enough about the courtin' and the first date. On Monday Danielle and I took Elsie to the range and got to third base with her.

Now, I'm not actually an LCP virgin. At this same range, I'd paid ten bucks for an hour with a rental gun. She was down on her luck and a little worse for wear from going through so many customers before me, but she could still do everything she had to. That LCP liked it rough, and while I learned how everything works from her, she left me feeling beat and uncomfortable, thinking that it was all about the goal, and that getting there wasn't too enjoyable in itself.

With Elsie, though, it was different. I think I'm the one who changed. I'm stronger now, and better able to handle the give and take of this kind of relationship. Don't get me wrong, after about 75 rounds each, Danielle and I were ready to call it a day--Elsie's tiny and light on her feet, but she's still really spunky and demanding (must be Irish). But it was a good tired, not the pain and vague resentment we'd always feel after firing off a few mags with the Browning or that LCP of easy virtue. Even when she roughhouses, it's playful; on my first shot, she flung the spent brass straight up, where it bounced off the ceiling and bopped me on the noggin. Danielle's considering picking up one of her own (at least in the same class, if not actually an LCP), since sharing Elsie when it really counts would be impractical.

Elsie isn't a picky eater. We had a mixed buffet of various American and Serbian dishes (which I'd never tried before), ball and hollow-point, and she cheerfully pecked away without a single complaint.

Her accuracy is fine for what she is. We aren't going to be picking off rams and chickens at 50 yards, but that isn't her specialty. Elsie's a close up, quick and dirty kind of girl, who promises to be strong and reliable in a crisis, not elegant and precise, calm and distant. From a low-ready position, I can snap up and instantly double-tap her to put two rounds in a six-inch circle at ten feet. For the scenes Elsie specializes in, that's plenty good enough. She has smaller than average sights, but again, that's all part of who she is (the 1955 was popular all through the first half of the 20th century with even smaller sights, and Elsie's great aunt doesn't even _have_ sights).

Now, like anybody, Elsie has her foibles. She's the first gun I've ever stripped that needed tools to get her undone. It's a small thing, and I don't mind bringing in some tools if that's what she likes, but I've gotten used to guns like the old-fashioned European 1955, and the rough-and-ready 1911 that are more than happy to strip when you just use your hands right. I understand the .22 MkIII is a vicious, frustrating little tease this way; once I've dealt with her, I'll probably be more understanding of Elsie's demands. Also, while I appreciate that Elsie thought to bring along a slide lock (unlike her less considerate twin sister), in an ideal world it would be the automatic kind that engages by itself when she's exhausted her ammunition. I can forgive this too, though; automatic slide stops are known to engage when they shouldn't if subjected to too much inertia, and Elsie generates a lot of kinetic energy when she gets going. Her slide lock's plenty good for holding her open between sessions, though, and I appreciate that (it tends to make the range officers happier).

All in all, I'm really smitten with Elsie, and see this NRE turning into a long-term relationship. I'm considering a couple little gifts, in addition to that slinky new holster. A ten-round magazine could be handy, but I'm not certian she's an extra-ammo kind of girl. Much more her speed, I know, is a laser sight. It complements her skills very well, and would really help compensate for her weaknesses. It's a very expensive gift, though, and I think it's prudent to get to know her a bit better before taking that plunge.


  1. TWO AND A HALF MONTHS!!! You couldn't pay me enough to live there. I filled out the 4473 and took my LCP home in about 20 minutes!

    Other than that, good post...

  2. At least you can buy an LCP. They're not on the "Approved Firearms Roster" here in MA...

  3. James, thanks, and thanks for the shoutout.

    Earl, I know, I know... There are rumblings of change-we-can-believe-in here, though. The state's in a budget crisis, and there's talk of ditching the superfluous and expensive State Police "background check" in favor of a straight-up NICS check. And post-McDonald, there's a decent chance we can force 'em to dismantle the permit system entirely. We'll see. In a few years, we may look a bit more like America.

    Jay, I love this game!

    "I had to wait months for my gun!"
    "You got it easy! We have a ridiculous 'approved handgun' list!"
    "PFF! Yeah? Well in three years, the only legal handgun in NJ will be a $10,000 .22!"
    "Yeah, well Massachusetts actually preemptively banned ray guns!"

  4. Y'know, I keep coming back to this. This is just a swell piece of writing on every level.