Why My First Handgun Was a .45

The first handgun that I bought was a Kimber Custom II in .45 ACP. I still have it, and still shoot it a lot. Even underwater.

Not the manufacturer's intended use.

It’s had basically every major and minor part replaced, and it’s been completely refinished, because the original finish was simply unsuited to the real world. But that’s beside the point. Why did I buy a .45, especially after carrying and being completely satisfied with the performance of my issued 9mm Beretta M9?

Well, that story begins in Iraq, when I was about to redeploy to the United States. I was given an Ambien for the flight back, but ended up not needing it (I had gotten plenty of practice with sleeping in strange and uncomfortable places during my tour).

Once I returned to California, however, I was so excited to be back – and excited to see my family shortly thereafter – that I couldn’t sleep that first night and decided to take the Ambien. The next morning, after a solid night’s sleep, I boarded a flight for home and spent the weekend with my family before heading back to Pendleton to start checking out of the regiment.

A day later, my dad called me and said that some huge boxes had arrived at my parents’ house. Mystified, I asked him to open the boxes. Inside was a Dillon 550B and everything I needed to start reloading .45 ACP, along with a packing slip that put my purchase right in the middle of that Ambien-induced night of sleep. Apparently, I had wandered over to the MWR and ordered everything.

Since I had already bought all of this reloading stuff for .45, I went to a gun store and picked out the .45 that felt the best in my hand and wasn’t too expensive. I’ve since spent at least a grand on replacement parts and refinishing, but hey…

"You were a mistake."

So, there you go. I didn’t pick .45 for “knockdown power” or the 1911 because Det One used Kimbers. Or maybe I did pick .45 for that reason, in that Ambien fugue state, but I’ll never know for sure.

37 thoughts on “Why My First Handgun Was a .45”

  1. Haha. Aw, be nice to your little bastard mistake gun.

    Ambien-induced shopping… sounds like a fun excuse for me to max out my credit card. I mean —
    Ambien-induced shopping. I just got a prescription for Ambien…

  2. My first pistol was a Colt Govt Series 80 so also a .45. I was young and into labels at the time. It’s long since been sold, but I wouldn’t mind replacing the hole it’s left with a Series 70 or drop the bigger bucks for an original A1.

  3. Drugs are bad Andrew…M’Kay? (although secretly in this case I feel they served you well on their side path hunt to .45 fun!)

  4. One of the main reasons I went .45 was the magazine capacity restrictions. I figured there wasn’t much much point in having a gun capable of holding a bunch of rounds, only to stick a severely gimped-capacity magazine in it. I did still go slightly gimpy, though. I went with a USP, which “only” gives up two rounds per magazine.

    1. W ya on that. If I were limited to X rounds, I’d probably opt for “bigger is better”. Maybe not on a CCW piece but certainly on a “sidearm”.

  5. That whole story was awesome. While that Kimber may not have been the finest handgun in the world, you added a hell of a lot of history to that gun. I hope you hang on to it for life.

  6. You went to great length with comedy to explain to us why you bought a Kimber. It’s ok, the gun community is more forgiving that it seems. They only excuse you need is, “I dirt know better.” Lol

  7. As a drug induced mistake myself, I can say that this blog will probably hurt the feelings of your Kimber in the future.

  8. “Shop ’til you drop with Ambien!” I was on eBay when it kicked in… found out the next morning I bought toothbrush heads.

  9. That is hysterical. I quit taking Ambien cuz I’d eat like a MFer. Never bought gun supplies, though. Thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely be coming back.

  10. You guys laugh, Try being on a medical floor at 2 in the morning with that old man you gave an ambien to at 2100… True story and NSFW, an old marine was with us, had a sleeping pill. The next morning he was telling my buddy that he kept seeing a bunch of ah, I’ll stop there. If Andrew wants me to finish this totally NSFW story I will but it was pretty fun, especially if you are ex-mil 😉

  11. I bought the 550 back in the early 90’s and it is still going strong. Great choice of gear for being in a near coma induced state. Most would have bought a Lyman, or a dozen Snuggies…

  12. Ambien is pretty crazy, people have even been known to drive places on it. My buddy, also a Marine at Pendleton, took one the first night I was visiting him and his family last year. About 2am I hear someone come downstairs and go into the kitchen. I walk in there and he is standing there scrambling eggs. He finishes the eggs, eats them, has a small conversation with me, then just walks back upstairs. The next day he has zero recollection that he was cooking eggs in the kitchen, nor did he realize that he had done the whole thing while completely naked. I didn’t think too much about the fact he was naked, but his wife still hasn’t let him forget the story.

  13. Same experience minus the ambien with a kimber warrior, the barrel was finished in the white and would rust oiled up sitting in the safe much less being carried outside. Replaced extractor, slide stop, etc, etc,

  14. My first handgun was a .357, because I learned shooting with a .357. My second was a 10 mm because I had already started reloading and price/availability was a non-issue. I don’t think I’ll ever get a .45, it has no appeal to me.

  15. The first gun I paid to obtain was a Custom II in .45ACP, the bargain basement model with no frills. It was still expensive, but I thought it was beautiful.

    For a while I thought it was a great weapon. Then I started shooting and buying other guns, and bought two lightly used CZ75 variants for less than the price I paid for one budget-model Kimber. Now, except for my one “woods gun”, I don’t own a single handgun chambered in a caliber larger than 9mm. The Kimber was fun, but I sold it, and I don’t regret it. If I found a lightly used Kimber in 9mm for a really cheap price, I’d maybe think about buying it. Maybe.

    Your story is more fun than mine.

  16. That was my first handgun too, the basic Custom II, and also the only gun that was (and ever will be) stolen from me.

    I was pretty upset. Stealing a man’s gun is like sleeping with his wife you know. Then I bought a SIG 1911, don’t know why I did that, maybe someone slipped Ambien in my drink? I can only say I miss my Kimber.

    P.S: I named my dog Kimber, in memory of my lost sidearm.

  17. I don’t always choose a 1911, but when I do, I prefer to be high on drugs.

    Funny, seriously though, a 1911 is still my favorite handgun to shoot.

  18. I bought a Kimber Super Carry Pro HD, it didn’t shoot very well and had several ftf’s and ftl’s. I got rid of it and bought a Sig 1911 Ultra. It’s a lot better pistol, shoots straighter and has never failed to load or fire.

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