You just bought a Smith and Wesson Hi-Point?

By: Joshua Gideon

Last weekend I ran into the local farm supply store to pick up some weed killer. This particular store has a gun section and I frequently browse through on my way to pick up other items. As I am looking for .38 FMJ rounds I see a tall gentlemen in jeans and a black tank top walk into the gun section. I can see immediately his Taurus Judge open carried in an Uncle Mike’s holster with the retention snap dangling. (In hindsight I am pretty sure the holster was too small for that particular firearm and he probably just went with whatever fit.) I immediately profiled him as “one of those” open carry guys.

In the past I was the gun snob that rolled my eyes and left the uncivilized establishment in disgust. Recently I have been really trying to take a different approach when I come across people like this. I make it my mission to try to educate them and ultimately get them into a training class. I initiate the conversation, play into their desire to be noticed, and then crush them with their own lack of knowledge. It doesn’t always go that way however and I have been good so far knowing when to tell someone to have a good day and walk on. Either way it goes, I try to remember that I was once in the same shoes.

Back to the guy in the farm supply store. As he walked up I said hello and continued looking through the ammo. I asked him if he was looking for ammo for his Judge and he said yes. I then told him the 45 Long Colt was over there, pointing to the place on the shelf, and the .410 was on the shelf behind us. He thanked me and began telling me that the prices were pretty high and that what he really needed was a good defensive round for his new .40 caliber handgun. I immediately perked up a bit and had a glimmer of hope for this fellow. That was all dashed with the next words out of his mouth. “I just bought a Smith & Wesson Hi-Point.” I think he could tell the confused look on my face so he began to explain. He bought it from a guy he worked with who told him that it was a really good gun. He said, “I knew Smith & Wesson was a pretty good company, so I figured if they made it I couldn’t go wrong for $150.” The thought crossed my mind to just smile and walk away. But I couldn’t.

I asked him if he was sure Smith & Wesson made it because the last I checked, Hi-Point was not in any way associated with Smith & Wesson. He reassured me that it said Smith & Wesson on the slide. After a few other questions, I found out that it also said Hi-Point on it and had the proper logo. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. This gun is chambered in .40 S&W. This is where this guy is getting Smith & Wesson Hi-Point. After gently explaining it to him, he was actually pretty cool about it. He admitted he really didn’t know much about the guns he had and just took advice from people he knew that had a lot of guns.

That conversation turned into about a 30 minute conversation about how much trouble he had shooting the .40 S&W Hi-Point, how his Taurus Judge was just too big to carry, open carry, the cost of ammo, etc. The guy really wanted to learn. I eventually told him I was an instructor, gave him a card, and told him about an upcoming class. He was so tickled that he e-mailed me this morning letting me know he had traded his Hi-Point and Taurus Judge in on an Smith & Wesson M&P in 9mm. He ordered a good holster on my referral and is going to take my class in October.

The moral of the story is don’t judge a Judge open carrier by their gun and holster. Give them a chance; you might be surprised what people are willing to learn.