The used and not really very collectible Raven Arms P-25 in its "weak" .25 ACP chambering and generously low-budget manufacturing is probably the dumbest gun I ever wanted…and I bought it on the spot. Well, actually, I traded for it at what could only be seen as a financial fool’s bargain.
Before I dig deeper into my poor spending habits (more details on that Raven pistol in a second), I think it’s fair to note that I first entered the gun world because I was fascinated by the access to history it offered. However, I stayed because of the generosity, knowledge, and diversity of the people I met along the way. Also, you know, the guns themselves.
Long, Bad Deal Made Short
A few years back now, I picked up this always obsolete “Saturday night special” steal-of-a-deal pistol – not steel, as half isn’t really steel – in a trade for an old but good condition left-handed Remington Model 742 Woodsmaster chambered in .30-06. If you are familiar with either of these firearms and running the numbers, the trade had a negative monetary value. Something like: Rem 742 = Raven Arms x 10+ dollars. But we’re not really here for the math, and I kind of didn’t care.
Like many hobbies, gun collecting can have its quirky niches and judgmental cliques. But there is a charming thread of passion about firearms – their history, design, uniqueness, and purpose – that stitches that community together in its own special way. Those met for this exchange.
For a Small Price: You Can Give This Gun a Good Home
I hear and read it quite a bit inside the broader gun-owning community, “I would never give up any of my guns?” Many people even make a very convincing argument for guns as financial investments you should hang on to over time. I can empathize and generally agree with both points. Heck, I personally wince in pain and clutch my necklace of spent brass at the mere thought of giving up any of my personally selected firearms.
Still, I am quickly reminded that the gun community has proven to be one of the most generous groups I’ve ever met. So, somehow, I seem to keep meeting far more gun Santas than grinches in my years of collecting.
The first guns I shot were loaned to me. My first range visits and the gear I needed were all free. Heck, the folks who taught me to shoot did it on their own time and money. Even most of my first and most cherished guns were gifts.
There’s a cycle to that, and I’ve since loaned quite a few guns to shooters – new and old – and I’ve passed out ammo knowing it won’t come back reloaded. I’m certainly not saying you should be ready to hand off your guns – let’s talk about ammo some other day – to anyone who swings by with an open hand.
I am saying that, more often than not, my experiences have shown the gun community to be a giving group to anyone genuinely wanting to learn more about firearms and shooting. American gun owners are often like Santas to the next generation of shooters. I experienced it, and I see it at the range all the time.
Which, finally, brings me to that dang Remington 742 and the cheapo Raven Arms P-25 I traded for it.
The Giving Spirit Gives Back
I don’t feel cheated, and I also don’t particularly feel generous for the trade I made. I feel good about it. It’s like things moved along in the right direction, and the gun gods helped shuffle them along.
The fact is as simple as this. I wanted a shiny, not-so-priceless Raven since I learned about them as a kid. They’re part of an interesting and still affordable line of American-made guns, like the Jennings semi-auto pistols, and the earlier imported Röhm handguns that washed into the post-World War II American firearms market.
Sure, it helps that I actually had a cheaper, beat-up Sundance Boa .25 ACP from the same gun lineage tossed into the deal and both pistols actually work for what they are. I mean, “Saturday night specials” are hardly really even throwaway guns from my perspective, and these would likely serve better as “throw-at-something” guns with their hefty injection-molded Zamak parts and notorious reliability issues. Regardless, I got them for their history and my ability to hold it and experience it.
On the other side, I actually got the Remington 742 from a friend with a similar mindset for the generous price of $125. For the many deer hunters who know these rifles, they have put yearly venison on tables for decades, and $125 is a generous price.
That 742 rifle was never meant to be a safe queen, and I never really intended to hunt with it. Instead, it went to a new father who wanted a rifle he could pass down one day for hunts to come. In the end, both guns have a better home and are keeping different aspects of the gun community alive and growing.
Gun Grinch or Santa for 2022
In 2021, I spent a little extra time and effort helping new shooters get deeper into the shooting experience by tapping into some of my own collection. It meant just a few more range visits, a few boxes of free ammo, and turned out to be a really great time for me as well. Don’t get me wrong, it can be hard to part ways with a gun, even if you’re just loaning it out for someone to see if they are a Glock guy or a Sig Sauer fan.
But, then again, where would we be without the gun owners who did the same for us along the way, too. Anyway, happy almost 2022, and thanks to all the American gun Santas who got us here.