The Left-Handed Gun

Daryl Gay | December 1, 2011

There is that within almost every man which draws him, Siren-like, helplessly through the doors of a pawn shop. No matter how run-down the outside of the pawn shop may be, the lure of possible hidden treasures within overcome any resistance, however feebly put up.

Very seldom do I pass through  a town, any town, and pass up a pawn shop. Any pawn shop. I love ’em better’n your wife loves yard sales. All things considered, I guess my only addictions are sweet tea and pawn shops.

Oh, and guns. Ahhhhh, the guns…

Maybe the guns are why I’m so loopy about the shops. On the other hand, there are just so many deals on all sorts of stuff a man can use. Guess this is the closest I’ll ever come to what’s known as “shopping.”

But whatever else is on hand, there’s never been a gun that I wouldn’t caress. At least until the owner gets tired of handing them to me and gives the “buy or good-bye” option. Those owners usually have a really good handle on the items they have and an impeccable knowledge of any firearm I may at any time be slobbering over.

Their hirelings, however, are not always as peccable. Take, for instance, a recent trip wherein I was shopping for a Christmas present or two. (Hey guys, that’s always a good excuse this time of year. Somebody always needs a good gun. If you forget to give it to them and are still hunting with it in 2020, chalk it up to “I forgot.” The wife will buy that.)

So I’m cruising down a very small-town street, and a huge, hand-painted, four-letter word fairly screams at me from a storefront: GUNS. Yep, pawn shop.

Before I could prevent it, my truck whipped into the parking lot and ejected me. You should probably know I really am looking for a pair of guns. And if you know me at all, you’ll realize they’re not your run-of-the-mill peashooters.

I need — really, dear — a left-handed bolt, preferably in .270, and a .44 magnum. RIFLE. We’ll start with the latter, and you’ll get a close-up look at my twisted sense of humor.

I can excitedly talk guns, and listen, all day with folks who know their stuff. But I can have more fun than a barrel of cats in two minutes with that very rare few who THINK they do. And that’s what I ran into on the second stop.

Are you familiar with the muffin-top look that seems so popular these days? This guy, totally defeated by gravity, had a muffin-bottom to go along with his. He was wearing a fluorescent yellow tee shirt that would have qualified as an Arctic base camp. Think Pillsbury Dough Boy times two, wearing a French’s mustard bottle. Please do not think I am being critical — or even complimentary, depending upon how your tastes run; I am reporting what I saw.

Me? I was wearing a camo shirt featuring the same symbol you see at the bottom right of this column. It’s just over an inch high, where the left pocket would be if I could afford a pocket, thus in plain sight.

Once inside, I could barely make out guns.

“Looking for a .44 mag rifle, preferably automatic,” I opened the discussion.

“Rifle? The .44 is a pistol caliber, like Dirty Harry uses. They don’t make a .44 mag rifle.”

“Who don’t?”

“Don’t what?”

“Who is the ‘they’ that don’t make a .44 mag rifle?”

At this point, I guess in his mind it was time for a change of subject.

“What does GON stand for?”
I couldn’t help it boys.

“Geographical Ornothological Nationalistic.” (Sorry; it was the first thing that popped up…)




“Yeah, we ran out of room for letters. Georgia’s kind of a small state, and too, GON just seemed to look better than GONS.”

“Wow. What do y’all do, with a name like that and all?”

“Well, you probably don’t want to know. Highly technical, problematical and even equatorial at times. On odd occasions we even look for odd guns. Got a left-handed bolt-action rifle, .270 or maybe .30-06?”

“Left-handed?,” he queried, even as his eyes crossed. I could see the wheels churning, and thought he was going to be forced to make a doughnut run to regain his equilibrium. If only I’d thought to bring a peach tart, I could’a bartered it for a rifle and 10 bucks boot!

He was forced, once again, to invoke the dreaded “they.”

“They don’t make anything in left-handed,” came the reply. “How in the world would a man ever work a bolt action on the left side of a rifle? Why, you’d have to reach your hand all the way over and pull that knob up and back…”

“Uh, yeah, guess so,” I said. “By the way, you’re right-handed, aren’t you?”

“Why, yeah, of course. Can’t you tell?”

Actually, I could. What I couldn’t do was hold in a parting reply, even if it meant getting shot in the back while running out the door.

“Sure, I can tell. But you’re a talented guy. I’ll just bet you’re ambidextrous when it comes to a plate of biscuits.”

It flew right over his head like a covey rise, and that probably saved my life. It was time to go, so I jotted down a few details for my new friend and told him I’d drop back by. When I left, he was beginning the search for an automatic/bolt-action drilling in .270 bottom and .44 mag top with a screw on each side like a Zebco reel so I could swap ejectors back and forth, side to side.

I shook his hand and wished him good luck. He was as busy as a bee, whistling like a high wind and, honey bun in hand, a happy and productive young man.


Order your copy of Daryl Gay’s books, “Rabbit Stompin’ And Other Homegrown Safari Tactics,” $19.95
plus $3 S&H and “Life On the Back Page,” $14.95 plus $3 S&H from or 16 Press,
219 Brookwood Dr., Dublin, GA, 31021.

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