I got bounced around a lot as a kid. New school every year or two. Everyone wanted to test the new kid. No running away from that conflict.
Joined the Navy at 17. Guarded my first nuclear locker at 19 with an M-14. Plenty of security and fire drills aboard ship. You never knew if it was a drill at the time. Instead of going out and getting drunk on my 21st (Navy thing), I went and purchased a S&W Model 66.
Got out after six years and went to college. Upgraded to a 1911 AMT Hardballer and fell in with an interesting crowd at the local range. Old guy (probably around my current age) took me under his wing. Taught me some of the finer details of guncraft and how to reload my own ammo. Didn’t know at the time he was a national 3-pistol champion. He never mentioned it.
Joined the USAFR in college. As much flak as the Air Force gets, I worked with some outstanding folks over the years. Plenty of opportunities to learn and teach about weapons use and safety, individual marksmanship and team tactics. Much better in a team than on your onesome. Got to attend plenty of schools…didn’t like Army training until I worked with Army SF during a course. Brought things back into perspective. Good lot.
Biggest building-block was getting married and having children. Responsibility to protect a partner and youngins you brought into the world. Always concealed carried when possible. We moved a bit when I started working for DoD. More growth opportunity and greater responsibilities over the years. Plenty of new laws, regulations and policy to learn every year.
When the 2A troubles started here in Virginia last year, I knew my six wasn’t covered in a self-defense situation. By refusing to be a victim, my entire life could be destroyed in an instant. I joined USCCA in December.