So a pony walks into a gun shop...

by totallynotabrony

Chapter 1: Story

Tuesday morning is not peak buying time for firearms and firearm accessories. The store was deserted, save for one poor fool behind the counter. Me.

I glanced towards the door, hoping a customer might come in, but no luck. In the absence of business, I had a computer running Windows XP and all the Minesweeper I could play. Any retail job can have long periods of inactivity, or so I’ve heard. All I’ve ever sold is weapons.

As a gun nut, I would have thought working in a gun store would be great, but it gets boring after the first few years. Guns! Guns. Guns…sigh. I'd experienced a few interesting things during my time at the shop, but now I felt that I had seen everything.

So, it was just me and my little smiley faced friend who hoped I wouldn’t blow him up as I clicked on the mouse. The computer also functioned as the payment authorization system, but I hadn’t seen any customers in the past hour.

Until…aha! The door chime! I turned in my swivel chair and stood up. Activate salesman smile.

The customer who had just walked in was a purple unicorn. To put it mildly, I was kind of surprised. Five years ago, I probably would have dialed 911 and reported myself insane if I thought I saw something like that walk into the store.

Science, however, had decided to change everything. Exactly how another universe had been stumbled upon was still classified information, but the fact remained that it had happened. Suddenly, there were magical ponies everywhere, walking into our gun shops and stuff.

“Can I help you?” I asked.

The pony smiled and came walking over. “I’d like to learn about firearms.”

The voice sounded female. That was what I had thought based on the purple coloring, but I wasn’t willing to assume anything. Getting a customer’s gender wrong was one of the best ways to lose repeat business.

The unicorn had large eyes, also purple, and pink stripe in her mane. Slung on her back were a set of white saddlebags that appeared to have some kind of design on them.

My mouth opened slightly as I searched for something to say. While her statement was typical of a first time customer, it was still so strange coming from a pony.

“Firearms. That’s a big subject,” I finally said.

“I was told that I needed a handgun,” she replied.

“Wha—who told you that?” First the pony wanted to learn about guns, and now she actually wanted one? Regardless of whether the unicorn in front of me was real or not, I was still thinking about calling the men in white coats.

“The reason I need it is kind of a long story,” she told me.

I gestured the empty store. “I’ve got time.”

She thought for a moment, as if deciding where to begin. “I’ve been traveling across the United States looking for new aspects of friendship to report on."

She seemed about to say more, but I interrupted her. “You’re on some kind of friendship trip?”

“That’s right.” The horn on her forehead glowed and one of her saddlebags opened, a sheet of parchment rising out of it. My eyes opened wide. I'd heard about magic, but had never seen any before.

She laid the note on the counter.

Twilight Sparkle's friendship expedition to the United States of America

Letter #16

Dear Princess Celestia,

I have left Portland and bid my new friends goodbye. They promise they will keep me updated on the latest bands before they become popular. I am still not quite sure what a Twitter is, but I may have to obtain one.

Speaking of acquisitions, I have recently been informed that I will need to purchase a handgun. Here in Kentucky, the people insist that that to fully examine their way of life, I will need to experience "range time."

Owing to the favorable exchange rate of bits-to-dollars, this should not be a problem.

Your faithful student,

Twilight Sparkle

“My assistant was going to send this letter later today,” said the pony. “He’s back at the hotel right now.”

“So your name is Twilight Sparkle?” I asked.

She nodded. “I can show you my passport, if you like.”

“No, that’s all right.” I studied the rest of the letter. She was a student of Princess Celestia? As in, that white pony who was on TV with the President? I was suddenly a lot more cautious than before. I hoped Equestria's version of the Secret Service wouldn’t burst through the door looking for Twilight. She was clearly an important pony.

“So…what gave you the idea that everyone in Kentucky wants you to buy a gun?” I asked.

“I’ve been investigating friendship relations among various groups of people,” said the pony. “I came here for information regarding rednecks.”

I couldn’t help it. I snorted with laughter.

“Sorry,” I said, regaining my composure. “Go on.”

“Well, by asking around I was able to find some,” she said. “They all seemed very proud of the title ‘redneck’. Unfortunately, none of them can pin down exactly what the definition of that is.”

She frowned, looking like she was remembering something confusing. “They also argued about Louisville versus UK.”

I nodded. “Welcome to Kentucky.”

“Anyway,” said the pony, “one thing they all agreed on was firearms. I decided to investigate further, and so here I am.”

I nodded slowly. “So you want me to teach you…everything about firearms.”

“If you can," she said.

“Honestly, I think you’d be better off at a library. My knowledge only covers about the last hundred years of gun history.”

“I was planning to stop there later.” She laughed. “I think I have more library cards from the United States than I do from Equestria.”

“Well, I guess I can talk about what’s on display here in this store,” I said. I spread my arms like a showman. “Where would you like to begin?”

The pony frowned, looking overwhelmed. There were rifles and shotguns on the rack behind me, pistols and revolvers in the glass case under the counter. Ammunition, targets, and miscellaneous items lined the shelves.

“Uh, how about we start with something basic,” she said. “What’s that you’re wearing?”

I touched the weapon in my holster lightly with my fingertips. “This is a Rock Island Armory 1911A1. The safety’s been converted to ambidextrous. It’s got a set of Mako funnel grips and an Ed Brown trigger that breaks at three and a half pounds.” I shrugged. “Probably not the best carry gun, but I like it.”

The unicorn looked more confused than ever, and I was afraid I might have made her think the subject was too difficult to understand.

She shook her head. “All right, start over. Explain that sentence by sentence.”

I slowly walked back through everything I had said.

“So Rock Island is the company that made it?” she asked.

“Well, actually that’s a just a trademark of Armscor. They also make stuff for other companies like STI and Charles Daly.”

“That doesn’t sound simple,” the unicorn noted. “Are there a lot of gun companies?”

“Tough question.” I counted on my fingers. “I can think of two dozen off the top of my head. The answer is probably hundreds, if not thousands.”

“That’s…a lot of weapons.”

I nodded. “There are almost three hundred million guns in the United States. Coincidentally, there are also about three hundred million people.”

“But…why do you need that many?"

I shrugged. “It’s America. You’re not from this planet, so I don’t expect you to understand.”

“I certainly don’t,” said the pony. "Aren't there some kind of regulations?"


"So why don't they limit the number?" she asked.

The phrase you can have my guns when you pry them from my cold dead hands drifted across my mind. Deciding that the pony didn't need to be exposed to Charlton Heston, I said, "Limiting guns would be politically unpopular."

"Oh, politics," said the pony. "I'd rather not talk about that."

"Good for you."

She smiled. It looked like we had something in common.

The pony said, “Sorry about that, I get sidetracked easily. My original purpose in coming here was to learn about firearms and perhaps acquire one.”

“I apologize, but even with jumping through all the right loopholes, you still have to live here for ninety days to establish residency before you can legally buy one from me.” Regrettable. I really wanted to sell a pony a gun.

“But what will I do?” she said, sounding somewhat panicked.

“Whoa, calm down. Before you go buying a gun from some shady guy on the street corner, why don’t you ask one of your redneck friends if they would let you borrow one?”

She nodded, looking relieved. “I could do that.”

He expression changed to worry, although not quite as severe as before. “I still don’t know how to use a gun."

“Well, it’s no substitute for actually spending time on the range, but I can go over basic safety with you.” I picked a stainless steel S&W out of the display case and showed it to her.

“Is it loaded?” I asked her.

“I don’t know," she replied.

I nodded. “Exactly. Rule one of gun safety is ‘Treat every weapon as if it is loaded’.”

I racked the slide and showed her the empty chamber and magazine. “You can see there isn’t any ammunition in there, but maybe if you leave the gun alone for a moment an idiot might come along and put some in. When you pick the weapon up again, you might not think it’s loaded even though it suddenly is. So, to be safe, just assume all guns are loaded all the time."

“That makes sense,” said the pony.

I went on. “The second rule is ‘Always point the gun in a safe direction.’ Here in the shop, that’s towards the floor or the back wall. Basically, if you would feel bad about putting a bullet hole in something, don’t point the gun at it in the first place.”

I continued. “The third rule is ‘Keep you finger off the trigger until you are actually ready to fire’."

“How does that apply if I don’t have fingers?” the unicorn asked.

I thought for a moment. “Good question. Moving on. The fourth rule is ‘Be sure of your target and what is around it’. If you miss, or if the bullet passes through the target, you don’t want to hit something else by mistake.”

“I understand,” she nodded.

I laid the pistol flat in my hand and held it out to her. “Have a look.”

The purple glow of her magic surrounded the gun, and I jerked my hand back in surprise. The pony didn’t seem to notice, as her whole attention was fixed on the firearm she’d just picked up.

“How do I use it?” she asked. “I mean, I understand the trigger, but what about everything else?”

“Well, first you’d press that little button to release the magazine, which you would then fill with ammunition. Once you put the mag back in, you’d release the slide with the catch there on the side. Once the safety is off, you could then begin firing.”

“Could you give me a demonstration?” the pony asked.

“I can't show you with live ammunition. We have a store policy about that."

“But I can’t show up to the shooting range knowing nothing,” she said, the edge of panic back in her voice.

“I’m sure you’ll be fine," I consoled her. "If they’re really your friends, they’ll understand and help you learn.”

The pony nodded, calming down. “That makes sense. I may have to put that in my next friendship report to the Princess."

She laid the pistol back on the counter. “Thanks a lot.”

“That’s what I’m here for. Oh, and there's a gun show in town this weekend. If you're interested, there'll be thousands of guns on display." I pushed a flyer across the counter.

She examined the slip of paper. "Sounds interesting. Thanks again." She put the flyer in her saddlebag and headed for the door.

I sat down in my chair again and sighed. Just when you thought you'd seen everything...

Many thanks to Doctor Whooves for the cover art.

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