Well, I did it, and it turn out differently than I thought: I am now a handgun owner.
I wanted more than the minimum amount of training required by the state to qualify for an HSC (Handgun Safety Certificate), and document that is required to purchase a handgun in California, so I sought out more comprehensive training in my area, Santa Clara County.
BayProfs is a local organization that offers classes in firearms safety and personal protection. I signed up and took the NRA Basic Pistol class, a 10 hour, single day session that was quite valuable for people like myself who have not had much exposure to firearms in the past.
There was a good mix of lecture, demonstration, and hands-on practical handling of revolvers and pistols. The instructors were all very experienced and knowledgeable, most with years of experience in shooting competitively, law enforcement, military, and attendance on famous firearms schools like Gunsite, FrontSight, and Thunder Ranch.
At the end of the evening, the last unit of instruction was a firing range session in which all students were able to shoot a variety of handguns, both pistols and revolvers, in various calibers. Some of those available were models on my short list, and I look forward to shooting them as an evauluation prior to purchase.
Something surprising happened: there was one 1911 style pistol, and I not only shot better than with it any other pistol, I shot much better. In fact, I saw that the 1911 was the most comfortable in my hand, and if I could shoot it well, then what more is there to think about?
To make a long story short, I went out to the local gun shops, perused the available models, and am now the owner of a Kimber Custom II. And I got all of this done just prior to President Obama's inauguration.
This is not to say that I am paranoid about new gun control legislation, but i do live in California, and I wanted to be armed before any new restrictions were put in place, and I think that they are comming.
I'll have more on that later.