I’ve been writing for SOFREP for a bit now, and in that time, I’ve revealed some things to you, dear readers, that I’d be reluctant to announce to a room full of my friends. You’ve been supportive and respectful, but what I’m going to tell you next might make some of you gasp in disgust, and possibly even remove all of my credibility in your eyes.

In 2006, I bought a 9mm Hi-Point pistol.

I know. I know. It’s an awful pistol that sees more action as the butt of jokes than as any respectable gunfighter’s sidearm. It’s the pistol of choice for drug dealers who don’t have the good sense to steal the gun they carry. You’re wondering what could have driven me to such a ridiculous purchase, or if maybe I did so under duress. Maybe Theresa Hi-Point, the evil heir to the Hi-Point fortune, forced me to buy it at gunpoint (using a much more reliable gun than her company offers)? Sadly, no. I bought it because I was poor…and an idiot.

See, in 2006, I was a brand new Marine private first class. At the time, I hadn’t ever even fired a pistol at a real range—in Vermont we usually just chose dead trees and then spent the day trying to cut them down with shotguns (a great way to spend a Saturday)—and in my mind, a gun was a gun. I figured practicing with a pistol I could afford was better than not practicing at all, and I had aspirations to be as deadly and accurate a shooter as I could be. So I strolled into a gun shop about an hour from base, slapped 200 dollars on the table, waited my cool-off period, and headed home with my first-ever pistol—a heavy, black 9mm Hi-Point that looked a little like if Sloth from the Goonies had mated with a Glock.

Top: Hi Point C9. Bottom: Glock 19

It wouldn’t be long before I was chosen to join my unit’s anti-terrorism force protection team, a small reactionary force that trained alongside local law enforcement and military police to be activated in the event of an attack in Southern California. As a part of the team, I would undergo all sorts of training, to include hand-to-hand combat techniques, oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray certification, and of course, pistol shooting. Before long, I was racking up pistol expert certifications with my trusty Beretta M9, and my Hi-Point found itself in a drawer, making appearances only occasionally when my buddies and I would go out shooting.

In the decade-plus since then, I’ve gotten my hands on all sorts of pistols. As I’ve written about before, today I choose between an American Classic 1911 and an increasingly modified Glock 19 for my everyday carry weapon, my wife carries a Walther P22, and my old Hi-Point sits in a drawer, just like it always has. Over the years, I’ve probably put about a thousand rounds through it, which sounds like a lot—until you realize that means I’ve really only taken it out of its drawer a dozen times with any intention of firing it, and literally every time it has lived up to the Hi-Point name by being a pain in my ass and failing to impact the paper where I tell it to.

Despite being about the same size as my Glock 19, the Hi-Point manages to outweigh my significantly larger 1911 with a full magazine. But hey, someone in a movie once told me “heavy is good” when it comes to pistols. Surely pop culture has never lied to me about guns, right?