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Angry Sigh: Moving to NoVa...

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by alpinewhitey, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. alpinewhitey

    alpinewhitey New Member

    Sep 10, 2006
    Good afternoon 'gents,

    I did a search of the forum and found some excellent advice directed at another chappy who was moving to the DC metro region. However, that was a little dated (1.5-2 years), and I was wondering if any of you guys lived out in that area and had any advice for a CCW guy and his fiancee (soon to be CCW) moving to the area.

    Thru the search option I found a lot of good places to shoot, some of which are still around. And though I am still very interested in all gun-related tips, best places for ammo, good shows, etc, I am concerned with how much it costs to live out there (!!!) and where I might put down roots.

    I'll be on the NoVa side of the river, and I don't really want to consider living either in DC or metro Maryland (nothing against the non-DC/Annapolis/Baltimore areas, especially out west, but those idyllic places are too far from which to commute daily). That's limiting me to the Arlington - Alexandria - Springfield swath. Any advice from the inhabitants, or those lucky enough to escape DC and its traffic to pass on to a young(ish) guy?

    Thanks for everything, I'll go back to preemptively missing my beloved Omaha...

  2. RangerVA

    RangerVA New Member

    Feb 22, 2007
    Cheap and NOVA do not go together at all. I bought my 3 bedroom townhouse in Manassas in 2003 for 182,000. Just a year ago they were double that :what: The market has dropped down quite a bit but to live cheaply in NOVA means renting in a neighborhood where you will be glad you have a CCW or buying something where the commute is at least an hour into the city. Unless you're rich :D

    I am 35 miles from my job and it's an hour and a half each way :uhoh:
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2007
  3. alpinewhitey

    alpinewhitey New Member

    Sep 10, 2006
    Good Lord!

    I'll be working in Arlington and Alexandria, so that's ideally where I'd like to live.

    I've always wanted to live in real "red Virginia," which begins south of the Rappahanock. However, to live in Frederickburg or south is impossible. A dream, though.

    I worry about the spiraling traffic and crime there as well. Not the place I'd like to set down roots, you know?

  4. motorheadjohn

    motorheadjohn New Member

    Nov 6, 2006
    Tidewater, VA
    At least you'll be on the right side of the boarder, not waiting on a SCOTUS ruling to find out if you can own firearms to use for your self defense.

    Virginia is a shall-issue Concealed Handgun Permit state. Maryland does not honor the permit but several other neighboring states are...NC, WV, OH, PA, etc.
  5. Hoffy

    Hoffy New Member

    Apr 24, 2007
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Fredericksburg, VA

    I live in Fredericksburg and commute to the District (SW) each day via Virginia Railway Express (www.VRE.org). When I drive in, I pick up slugs going to the Pentagon (PM me if you need the concept of slugging explained). Cheaper; low (violent) crime; lots of regular folks of every hue, income, and orientation; long commute.

    I shoot at "The Range" (www.indoorrange.com), which is less than 6 miles from my house. It costs me about $5 for 1/2 hour and you can buy their .45 acp reloads (which are pretty good) for $11.25 per 50. Good guys there.

    EVERYBODY who is now or ever has lived in the DC commuting area has a strong real estate opinion...usually justifying their choice (nobody wants to say...don't be an idiot like me). Take their advice just like you would take the advice of a Glock man, a 1911 man, a Makarovnic, or a Browning nut when considering a pistol purchase: take in what they have to say, learn all you can from them, then do your own research and pick the area (or pistol) that is right for YOU.

    Good luck and feel to PM me for advice,
  6. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Senior Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Manassas, Va
    Howdy neighbor! ;)

    Another manassholian...

  7. JeffKnox

    JeffKnox New Member

    Jan 17, 2005
    Manassas, VA
    The closer youare, the spensiver it gets...

    Hey Alpine,
    Alexandria is a nice little city as is Arlington, but the closer you are to DC, the more you'll pay per square foot. There are plenty of apartment and home guides available on-line for you to check out and be sure to look at travel routes to see what's going to make sense for you. Arlington is currently a little more conservative in my opinion than Alexandria and Fairfax, but VA is "shall issue" and open carry with state firearms preemption so while you might be hassled, you won't be illegal - unless you conceal in a restaurant that serves alcohol. When I'm with my wife and we go into a restaurant, I un-conceal, but just barely. I'll tuck my over-shirt behind the butt of my Commander, but keep the gun pretty well out of sight behind my elbow and sit with my right side toward the wall if possible.
    If my wife is not with me, I'm not nearly so inconspicuous. I think it's important to let the masses see responsible carry, but don't want to create a hassle that might embarrass or inconvenience my wife; as a courtesy to her. On the other hand, if I'm alone, I'm happy to educate cops and restaurant managers all day long.
    I've open carried all over the Manassas area as well as the Springfield area and have never had the slightest problem - but then, I'm white bread with the crust cut off. I imagine things might be a bit different if I were a person of color or a more slovenly dresser.
    Feel free to PM me if I can be of any help, and Welcome to the neighborhood.


  8. usp9

    usp9 Senior Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Bowling Green, Va
    Like Hoffy, I'm down in Stafford, just south of Quantico Marine Base. We are here due to the high price of housing anywhere north. We are immigrants from the Peoples Democratic Republic of Maryland seven years ago. My wife commutes to D.C. on a commuter bus. Costs $220 a month and 1.5 hrs. each way. You can still find a nice house for under $500K, schools are very good, crime very moderate, traffic is terrible. I shoot at The Range too. A little rundown but good people.

    Good luck with your hunt.
  9. VARifleman

    VARifleman Participating Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    Northern VA
    I shoot at bull run shooting center for clays and the NRA range for rifle, pistol, and slugs. I live near Fairfax in Burke. CCW laws are pretty good, and it's hard to beat our open carry laws. It really isn't bad in Northern VA, but if you work in DC times that you can carry are reduced considerably (obviously).
  10. Navy87Guy

    Navy87Guy Active Member

    Apr 6, 2005
    Stafford VA
    I also live in Stafford and make the daily commute. Traffic sucks - there's no way around it. There are alternatives (train, bus, slugging) but they all have their drawbacks. But if you want any significant amount of house/real estate, then it's the only option. The general rule of thumb for the real estate market here is to add $10,000 to the price of a house for every mile closer you move to DC. So my $500,000 house in Stafford would run $650K fifteen miles up the road in Woodbridge.

    We've been here for 6 years and I've managed not to shoot anyone yet - so it's possible.

    I live about 3 miles from The Range. It reminds me of that old "guys" barber shop you had growing up -- smells of smoke, the guys all talk foul, but you feel right at home.

    Good luck!

  11. cassandrasdaddy

    cassandrasdaddy Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2006
    good luck

    i live as far south as you can in stafford outside fredericksburg can walk to spotsylvania if i get my feet wet in river. i love it here. did the commute for years 5 hours a day with no license love working locally a ton. never even had keys to my house yet
  12. tinygnat219

    tinygnat219 Senior Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    The Land of Northern Hospitality and Southern Effi
    Welcome to the area. Don't let these guys totally kill the NOVA idea for you. Yeah, the area's expensive, but so are other areas. One thing this area has tons of though, is jobs.

    I live in Alexandria and work in DC. My commute's not THAT bad, maybe 15-20 minutes door to door (of course, I leave at 0630 as well). Alexandria's got a pretty low crime rate, just stay out of the Rte. 1 corridor south of Alexandria, and you should be fine. Nice areas include the West end, Del Ray, and if you like lots of Yuppies Old Towne is your bag (this is where George Washington frequented, and where Robert E Lee grewup).

    Arlington is another world. Twice the people, twice the traffic and lots of headaches, still lots of fun places to go. Check out Clarendon, and Ballston in particular.

    Springfield's not bad, just a typical suburbia. You might want to check out Annandale, and Falls Church as they are close to both Alexandria and Arlington.

    Also, some places to shoot: Gilberts Small arms range in Lorton, NRA Range in Fairfax, Izaak Walton League Ranges for outdoor stuff, and the other places people have mentioned.
    This area isn't completely liberal (yet), the NRA is headquartered here, as is the VCDL (VA Citizens Defense League, responsible for the Bloomberg Gun Giveaway), and the GOA is here too. Give me a PM if you want some more details.
  13. Winter Borne

    Winter Borne Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    Sodom on the Potomac
    Hey Alpinewhitey, and all the other NoVA members. Welcome to the neighborhood, home of the NRA. I'm in Gainesville, just west of Manassas and yes, the area can be pricy, but with the down turn in the mortgage market here there are deals to be had. I am suprised no one here has mentioned it, but you should check out the Virginia Citizens Defence League www.vcdl.org

    I don't have much time to shoot, but when I do I go to the NRA indoor range in Fairfax.

    IMO the National Gun Show at Dulles Exbo is okay, but noadays I only go to Knob Creek for their shows. A bit of a hike, but well worth it.

  14. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Mentor

    Oct 10, 2006
    Deep in the valley
    Now being pals n' all I'm going to say that TinyGnat gives a fair approximation of what the NoVA are is like.


    I'm also going to say that the wife and I just moved AWAY out to the Valley area and couldn't be happier with getting away from a lot of aspects of that section of Virginia, ESPECIALLY THE TRAFFIC! We had also decided that while Arlington was great for young, single, professionals, or older folks, we didn't feel it was very good for raising kids so that may also be something for you to consider.
  15. CajunBass

    CajunBass Mentor

    Jun 2, 2005
    North Chesterfield, Virginia
    Welcome to the area.

    I'm just on the "free" side of the Rappahanock at Chancelorsville. I commute to south Richmond, which gives me the wonderful advantage of going against traffic. 78 miles one way, but I ride a motorcycle most of the time, so the long ride is more enjoyable. I try to avoid 95 as much as I can, either on the bike or driving an automobile. I think if I had to go north every day, I'd go nuts. We have Bible study on Wednesday night, and it's nothing for half the group to be stuck on 95.

    My wife and I shoot at "The Range" and at Clark Brothers Guns over in Opal. It's about as far to one as the other. At the range we pay for range time but can bring our own ammo (or buy it there). At Clark Brothes we have to buy their (overpriced) ammo, but the range time is free, so it works out about the same. We tend to shoot centerfire at The Range, and rimfire at Clarke Brothers. There is a Game Dept rifle range around here somewhere, but it's only open about half the year, so I've never bothered to look for it.
  16. striker3

    striker3 Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    Just remember that regardless of which part, you are still in VIRGINIA. You could be in a much worse state, like California.
  17. ForeignDude

    ForeignDude New Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    Don't Know About Ranges...

    ...but here is a good website to look up active real estate listings in the area:


    Here is another website, where you can look up information on the various cities in northern VA, as well as forums where past and current residents provide useful information about living and commuting in NOVA:


    And, finally, a website that allows you to compare crime rates between cities (compare the crime rate between, say, Chantilly and Alexandria to see how each stacks up):


    Good luck! :)
  18. Tin Gizel

    Tin Gizel Member

    Apr 11, 2007
    Moved a little bit out of NOVA. Was renting a townhouse in South Riding (chantilly) for 2k/month. At the end of our lease they tried to sell it to use for 539k. I said no thanks, went 32 miles south and had a new single family built on 1/4 acre for 328k. I can cover that 32 mile different in commute in about 40mins. So the theories about 10k per mile sound about right.
  19. tideguyinva

    tideguyinva New Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    I have lived in Fredericksburg for about 8 years now. The prices for homes here has risen rapidly since I have been here. I dont work in DC but I go up north as far as Woodbridge. The commute usually sucks and there is alot of traffic going and coming. Like said there are various forms of transportation you can use but get ready for a wait. I go to The Range also and shoot there pretty often. I will be going tonight to try out my new RIA CS .45. Good luck with your decision. Its going to be a tough one for sure.
  20. JamisJockey

    JamisJockey member

    Jan 4, 2003
    Northern VA
    Welcome to the area. I've been here (Woodbridge) 8 months, and really like it. Of course, I don't have to suffer the commute into DC....
    VA is an open carry state. It's also a CCW state, which is fairly easy to obtain. Alot of the people in NoVA are government drones, so I don't open carry around here.....I don't want to be the "man with a gun" 911 call.
    Housing prices have plummeted. I know where you can get a good deal on a 4 bedroom 3 1/2 bath 2 car garage 2800sqft colonial.....wife and I just put a lot hold on a new place about halfway between woodbridge and stafford, so we're going to have to sell.....:D
    Anyhow, you'll now be 2 hours from the mountains, 3 hours from the beach, 1 hour from DC and all its glory, have two international airports within driving distance, plus all the rest of what the East Coast has to offer. Weather is mild (except right now). This place shuts down anytime it snows, which is quite funny.

    Sounds like a fall NoVA get together is in order.

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