thanks for the info folks. I'm glad I didn't get a bunch of weird looks for using my finger. My seams don't look as nice as I'd like to but I don't know what else I would have expected in my first time using this stuff.
The people at the store advised me against the self-leveling only because it is so difficult for a n00b to use as you guys have attested to. That and by that point I was already walking out with $150 of materials between the gun, two tubes of sealer, and a bag of extra tips.
Which by the way, PlioGrip makes the gun for 3M as well, except the PlioGrip gun costs $50 and the 3M gun costs $70. Which also means the PlioGrip and 3M seam sealers come in the same cartridge so you can actually use both with the same gun. I had put on the Fast n Firm several years ago as well as the 3M brushable. Both were crap and have been cracking. I removed what I could and this stuff works very nice.
The really nice thing about it is 0 VOC! It literally has no odor! That Fast n Firm (reminds you of when you were a teenager doesn't it?
) or brushable sealer would about knock you out if you weren't wearing a respirator.