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Good Suggestion for a First Handgun

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Augusto86, May 7, 2006.

  1. Liberty Ship

    Liberty Ship Well-Known Member

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    I've never before had the opportunity to shoot: anti-gun parents, a camp that banned shooting the year I was old enough on account of Columbine, Mass. laws, etc.

    I'd like to learn how to operate and shoot a firearm, and I was wondering what people would suggest for a first handgun. I would probably go down to the local shooting range and take some courses in the basics of shooting, safety, cleaning, etc, but eventually I'd like to own a gun, probably a handgun, and I was hoping to get some advice on what sort of gun is good for a novice to the world of weaponry.



    Augusto, go to the range and take the course first before you buy anything. Try to find an NRA Certified instructor to teach you the Basic Handgun course. In doing so, you should be able to fire several different handguns. The range probably has rental guns, too. Learn, train, then purchase. You'll be much happier.

    The people telling you to get a .22 as a first gun are correct. However, depending on what you want it for, you can "outgrow" it after a box of ammo. I broke my 14 year old niece in with a .22 S&W 422 Semi-auto. After 50 rounds, she had learned what she needed and picked up my Ruger Vaquero (cowbow style gun) in .44 magnum with a 7.5 inch barrel (loaded with less powerful .44 Specials), knocked down 6 out of 6 steel plates and never looked back. That .44 is now her favorite plinking gun.

    To answer your question more simply, if I had to pick one handgun for an inexperienced shooter, it might be a .357 Revolver with a 4 inch barrel. You can shoot .38's for fun, and .357's for defense. Low maintenance, no mag problems, the failure drill is, basically, pull the trigger again. That being said, I carry a .45 Glock 36 and keep a .45 Glock 21 bedside. But I have trained and am committed to continued training "like my life depends on it."

    For now, forget the gun, concentrate on the training. The gun selection will become clear once you are trained.
     
  2. globetrotter

    globetrotter Well-Known Member

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    Augusto, go to the range and take the course first before you buy anything. Try to find an NRA Certified instructor to teach you the Basic Handgun course. In doing so, you should be able to fire several different handguns. The range probably has rental guns, too. Learn, train, then purchase. You'll be much happier.

    The people telling you to get a .22 as a first gun are correct. However, depending on what you want it for, you can "outgrow" it after a box of ammo. I broke my 14 year old niece in with a .22 S&W 422 Semi-auto. After 50 rounds, she had learned what she needed and picked up my Ruger Vaquero (cowbow style gun) in .44 magnum with a 7.5 inch barrel (loaded with less powerful .44 Specials), knocked down 6 out of 6 steel plates and never looked back. That .44 is now her favorite plinking gun.

    To answer your question more simply, if I had to pick one handgun for an inexperienced shooter, it might be a .357 Revolver with a 4 inch barrel. You can shoot .38's for fun, and .357's for defense. Low maintenance, no mag problems, the failure drill is, basically, pull the trigger again. That being said, I carry a .45 Glock 36 and keep a .45 Glock 21 bedside. But I have trained and am committed to continued training "like my life depends on it."

    For now, forget the gun, concentrate on the training. The gun selection will become clear once you are trained.



    LS - welcome aboard.

    I like the idea of the .357 revolver.


    what is your feeling on this - for learning purposes, I have the feeling that a semi-automatic is better, to some extent in the same way it is better to learn to drive with a shift and then go to automatic when you are more experienced. the auto-loader will require one to learn more than a revolver.

    what are your thoughts?
     
  3. Arethusa

    Arethusa Well-Known Member

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    That's interesting. I've heard the exact same argument for learning on a revolver (ie it is more demanding of proper form). I can't speak from experience, obviously.
     
  4. Garfieldthecat

    Garfieldthecat Well-Known Member

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    My first handgun was a Ruger Super Redhawk 44 Mag with a 9.5 inch barrel. I would load only 4 rounds randomly in the chambers to train out the nasty flinch when I would fire it. The embarrassment of twitching when the hammer would fall on an empty chamber was motivation enough to learn to fire it correctly. Once I figured out the .44, the 1911 was cake. I probably should have gotten the Colt huntsman .22 instead.

    Growing up, I started on a .22, but then moved to my father's 1911 (not A1) Colt. Then he got a Super Redhawk .44 with a 2X scope (it had the dovetail sight mounting), and he made me do the same thing as what you did, to stop flinching. Boy, was it embarrissing to pull the trigger on an empty chamber and see how bad I was. [​IMG]

    Even worse was not flinching and firing a live round, that was a shock too! [​IMG]
     
  5. Edward Appleby

    Edward Appleby Well-Known Member

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    I find automatics "easier" to shoot than revolvers, though I'm not quite sure what I mean by that. I think with autos, there are more things that you should remember, but with revolvers there are more things that you have to remember. For example, a DA revolver with make you very concious of your hammer position, and thus ingrain thinking about the safety state of your weapon.
     
  6. globetrotter

    globetrotter Well-Known Member

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    interesting, a lot of ways to look at it. I have very little revolver experience - most of my experience is with assult rifles, and with autoloading handguns. I was thinking that the autoloader has more parts, dealing with the magazine etc., where as the revolver is a more simple piece of machinery.
     
  7. Edward Appleby

    Edward Appleby Well-Known Member

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    interesting, a lot of ways to look at it. I have very little revolver experience - most of my experience is with assult rifles, and with autoloading handguns. I was thinking that the autoloader has more parts, dealing with the magazine etc., where as the revolver is a more simple piece of machinery.
    I think from a maintenance standpoint you're right, but I was looking at it from a shooting/handling perspective.
     
  8. retronotmetro

    retronotmetro Well-Known Member

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    I find automatics "easier" to shoot than revolvers, though I'm not quite sure what I mean by that. I think with autos, there are more things that you should remember, but with revolvers there are more things that you have to remember. For example, a DA revolver with make you very concious of your hammer position, and thus ingrain thinking about the safety state of your weapon.

    I don't understand. If you don't manually cock the hammer on a DA revolver, you never have to worry about the position of the hammer. It is down, period. IIRC, that is actually one of the "selling points" that was used to transition law enforcement personnel from revolvers to DAO semiautomatic pistols--the fact that every pull of the trigger on a DAO has the same feel.

    The first time I had a feed stoppage on a semiauto, I was momentarily stumped on how to proceed, despite having been taught and practiced clearing procedures. That was at a range under leisure conditions, not in a stress situation where it counted. Revolvers don't have those issues, and I think the KISS principle says that revolvers may be preferable for new or infrequent shooters who want a reliable weapon.
     
  9. Edward Appleby

    Edward Appleby Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand. If you don't manually cock the hammer on a DA revolver, you never have to worry about the position of the hammer. It is down, period. IIRC, that is actually one of the "selling points" that was used to transition law enforcement personnel from revolvers to DAO semiautomatic pistols--the fact that every pull of the trigger on a DAO has the same feel.

    This is what I'm saying. You'll feel the hammer position in each trigger pull, as opposed to a DAO auto, where you won't notice it. Thus, you'll think about whether or not the hammer is cocked, as opposed to just flipping the safety on or off. I just think that, for training purposes, it makes you more concious of the your weapon and its state, which is always a good thing.
     
  10. globetrotter

    globetrotter Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand. If you don't manually cock the hammer on a DA revolver, you never have to worry about the position of the hammer. It is down, period. IIRC, that is actually one of the "selling points" that was used to transition law enforcement personnel from revolvers to DAO semiautomatic pistols--the fact that every pull of the trigger on a DAO has the same feel.

    The first time I had a feed stoppage on a semiauto, I was momentarily stumped on how to proceed, despite having been taught and practiced clearing procedures. That was at a range under leisure conditions, not in a stress situation where it counted. Revolvers don't have those issues, and I think the KISS principle says that revolvers may be preferable for new or infrequent shooters who want a reliable weapon.



    actually these are my points - if I want to learn about a new (to me) technology, I would try to learn with the most complex example - in my mind, a large part of shooting is clearing feed stoppages. if you learn on an autoloader, you have to understand the safty, you have to learn about feed stoppages, you have to think about these things. if, later on, you then go to a revolver, you will have learned more than you need to know, it will then be simple.
     
  11. Edward Appleby

    Edward Appleby Well-Known Member

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    actually these are my points - if I want to learn about a new (to me) technology, I would try to learn with the most complex example - in my mind, a large part of shooting is clearing feed stoppages. if you learn on an autoloader, you have to understand the safty, you have to learn about feed stoppages, you have to think about these things. if, later on, you then go to a revolver, you will have learned more than you need to know, it will then be simple.
    I guess I'm thinking more in safety terms- to me, a revolver requires more attention. With an automatic, you pop in the mag, hit the slide release, bang bang bang, eject, rinse, and repeat. With an FTF or an FTE, just rack the slide a bit and keep going.

    With a revolver, on the other hand, each shot you have to choose: DA or SA? I dunno, to me revolvers just seem more contemplative and revolvers more natural.

    ED: Upon rereading, your point makes alot of sense. I suppose I'm just biased because automatics are more reflexive to me, for whatever reason.
     
  12. globetrotter

    globetrotter Well-Known Member

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    I guess I'm thinking more in safety terms- to me, a revolver requires more attention. With an automatic, you pop in the mag, hit the slide release, bang bang bang, eject, rinse, and repeat. With an FTF or an FTE, just rack the slide a bit and keep going.

    With a revolver, on the other hand, each shot you have to choose: DA or SA? I dunno, to me revolvers just seem more contemplative and revolvers more natural.

    ED: Upon rereading, your point makes alot of sense. I suppose I'm just biased because automatics are more reflexive to me, for whatever reason.


    this is something that I don't feel as strongly about, compared to some gun issues. I have never trained somebody in using a handgun, and I have relativly little expereince with a revolver, so I am just bouncing my ideas around.

    btw - I don't read any firearm literature, and I learned to shoot in another language - so I don't understand any of the abreviations.
     
  13. acidboy

    acidboy Well-Known Member

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    may i remind gun owners here to always invest in a good gun case and do lock it and keep it away from children. guns, imo, should never be brought out unless you're going to use it or having it cleaned and maintained.
     
  14. Arethusa

    Arethusa Well-Known Member

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    If he's planning on getting it for home defense, that's pretty terrible advice. Though I believe he's still in college/university, which makes most of this a non issue.
    btw - I don't read any firearm literature, and I learned to shoot in another language - so I don't understand any of the abreviations.
    DA: Double Action SA: Single Action FTF: Failure to Fire FTE: Failure to Extract
     
  15. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim Well-Known Member

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    College is dangerous.

    You need a flamethrower.
     
  16. Liberty Ship

    Liberty Ship Well-Known Member

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    LS - welcome aboard.

    I like the idea of the .357 revolver.


    what is your feeling on this - for learning purposes, I have the feeling that a semi-automatic is better, to some extent in the same way it is better to learn to drive with a shift and then go to automatic when you are more experienced. the auto-loader will require one to learn more than a revolver.

    what are your thoughts?


    Hi Globetrotter,

    Situatons vary, but if I am starting someone out with handguns, I like to start with a .22 semi auto. I prefer to use my Smith & Wesson 422 because is is closer to the big autos like the 1911 or Glock or Sig than is the Ruger. It is single action and, once "set up," less confusing and distracting than a revolver to shoot. I am there to help address any failures.

    But if I am introducing someone to handguns, I usually bring a few variations and they want to try something else after about 50 rounds of .22. That's fine. It's not my intention to create an expert with one trip to the range! But the principles they learn with the .22 auto -- sight alignment, trigger control, and safety -- transition to all other handguns. If you start them with a revolver, there is a secondary, distracting learning curve when they pick up the automatic.

    For those who simply want a firearm for defense and don't intend to train and shoot a lot, I cannot recommend an auto. There is just too much that can and does go wrong and you have to understand it thoroughly and be ready to keep it running under stress and in the dark. My wife used to shoot a lot and during that time I provided her with a compact 9mm semi-auto. One day, I realized she had not been shooting for more than a year. I replaced it with a revolver. I know it will work ("five for sure") and that she will remember how to operate it.

    All revolvers work the same -- point and click. All semi autos are a little different. There are "hammerless," exposed hammer, internal hammer, single action, double action, double action only, and a variety of manual safety configurations. Unless you are very experienced, you need to train on each one you might expect to shoot. Learn to shoot one revolver, you can pretty much shoot any revolver.
     
  17. globetrotter

    globetrotter Well-Known Member

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    Hi Globetrotter,

    Situatons vary, but if I am starting someone out with handguns, I like to start with a .22 semi auto. I prefer to use my Smith & Wesson 422 because is is closer to the big autos like the 1911 or Glock or Sig than is the Ruger. It is single action and, once "set up," less confusing and distracting than a revolver to shoot. I am there to help address any failures.

    But if I am introducing someone to handguns, I usually bring a few variations and they want to try something else after about 50 rounds of .22. That's fine. It's not my intention to create an expert with one trip to the range! But the principles they learn with the .22 auto -- sight alignment, trigger control, and safety -- transition to all other handguns. If you start them with a revolver, there is a secondary, distracting learning curve when they pick up the automatic.

    For those who simply want a firearm for defense and don't intend to train and shoot a lot, I cannot recommend an auto. There is just too much that can and does go wrong and you have to understand it thoroughly and be ready to keep it running under stress and in the dark. My wife used to shoot a lot and during that time I provided her with a compact 9mm semi-auto. One day, I realized she had not been shooting for more than a year. I replaced it with a revolver. I know it will work ("five for sure") and that she will remember how to operate it.

    All revolvers work the same -- point and click. All semi autos are a little different. There are "hammerless," exposed hammer, internal hammer, single action, double action, double action only, and a variety of manual safety configurations. Unless you are very experienced, you need to train on each one you might expect to shoot. Learn to shoot one revolver, you can pretty much shoot any revolver.



    thanks LS - that would be pretty much exactly my feeling. I wasn't sure if the origional poster wanted this for learning purposes, or for defence. we have discussed, in depth, my opinion about keeping a handgun for defence.


    If you don't mind, Liberty Ship, let me introduce you to the gang. People, I do not know that much about LS, but from my understanding he spends a good part of his time teaching novices how to use firearm, and has years of experience in the proper use of handguns.
     
  18. globetrotter

    globetrotter Well-Known Member

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    If he's planning on getting it for home defense, that's pretty terrible advice. Though I believe he's still in college/university, which makes most of this a non issue.


    DA: Double Action
    SA: Single Action
    FTF: Failure to Fire
    FTE: Failure to Extract



    thanks
     
  19. globetrotter

    globetrotter Well-Known Member

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    may i remind gun owners here to always invest in a good gun case and do lock it and keep it away from children. guns, imo, should never be brought out unless you're going to use it or having it cleaned and maintained.

    I second that. as a matter of fact, and I know that many, including LS, will disagree with me, if you have never fired a firearm, and you are intending to use it primarily for self defence, and you do not ahve a specific threat threatening your life (say you are sleeping with the ex-gilrfriend of a gang member) I would not count on a firearm for self defence. I, myself, keep a nightstick and a canister of gas - I don't have to worry about locking them up, and they will answer pretty much any threat that I can anticipate rationally. I (and, again, here my experiece differs from LS) believe that it is too much to expect from a novice to be able to operate a firearm correctly in time of need.

    in any event, if you are buying a gun, take into account the cost of a good gun safe.
     
  20. Liberty Ship

    Liberty Ship Well-Known Member

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    LS - welcome aboard.

    I like the idea of the .357 revolver.


    what is your feeling on this - for learning purposes, I have the feeling that a semi-automatic is better, to some extent in the same way it is better to learn to drive with a shift and then go to automatic when you are more experienced. the auto-loader will require one to learn more than a revolver.

    what are your thoughts?



    Hi Globetrotter,

    Situatons vary, but if I am starting someone out with handguns, I like to start with a .22 semi auto. I prefer to use my Smith & Wesson 422 because is is closer in configurtion to the big autos like the 1911 or Glock or Sig than is the Ruger. It is single action with an internal hammer and, once "set up," less confusing and distracting than a revolver to shoot. I am there to help address any failures.

    But if I am introducing someone to handguns, I usually bring a few variations and they usually want to try something else after about 50 rounds of .22. That's fine. It's not my intention to create an expert with one trip to the range! But the principles they learn with the .22 auto -- sight alignment, trigger control, and safety -- transition to all other handguns. If you start them with a revolver, there is a secondary, distracting learning curve when they pick up the automatic.

    For those who simply want a firearm for defense and don't intend to train and shoot a lot and regularly and continuously, I cannot recommend an auto. There is just too much that can and does go wrong and you have to understand it thoroughly and be ready to keep it running under stress and in the dark. My wife used to shoot a lot and during that time I provided her with a compact 9mm semi-auto. One day, I realized she had not been shooting for more than a year. I replaced it with a revolver. I know it will work ("five for sure") and that she will remember how to operate it. Also, revolvers are safer. Their readiness condition is verifiable with a quick glance. Most semi-auto accidents happen over confusion over whether or not it is truly unloaded.

    All revolvers work the same -- point and click. All semi autos are a little different. There are "hammerless," exposed hammer, internal hammer, single action, double action, double action only, and a variety of manual safety configurations. Unless you are very experienced, you need to train on each one you might expect to shoot. Then there is the fact that you have to understand and maintain two systems: the pistol and the magazine, and in the event of failure, figure out which caused the problem. Learn to shoot one revolver, you can pretty much shoot any revolver.
     

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