getting my first firearm and need some opinions
This is a discussion on getting my first firearm and need some opinions within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; ok i need some help and keep in mind ive never fired a gun before and i live in south florida
im looking to buy ...
February 15th, 2008 12:53 AM
getting my first firearm and need some opinions
ok i need some help and keep in mind ive never fired a gun before and i live in south florida
im looking to buy my first handgun and eventually get my CCW. i dont even know where to begin. ive been reading the forum and everyone says to try out the firearm before you buy it but i dont know the first thing about how to use one. where would i start on my quest to buying my first firearm? should i take a class or something else to learn how to use one first? should i buy one and then get someone to teach me how to use it? i have been reading everything online i could get my hands on about safely using one but would still like to take a class or a few classes just to make sure i have it down.
any advice on how to go about this and safety information(i dont want to hurt myself or anyone else) is very much appriciated.
side note: i would also like to get a CCW because i would like to be able to protect myself and my family if needed. im a big guy and am trained in martial arts/self defense but that really doesnt help in a gun fight so any advice on that would also be very much appriciated.
thanks in advance!
February 15th, 2008 12:57 AM
Look into NRA pistol classes. They should be a good starter. I would learn the basics first, before committing to which gun you want.
"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson
Nemo Me Impune Lacesset
February 15th, 2008 01:03 AM
Here' s my take.
Look into the permit process since that will take time.
-In Florida you need to show proficiency for the permit, so find a nearby range and take a basic class in firearm or hunter's safety to get started.
-Then, if you can, take the next step up class in firearm training (usually it includes getting familiar with more/different guns, cleaning, carrying, shooting them).
-Find a range that rents guns after the class(es) and try a couple out. See what fits your hand, what is comfortable when shooting. You are looking for something that "feels" right. After you have fired a couple, you start to get an idea of what you are looking for.
-Browse around here with any questions you can think of. Many questions are already answered in existing threads. If you can't find an answer, start a new thread and you will surely find a lot of help.
-Good luck and ask away.
The only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. SgtD
February 15th, 2008 01:06 AM
If you were close, I would teach you using my own weapons. I've taught strangers using my guns before and would do it again. I'm sure that there are people that would do the same near you.
Alternately, if you were in Tennessee, a handgun class required for carry permit teaches the basics to beginners. I don't know if it would be the same in Florida, but it would be worth an query.
The preceding post may contain sarcasm; it's just better that way. However, it is still intended with construction and with the Love of my L-rd Y'shua.
NRA Certified Pistol Instructor, Tennessee Certified Instructor
February 15th, 2008 01:10 AM
Being new to shooting, I recommend simply finding a good range that has lots of rentals, so that you can try a variety of handguns. You might find you like revolvers best, or a Glock, or something heavy (or light). No telling, at this point. Unless you shoot several thousand rounds, first, to get your bearings, it's going to be hard to find that one great gun as your first purchase.
Originally Posted by derekxec
Yes, an introductory training course would be worthwhile. Something that offers some good hands-on guidance as to grip, stance, shooting technique, safety.
Here is something to consider, as well. You could acquire whatever gun, to get your shooting experience up to snuff. Then, at the point you go after your CHL, you could at that point purchase a suitable gun for concealed carry. One can teach you how to shoot well, and the other can be the gun you purchase to carry. If funds are an issue, you can sell the first as you buy the second.
Welcome to the wonderful world of the shooting sports!
Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
self defense (A.O.J.).
How does disarming
the number of victims?
Reason over Force: Why the Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos)
NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.
February 15th, 2008 01:10 AM
I think the first step would be to go to a local range. Talk to the people there. But keep in mind that they may be part time shmos and full of incorrect or invalid information. Listen and verify. I'll say that again. Listen to what they say and then go home and verify it from reputable sources. See if there's a CLEET certified instructor there. Talk to him. They may very well have "beginner" classes that you can take. See if they rent. Then rent, rent, rent. First, it's fun. Second, the more different guns you try, the more you'll get a feel for what you like, what's comfortable, and what best suits your needs. Sometimes those are three different things, so keep that in mind.
On a side note, I'd go with what's comfortable. If you're planning on CCW'ing, it kind of defeats the purpose if it's uncomfortable and you never wear it.
First off. Remember the 4 rules.
1.) Treat every gun as if its loaded. Always.
2.) Never point the muzzle at anything you don't want to destroy. Or kill.
3.) Keep your finger pointed straight and off the trigger.
4.) Be sure of what you're shooting at and what's behind it.
Live by these rules and you'll be safe.... er.
I think you're going about it in the right way though. You're asking questions first. Knowledge is power. And in the human-gun machine, the most vital weapon is your brain.
Personally, I carry a full size 1911 in .45 cal. That's my choice. I've got prior military experience and I got to shoot everything from a little k-frame .38 to the big M-2. Of the three handguns that I carried during my enlistment, I liked the 1911 best. It felt better to me than the .38 revolver or the Berreta 9mm. Like I said rent till you find what works best for you. There are a million opinions out there on what is best and what isn't. The only one that matters in the end is yours. Once you gather enough knowledge and facts, you'll be able to form your opinion.
Involve your family. A day at the range can be fun, as well as educational.
But remember those 4 rules.
February 15th, 2008 01:40 AM
Find somewhere where you can try a vast variety of handguns before you make a choice. There are so many choices that you don't want to go spend all your money on something and then find out its not really what you need. If someone is interested in something I'm shooting I'll usually let them have a mag or two and try it. Most gun people are friendly and willing to help.
Find someone to teach you firearms safety as well, even if you have to pay for it
Fortes Fortuna Juvat
Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor
February 15th, 2008 01:42 AM
1. find a local range
2. take a beginners class
3. practice using rented guns from the local range, start with .22s, work your way up slowly.
4. take your ccw class with a rented gun, application process is often long.
5. during ur app process, try as many guns as you possibly can. spend long hours reading up about gun stuff.
6. eventually u will find a gun you like, get it
7. practice with it a LOT, get a holster, take another self defence class with your gun, or find someone that knows a lot about it, practice practice practice.
do LOTS of dry fire practice (make sure the gun is unloaded, check again, and again, and again, and they practice drawing and shooting w/o ammo)
8. eventually get your license in the mail
9. go to walmart
10. keep practicing and learning
Wo die Notwehr aufhört, fängt der Mord an
(Murder begins where self-defense ends)
February 15th, 2008 01:43 AM
oh, and make sure your family knows all the gun safety stuff at a minimum.
its great if they shoot too
Wo die Notwehr aufhört, fängt der Mord an
(Murder begins where self-defense ends)
February 15th, 2008 08:53 AM
Find you a good CHL instructor and have him or her teach you the bascis. Most handgun instructor have several different weapons and he should be able to help you find one that will fit your hand. The instructor should explain to you the differents safetys on different brand of weapon. There is a big difference between a Glock, a Sig or say a 1911 model. In my classes I hold I encourage students to let other students fire their weapons. Some gun ranges offer gun to rent while at the range and this is just another way to get the feel of a weapon. Usually the cost is reasonable but the ammo may be a little high. The person at the range should be able to advise you on the safe handling of the gun and give you some simple instruction.
Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.
Senior Instructor for Tactical and Defensive of Texas
February 15th, 2008 11:15 AM
All of this info is an excellent place to start. You'll be amazed at the rate you progress if you spend time shooting. Congratulations on making this decision to protect yourself, and welcome to the forum.
Les Baer 45
N.R.A. Patron Life Member
February 15th, 2008 11:36 AM
Okay, you're getting good advise; first of all, welcome to the forum and shooting sports! Whether target shooting, hunting, or CCW, shooting is challenging and great fun but first things first...
MEMORIZE THE 4 RULES
Learn them, repeat them and think them everytime you handle a weapon. If you ever touch a gun and don't know how to immediately and safely check it to ensure it's not loaded then ask every time and all the time.
Next; if you can find a range that rents you're in good shape! See if they offer any basic classes; if you can't find such a range it'll be harder but that's okay.
Next; You didn't mention any friends who shoot. They can be a help but assuming yiou don't have one
You're best best is to start out with something moderate and common that is comfortable. Too big a gun or two little is bad. You'll need to decide whether to start with a revolver or a semi-auto pistol. Check your state regulations on how that affects your permit process. In some states you have to declare which one, in other states you have to qualify with both.
The revolver is simpler to learn, harder to conceal. The semi isn't too hard to learn as a first gun and is typically easier to conceal.
Good basic rounds to start off with that are sufficient for CCW but softer on the recoil and relatively low cost to enable practice would be the .38/.357 for a revolver or the 9mm in a handgun.
The advantages of a good .38/.357 revolver is that a gun that is chambered for .357 magnums can shoot the lower power .38's. this is a good thing to enable you to practice with less expensive .38's and then you can someday use .357 for CCW if you choos.
A good semi auto pistol in 9mm is ideal for a first gun because it's powerful enough for CCW but is very economical to shoot so you can practice alot. A big guy like you may very well end up wanting to shoot a .40 or .45 but to learn with and use, I think you'd be well served with the 9mm. The .40 kicks harder and is much more snappy so some folks skip the .40 and go with a .45 which has a harder kick but it's a "different" kick. it's more of a whump instead of a whack so more folks prefer that kind of recoil.
No matter which gun you decide to start with, I would also recommend you seriously consider buying a good .22, either revolver or pistol becasue it's the perfect gun for learning basic shooting techniques on and it's the CHEAPEST fun you can have with a gun even though it's one of the worst defensive rounds there is.
Next; as you think about which path, i.e, revolver or pistol, go to gun shops and start feeling them in your hand. Gun fit is like trying on shoes. What fits me won't fit you so all we can do is point out some guns that are good makes/models but you have to try the fit!
Remember revolvers are a little harder to conceal comfortably becasue of the bulge from the cylinder. The flatness of the semi makes it easier to conceal.
Read what you can find on the internet about basics of marksmanship, i.e., you focus on the front sight which means the target and the back sight are actually a bit fuzzy. You breath normally and simply "stop" breathing when you're approaching the point of firing the weapon. You don't hold your breath, you just stop in the middle of it as you squeeze the trigger. And of course your grip on the weapon and finger squeeze (not jerk) are all important parts of it.
Sounds like a lot to learn but it's really a hand full of basics plus THE FOUR RULES and it's one of the funnest things you'll ever learn.
Depending on money, a decent .22 pistol for "training" would be the Sig Mosquito. It's not going to be as reliabel as it's big brothers but having a .22 jam is okay because it trains you on how to clear jams! The Walther P22's may have a bad reputation for jamming but they can also be a decent training gun and they're cheap. Better yet, by an inexpensive Browing Buckmark .22; they're very reliabel, accurate and if you get a short barreled, plain jane version they're VERY affortable, good quality, etc. You simply can do better than to train with one. Then, while you're already practicing and training (at little cost) you can continue to research your first CCW gun.
Some good main stream guns to handle at the guns hope would be a Ruger SP101 revolver, a Kel-Tec PF9 9mm, and of the Kahr CW 9mm pistols, Any SIG's (they're thick but for a big guy..and they're absolutely wonderful weapons. There are many many more! You should also handle some Glocks and the Smith and Wesson M&P's, and the Springfield XD's. All of those are good weaons. They're a bit thick in my hand due to my size but you have to try them. They're all reliable solid and reasonably priced weaons. And there's so many more!
Last (theres more but I need to get to work), see if you can hook up with a shooting club or some group of folks in your circle of friends and family who might be able to go with you to get you started. It's a fun sport to share.
You've found a good forum where you can get your questions answered by some knowledgeable folks so enjoy!
February 15th, 2008 11:39 AM
If you have never been around fire arms before, I would find a good entry level class first. Guns are not toys and they are dangerous. A person should have a good background in gun handling and gun safety. A good enrty level class will give you both. After that I would go to a range and rent as many different firearms as possible, and try them out. See what you shoot the best with, keep notes. Try revolvers as well as semi autos. A revolver is still a great option and usually much easier for a new shooter to handle safely. Take your time enjoy the experience it will last you a lifetime.
February 15th, 2008 12:17 PM
+1. You are in the enviable position of not having any bad habits when it comes to marksmanship. Be smart from the start and don't develop any. Seek qualified (certified and accredited) professional training first. Other students in the class or the instructor may have a variety of pistols and revolvers they would be willing to let you fire. Any NRA basic pistol instructor will be more than willing to address any of these concerns and tell you what you need to bring to training. -Jay
Originally Posted by rocky
P.S. Welcome aboard; this forum as well as the mindset of safety and freedom.
February 15th, 2008 12:18 PM
Forgive me for being a "middle aged cranky fart" and if this has neen answered to your satisfaction already, oh well.
Originally Posted by derekxec
I would contact some local gun ranges or the NRA, and ask who gives a basic handgun safety course in your area. Let them know that you have never handled a firearm before. Most times you will get to shoot a few guns in a safe environment in these type of courses too. That will help you to get a "feel" for what a gun does when a bullet is launched out of the barrel.
If they offer a "Basic Safety Course" that covers most firearms, rifles and shotguns included, I would Go for that over limiting yourself to just a handgun course. The reason is simple, you may decide in the future to get "Home Defense Shotgun" or have a "dedicated" Truck Rifle.
After that, or even before, I would recommend that you get Massad Ayoob's book, In The Gravest Extreme, if you plan on keeping a firearm for self defense. I've been reading Massad Ayoob for 20+ years and have learned a lot from his magazine articles over the years. As soon as I can schedule it I plan to take LFI 1, but that may be a while.
Gunfights are usually "up close and personal affairs" so your martial arts training will serve you well. Don't worry about what gun to get. Take a safety course and rent some guns at a range before you decide. I will say though, for a first gun IMHO, nothing beats a good double action revolver. I like a good S&W Model 10, 13, 19, 64, 65, 66, 681, 686 in 38 Special/.357 Magnum as a "first gun" with a 4" Barrel. I also like the Ruger GP100 with a 3" or 4" Barrel. The Double Action Revolver is easy to learn on but the most difficult to master.
It's not about the guns and ammo, it's about tactics. After LFI 1 there are a lot of good schools and trainers. I myself got all my training courtesy of the taxpayers. So, I'm doing it "backwards" and going to LFI, when I get the chance. Better late than never I guess.
I'm not connected to Massad Ayoob or LFI in any way, just a fan after reading him for so long. Some of the stuff I have learned from his articles has kept me out of trouble over 20+ years of carrying a gun. I have been in two "Armed Encounters" over the years.
Take care and good luck.
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