Is a small 9 mm bad for learning fundamentals?

Is a small 9 mm bad for learning fundamentals?

This is a discussion on Is a small 9 mm bad for learning fundamentals? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I'm a new shooter and looking to buy my first gun. The objective, once I have enough training to be comfortable with it, is every-day ...

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Thread: Is a small 9 mm bad for learning fundamentals?

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    Member Array Vuva3rae's Avatar
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    Is a small 9 mm bad for learning fundamentals?

    I'm a new shooter and looking to buy my first gun. The objective, once I have enough training to be comfortable with it, is every-day carry.

    Would it be a bad idea for my first gun to be a concealable handgun in a self-defense caliber (e.g., M&P Shield 9, Kahr CM9, Walther PPS, or Ruger LCR .38 Spc)? Are the recoil and blast going to prevent me from learning the fundamentals of shooting and good habits? Do I need to start with a .22LR in order not to flinch? If the answer is that it varies from person to person, is a single lesson with an instructor at a rental range going to be enough to tell if I'll be ok starting with a 9 mm?

    The only two rental ranges in the state are far away and have limited hours, so I will have to train at a local gun club using whatever gun I buy; I won't have the option of using the range's .22LR guns.

    It will realistically be a year before I can buy a second gun (class, permit, and gun club initiation fees take a chunk out of the household budget), so the appeal of starting with a 9 mm is that I would have something with more stopping power earlier and that I could start to carry earlier—both for protection and for finding out whether carrying is practical for me.


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    The 9mm would be fine to learn with. Beyond having someone teach you the basics, one of the best things you can do to avoid, or lose, the tendency to flinch is to practice dry firing with your gun. It can really help you learn proper trigger usage because the gun isn't firing, so you can actually see what is happening to the firearm throughout your whole trigger pull.

    Learning to shoot with a .22 is a great idea, and it's the best tool for younger shooters, because it's so mild. An adult does not necessarily need the same level of tameness to learn the same things. It's a great tool if you can afford to buy one, or have one available, but it's not necessary.
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    Senior Member Array FLSlim's Avatar
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    With practice (and training) a smallish 9mm should work for you, but it wouldn't be my choice (especially if cost wasn't a major factor). I would rather see a person start with a .22 and develop sound basics and confidence, not that it can't be done with a larger caliber gun. The next option would be to learn with something closer to a full-sized 9mm, that choice would offer a bit of recoil dampening due to the greater weight and a longer sight radius which should benefit accuracy. However, if you do start with a 9mm, spend a lot of time with dry fire exercises to help learn trigger control (not to mention cheap practice).
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    VIP Member Array Taurahe's Avatar
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    The tiny 9mm's are not the easiest guns to learn on. The small sight radius can make accurate shooting tougher, and the lightweight increases felt recoil and can make the gun a handful when shooting. I would reccomend starting with a 22 pistol to learn the basics, but it can be done with 9mm as well. A full size would be the best place to start, but if you want a smaller gun that is still fairly easy to learn on, any of the major manufactures compact models should suffice quite well. I shoot a ruger SR40C and it is easy shooting, super accurate and easy to carry, so it is my everyday carry gun and my Home defense gun.
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    The easiest thing to do is find an instructor. The hardest thing to do is find a good one. Talk to as many as you can and then pick one based on your gut. Have him/her help you select a gun and help you learn how to use and care for it.

    Regards
    Michael
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    Oddly enough, dry firing with a laser helps also. You can really see the flinch. The improvement is fairly quick, but it doesn't last IME if you stop practicing it.
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    I would concur with the above posts--it would be preferable to start with a .22, but if that's not possible, a 9mm is probably the next best thing...but not a tiny 9mm.

    Have you considered a smallish, yet more substantial 9mm--like, say, a S&W M&P Compact, or a Glock 26, or an XD/XDm subcompact/compact? These are still very concealable pistols, but have a little more barrel length/sight radius, and a "beefy-er" grip that would make shooting, particularly extended sessions--a lot more pleasant.

    I also would recommend against the lightweight, DAO snub .38's as one's first pistol--in my experience, with their long, heavy triggers, short sight radius and fairly substantial recoil (especially for a beginner) these are guns that are not easy to master, and can be frustrating even for experienced shooters. That being said, though--if you have the patience and perseverance to learn it properly...most other pistols will seem fairly easy to shoot. If you want to go the revolver route, I would recommend seeing if you can't find an older K-frame S&W with a 2.5 or 3" barrel--still very concealable and carryable, bit much easier to shoot.

    And, most importantly--check with your local shooting club and see if there's someone who can teach you some of the fundamentals. I would think any club would likely have an NRA qualified instructor who could get you started.
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    I would personally recommend learning with what you are going to carry. Along those lines, I would recommend either a Glock 19 or a S&W M&Pc in a 9mm. Both are accurate, reliable and simple to conceal.
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    Distinguished Member Array squid86's Avatar
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    I would recommend getting training with whichever gun you plan on CCing. If you're new to shooting then I would recommend driving out to a range and rent some different calibers to see which one you are comfortable shooting. Everyone reacts differently to different recoils. Fining a caliber that you are most comfortable with is key. Once you find a comfortable caliber then find the best gun in that caliber to fit you. Smaller guns will have more recoil than larger ones but smaller is better for concealment. After you find your caliber you will have to decide what size gun you will be able to conceal comfortably, if its not comfortable you can won't want to carry it.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vuva3rae View Post
    Is a small 9 mm bad for learning fundamentals?

    I'm a new shooter and looking to buy my first gun.
    One thing: you needn't think your initial purchase must ultimately be the one gun you must carry. You can learn on one gun, one that's suitable for your training, then later change to a different gun once you determine the pros/cons of various features of a carry gun that'll most work for you. The thing is, right now you don't know what those pros/cons are ... and we can't really tell you.

    JMHO ...

    Heading to a rental range, first, might be a good step. It'll give you a good spread of guns to play with, to get basically comfortable with. Then, decide whether you want a revolver or semi-auto pistol, whether you want external manual safeties or not. Then, buy a gun to really learn on. If you go for a pistol, I'd recommend a gun with a safety. If you learn that really well, the same techniques you use to draw/present/fire will essentially work well for any other pistol. (ie, learning on a 1911.) A high-quality revolver can also be a good option. Particularly in the larger barrel sizes (ie, 3" or so, on up) and heavier weights (ie, not 13oz), many people find them extremely easy to control and to shoot. And for a newbie, there are no safeties to muck up in a pinch.

    Head to a range, where you can rent many different guns. Try out the revolvers and pistols of folks you meet at the range. That'll be a good start. And remember that your first purchase need not be what you ultimately carry.
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    Ex Member Array DetChris's Avatar
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    In general small 9mm's have a lot of snap to them. For new handgun shooters this can cause major flinching issues. The felt recoil can also be fairly severe and might cause you to fatigue sooner so you may not practice enough. All this can be mastered but may take a lot more time, energy and ammo money compared to starting with a bigger gun like a Glock 17, 19, XD 9mm full size, M&P9 and etc.
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    Member Array Vuva3rae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    One thing: you needn't think your initial purchase must ultimately be the one gun you must carry.
    Good point. I could sell the gun for almost what I paid for it. I didn't think about that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vuva3rae View Post
    Good point. I could sell the gun for almost what I paid for it. I didn't think about that.
    Good night nurse! He's not advocating selling a gun man! Ya never sell guns!!!
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    For learning, a decently-sized pistol with or without a manual thumb safety should do just fine. Such as any Commander-sized 1911, a Glock 19, a CZ 75 (P-01, PCR or variant), the Bersa Thunder UC Pro or BPCC, possibly a Kahr K9/P9/CW9. Or, any mid-weight revolver, such as a Ruger SP-101, or other high-quality revolver in the 20-25oz range.

    My preference is, with all the handguns I've shot, for a 9mm +P cartridge in a mid-sized pistol of ~23-30oz weight. It's what I shoot best, most-accurately. The Glock 19 would be a very fine choice, in this category, though I've just never acquired one. It's relatively slim, light and of decent capacity. Plus, "everyone" out there knows them well. Good resale value, too, if you ever choose to sell. If you prefer something of similar size but with a manual safety, possibly a Bersa Thunder UC Pro would do you well. There are several good choices, out there.
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    Member Array Vuva3rae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TX expat View Post
    He's not advocating selling a gun man! Ya never sell guns!!!
    Tell my wife.

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