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A question often asked in other forums and also in DC is, what kind of gun a person without previous gun experience should buy; furthermore, that person wants the gun just for causal shooting. I guess that “casual shooting” does not imply a CC firearm, but a gun for home defense which is not going to visit the range very often (that is the way I interpret it). Some people recommend a good revolver, 3” or 4” 357 because it is a well proved option. My knowledge about revolvers is limited; however, I think that a 3” 357 can be a little difficult - if not pretty nasty - to shoot for someone with non gun experience and that wants a gun “just for casual shooting”. Actually, I should recommend that person not to get a handgun, but a 20 gauge pump shotgun, which does not have much recoil at all and is very easy to use; just point and pull the trigger. And if he/she definitely wants a handgun, I do not consider that a 3” or 4” 357 is very appropriate. I am not making a statement here, I am just asking because I might have missed something.
 

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I recommend that a person without any previous handgun experience find an NRA beginner's pistol course and sign up for it. There they should be able to learn how to safely handle and shoot a variety of handguns. Find the one that they are most comfortable with and go from there.
 

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I'll second what mavrik46 mentioned about first attending a basic handgun course. Here in Vegas I know of several gun shops that have a basic handgun safety course. Once he/she understands the basics of handgun safety that's the time to buy your first handgun.

I'd recommend a revolver for a beginning/novice shooter. Less chance of a malfuction. A 357 may be "too much" gun for this type person. A better option might be .38 with a 3 or 4 inch barrel. A .38 snubbie may have too much recoil for a beginning shooter.

A shotgun is a good option that doesn't require very much accurary in an home invasion situation. A handgun requires much more accuracy.

IMHO!
 

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I recommend that a person without any previous handgun experience find an NRA beginner's pistol course and sign up for it. There they should be able to learn how to safely handle and shoot a variety of handguns. Find the one that they are most comfortable with and go from there.
^^^^^^YEP^^^^^^^^

And I would suggest a .357, 4 in.(for the weight/recoil absorbtion) capabilities, and shooting regular .38 ammo,for target, and quite possibly .38+ p (if their confidence level is up there) for Self/home defense


We live in an age when pizza gets to your home before the police.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am afraid that if someone clearly states “casual shooting” it implies that the individual is not going to go to the range very often, and even less be interested in taking a handgun course. I agree with you, but we have to realize that not all the people are interested in guns like most of the members in this forum are. Unfortunately, the reality is that many people buy a gun for home-defense and they never fire it. I know that “casual shooting” is not the right approach, but I just was trying to figure out which firearm should be the most suitable for them according to what they say, and without trying to make them do things they might say they should do, but that they never will do.
 

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I am afraid that if someone clearly states “casual shooting” it implies that the individual is not going to go to the range very often, and even less be interested in taking a handgun course.
couldn't have said beter myself. However if this person is serious, I sudgest, like many other on hear, get into a gun safety class, visit local gun stores, resurch and find the hand gun that is right.

Personaly I think a 3-4in .357 would fit the bill, and a shotgun is still an apotion if home defence is what is realy wanted.
 

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While a shotgun is a good choice for someone who wants it for home protection only, many may feel a shotgun is too bulky and hard to maneuver through the house. My personal recommendation, if they want a handgun, is still a 3-4" .357. While it may be a handful for a novice to shoot with full house .357 magnum loads, it will shoot .38 special loads. With the weight of the gun a .38 load is fully manageable. If they do start shooting more, they can always move up to .357 mag loads. If they buy a .38 to start, they are stuck with a .38.
 

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I'll second what mavrik46 mentioned about first attending a basic handgun course. Here in Vegas I know of several gun shops that have a basic handgun safety course. Once he/she understands the basics of handgun safety that's the time to buy your first handgun.

I'd recommend a revolver for a beginning/novice shooter. Less chance of a malfuction. A 357 may be "too much" gun for this type person. A better option might be .38 with a 3 or 4 inch barrel. A .38 snubbie may have too much recoil for a beginning shooter.

A shotgun is a good option that doesn't require very much accurary in an home invasion situation. A handgun requires much more accuracy.

IMHO!
If it has to be a handgun I was thinking too about a 38 with 4” barrel. Like you say a snubbie may have too much recoil. I think that a 38 +p should also be too much for that kind of person. And if their confidence level should go up in the future, they can get other gun then. Rather buying other gun in the future than having a gun they are afraid of shooting or that they shot themselves in the foot.
 

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I would agree with the above about 4" 357 and using 38's in it at first. I bought the Glock 21 for my first pistol--I've never had a problem with it, and learned to shoot with it. Easy to control, just as fun to shoot. The only difficulty is understanding the mechanisms a little, and learning to handle a pistol without an external safety.
So if they do not want to go with the revolver, then I suggest the G21 to start with.
 

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I would agree with the above about 4" 357 and using 38's in it at first. I bought the Glock 21 for my first pistol--I've never had a problem with it, and learned to shoot with it. Easy to control, just as fun to shoot. The only difficulty is understanding the mechanisms a little, and learning to handle a pistol without an external safety.
So if they do not with to do the revolver, then I suggest the G21 to start with.
I have heard that if you use a cal 38 in a 357 it loses power; is it true?
 

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I have heard that if you use a cal 38 in a 357 it loses power; is it true?
No, a .38 fired out of a 4" .357 revolver will have the same ballistics as a .38 fired from a 4" .38 revolver.
 

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I have heard that if you use a cal 38 in a 357 it loses power; is it true?
No! You would have the same effects of a .38 round in either a .38 pistol or a .357 pistol. You can also vary the power of the .38 round type you want to use (use a mild load for starters).
 

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Yep. 4" revolver in .357 gives you all of the benefits with no drawbacks. The gun will be a little heavier, reducing perceived recoil and they can learn with standard low pressure 38 special rounds. As they become more proficient and confident, they can move up to 38+P ammo and then on to .357 Magnum without having to buy a new gun.

If I had it to do over again, my snub 38s would have been 357s for the same reasons. Live and learn...hindsight is 20/20.
 

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If I had it to do over again, my snub 38s would have been 357s for the same reasons. Live and learn...hindsight is 20/20.
That's why my latest purchase was the S&W M&P 340 instead of the 642, and I'm loving it!
 

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There's a lot to be said about starting out with a decent revolver in .38 or .357.

For one thing, loading only six rounds at a time forces the shooter to SLOW DOWN. Lord-a-mighty, I dearly love to blast away and empty the magazine as fast as I can sometimes, but unless I'm doing a specific drill, that just burns up pricey ammo and does nothing for my skills.

Another thing is that there is nothing quite like a broken-in DA trigger on a K-frame to teach you good trigger control. I started out with a 1911 20+ years ago, but I still bring the M64 along often to remind me to smooth out my trigger pull. If you can master keeping sights aligned on the target through the revolver's DA trigger pull, you'll be an ace with most semi-autos.

.38 ammo isn't as plentiful as it was 20 years ago, but practice ammo is still typically cheaper than most other defensive rounds.

Lastly, the revolver has a simpler "manual of arms" and there's no safety to manipulate when adrenaline is pumping. Reloading is slower for sure, but that's what second guns are for!
 

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If you don't know or can't find a gun buddy, take a CCW class, or maybe go to a local range to get advice and help. Fellow and female shooters will be glad to talk and to shoot with you...especially if you are buying the ammo. Note: Ask them, or us, before buying a gun. Also buy and read gun magazines and scan the net [which you have obviously done] to get what you can get, including "YOU TUBE" gun instructions and gun reviews. THEN, take an unloaded empty gun to a range, including the magazines.
 

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That's why my latest purchase was the S&W M&P 340 instead of the 642, and I'm loving it!
Cool. I've got two S&W 38s (old 49 and a 442). At least ONE of them should have been a 357 snub. What was I thinking?
 

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Beginner/Novice Handgun

If it has to be a handgun I was thinking too about a 38 with 4” barrel. Like you say a snubbie may have too much recoil. I think that a 38 +p should also be too much for that kind of person. And if their confidence level should go up in the future, they can get other gun then. Rather buying other gun in the future than having a gun they are afraid of shooting or that they shot themselves in the foot.
I was thinking that precise option as well. A few years ago I brought my younger brother (now 43 years old) to a local range with me. He was curious if he could handle firing a handgun. At the time I had a .45 & a .38 with a 4 inch barrel.

He loved firing both my .45 & the .38. He had a problem with the recoil of the .45. He did much better with my S&W .38 Model 10 w/4 inch barrel. He did fairly well and found it very comfortable to handle & fire. He did a fairly good job hitting the target as well. He still has the targets from that day as a reminder of the fun he had at the range.

Now if you're curious, he opted NOT to buy a handgun for himself. He decided that having a handgun in his home was not right for him. For the time being he has a "Louisville Slugger" by his apartment door "in case of an emergency." I keep hoping that he will change his mind & ask me to go with him to a gun store to select his first handgun.

One day I hope that he decides to buy a handgun for his home protection. I'd be thrilled to go with him to buy his first handgun.
 
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