Discussion in 'Firearms' started by HannahT, Jul 11, 2019.
@riverjoe Good for you!
I think the NRA has some local-ish classes. And my aunt works with a guy who might be able to help.
I'm hoping to get hold of several different ones I usually know when something clicks with me
So, do you have a headache yet, @HannahT ?
Lots of good advice to wade through, but that's what makes it so difficult. To be honest, looking to buy a handgun is a life-long task once you start. Kinda like finding "THE" one knife.
I won't make any recommendations on make, style or caliber. What I will do is recommend some suggestions for you to look for once you go looking.
You will want a handgun that isn't too heavy. Heavy guns just don't get carried.
You will want a handgun that fits your hand comfortably. For example, I have small hands and double stacked autoloaders mostly don't fit. I can't shoot Glocks, Beretta 92s, etc. But my CZ and a FN that I tried once fit comfortably. So, I own a CZ and not a Glock. Likewise, some handguns have little pokey areas that hit your fingers, etc. in weird places. Don't be afraid to just hold a gun for a little bit while in the gun shop just to see if there are any pokey/pinchy spots. I once read an article that suggested that the grip on a carry gun should feel more like a used bar of soap than a piece of 2x4 lumber. Rounded on the edges. I like that description.
You will want a handgun in a caliber that you can shoot controllably. The first time that I ever shot something larger than a .22 handgun as a teen it was my buddy's uncle's TC Contenter chambered in .357 maximum. I thought the world exploded and the gun ended up over and behind my head with only a thumb and one finger holding it. His uncle expected that this would happen and thought it would be funny to watch. His uncle was a putz.
You will want a handgun that is affordable to shoot. If you can't feed the beast, you won't become proficient with it.
You MAY want a handgun that is concealable. That will depend on how you plan to use it.
You MAY want a handgun in a caliber that is lawful for hunting, if you choose to hunt with it. Not all calibers are lawful to hunt all game. E.g., in PA you can only hunt small game with rimfire or shotgun calibers. I can't rabbit hunt with a .223.
You will want a handgun that is aesthetically pleasing to you as well. Don't count this out. Bonding with a gun is the same as bonding with a knife. You have a connection or you don't. You will enjoy the experience much more if you like the way that it looks. That's just reality. Don't let the salesmen steer you toward all the ugly purple plastic guns just because you're a girl UNLESS you actually want a purple plastic gun. I was trying to convince my daughter to buy me a purple Kimber .380 just last night. She wouldn't oblige me.
Try to find someplace/someone that will let you try some of their firearms. Local gun clubs may have events. Check out local/state web forums for events. PA has a really large web forum and there are a LOT of folks going to a shoot at one of the member's houses at the end of the month. Just folks showing off and sharing their hardware. There will be pistols and rifles and supressors and full autos and a metric ton of ammo expended. And LOTS and LOTS of really good food. Folks like this would love to take you under their wing and help you find what you like the best. We love to share and show off our toys. Look for stuff like this in your area.
Good luck in your search. Let us know where you land.
My head does feel like it's been a little overstuffed I'm hoping that when I find a range or something, I can have somebody handy to help me operate everything - I've only shot a handgun a few times, and that was awhile back with somebody standing over me. I'll see if KY has any groups that might help me out
Sound advice @Sandcut
Your on the right track @HannahT
When I sold meat & guns (separately) one question customers always asked.
How do I pick out a good one? My answer was this.
"It'll talk to you" You will know when you find it!!
Ruger SP101 .357 4.20 inch barrel.
Adjustable sights so you can learn the art of sighting in a gun and work on accuracy.
Heavy enough to soak up most recoil without being so heavy that it becomes uncomfortable to carry. Do not start with an airweight or light weight revolver.
Small grips that are comfy for small to medium sized hands, but plenty of options to upgrade to larger grips if needed.
Built like a tank. Will be very reliable and will last a lifetime with minimal maintenance.
You can start with low power .38 and work your way up to higher power .38 then +p and then on to low power .357 all the way up to full power loads. Very few platforms will give you this much variety/range in ammo options to zero in on what is best for your skills and needs.
If you only intend to fire .38, still go with the .357. You don't ever have to fire .357 if you don't want to, but you will have better luck re-selling if you ever decide to.
You can dry fire this gun all day long with no risk of damage. This will allow you to become comfortable with and master the heavier trigger pull until it becomes a non-issue for you. So, don't let the heavy trigger scare you off.
Revolvers are much easier to operate than semi-autos. There are less things to go wrong with a revolver also.
There are two primary drawbacks to a revolver as compared to a semi-auto. Ammo capacity and recoil.
For learning, target/plinking, and woods walking, 5 rounds is sufficient. But, some would argue, thats not enough for personal defense carry. It doesn't seem like that is your main concern, so that kind of becomes a moot point. Although, I carry the same gun (but in 2.25 inch) in my front pocket everywhere everyday
with .357 for personal defense and I am totally comfortable and confident in this set up.
As far as recoil, when comparing similar bullet weight and performance, you will feel a little more recoil with the revolver as opposed to a semi-auto due to the design of each gun. But, if you start with low power .38 the recoil will be no more severe than a semi-auto. As you practice and work your way up, over time you will be able to handle light to medium power .357 without issue at all. So, this particular drawback will disappear over time.
The Ruger SP101 will become a fun and effective gun that you can keep forever. The likelihood of your needs, want, and desires will change over time. You will probably end up owning more than one hand gun in your life, which could possibly be a semi-auto. But, I would start with this little Ruger and see where things go from there.
There may be an NRACourse instructor nearby that teaches the pistol course or the home defense course. Both are more classroom than range, but give some good basics.
Some ranges have qualified instructors who can give private lessons.
If your state has CCW/ CCL classes, those are good, both legal and practical information are covered.
The most used guns I own are .22s. I 'spect I've killed more critters with a .22 than all other calibers combined. Way more.
You can get you a Heritage Rough Rider in .22WMR (aka .22 Magnum) with adjustable sights for about $200 new, or less if you shop used (gunbroker, etc). They're pretty decent for a cheap gun. And you can kill a lot of stuff with a .22WMR. Definitely beavers. I wouldn't go deer hunting with one unless I was desperate, though. I think most of them also come with a .22LR cylinder, so that makes for plenty of good cheap practice time.
Although I don't like to recommend a single-action to a new shooter (safety issues), the rough rider does have a secondary hammer block safety on the recoil shield that you should use until you get the whole "load one, skip one, load four, fully cock it and put the hammer down" procedure down cold.
Just make sure you get the one with adjustable sights!!! Most of them have fixed sights, and they shoot low, and if this is going to be your first-ish gun then you don't want something that you have to attack with a file and a hammer to get sighted in.
Even if you get something better / larger caliber later, everyone ought to have a cheap .22 to drag around on the hip and not have to worry too much about scratching up.
I've been shooting Mom's Hi-Standard .22 today. Looks like I'm going to needs lots of practice I think I would like a .22, but maybe as a second gun. I need a better target - with just a couple cans I can't tell whether I'm shooting low, or high, or what. And sighting with both eyes open is making me pretty cross-eyed
IDK about revolvers being more dependable. I saw a guns and ammo type TV show several years ago. They took a loaded revolver and a semi, m&p I think, put them in a bucket of sand. Rolled it around a while. They took each gun out, shook it in their hand and tried to fire each. They racked the slide and fired the entire mag of the semi. They couldn't fire the revolver. A single grain of sand got lodged in the action and kept the hammer from hitting the fireing pin.
I've also had the timing go out on revolvers before and a fireing pin on a s&w that either wore down or broke off so it was too short for a good strike on the primer. And a recoil spring on a 1911 wear out.
All things mechanical eventually break.
A good new semi or revolver should be equally reliable so get which ever you like and shoot best and clean and maintain it.
You need to concentrate with your dominant eye, so close the other and focus on the FRONT SIGHT.
My recommendation would be for a round butt K frame S&W, preferably pre-lock, in 38Spl or 357. The round butt versions will allow for smaller grips. 357 allows for more latitude in loads, but 38 Spl 158gr +p aren't exactly weak. I carry a 4" Model 19 most often. A Ruger Sp101 might fit the bill without being overly heavy.
I like shooting paper plates for targets.
All different sizes.
Dont be afraid to get as close as you need to.
Start close. Like the distance of a bedroom. If your finding it too easy walk back some. If it starts getting to hard walk closer.
How far from the cans were you Hanna? Remember what a handgun is for. Close range.
For people, you better not be making holes in them much farther than 10 or 15 feet. For critters, of course all is fair. For paper and cans... have at it. It is fun to bounce a can too. Kinda like kick the can with a LONG foot.
10 yards maybe? Later I'll post some pics of a few homemade big targets I made They were super helpful - turns out I was shooting low and to the left a lot of the time. Lots of bullseyes though
If you go with a revolver check out wax bullets for real cheap practice almost anywhere
If you buy a double action single action revolver don’t forget a cheap snr357 pellet or bb revolver too for cheap inexpensive practice that legally isn’t a firearm .
Practice continues! Here are some homemade targets I made. The blue circle in the middle is about 4 inches across. The first 2 are from 10 yards, the second 2 from 15 yards. Of course some of them uploaded sideways By the third target it was becoming apparent that I was shooting low and to the left. Those wild shots in the last one I'll blame on the wind I didn't have the target secured very well, and it kept flapping. I have a frame for it now, that I made from 2x4s.
Top is to the right in this one.
That’s good shooting. I don’t know if it’ll help but try putting a small black dot in the middle about the size of a nickel. It should help you concentrate on the center of the target and aim at a smaller area.
Great idea! I'll try that on my next one
Thats not bad!
I really like those High Standard Sentinels.
This one was my grandpap's. I inherited it when I was 8 or 9. Couldn't count the number of rounds I've put through it over the years!
Gotta remember with them, the frame is aluminum, so you ought to hold the cylinder pin out when you close it. Otherwise that steel pin can wallow out the matching hole in the frame and the lockup will get sloppy. These guns were made with a huge forcing cone, so there is plenty of slop room, but it's not infinite.
Funny how a cheap tacklebox gun from the 1950s is so well regarded today!
These guns were actually designed by the guy who eventually went on to Ruger and was the Main Brain behind the 10-22.
Looks good so far.
Are you shooting single action (cocking the hammer first) or double action (just squeezing the trigger)? If you're shooting double action, that's really good.
30 feet! Good for you!
Low and to the left is common if you are right handed. Hold the empty gun and jerk the trigger and watch the muzzle. It will go down and to the left generally. Keep practicing. Use the ball of the index finger on the trigger to squeeze, not really pull, the trigger.
This is FUN!
What helped me was my grip...I'm more aggressive now..hard tight push with my right hand(trigger hand) hard pull with my left(cupping hand)....really sandwiching the grips. That really helped with my jerkiness....(I have some nerve issues besides being a poor shot lol)
Good to know about the frame! Thanks! And yep, it's a pretty cool gun
These were all single action, I think. Double action is hard on the trigger finger! I'll post up some double action pics here in a minute
Thanks! Little by little I'm getting my aim straightened out
Great tip! Thanks!
Pics are uploading sideways again The top is on the left in the first, and the second is correct. These are all double action from 10 yards. Ignore the writing - I changed my mind when I got to my backyard range
You’re doing great!
Please make sure you are wearing eye and ear protection even with the .22 revolver.
This from someone with extensive hearing loss that had a piece of shrapnel hit just below my shooting glasses last Summer that almost required stitches.
Squeeze the grip with 3 fingers and leave the thumb high, off the grip, to avoid "milking the grip".
A good way to practice with double action is to do a dry fire practice with snap caps or used casings, where you aim in a safe direction and slowly squeeze the trigger and try to keep the sights from moving to much as you squeeze the trigger. The instructor at my concealed carry class taught me this, it’s a good way help get any kind of jerkiness out of squeezing the trigger in double action. Though it looks like you don’t have that many fliers to worry about.
Ruger's new Wrangler would be interesting. A .22 is lightweight easy to carry. 50 rounds of ammo weighs nothing.
Get you a Ruger new model Single action Single Six. .22 and .22 magnum cylinder.
I have some ear protection that I'll be upgrading. Eye protection I still need!
It sure makes my finger tired to shoot double action! That's a trick I'd like to try
I'll take a look at those too!
+1 on eye and ear protection.
That's pretty good for shooting double-action. Mine has a really long rough DA pull.
I do believe that right now, we live on a time where there are so many, well made handguns available,for good prices, that whatever you choose, you'll be happy with. Autos? Glock, Smith, and so many others are all great picks. Wanna wheelgun? Smith, Ruger are solid picks. Caliber? Dang....from .22 on up to a .500 Smith Magnum are available! Take you time... handle and shoot as many as ya can. Remember....ya can always buy more than one!!...
I'm going to try out my aunt's .357 this afternoon loaded with .38s to see if that's too big a gun for me right now If it is, I'll be shopping for a 9mm. She and I both have the next 2 days off and we're going gun shopping! I'm hoping to find a fairly cheap (maybe used) .22 to start off with, and if I can shoot a few other, maybe 9mm or .357 as well I'll keep ya posted!
Think about a revolver unless your a gunman.
A 380acp might even fit the bill if you think 38s or to much. I know in my area a s&w bodyguard with a crimson trace used are normally $250 or less. If you are willing to buy used try watching some videos on buying used iraqivetran has a good one.
After shooting the .357 loaded with .38s, I think I'm going to be looking mainly for a 9mm. I like it a lot, but I see what some of you meant about flinching. It took me a few shots to settle back into the .22 even. This is a mean little gun! But my hand was starting to hurt after a few shots. That first target pic is from the .38s. Not the best shooting, but not too bad The second is the .22 at 15 yards shooting single action. I'm improving!
Dont worry too much about how you reacted to the 38, that size gun, the S&W J frame is not pleasant to shoot for most people, the next size up, the K frame is worlds more pleasant and easier to shoot well.
Depending on the particular gun, a 9mm may not be that much more pleasant to shoot. They are midway in power between a 38 special and 357. The larger size the gun is relative to the cartridge used, will most often be the most pleasant and easy to shoot well. Whatever you decide, try to shoot one before buying.
I knew a lady that owned a glock 19 for her protection gun. She sold ammo at gun shows part time and heard all the macho balony about 9mm being wimpy etc. When she shot my glock 19, she had a look on her face. Turns out she had never fired her own gun, even having owned it for several years. It was much more muzzle blast and snappy recoil than she expected.
Keep in mind too, that small light guns are flippier and harder on the hand.
A larger .38 might suit you more. Or a large .380 automatic, though most of the .380s are tiny carry guns that are awful to shoot.
Part of the draw of the 9mm for me is the price of ammo, but a bigger .38 might feel better than this one. It didn't fly around at all, but I could feel myself tightening up as I was pulling the trigger.
I hope I can find somebody to help me out if I get to go to a range tomorrow. I'm feeling more comfortable with a revolver, but I still don't know anything about semi-automatics.
380 ammo is expensive compared to 9mm luger. And as stated those pistols tend to be smaller and lighter so felt recoil vs a full sized 9mm it about the same.
Interesting fact when we American s say 9mm we mean 9mm luger aka 9mm parabellum aka 9x19. 9mm diameter bullet 19mm long case.
The 380 is aka 9mm short aka 9mm Kurtz, aka 9x17
The makarov pistol, former issued to the USSR officers is a 9x18. Its also used in the cz82 pistol (excellent pistol) and a polish made p64 (not so excellent).
The 38 special is a 9.07mm as is the 357.
So these are all very close in diameter, just different case lengths and propellant amount.
That's why you can shoot 38 special ammo out of a 357 revolver.
You might consider doing some this vs that searches. You'll be surprised at what you find.
cost of ammo isn't the only factor, how fast you consume ammo , the consumption of wealth rate, for the different systems also comes into play.
SNR 357 bb revolvers wealth consumption rate is practically free.... wax bullets in that smith would also be pretty low if you wanted to practice close up drills with that actual gun. A system with a low consumption of wealth rate especially if you are focused primarily on close range drills is putting money back in your pocket faster allowing a second gun or other goodies to be easily budgeted.
Sounds like you might need larger revolver for the 38 special .
I have no experience yet with the Taurus 692 but that comes with 2 cylinders 1 for 9mm and 1 for 357 magnum.
My head is fit to bust with all this info! I'm at the point where the sheer number of choices is kind of frightening... I don't want to spend a ton of money trying out options on a range, but I want to try a few types. If I can at least try a few sizes and calibers, I think I'll be in good shape. I think I'll enjoy whatever I pick I'll do my best not to buy one tomorrow unless I find one that speaks to me, but I'm terribly impatient
Try to find a used .38 Special. I would suggest a 3 or 4 inch barrel. This will put a little more weight out front to manage recoil. Lots of options in that category which won't break the bank. It may be old school, but a revolver is inherently safer for a new shooter. A good .22lr or .22 mag would not be a bad choice either.
Plus there is a "cool" factor in toting around an old Smith or Colt that has some honest patina on it.
Over on YouTube there is a man named Paul Harrell that gives excellent professional advice on marksmanship and tests different firearms makes and models; well worth the time invested watching his videos.
Look for his videos about new gun ownership, best guns to consider when first getting started.
For cost, function and ease of use I like my hearitage rough rider. If you find it with the adjustable sights and both cylinders. Shoots 22 shorts, long, shot shells all with ease and with the mag cylinder it will give a varmint a good thump.
IMHO, if you need to shoot somebody, you should kill them. A face full of copper slugs is just going to hurt him, and then he will be able to survive and sue you for his blindness. I just don't think the Judge is a good choice, YMMV.