Learning Handguns

Discussion in 'General Handgun' started by patty9932, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. patty9932

    patty9932 G&G Newbie

    I have been shooting most my life, however, I have only shot long rifle and shotgun. I am interested in learning handgun shooting. Anyone have any recommendations as to a good starter gun for a decent price? also, any tips or information that would help me out in this learning process? Thanks
  2. Dutch

    Dutch G&G Evangelist

    Best advice I can give is to find a good (key word good) NRA basic pistol course to take. Skip the typical 4 hour junk that most places pedal, find a solid multiple day course to take. A good course will help your shooting a lot, and will walk you through picking a pistol as a loaner for the shooting qualification portion of the class.

    Edit: if you want to go revolver I am a firm believer everyone should have a nice .38. A used Smith and Wesson fits the bill. Otherwise an inexpensive 9mm (star) or a Ruger .22 are great semi-autos that are easy to handle and you aren't likely to "outgrow."
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010

  3. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Evangelist


    Ditto that!
  4. Be careful about triggers. Many of the new pistols have very stiff triggers in the 8 lb. pull range.

    My son has a Ruger Redhawk I would not own without trigger work done. Trying to pull off this beast, my hand trembles as I put pull on that trigger.

    I would not own it.

    These are "lawyer triggers." The companies are terrified that in a lawsuit they would be determined "unsafe." Consequently, they make guns that are impossible to shoot well.

    Try the trigger first. Consider some $$$ to get a gunsmith to lighten down the trigger.

    My "go to" handgun has a custom, reworked trigger.
  5. Kodiak32

    Kodiak32 G&G Regular

    I agree with BaserRonin.

    As Range Rat points out each pistol is different.

    I have a Ruger Mark 3 .22 and single Six .22 that I practice with more often than my larger pistols, basically the ammo is cheap and the basics are the same.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2010
  6. neophyte

    neophyte Wonderment :) Forum Contributor

    Follow Up when you can

    patty9932; Ma'am; you have exposure and the background in shooting. Some basic questions should be in order
    1. What is the ''shooting'' you intend to do
    2. Target shooting; i.e. competition type thinking
    3. Self Defense
    4. Hunting
    or a combination of all the above.

    {revolver type}you have heard complaints with Ruger Redhawk, and will hear about the ''lawyer'' trigger on many models. {I have ''said'' unit too; ''I" enjoy said unit"}
    Just another experience.
    Single Action; Pull hammer back to lock; pull trigger; boom
    Double Action; Pull trigger; boom;
    Double or Single Action; pull trigger; boom; or pull hammer back to lock, pull trigger; boom
    with the others; you will have to ''help'' with your thought process:)

    Many books are written about this very subject; on YouTube; you can find some ?expert advice?

    folks here; will share their thoughts; and process's

    follow up when you can ;) You have a very good thought process in place. :)
  7. grizcty

    grizcty God, Guns, Glory Forum Contributor

    Agreed with both Baser & neophyte.

    Have fun & get others involved, with safe shooting!
  8. My advice would be start with a revolver.

    If you borrow, rent or buy one, make sure it has both a single action/double action. This way, you can get a feel for the trigger and obviously the gun differently then if it was just one or the other. Manipulating the trigger on a revolver in single action mode is so much more different then doing so in double action. Never having shot one, when you do shoot one in both modes, you'll see what I mean. Each has it's advantages and disadvantages.

    Less can go wrong with a revolver then with a semi-auto as well.

    And again, if you borrow, rent or buy, I also suggest getting one chambered in .357 magnum. This way, you can buy and shoot .38 special or .38 +P until you get use to and comfortable with the gun. Then, once you're use to and comfortable with it, you can then move up to and shoot .357mag. ammunition. Or, if you should choose to, stay with .38.

    And no matter what you do, the advice given to take a training/safety course, whether it be form the NRA or someone else that's qualified to offer and give a course, it's you definitely can't go wrong and I completely agree that it's something any gun owner, young or old, experienced or not, should do.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2010
  9. DocAitch

    DocAitch G&G Enthusiast

    First Handgun

    Depending on your intent/need/purpose, you might consider a .22 cal pistol or revolver.
    One of these will allow you to learn the basics and get in a lot more practice than any other caliber. Used 22s are usually in pretty good shape.
    For an autoloader,Rugers are inexpensive(relatively) and reliable.
    There is a fairly large selection of .22 Cal revolvers and I would recommend Smith&Wesson, but you might get luck with a Taurus.
    If you learn to shoot a double action revolver well, you can shoot any handgun well.
  10. Pope130

    Pope130 G&G Enthusiast

    I agree with Doc Aitch on this. A good .22, autoloader or revolver, is a great first purchase. The lower noise, recoil and price of ammo will allow you to get a great deal more practice in. Good shooting is almost entirely a function of training and practice.

    This isn't just for newbies. I've been shooting since the '70s, and when I head to the range I always take a .22 target pistol (Norinco Olympia) and a Mossberg 46M(a) bolt action .22. I find they are critical to keep my basic skills up.

  11. Wow,
    "Every new handgun shooter needs a gun with a trigger job. A 357 no less."

    Surely some of you are joking.

    A 22 is a good start. A Ruger Mk series or Browning Buckmark are both accurate and cheap to own and shoot. Reasonable home defense. I shoot a 38 snub nose very accurately. A 38 with a 4" barrel is quite fun to shoot. Reasonable power and many are downright tack drivers.

    There are many good choices. Find one that feels good in your hand and don't get one too powerful or lightweight at first. Stay away from anything ultralight unless you intend on carrying it in your pocket.
  12. patty9932

    patty9932 G&G Newbie

    Thanks everyone for the tips. I think I need to clear up something...based on my User ID some of you may think that I am a woman....I am not..It’s just a nickname.

    Anyway... Like I said originally..I am familiar with rifles and shotguns so I am familiar with power. I was thinking of getting into a semi auto pistol such as a Springfield or a Glock. I don’t want a 9mm. I have been told it’s good to get into a revolver first so I was thinking of a .38 or .357. Any thoughts on the semi auto and the revolver choices?

  13. Kodiak32

    Kodiak32 G&G Regular

    Almost forgot, Welcome to Gun and Game!

    Your choices sound pretty good, I don't happen to own a Springfield or Glock, but it sounds like the people that do are very happen with them. I'm sure someone will post with suggestions about the specific models, or if you already have couple of models that interest you include them in a post.

    I purchased a .357 Ruger Vaquero revolver as my first handgun and often target practice with .38's. The Vaquero is single action like most of my pistols, but a double action might fit your needs or tastes better. Pistol make and action aside, I think .357 is a good choice for a first revolver as you can still fire .38's thru them.

    Shortly after the Vaquero I picked up a Colt Combat Commander .45 and I’ve been very happy with it. If I were to carry choosing from what I currently own I would have to go with this Colt, it is much more concealable than any of my other pistols. I have a Ruger Super Black Hawk in .44 mag that I love too shoot, but I think the Colts size and etc. make it more convenient too carry. There are many good revolvers that would fit the bill for conceal and carry, I just wasn’t too concerned about that I when I got mine.

    As a shooter you probably have noticed how expensive ammo can be, that's why so many people and myself suggested a .22 caliber. I found a couple good deals on .22's and picked them up after the Colt. As I posted, I target practice with the .22's very often and it has helped with the larger calibers. You might keep watch and find a good deal on one like I did.

    I guess deciding between semi and revolver really depends on what you want and how they feel to you. Research and check out as many models as you can.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  14. neophyte

    neophyte Wonderment :) Forum Contributor

    Tough Question

    patty9932: ''Sir"; my bad:)
    With a .357 Single action or double action you have two ammo's for 1 price.
    Shooting single actions is something I'd rather do. ?seems? more learning, with less wasted 'boomboomboom' type
    That being said:) I do enjoy double action
    That being said:) Glocks are fun to shoot

    Accuracy, ?seems? any single action I seem to be some more on target
    For a good learning curve, some of the original questions are in order.
    In the grand scheme of ??? what ever you start with will 'offer' your learning curve shooting knowledge

    Glock 22 .40 carries a good working round.
    Springfield XD's, my shooting partner has

    routinely I shoot them both, {he loads, I load; we take turns in which firearm is shot; based on what is loaded}
    either or:) will serve you well, I happen to choose the Glock's
  15. Jay

    Jay Old man, No tact... Staff Member

    This is strictly my opinion, and has worked in many years of firearms training, and for men and ladies alike. Buy a handgun just like you would buy a pair of shoes. If Ol' Joe over here says he likes Charlie China tennis shoes, and you're looking for a new pair of shoes, do you run out and buy Joe's pick, just because HE likes 'em? Probably not. If a new shooter is asking what to buy for a carry gun, it doesn't matter what works for me, or anyone else. I suggest telling that new shooter to go to many gun shops, and/or gun shows, and handle all the guns they can get hold of. Just like they would try on shoes. Before long they'll be able to make a list of guns that feel ok, pretty good, real good, and "that really feels great in my hands". The last two are the ones to pursue, and here's why I say that....
    If a given handgun doesn't feel "right" in your hands, you'll not shoot it enough to become proficient with it, because it's not comfortable, and you won't like shooting it. Just like you rarely wear shoes that are UNcomfortable. If you're not gonna become proficient with it, save your money, and buy a ball bat to carry. With proper fundamentals, he/she can learn to shoot almost any handgun, or any caliber. Very few folks can re-train their hands to make just any handgun feel comfortable. The last suggestion.........proper shooting techinques, practiced slowly, but proficiently, will breed speed. Do it slowly, and do it the right way, every time.......If you practice speed first, and introduce less efficient techniques into your training, you'll have to do it all over again to get it right.

    By the way..... anyone who introduces a new shooter to our pastime by having them start with a large-caliber handgun, makes a very poor decision. Yes, some folks do ok starting out with large calibers, but the vast majority will not continue to shoot if their very 1st experience is with .50 S&W. Start with a .22 caliber something, and as your technique/accuracy improves, work up from there.

    Again, just my ramblings.... but they work for me...

    Shoot Safely....
  16. franchi

    franchi Guest

    I learned on a Kimber SIS 1911 and to this day i absolutly LOVE those pistols. Im not saying that a SIS fits the bill for a first hand gun but almost any 1911 will do a great job. The main thing is to shoot alot i think. A old friend once told me "slow is smooth and smooth is fast" while doing some tactical drills. i was under stress from the challenge and my groups suffered. Dont get in a rush and be smooth and easy with the trigger pull.