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Question from a gun novice

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Question from a gun novice

Postby georgecostanza » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:23 pm

Hi guys. I have been looking at purchasing a gun despite knowing relatively nothing about firearms. Despite never shooting a real gun, I think a purchase might be in my future. Being a college student I am on a very limited budget. Also, the neighborhood I reside in has a slight history of muggings and robberies. I basically want a gun just in case something goes wrong. College kids are obviously easy targets due to vulnerability, etc. My original thoughts were that I would like to buy something that could serve multiple purposes, such as home defense and to carry in my car. Concealed carry isn't a priority, but might come in handy at some point. At first I thought a subcompact such as the G26 or Springfield XD Subcompact would cover all of these areas despite their price. I realize they aren't top of the line, but seem to be reliable and respected firearms. The more I have been thinking about it (and my budget has dwindled as my summer job soon ends) I got the idea that a .22 might be a decent option. I realize there certainly is a firepower issue, but I feel as though the caliber would be acceptable, but obviously not ideal. It would allow me to learn to shoot and gradually learn more about the world of firearms, while providing more protection than no gun at all. After this realization, I was thinking about investing in a Ruger MK III or 22/45. First, I was curious as to what you guys thought about these thoughts, and ask for any advice you might deem helpful. Thanks in advance, fellas.
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Postby neverenough » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:18 pm

Hey, georgec....Your thought of the Ruger may be the best approach. Since you are aware of the self defense shortcomings of .22 caliber and as stated, you're somewhat new to guns, there are more than a few who began with a .22.

Not to negate JustBen's input (as he is absolutely right), but IF in the future your finances increase, you may find yourself "bitten" and end up like many of us here...can't get enough!

When you learn to shoot .22, the rest all kind of falls in place.

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Postby BrianB » Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:48 pm

I am somewhat of a novice myself, just started this year, but I can say with the help of this forum as well as a few personal lessons, I do have some thoughts to share.

First, these guys are pretty helpful and the more questions you ask the better. Stick with learning but you should also consider taking a beginners safety and handling class if possible.

Second, the 22 is good for learning how to use a gun but beyond that I would not want to rely on one for self defense. One reason being that it seems most of the semi auto pistols out there are very unreliable. They will jam, fail to fire, etc, but that would certainly help you learn wouldn't it? There are a few exceptions such as the Ruger mark III that you mentioned and there is also the Browning camper I have heard a lot of good about. After that though it seems mainly 22s are best when it comes to rifles and revolvers as they seem to have less problems.

Springfield makes a very good gun, I have one myself which is the XDm 9mm. You would be hard pressed to find someone complain about one.

Third, it seems for the most part, you get what you pay for. If you buy cheap you have better odds of having problems. There are also the issues of customer service and warranty associated.

Fourth, revolvers seem to be considered more reliable than semi-autos. Mechanically they are simpler and have less parts that can break equaling less things that can go wrong. Yes, you would likely end up with less shots than a semi-auto but if you know what you are doing then you should not need many.

Fifth, the availability and cost of ammo could be considered. 22 is everywhere and cheap and if you want something to just practice and learn with as well as perhaps take out a varmint or two, that's the way to go. If you want something a bit more multi purpose, 9mm is probably the next step from 22. Cheaper than most other ammos and very abundant. The last couple of years 357 and 308 have been very, very hard to come by and very pricey. 38 special has been sort of in between till recently, harder to come by than 9mm but easier than 357. Price has been somewhere in the middle as well.

If it were me I would probably lean towards either a 9mm semi-auto or a 38 revolvers. As previously mentioned, Springfield makes a great 9mm. But there are tons of other good ones as well, Beretta makes some pretty good ones that are not terribly expensive. As to a 38, I would look towards a Smith and Wesson. There are cheaper out there but still there is the price tends to equalize to quality.

Like Ben said though, it would be a good idea to go out and try some out if possible. Some ranges offer rentals so that is something you could check into. You can also go to any place that sells firearms and at least feel them up a bit and see what you think fits well. Find a couple you want to choose between then start looking for some rentals of that same weapon. Also, check the reviews, whether here or elsewhere, and see what people have to say about a particular model, could save you a headache.
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Postby GOANRA » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:35 pm

For a novice shooter interested in self defense only with possible use as a concealed carry, I'd suggest a small revolver in .38spl, preferably a 5 shot.

Easy cleaning & maint, no FTF or FTE, etc.

Cheap practice with reloads at range. When you can hit a 9 inch circle at 10 yards, you are good.

Average self-defense shot is under 6 feet.

Not many bad .38s out there. Good brands are S&W, Taurus, Charter Arms, etc.

New ones start around $300.

Try shooting a model at the range before buying, though.

Have someone show you proper stance, grip, breathing, trigger squeeze, sighting, etc.

My skinny/weak wife started with a .38 snubbie [2 inch barrel] and it took her 2 hours to get quite good with it.
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Postby supermanwithagun » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:06 am

I would do soem research on different calibers first. This would be if you are conceal carrying. This would be important to know for what teh damage on diiferent size ammo. I would also recommand visit a local gun shop that also have a range. This way you get more of a feel for teh gun. What is your reason for a gun would also determine what size and hoe much your willing to spend. Again this all determines what your purpose is. I have multiple pistols for different scenarios and what can I say, I love guns. But for everyday conceal carry, I chose the springfield xd 45 with tru glow nightsights. I want stopping power and still has a good amount of ammo in the mag. My backup is either a glock 40 cal or my bersa 380. This would pend of outing and clothing of choice for the day. I know sounds funny but I'm also in a very warm environment. Overall, don't be afraid of trying different guns until you feel comfortable with one..
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Postby tigwelder56 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:03 am

Hey Brian, that's some good info from a newbie!! You've been fooling us all along, lol!

I've been considering what a brand new shooter might consider when getting started. I believe any new shooter that starts their firearm experience believing that all they need is to get some quick instructions, then their CC license and then start packing, is way off base and far unprepared with any gun. I believe if you want to introduce yourself to firearms, the way most of us learned, back in the dark ages, began with a .22 rifle, my own was a single shot. That was after getting used to shooting with a BB gun. When you get acquainted with live ammunition in a rimfire rifle, then I would suggest advancing to a rimfire handgun. The possibilities are endless! I don't like to see people in too big of a hurry. It took most of us years to obtain the level of knowledge we currently have. To think you can visit a few websites, buy a few books and then a high power handgun is a recipe for disaster. If you want to put a fire under your learning ability, get an instructor and do exactly what you're told. Just my 2 cents...
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Postby JustBen » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:59 am


Well said.

When I got my CCW permit I had taken a good 12 hour course that was one of the best in my area. A year later I took a 3 day class at a high end training site and realized that I should forget everything I knew and start over. TDI, FrontSight, BlackWater, etc... is where you can get some really good training from Swat Team guys with decades of experience. A big part of the training is psychology of criminals and how to avoid a confrontation. Great stuff.

I am going back next month for two more days at TDI and can't wait.

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Postby HenryLeverAction » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:17 am

Welcome to the world of gun enthusiasm.

First off, are you even allowed having a firearm on your college campus? That is a recipe for a disaster right there if you get caught with it by the campus security.

Choosing your first gun is like choosing a car (Yep, I just did the gun to car analogy again). There are a crap load of options. I have great luck getting used guns, however, I make sure that the gun was babied and taken care of well before flashing my dough to the owner.

Now, caliber is a very important factor in your purchase, a .22 is better than nothing, but not going to do what you want it to in a defense practice. I do a lot of ballistic testing myself and I don't just look at what the internet says. I talk from REAL personal experience that I do myself. A .40 S&W bullet from a 4 inch barrel at about 10 feet goes through four 2by4's on average. a .22 L.R. bullet from a 5 inch barrel goes through about two 2by4's. Keep in mind that the .40 hits with a bigger hole too. I have also done ballistic gelatin tests with the .22 and on average the rounds were about 6 to 8 inches into the gelatin. FBI requires that the rounds have a minumum of 12 inches penetration I believe.

One user on here recommended the Hi-Point firearms. They are cheap, and huge. You'll never want to carry it but you can keep it in your house, or car (if you have a CCW license). With my system, I always have my gun on me. If its in your car while your at McDonalds, what are you going to do? Run to your car? You should have it on you at ALL times. Even if a .22 is all you can carry.

Just like another user said, price and availability are key. 9mm is usually always around and affordable, so is the .40 S&W. I recommend that you go with the .40 over a 9mm if possible, however either one works.

Glock and Springfield are a first class gun producer and Beretta is as well. You can keep them in your car, or carry. You'd probably do best with a compact or sub-compact model. Its really just personal preference. Take safety classes because those are the most important thing. You don't want to be like Henry and shoot your friends gun through a wall (and I'm not even new to firearms. even veterans can make mistakes)

I grew up with guns, nearly every week I handled them from a young age. I took hunter safety classes and 4-H gun safety classes. Experience counts with guns. Good luck! I hope I helped some.
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Postby robalan » Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:02 pm

The Polish P64 is a very good gun that can be purchased sometimes for less than $200. They shoot the 9mm Makarov which is in size between the regular 9mm and a 380. The ammo is available and cheap. If you have trouble finding the gun or ammo in your area look it up on-line. When you get out of college a high end 45 would be good and the P64 could be your backup.
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Postby ulgydog56 » Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:25 pm

i,m with goarna if I had 1 gun in this enviorment this kid states for defence and cheap shooting plus being new at it and a low priced gun new or used.wheel gun.wheelgun,wheel gun.............38.sp
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