Trying to help ease my dad into gun ownership

With all the stuff going on my dad has decided he wants to buy a gun. I think he's looking for an effective home defense firearm, and at the moment he seems most interested in handguns. He hasn't shot a gun since his training in the Navy ~40 years ago. I've owned a few handguns over the years and am pretty familiar with a lot of modern handguns. I'm not a pro by any means, but I have been professionally trained on firearm safety.

The main purpose of this post is I wanted to ask if anyone would be up for meeting at a shooting range in the Vancouver / Ridgefield area so my dad can try shooting a couple different handguns to get a feel for what he likes. I have a Sig P229 Enhanced Elite (9mm) that I would bring but that's my only gun at the moment. I also only have about 50 rnds of range ammo. We would be happy to pay cash to compensate for shooting some of your rounds, and you're welcome to try my Sig if you want.

I've been to a few ranges over the years and most people there were exceptionally nice and helpful, so I thought I'd ask here. My dad and I are both easy-going, fun, respectful, and responsible guys. I'm in my mid 30's, he's in his mid 60's.

Thanks for reading. I realize this might asking too much during this time but I figure it doesn't hurt to ask.


Yea, real bad time to be looking for meetups:(

I normally wouldn’t mind helping out but my 9mm stock is low and I’m not about to go searching for it at double the cost unfortunately.

Couple things to think about though:

Grip strength- some older folks either can not rack a slide or deal with a lot of recoil.

So a solid revolver might be something to look at - no slide and 38sp out of a 4-6” barreled .357mag is pretty gentle.

Otherwise a 1911 chambered in 9mm is easier on the wrists but spendier then a Beretta 92fs.

Just some thoughts


Best of luck to you and your Dad. Sounds like fun.

Here’s one to consider:

.357 magnum GP100 (this 5” barrel revolver is over on Gun broker).

These guns do come up for sale in various barrel lengths. I think the 5” model is the best. Perfect balance, for me.

You can shoot lightweight .38’s through it, or hard-thumping .357 magnums.
Like Unicykle said...I've had several recents asks of "what gun should I get?"...and I recommend shotguns. If he isn't going to shoot it for fun...i.e. practice, I think a shotgun is best. Revolver would be next. But, if you can get him into the gun life with a pistol, that's awesome!



How about a sweet RUGER 22lr/22wmr convertible single action revolver OR a Smith and Wesson d/a revolver in 22lr or in a 357Magnum using 38Specials? How are his hands? Any issues there?

PISTOL CF ammunition is hard to come by from what I am seeing but you can still find some supplies in 22lr or 22wmr but that IS getting LOW in some states and towns too.

You may be able to find more $ expensive $ self defense CF ammunition than general plinking/learning to shoot practice ammo though in 38Special or 357Magnum. I would have him try 38Special first IF he has not shot any guns since his military time AND if he wants a CF caliber handgun.

I suggest a 22lr or 22wmr BOLT action rifle or a lever action rifle but I would go with the bolt action first if your Dad is older, may have arthritis or hand issues and/or any range of motion issues. Plus if he wants to EASE into shooting and mainly wants a 'house gun' - a simple 22lr or 22wmr RIFLE or a LIGHT gauge shotgun might be best for him.

I can't suggest a shotgun to you since I NEVER did buy one and I have only shot a few shotguns in my life. I would NOT suggest a 12 gauge shotgun but I would suggest a .410 bore or maybe a 20 gauge depending on his strength and due to RECOIL issues especially as he AGES.

If you lived in Montana close to us - my husband and I would let your Father try out a couple of CZ rifles in 22lr and 22wmr.

MY husband sold his LAST shotgun several years ago so we can't help you there. We no longer own ANY s/a or d/a revolvers in ANY caliber too.

My husband owns a sweet Glock in 45acp and a sweet Beretta Bobcat Inox in 22lr. (Pocket gun.) He sold ALL of his sweet OTHER semi automatic pistols in 45acp, 9mm, and 22lr so I will not go there now.

CZ link:

CZ 457 SCOUT - 22lr


CZ 457 LUX in 22lr and 22wmr.


I can VOUCH for those CZ rifles and the CZ 455 Lux (22lr) too. We own them and shoot them. Our Scout and Training rifles are older rifles and not in the 457 Model that they make NOW.

I can VOUCH for several 22lr and one 22wmr lever action rifles too. I owned and shot them in the past.

A simple Henry 22lr lever action rifle - carbine - large loop one (Light weight!) to the Golden Boy in 22lr and 22wmr but the GB rifles are much heavier rifles even in the RF calibers.

(I never owned the CLASSIC original Henry 22lr rifle.)

Winchester 94-22 (22lr) if they still make them.

Browning BL 22 (22lr) in the better grade walnut stock and I have not owned or shot the less expensive BL 22 but I am sure that they are FINE rifles too.

Marlin Golden 39A rifles (22r) if they still make them.

Savage Rascal single shot kid's rifle - I just donated 2 of them to our range. Black composite, LIGHT weight and they have Accu Triggers on them too. They may only be single shot - BOLT action rifles in 22lr but they are a good training and simple rifle for Newbies, kids, teens, handicapped people and senior citizens to learn on. I would not want to argue with a person who plans on using one on me either! They are easy to use with their short stock if you are in a wheelchair too.

If your Dad gets a simple 22lr or 22wmr rifle for a house gun or plinking gun - do NOT push a SCOPE on him especially if he already wears eyeglasses or has BI FOCAL lenses, ENCOURAGE HIM aka let him LEARN TO SHOOT off hand (NO bench rest or LEANING on jack squat.), have him walk up to the line and shoot standing UP and USE IRON SIGHTS as a Newbie. (Or as an old lady like me. LOL)

USE the KISS method of keep it simple stupid as the old military saying goes.

IF he can RACK a slide easily - a Glock 19 is a GREAT semi automatic pistol to own and shoot even if you are coming out of a BAD fall, bad injuries, broken bones, nerve damage, range of motion issues, etc. BUT if he is planning on a LONG TERM 'house gun' as he AGES in place - I still would go with a simple rifle or perhaps a shotgun but I would go with a 22lr rifle FIRST for his age.

I hear that the Glock .380 pistol is SWEET but my husband and I never owned one. If his hands present some more issues DOWN the road - I will LOOK for a .380 semi automatic pistol for him and most likely in the GLOCK model since he loves Glock pistols. Many senior citizens and some people with physical issues seem to be attracted to the .380 pistols from what I am READING and not only on this forum.

Does your Father have or WEAR SAFETY Rx eyeglasses? Do you have all purpose, NON Rx safety glasses for him? Do you have hearing protection for him too?

Best wishes to you and your Father!

Old Lady Cate
PS: Thank your Father for his military service from me too. My late husband was a Vietnam Veteran.
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I think he's looking for an effective home defense firearm, and at the moment he seems most interested in handguns.
If he wants a handgun then go that way.

But, if you are helping him locate home defense, then
- where does he live? City / Apartment - Suburbs - acreage -- those take different solutions.
- What threat is he worried about? Someone kicking in the door? someone sneaking in?

Think Layers - dogs / cameras / motion lights / extra heavy duty door lock (deadbolt) and approach from a holistic view.

If he is not likely to practice, then I would start with a Pistol Caliber Carbine.
There are many options - not just AR.
Given his age, 40+ out of military means 60+ think Optic and lazer.

Not for nothing, find and read/watch everything from Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch,
And, Mas Ayoob.

Get your dad to review for Washington -- I take it from your description that is where he resides.
(and Oregon if he visits here)

Have fun together.


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If he plans on carrying, get him a walther PPK. If he intends on leaving at home, get him a 1911 or BHP Inglis, both of which can also be carried. A grease gun also suits a navy man (PDW). Pump shotguns are also a good choice.
Above all else, see what feels good in the hand, shoot it first if you can, and don't look back. What does he want, and what will he shoot. That's the right answer.


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