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What gun do you recommend to newbies?

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by PlayboyPenguin, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    This is a two part question. We get threads on here all the time from soon-to-be gun owners looking for advice on their first handgun.

    Part one of the question is..."Do you subscribe to the idea of always starting with a .22 caliber?"

    Part two is..."If not, what guns do you recommend and why?

    I definitely DO NOT subscribe to the idea that newbies need to start with a .22 caliber gun. I did not learn on a .22 and neither did most marksmen I know personally. I think any physically competent person can learn just as well with a .38spl or 9mm and still have a good defensive gun as well as a target gun.

    If someone is wanting a revolver I usually recommend a S&W 686 in 3" or 4" configuration. They are plenty easy to shoot when loaded with .38spl, are big enough to be easy to control, are small enough to actually carry, and can be loaded up with .357mag for defense once you are confident with your gun.

    If someone wants a semi-auto I suggest the SA XD-9SC. The 9mm gun is powerful enough for SD but controllable enough for the novice shooter. The gun is well made and reliable. The gun is small enough to carry but large enough to feel comfortable with at the range.
     
  2. crosse

    crosse Bellevue Active Member

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    i recommend whatever gun will get them out on the range shooting regularly. Even for me that's a 22lr. I don't care what people believe is the best caliber, I know that I am an immensely better shooter thanks to my guns in 22lr, which kept me shooting at targets for hours and hours. Recoil/pain/noise are the easy things to learn to overcome once patience and good form is learned and those two things are only learned thru practice.
     
  3. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    A 22lr long gun and/or handgun are good starting places. They are cheap to shoot a lot of rounds through and because of this they are the best way to get out their and hone some shooting skills.

    Now on the other hand if you feel you absolutely must have a defensive handgun today get any caliber 9mm and above. 9mm at the moment I believe will be your cheapest effective defensive caliber ammunition to buy.

    First long gun purchase I'm going to say yes definitely 22lr unless of course you plan on going hunting anytime real soon. If your planning on going hunt for anything bigger then a coyote a 308 will serve you well but ammunition is a lot more expensive then 22lr. If your planning on varmint hunting real soon I'd suggest a 223/5.56 Nato.

    If your most important thing is home security, get a nice pump action or semi-auto 12 gauge. Also if your budget is extremely tight a 12 gauge shotgun can be used for about anything except concealed carry. 12 gauges are do-alls in my book because they are fantastic for everything from home security, bird, squirrel, rabbit, deer, bear, elk, etc. They can simply be loaded for anything with the infinite selection of ammunition out there target, bird, buck, riffled slug. You can also mount a small low powered scope or red dot on them and believe it or not with the right loading they are quite effective out to around 100 yards.

    anyways... I hope this information is helpful for the first time buyer.
     
  4. dario541

    dario541 medford, or 97504 Member

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    I'll go with th .22 because it is the least expensive way to get lots of practice, and to be a good shot, one needs lots of practice. Of course, that should not be the only tool in the box. Just like a mechanic needs lots of different tools, so does a shooter. So determine your needs and purchase accordingly. Having said that, a .22 is absolutely indispensible.
     
  5. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    We had a woman friend who was rightly afraid of an ex and wanted a handgun for her purse. That's different from someone who just wants to learn to shoot. Different strokes for different folks. I introduced her to a friend who's an ex military shooting instructor and he fixed her up.

    May I add this? When I was much younger I wore out two Daisy CO2 powered BB pistols just walking in the woods and shooting at every leaf etc. I could find laying on the ground. I learned to shoot instinctively offhand that way. It was darned good practice and cheap.

    $.02
     
  6. 56kninja

    56kninja Portland Member

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    I would say so. I sort of started at a .22

    First gun I ever shot was a .357 magnum, I was just 4-5-6, pretty young. My dad held his hands over mine, and helped me shoot it, since I thought it looked like fun ( I think, memories are fuzzy)

    When I was older, my dad let me shoot his .22 and 9mm. At about 8-9 years old.. 9mm was a lot of recoil. He let me shoot the .45 too, but I didn't like it. It's recoil was too much, and several times I almost hit my head with his Series 70.

    .22 is a good place to start. Don't need to work your way up. It's just a cheap way to learn the basics, and have fun without worry of shooting off expensive ammo.
     
  7. ORBrit

    ORBrit Eugene Member

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    a .22LR handgun certainly aids in development of marksmanship principles for new shooters.
    You can really work on the sight picture, position and hold, building muscle memory on the trigger pull and shot follow through - without the newbie "flinching" reflex, almost zero recoil and low cost.
    You can put a lot of rounds down range with a .22 before fatigue sets in.

    And you can also see instant results from the practice.
    I had a friend who bought a Glock 19 meet me at a range and he had never really shot much before.
    He started with his new toy obviously and had about an 18" group at 7 yards!

    I handed him my Ruger Mk III and his group was still over 12" at the same range.
    I gave him a few pointers - sight picture, breathing, trigger squeeze and his group was immediately less than 3" - it got better from there.
    He then applied all that to the Glock and was able to shoot a 4-5" group right away.

    Besides the principles etc. everyone should have a .22LR handgun in their collection!
     
  8. MountainBear

    MountainBear Sweet Home, OR Well-Known Member

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    The proper .22 will introduce a new person to the shooting world without giving them a flinch. The proper size gun will ideally fit there hand well and be enjoyable to shoot. Start them there and move up in caliber as they become more proficient and comfortable. The rate of progression (onto larger calibers) depends on their level of attention and safety. At least thats the way I've always introduced new shooters.
     
  9. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    I have experienced the opposite from many candidates. I have seen dozens of new candidates, who claimed to be good shots because they grew up shooting, almost drop the gun the first time the fired a larger caliber gun after years of shooting a .22 caliber pistol or rifle. They had the basics of trigger pull down but not muscle control regarding recoil.

    You do not flinch with a .22 because there is nothing to make you flinch. It does not mean you will not develop the same flinch the second you move up to a larger caliber. Most people seem to be praising the .22 based primarily on cost. When it comes to shooting I do not think cost is as big a factor as time is to many people. I could never find the time to shoot thousands of rounds of .22 rounds. No matter what caliber most people start training with these days I feel they will be limited by time and they might as well spend a little more money when their lives might be at stake and learn with the more encompassing round. I have found that equal practice with a 9mm creates a more proficient shooter than equal practice with a .22 caliber firearm.

    Two instructors start with two complete newbies on the same day and one trains their student on a .22 and the other trains their student on a 9mm. They both fire 1000 rounds through their guns during their training. At the end of the day you line 8 guns of increasing caliber in front of each student (.32, .380, 9mm, .40S&W, .357mag, .45acp. 10mm, .44mag) and let them both fire each gun. I feel the student that trained equally on the 9mm would fair much better than the student that trained on the .22 caliber firearm.
     
  10. cyclesarge

    cyclesarge Eugene OR, DUH! We're ALL in the NORTHWEST Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't say ALWAYS, but usually. My wife wouldn't shoot my 9mm,.357,.40,or .45 because they were so loud they scared her. I got her started with a .22 and she realized shooting wasn't such a scary thing after all. She has probably shot around 100 rounds (.22,9mm and.40), had she not got comfortable with the .22 she probably would have shot about 10 rounds and given it up.
     
  11. huntpotter

    huntpotter SW WA Negotiator Bronze Supporter

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    I usually reccomend a .38 special revolver to people first training. .22 is fun to shoot, but to get used to a real centerfire handgun cartrige, it takes a real gun.

    Rifles, usually start out with .22lr, but quickly step up to .223 or .308 to get the feel of a real rifle.
     
  12. cyclesarge

    cyclesarge Eugene OR, DUH! We're ALL in the NORTHWEST Well-Known Member

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    It also depends on their long term goal. If they only want to shoot squirrels and paper why not a .22?
     
  13. crosse

    crosse Bellevue Active Member

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    you say cost is less of a factor, but I would time is money and money is time.

    I have just taught one of my 90lbs female "friends" how to shoot. Started her on a .22lr rifle. moved them onto a .22lr revolver. and then a .22lr autoloader. A month later, and a few bulk boxes of 22lr later, she can handle my 45acp scandium lightweight snub nose revolver w/o any issue putting it all in the black at 21 ft. (single action, she doesn't have the finger strength to pull a heavy DA yet)

    in one day, give any newbie 300 rounds of any serious defense caliber and they will be fatigued beyond belief. no way any beginning shooter will be able to get thru 1000 rounds. I started on a 9mm p226. At 21, as a college athlete, I could barely get thru 5 boxes of ammo before my arms grew tired, my sight picture waivered, and I got so sloppy my "groupings" (if you could have even called them that) were barely on paper.
    the real challenge is getting back to the range the next day. its like working out, start slow and small. enough that it gets ur heart pumping but no need to put the over weight dude under a 250lbs bench and on 5k race.

    but after learning the basics and really getting them hammered down. I'd say a nice 3" barreled 38 special would be a great gun for a new shooter.
     
  14. johnboy

    johnboy Hillsboro Member

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    Agree......and most instructors will tell their students it IS best to START a new shooter with a small caliber in an ideal world. A young persons brain remembers the scary recoil and will have a "flinch factor" that is hard to repair once developed. Start with fun and easy for awhile and then move up. Gradual progression in an "ideal situation" will get most people started in a very positive way. Plenty of time later for many larger caliber rounds and fine tuning of technique. But it can be done without the .22........just might take a little longer to get the ideal result.....