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.