Anyone in VA want to introduce me to some handguns?


The Undertoad
February 29, 2004, 01:24 AM
OK all, here is the situation. I'm 20 years old, turning 21 next month. I've read reams of info on various handguns online, mostly here but some at other forums or sites.

Now my problem is, the only pistol I've ever fired was a Beretta 92, and it was a jam-o-matic rental. Many people have urged me to FIRE a weapon, or the same model, before purchasing it to ensure it fits my hand and I find it pointable, and have no problems with recoil. I think that's great advice, especially since it'll be many months before I can afford a second handgun - this first one will have to be my do-it-all CCW (once I get my CHP of course) for a few months, probably for longer. This is why I'm so anxious about it being a really good match.

The only problem is: I can't rent because I'm not 21. I haven't found any gun stores that will even let me hold a handgun and see if it fits my hand or not - because I'm not 21. :banghead: Also I have not seen many of the guns that I'm considering (for example Makarov, CZ's, Steyr, revolvers) for rent at ranges.

I've toughed it out for a few years but these last few weeks are making it really hard. I would <b>love</b> to go buy a handgun on my 21st birthday and KNOW that I will enjoy shooting it, because I've fired a similar one. Basically I don't want any surprises. Now I know I could just continue being patient... I mean I just have to wait a few weeks and then after I turn 21 I'll be able to spend some time visiting ranges, doing hands-on research at gunshops etc...but I'd really just love to pick up my gun on my birthday. I think it'd make it far more special. :)

Here's where you come in! Would anyone like to take a few hours from your busy schedule and meet me at a range, and let me shoot one of your handguns? Maybe even more than one? I'm mostly interested in the Makarov, .38/357 wheelguns, and 9mm autoloaders in that order, but I wouldn't turn down the chance to shoot anything else. ;) I'd be happy to reimburse for ammo, and buy you lunch. I go to school in Williamsburg, but I will be in noVA for several days next week (spring break).

How about it? (Hey, think about it this way: here's your chance to influence the direction one relatively new shooters' interests go in the world of handguns, because I don't have enough money to buy more than one! :D If you want to turn me into a wheelgun toter, 1911 afficiondo, SIG snob or cheap milsurp pistol fanatic, this is your chance!:evil: )

I wasn't really sure what forum to put this in. If mods feel it is more appropriate elsewhere, please move it.

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February 29, 2004, 01:49 AM
If you can get near Raleigh NC, can do.

February 29, 2004, 04:15 AM
Undertoad, This week is out for me due to midterms, inventory at work, and a half dozen other things that are going wrong. Week after though is my spring break, Ill email you if it looks like I will have some free time for a road trip. Im in northern virginia so williamsburg isnt too far for me, and I dont mind showing off my handguns to a fellow shooter.

February 29, 2004, 07:13 PM
What days are you going to be up here?? I'm actually going down to Norfolk on Friday and would be willing to stop. PM me and we may be able to work out a THR evening someplace.


February 29, 2004, 07:16 PM
Don't anyone let him shoot a 1911 yet! He's gotta get a good collection of OTHER handguns first, before he gets bitten by the '11 bug, or he'll never buy anything else! :evil:

February 29, 2004, 07:39 PM
i'm in richmond and my gun club is in west point. i would be more than happy to take you out and shoot, but it won't be for about another 2-3 weeks. just let me know. i don't have all that many pistols, but i'll see what i can do.

February 29, 2004, 07:44 PM
Hi Undertoad,

Second duckfoots post. If you can get down to Raleigh on a weekend, you can shoot my Makarov and CZ PO1, along with several other sidearms. I know you'll like both of them. I don't think you can go wrong with either for a CCW. We've been talking about a NC MakNik get together on another board. This just might be it.

Be Well,


The Undertoad
February 29, 2004, 10:46 PM
Thanks for all the generous offers, guys. To be more specific on my spring break dates - I'll probably be in northern Virginia March 6th through the 9th or 10th. Then I'm off to Ohio for a few days and back to noVA for the weekend. Then back down to school Sunday.

duckfoot and Scarface - Raleigh might be an option actually. It'd be a lot easier if spring break wasn't right around the corner, since I'm headed the opposite direction for that. ;) Hell - I'm pretty confident I could get together a small group of 3-4 kids so we could carpool and save gas money (of course then we'd have to pay for more ammo :evil: ) and go down some Saturday.

SapperLeader, DragonRider - sent you PM's.

cookhj - Are you by chance a member of the West Point Gun Club? I went there last weekend with some friends to be shown the basics of High Power Rifle shooting. We're trying to start a team here at the college. Some really great guys there, met the president of the club and we were invited back to see some cowboy shooting. :) If I could afford it, I'd join the club in a heartbeat, but it's just not in the cards right now.

February 29, 2004, 10:58 PM
Sounds like a good reason to get together at the NRA range.

If Sat 3/6 or Sun 3/7 is too much short notice for a group shoot I can meet you at the NRA range on Monday morning.

I've got a wide selection of 1911's, plus a few other intersting toys.

Undertoad, P.M. me when you have your specific schedule.


February 29, 2004, 10:59 PM
yes i'm a member of the west point gun club. i used to shoot on the highpower team. russell johnston got me into it. he really knows his stuff. my dad is the secretary (or something) of the gun club and his neighbor (my "other dad") is like the VP or pres (i think). if you need anything pertaining to the gun club, let me know. i will hook you up.

Apple a Day
March 1, 2004, 06:18 AM
The next couple of weekends are booked but if you feel like coming down to Hampton or Newport News to try out a Makarov, a CZ-52, and/or a .357 wheelgun, we can work out a time.

March 1, 2004, 08:01 AM
I would be good for the NRA range on Sunday, 3/7.


The Undertoad
March 1, 2004, 12:08 PM
Sunday 3/7 sounds good to me too. :)

March 1, 2004, 03:12 PM
I can see about making it to the NRA range this weekend, but I can only bring a P99 as far as handguns go. It's a really nice pistol, though. Sunday at 11-ish or 12-ish sound good?

The Undertoad
March 1, 2004, 10:49 PM
Sounds good, MagKnightX! The more the merrier. Based on info provided by MBG, I plan on arriving at the NRA range around 10:45 or 11, because it will be my first time there. He says that "They will run you through a little safety course, give you a test, and then issue a range card. That process should take about 1/2 an hour."

I'm getting excited already! Must concentrate on midterms... ;) :D

March 2, 2004, 06:33 AM
I just found out I can't make it. Sorry, but maybe at the next big NoVA THR get-together.

And if you need to know, the 9mm P99 is like a Glock with exceptional accuracy and superior ergonomics.

March 2, 2004, 08:00 AM
I have a P99 DA/SA. Those times would be fine for me.


March 2, 2004, 08:23 AM

I’ll bring a couple of flavors of 1911, a P220, a Blackhawk, and of course, a Buckmark 22 to get you started.

See you Sunday.


March 4, 2004, 12:37 PM
11AM this sunday, eh?

I'll see if I can make it.

I can bring:

Ruger GP100
S&W Model 36
Kel-Tec P32

I have handloads that will let you experience the full range of the GP100 (pipsqeak to handcannon).


Mike Irwin
March 4, 2004, 12:54 PM
I may be able to make it.

I'll bring some of my extra special .45 ACP ammo, if I do. :D

The Undertoad
March 4, 2004, 01:11 PM
Outstanding, gentlemen! I can't wait! :)

I've read Mr. March's excellent revolver checkout thread once or twice but never had a chance to perform it. If someone would let me "check out" their revolver and keep me from looking dumb while doing it, I'd appreciate that mightily.

As to the handcannon and "extra special" loads ... I'm willing to try anything at least once. ;) :D

I'm trying to find a normal-looking picture of myself so you all can recognize me...

March 4, 2004, 01:20 PM
just wanted to let you guys know that the NRA range will be closed march 6 and 7 for a smallbore rifle match. it's on the NRA range calendar -

In the Rallying Point ( forum.

Looks like Sunday's a bust at the NRA. Anyone have suggestions for alternate locations?


March 4, 2004, 01:22 PM
Oops, MBG beat me to it.

There' Blue Ridge Arsenal not far from the NRA. It's dim and the ventilation isn't the best. Don't they also require non lead ammo now? I haven't shot there in years, but it should suffice for a backup location.

There's also Clark Bros, but it's a hike and you'll have to wait for the old timers and regulars to stop talking long enough to shoot. :banghead:


March 4, 2004, 01:27 PM
Blueridge does not allow rifle calibers, but pistol caliber rifles are allowed. I can bring my AR in 9mm. A bunch of HK's, Glocks, the P99, and a few others.


The Undertoad
March 4, 2004, 01:38 PM
I'm afraid I don't know any shooting ranges in northern VA so I'll rely on anywhere you all can agree on. Glad you caught that scheduling problem, MBG. :)

March 4, 2004, 02:36 PM
Actually, dghboy315 caught it.

I guess the local alternatives, in order of distance from the NRA are;
Blue Ridge
Anandale Small Arms
Clark Bro's
Shooters Paradise
Others ????

I would think that Blue Ridge is probably the most convenient for those who were headed to the NRA, but I have no idea if the set up is conducive for a group shoot.

Another option is, I can still clear my schedule for Monday morning.


March 4, 2004, 02:50 PM
I can swing a lunchtime shoot on Monday (basically any time from 11am - 1pm). I would prefer that to shooting at Blue Ridge.


The Undertoad
March 4, 2004, 03:14 PM
I can also do Monday if that is what you guys prefer. I'd feel bad if people were missing work or something though. Even if one time doesn't work for all of us, I'd be happy to stay for a few hours as you guys rotate in and out.

March 4, 2004, 03:23 PM
Well, then let’s meet at Blue Ridge at 11:00 on Sunday. The address is;
14725-K Flint Lee Road,
Chantilly, Virginia 20151

For those unfamiliar, the best way to get there, from Rt. 66, is to take 66 West to Exit 53 North. (Rt 28 – Sully Road.)

Take Sully about 3 miles (?) till you hit Willard. Take a left on Willard. (If you come across Rt 50, you’ve gone too far. Willard is the last major street before 50.)

Take the first right off Willard, onto Lee Rd., and then the first left off Lee onto Flint-Lee Rd.

See you there,


(And, yes I checked their web site. The range should be open.)

March 4, 2004, 03:43 PM
If I can make it, it will be with springfield 1911 9mm, xd 9, xd subcompact, and star bm 9mm.

March 4, 2004, 03:47 PM
Undertoad, unfortunately I'm far and away from your beautiful neck of the woods. If you ever make it out here, you're welcome to play with what little I have.

Good ruck and have fun :)

The Undertoad
March 4, 2004, 03:51 PM
XD 9 and XD subcompact? I hope you can make it SapperLeader - I've heard so many good things about those two. :cool:

Thanks Skunk! Same goes for you if you're ever out here, you can play with my .22lr rifle and my lever action Marlin... :p (I'm sure I'll have more weaponry in no time though :D ) If you like balisongs, then you'd be in for a treat perhaps.

Here's a thought, if some can only do Sunday and Monday works out better for others, we could break it into 2 smaller trips to the range. I wouldn't complain. :)

David Park
March 4, 2004, 04:06 PM
I've never been to Blue Ridge. What are their rates/policies for non-members? I only shoot at Gilbert's and the NRA range.

March 4, 2004, 04:22 PM
Website here. (

Rates here. (

Looks like it's $15 / hour / person / lane. Each additional person / lane is $12. Jacketed bullets only. (Shouldn't be a problem for most handgun rounds.)


March 4, 2004, 05:14 PM
Hey, I'm going to move this over into our new "Rallying Point" forum, where it'll be easier for you guys to keep track of.

Hope you manage your get together and have a blast. :cool:


March 4, 2004, 06:43 PM
mind if i come?

if i can make it (meaning if i can get enough hw done), i got:

Beretta 92G Elite 2 (LTT customized) w/ CT laser grips
Kimber 1911 Custom 2
S&W 686 .357mag

that y'all can try

The Undertoad
March 4, 2004, 06:55 PM
Yowza, 15 bucks a head per hour is kinda spendy. Or maybe that's just the ramen-eating, thrift-store shopping college student in me speaking. ;) Is that about the norm up in northern VA? The local range in Newport News is half that.

Do you guys think I should bring foamies, or just rent hard protection at the range? I have my own goggles.

pax - thanks, this sub-forum is a cool idea. :)

dghboy315 - the more the merrier!

March 4, 2004, 07:13 PM
$10-15 bucks an hour is the normal.

Supply and demand. Relatively few # of available lanes for the number of shooters in the area.

Bring the foam dealies. If it’s too loud for you, you can always rent when we’re there. I can toss some extra plugs in my range bag, as well.


March 4, 2004, 07:14 PM

it's been my experience that indoor ranges are very loud. i usu. use double hearing protection - foamies under ear muffs. your ears gotta last you your whole life.

March 5, 2004, 05:04 PM
Shooters Paradise in woodbridge is only 10 for a lane, and 7 for additional people, has a 10% discount for leo and military and is less annoying than blue ridge in general. They also dont mind more than two people on a lane, and have many more lanes.

I can definitly make it if we do shooters paradise, if its at blue ridge, depends how late I get home tonight.

March 5, 2004, 05:05 PM
Im also available monday afternoon for a shoot if I dont make it sunday.

The Undertoad
March 5, 2004, 05:20 PM
SapperLeader - looks like we're set for Blue Ridge on Sunday, just because of the location, for convenience sake... I'll probably be able to meet you on Monday at Shooters Paradise if you want. :) (I'll need to find directions...only place I know how to get to in Woodbridge is the Motorcycle Factory)

PM me with a time that's good for you. :)

Mike Irwin
March 6, 2004, 10:49 AM
OK, the fact that it's now Sunday and at Blue Ridge (jacketed bullets only) pretty much puts me out of the running for this gathering.

Sorry, guys.

Just want to add to MGB's directions that once you turn onto Flint Lee road you'll be in an industrial park. Go down the road probably a half mile, and watch for the signs on the left. You'll make a left turn down along one of the buildings and go to the very end. You should see a bunch of cars out front, about the only cluster of cars in the development on a Sunday.

I THINK, but am not sure, that it's the last left before you get to the gates for the UPS terminal.

As for shooting, you are going to want to double up -- both plugs and earmuffs.

Unless things have changed drastically under the new management, sound attenuation at Blue Ridge is almost non existent.

The Undertoad
March 6, 2004, 09:38 PM
Mike, thanks for the last bit of directions and the warning about the noise. Sorry you can't make it. Hope a lot manage to make it there tomorrow. I will be wearing jeans and an Abstract Art Tattoo parlor T-shirt, and if it's not too warm a grey work jacket. :)

The Undertoad
March 7, 2004, 02:43 PM
That was a blast. I met up with MBG at Blue Ridge. It was darn loud in there, I was glad I doubled up on the hearing protection. We waited outside until about 11:10 but nobody else could make it I guess.

We started off on a Browning .22lr pistol, and I did pretty well on that. MBG showed me quite a bit about how to hold the weapons and stance, which was a big help. After running about 10 mags through the Browning and slowly moving the distance back, we switched to a Ruger single-action revolver in .45. :D That gun was fun as hell, but probably not practical as a carry weapon. We moved on to the Sig 220, which I was actually disappointed in compared to the next one... a Sistema 1911! :cool: I'm now very confident that I'll end up getting either a 1911 (most likely Sistema or Springfield MilSpec), or a steel .38 or .357 revolver. I guess I'm the newest happy convert to the Cult of the 1911.

Marty is a cool guy and really patient. He helped me out a lot, and only fired one round himself. He wouldn't even let me give him money for ammo. Hey Marty - maybe we can meet and shoot again in a few months, and I'll bring my own gun this time! :)

March 7, 2004, 04:18 PM
both DragonRider and I were there at 11- 12:30 (i stayed until 1). we were both asking people if they were there for the high road shoot. I even put up a sign that read 'High Road' on lane 12 (DragonRider was on lane 16). Oh well, sorry we missed you guys.

i brought my guns and got to try DragonRider's P7, P99, and 9mm AR. they were great.

hopefully we will do better next time

The Undertoad
March 7, 2004, 04:37 PM
Wow, we were on Lane 2 on the other side of the range...We also left right around 12:30. :banghead: Sorry we missed you. :o

March 7, 2004, 04:51 PM
yep, I went out a couple times and I told the range officers that if they heard the words Highroad to send them to me.

I think there needs to be a protocol for these things other than I'm wearing such and such. Dghboys idea of putting up a sign was a great one. I think the first person should put a sign up by the front door indicating Highroad so others know to be on the lookout. Then post one at your lane to make things easier.


March 7, 2004, 05:18 PM
yea, i should have thought of the sign earlier. i only put it up around 11:30. you know, this is the second time something like this has happend to me. you'd think i would have learned by now :o

March 7, 2004, 09:31 PM

You are very welcome. We covered a good bit in a short amout of time, and you took to it very quickly. And, those Sistema's are sure addictive. That's why we shot it last. :cool:

I still recomend finding a decent wheel gun to try, before your final decision. As I mentioned, those are not my area of expertise, but I noticed Blue Ridge does have a rental selection if you want to go back.

I'll be happy to help you 'break in' your new carry piece. You can still get the Sistema's from Cruffler's for $300, though Adam is sometimes a little difficult to contact for orders.

dghboy315 and DragonRider,

Sorry we missed you. We actaully wound up going in at about 11:15. I told the counter guys that we were expecting a few more people, but I guess two and two were not put together.

We went in because I had a hard stop for the afternoon, to go hiking at the battlefield with some frinds and my dog (who was waiting patiently in the truck.)

Maybe next time, instead of coordinating with code names and dress garb, we can exchange cell phone numbers? ;)

Sorry for the mix up, but as they say, a bad day at the range sure beats a good day of housework!


March 7, 2004, 09:53 PM
Oh, and Happy Birthday.

A few weeks early.


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