Complete Beginner


July 15, 2005, 10:37 PM
Hi Folks.

Ive been reading these forums for the last month or so.

I have a new found interest in self defense / survival things.

I am having trouble finding some type of complete beginners guide to firearms on the web. I would like to learn about guns but I dont even know any of the basics.

Could someone help point me in the right direction.

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July 15, 2005, 10:39 PM
You have absolutely come to the right place. Welcome. Spend time here, browse the forums. Use the search tool. Don't get discouraged by what you don't know. Learn. Post often. Ask questions.

July 15, 2005, 10:39 PM is a good place to start. Look under Education & Training, they might have a beginner class near you.

July 15, 2005, 10:43 PM
Welcome. Indeed some searching within these portals will turn up a lot of very useful info. Try search words that suit like ''beginner'', ''first'', ''starting'', that sorta stuff - pick the right keywords and I'll doubt we see you for a while, there is so much to draw on.

See how you get on and then come and post with questions if you have not found answers.

Standing Wolf
July 15, 2005, 10:46 PM
The only stupid question is the one you don't ask.

July 15, 2005, 10:48 PM
Welcome to THR. This is the place to be if you want questions answered, information gathered, and possibly get in on some good deals for items you're looking for. Most everyone here will gladly help you out on your trail of becoming knowledgeable about firearms in general. In the meantime, happy hunting for the answers to your questions.

July 15, 2005, 10:59 PM
Without knowing too much about you, JJ, I'd like to suggest that you find a copy of the Speer Reloading Manual. The introduction to reloading will give you alot of information about how guns really work in an easy to understand format. The individual "mini" chapters on each caliber/type of ammunition discusses the history and development of many kinds of guns going back to the 1873 Trapdoor Springfield 45-70 rifle.

I'm not suggesting that you read it to learn to reload, just as a great source of general info about guns.

Welcome to THR, I hope you enjoy your stay!

July 15, 2005, 11:11 PM
Also, check out
Search for "gun" or "revolver" or "rifle"

July 15, 2005, 11:28 PM
welcome, it's great to know you've taken an interest in personal responsibility and that you have a desire to go about it in a safe and legal way.

i'm sorry to say that i don't know of any "guns for dummies" type book but i can suggest alan korwin's "gun laws of america" and the same title for your state. that should be more than you ever wanted to know about the legal issues. as far as safety, the nra is a great resource, but this is what you really need to know - the four rules of gun safety:

rule # 1
treat all guns as if they are loaded. all the other rules are corollary to this.

rule # 2
never let the muzzle of a gun point at anything you do not want to destroy or kill. it may be difficult at first, but this rule is inviolate.

rule # 3
keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are on target and ready to fire.

rule # 4
be absolutely sure
of your target, and
what is behind it.

remember, these rules apply even (especially) if a gun is "unloaded." i would also add that every time you touch a gun, check to see if it's loaded. this should become habit, like putting your seatbelt on when you sit in a car. again, this counts whether the gun is supposed to be loaded or not. too many people are shot by "unloaded" guns and this could be avoided by following the first rule and checking, never trusting someone else, that a gun is unloaded.

as far as hardware goes, the gun rags are pretty good sources of info about guns, cartridges, accessories and everything else. you could also do a search on amazon.

again, welcome! and i hope you enjoy the sport as much as we do.

July 15, 2005, 11:55 PM
Take everything you've ever seen about guns in movies and games and throw it out the window.

July 16, 2005, 12:10 AM
"Take everything you've ever seen about guns in movies and games and throw it out the window."

So True.

New guy: I really hope you can find an instructor or friend to help you along without too much macho BS. It makes all the difference in the world if you get someone who will patiently help you learn without trying to show how much they know/can do. Be wary of folks who don't fit that bill. A good, humble instructor is worth a ton.

Our CCW instructor holds several national shooting titles, but she never mentioned any of that or even any competition stories during our classes. That's the kind of person you want to learn from.

Shooting is a fun hobby and can help protect you. Observance of safety rules and a good instructor will help you on the way to a fun and practical new hobby.

Good luck, be safe, and have fun!

July 16, 2005, 12:19 AM
JJ: I would suggest that you begin by buying either a handgun or a rifle depending on your age. Get yourself a 22 rifle or 22 handgun and go to the range or out shooting in the woods (or someplace safe) with a friend who is knowledgable about the functionality of guns and the basic do's and don'ts of safety. Read and pay attention. The first rule of safety is treat every gun as if it is loaded and don't mess with it if you don't know how to check it.

Get a copy of the Gun Digest or Shooters Bible which will give you pictures of lots of guns. You can buy older ones on ebay if that interests you. There are quite a few other general references available. Go to a local gun show and usually folks are selling books. Look them over and pick up one that grabs your interest. Chuck Hawks is a writer that has lots of articles on his web site ( about shooting and guns.

It is hard reading the posting on these forums about Model this and Model that when you have no idea what the model is. The books will help you overcome this.

As with any hobby, it requires spending money.

I would suggest that you look at a 22 revolver in a handgun or a 22 rifle. The 22 auto rifles such as the Ruger 10/22 are pretty accurate and cheap. The Rugers are a good survial gun and a place to start for self defense. Obviously, 22's aren't the best self defense gun, but you have to learn the basics first. A 22 is the best and most economical place to learn these things. Even the old pros buy 22's. Every shooter has a 22 and if they don't they need one and don't realize it.

Learn the basic operation of the gun, shoot it safely, and begin building some confidence in your abilities. You can go on and on about the basics. The most important one is to be safe and act responsibly. Any gun can kill including a 22. So, treat it with respect. Enjoy! The whole thing about any sport is that it is fun.

July 16, 2005, 12:47 AM

My usual series of introducing someone to firearms is get a cricket 22 or an old Remmington 22 and a box of ammo.

shoot at paperplates til you can get consistent groups.

the single shot makes you take aim.

as you practice so shall you work.

after you are ok w/ rifle get a 22 revolver or auto

(different strokes for diff folks, SO uses a 38 revolver won't touch my auto, I detest revolvers )

when you get consistent with that and want a defensive pistol,
find the biggest handgun you can comfortably hold and use. Rifles are for distance work the pistol is for point defense at close range(get a bigger hammer).

train with it. consistently. get comfortable with the firearm.

John Ross has a good article,

while I agree with his comments I prefer to use single shots for training before turning someone lose with an autoloader.

also you can get started (depending on which state you live in) for waaay under a kilobuck.

try about $200 or so

good luck, glad to have you here.


July 16, 2005, 12:52 AM
Welcome to The High Road

chris in va
July 16, 2005, 02:25 AM
If you're totally new to firearms, get a .22 single shot rifle. Get used to the report, the (small) recoil, the action and learn basic firearm safety. A handgun is a totally different animal and might not be the best thing for you right now. It's a lot harder to sweep someone with a rifle...

Millions of kids around the globe start with a 22 rifle, and you're no different. Just check out the pawn shops for something cheap, say around $30. Don't be like me and go get a new .22 rifle, because you probably won't use it much once you get a handgun. :scrutiny:

A basic NRA firearm safety class is a *really* good idea too and worth every penny. It certainly taught me a few things I didn't know.

July 16, 2005, 02:38 AM
Just MAKE SURE that you DISCIPLINE yourself CONSTANTLY on the 4 major principles of firearms safety!

If you have questions on which type of firearm to start out with then send me a private message.

Welcome, God bless, and may your aim be true!

July 16, 2005, 03:14 AM
Rule #5

.45ACP IS better than the 9mm round.

Learn it, love it! It's the truth. All on this forum believe the .45 is FAR superior to the sissy 9mm.

J/K...Insiders Joke!

Fred Fuller
July 16, 2005, 05:32 AM
Here ya go:

Just memorize that and you'll have a good start... 8^) . Seriously, it IS a decent intro to a lot of aspects of the hobby.

Also note the THR Library, there is a link to it at the top right corner of the page, or click here: .

Welcome aboard,


July 16, 2005, 11:07 AM
Welcome to the highroad!

I would suggest you first of all learn and integrate the 4 safety rules. After that, buy a .22 pistol and go to the range. There are usually helpful people at ranges who will be pleased to give you advice...

July 16, 2005, 11:35 AM
My brother has been hunting forever and is going to start taking me to the range. I am kinda old (25) to be starting out fresh, but hopefully I can pick up on things quick.

Thanks again

July 16, 2005, 11:44 AM
If you want to learn how different guns work:

Don't feel bad about starting at 25. I started at 45.

Baba Louie
July 16, 2005, 11:57 AM
I am kinda old (25) to be starting out fresh, Nonsense and Balderdash. I envy you.
Take a class or three besides having your brother take you to the range.
Look in the upper right hand of any page here at THR and look up the THR Library. Read.
Cruise thru the Strategies & Tactics forum. Do a search using the word "beginner" or "newbie"... read some more.
One caveat however. This is an addictive past time. From one firearm to 50 is not such a long leap. Feeding them has been described as "turning money into noise".
The political end of the spectrum... where to begin? OK, I won't. Focus on gaining a degree of mastering safety, the sights, safety, trigger, safety and various types of devices that go bang, safely. Responsibly.
You are about to enter a world of inner peace and outer turmoil. Very few cultures on this planet exist whereby this can legally happen in this fashion.
Once you've got IT (or the basics of IT), pass it on to the next generation and to any other "Responsible" friends. Learning IT can and will take a lifetime of easy and rewarding effort.

Oh yeah, jj, welcome to THR. Also, you might want to check out TFL and maybe GlockTalk and the 1911 Forum (and ALL the others). But call this place "home". There are some great and very knowledgable people here.

P.S. What type of hunting does brother do? Feathers or fur or both? And has he joined here as well?

July 16, 2005, 12:20 PM
My brother does mostly fur. Some feathers. And he has an assortment of guns for us to shoot.

He has not joined here. He does not spend much time on a computer (as opposed to me who sits in front of one all day) but he def be intersted in this group.

wizard of oz
July 16, 2005, 02:04 PM
I found a lot of good information here..

El Tejon
July 16, 2005, 03:08 PM
Welcome to THR, new friend. :)

July 16, 2005, 03:33 PM
Welcome to THR.

I'm by no means a complete beginner, but I was shooting like one today! Damned if I could hit anything, I really need to work on that trigger flinch.

Andrew Rothman
July 16, 2005, 03:53 PM
Let us know where you live, and don't be too surprised if you end up with a few THR shootin' buddies.

Some of my most rewarding trips to the range have been with newbies.

July 17, 2005, 11:32 AM
I am kinda old (25) to be starting out fresh,

I was in my early 30s before I ever even held a real gun.

Now I have 14 of em'. :p

July 17, 2005, 04:30 PM
I learned to shoot with a .22 single shot. It was a Savage Model 70 I think. Savage sells a Model 70G that is basically the same thing. I like it even today since you have to drop the lever, load the cartridge, close the lever, then pull back the hammer to make it fire. Virtually nothing is automatic. You have to manually go through all the steps. It was also easy to let the hammer down to unload the rifle if you had to. I thought that was a good way to start. Of course, I was a kid then.

Welcome to THR. :)

July 17, 2005, 10:48 PM
Let me second what MPayne said.

Tell us where you are, and someone will take you out shooting.

If you enjoyed reading about "Complete Beginner" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!