Yep...I'm an idiot.


April 2, 2007, 05:22 PM
So, who all here has at some point accidentally made an a** of themselves on this board? *Raises hand* Nothing like a good ole' kick to the ego...healthy, I guess.

Anyway, my dumbass move got me thinking about my general lack of knowledge, and that led me to an idea...

A lot of you guys seem to know everything there is to know about firearms, ammunition, etc., and to someone fairly new (like me) it can be a little overwhelming. Normally when I don't know much about something I can look up some kind of online course about it, but there doesn't seem to be any "Becoming a gunnie 101" websites. I mean, I've found classes on battle/SD tactics and basic firearm safety, but nothing to really help memorize model types/classifications, ammunition variances, etc.

Well, for learning music theory there are some flash-based websites that will display a note on the screen, and you have to hit what note it is, or display a guitar chord on a diagram, and you have to tell what it is, etc., and it's great for new people to learn and those who know to keep sharp.

I'd like to try making something like this. A kind of flash teacher that displays a firearm, points to a part, and goes "Whats this? A B C or D" then tells you the right answer if you get it wrong.

Problem is, i don't know any of that. I'm somewhat flash savvy but I'm still a newcomer to the world of firearms. Have you guys read many books you'd recommend, or is this kind of knowledge something you just pick up through osmosis/tinkering and talking about firearms for years and years?

Do you think a flash program as I have envisioned would be a viable tool? Or is it too much of a computer-geek aproach to a get-out-and-shoot type activity?

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April 2, 2007, 05:25 PM
Just going to the range with a friend who is good with fire arms... or just reading threads on this site you will learn quite a bit

April 2, 2007, 05:47 PM
Your main problem is going to be that there is too much information available. I would stick with basic stuff, and common calibers. Learning firearm variances (say the differences in Mosin variants or AK's, or AR's) is not so much shooting them, but handeling and reading about them. The website is the main thing I have used, as I cannot afford many books, and there are not very many good firearms related books around here.

I think you would get started and then burn out simply because there is so much information. You have to be especially careful not to get too involved in a paticular field, such as mil-surps.

Me? I adapt to whatever I am interested in at the time. I became knowledgeble on Garands, M-1As/M-14 clones, AK's, Ruger 10/22's and Mosins to some degree because I planned on purchasing one of those at one time or another. By no means am I an expert on any of them, but I pick up enough to know a little about them and I know more than the average customer who would pick up and buy them. It helps to avoid getting ripped off. A lot of info came off of this board in particular. As a result of this board's existance, I know what a rewelded Garand looks like, that I should Avoid Century, that M-14 Clones are expensive, that Ruger 10/22's are money pits, and that Mosins are fun.

April 2, 2007, 05:49 PM
That would be pretty cool, and could be useful in teaching proper terminology (e.g., clip vs magazine). If you go to, they have schematics of many kinds of guns, both rifles and handguns. Also, I know from experience that if you call Browning customer service, they will send you their entire library of schematics free. You'll then have shotguns, rifles, handguns, etc. It's called the "Gun Parts Price List."

April 2, 2007, 05:50 PM
Do you think a flash program as I have envisioned would be a viable tool?

Yes, I do.

Especially if it were professionally executed. Flash is so ubiquitous now that everyone pretty much knows what it is.

April 2, 2007, 05:54 PM
All my (enough to fill a small thimble) gun smarts was learned through self teaching and history books. My father gave me my first rifle, a .22 chipmunk that still sit's in my safe with a coat of gun oil. I bought my very first rifle at the age of 18, an un-issued Yugo M48a (late bloomer) anyhow cleaned it up and brought it to the range. After finding out how to hold the rifle so I no longer felt like yelling in pain each time I fired I began watching the other guys around the range, copying them without making it too obvious. I taught myself proper shooting stance, trigger pull and the like... Probably why I'm such a crappy shot :o

Anyhow, when it came to cleaning I was a step ahead for the simple fact that I was an ASE certified mechanic. I could look at the rifle and have a general idea of what held what together. So I broke it down, looked online on how to take the bolt apart. Put it in individual pieces and identified them. As I cleaned the botl and put it back together I started thinking about what each part did. Well these notches on the cocking lug meet with the trigger, this is what holds it back. Press the trigger this releases, the spring inside drives the pin forward through that tiny hole and into the primer. This causes a burn and these parts here, by locking into the gun make all the force go out the barrel rather then into my face.

It's just a general exposure to it that let's you learn IMO

April 2, 2007, 05:57 PM
I learned the majority of what I know about firearms from

It's a good way to get familiar with the most popular firearms (and a few rare ones) and how they work, plus the history behind them. Interesting stuff.

But then, I really dont know any more than the basics.

April 2, 2007, 06:12 PM
"Flash is so ubiquitous now that everyone pretty much knows what it is." Roscoe's dog in the Dukes of Hazzard?

Questions over the whole 9mm issue would help: we've got Parabellum, Luger, Browning Long, Browning Short, Kurz, Makarov, Bergmann, Mauser, Nato, Largo... and many more. Parabellum, Luger, and NATO 9mm rounds are dimensionally the same. All the others are different, and ain't interchangeable.

April 2, 2007, 06:31 PM
A good primer would be How Guns Work by Ian V. Hogg.

April 2, 2007, 07:39 PM
Buy a gun. Shoot it, clean it, reassemble. Sell gun.

Repeat, with a different gun. :)

April 2, 2007, 07:49 PM
Gun maker, Kel-tec (, has diagrams of a number of its offerings, some of them animated.

Just staring at them as they play can be enlightening.

Some are static images that show the parts and their relationships.

I have found them useful.

For example:
Here's the P3AT

. . . and here's the first of three panels on the SU-16A

. . . and here's their new PF9

They don't label the parts in these examples, but I'm sure there are places out there that do.

For example, the parts of an M1 Garand can be found here, with labels:
Gary's U.S. Infantry Weapons Reference Guide (

I'm still learning, myself, so I'm always looking for more instructional and orientation stuff.

April 2, 2007, 08:29 PM
I own several handguns but I still consider myself to be new at this. About 15 years ago I belonged to the Izaac Walton League and just rejoined so I could go to the range, take some classes, etc. I also enjoy going to gun shows. :D It is amazing what you can learn by handling the different types of guns, ask questions, and just listen to others conversations. I have learned a lot that way. I also subscribed to American Handgunner and occasionally pick up other magazines. Don't be afraid to ask questions! :o Barnes and Noble has many great books if there is one in your area, or you could check out your local library.

April 2, 2007, 08:36 PM
So, who all here has at some point accidentally made an a** of themselves on this board? *Raises hand* Nothing like a good ole' kick to the ego...healthy, I guess.Buddy,that's all of us.I have learned far more from my mistakes than from what I got right.

My last good one was talking about Samuel Browning's brainchild, the 1911. Then there was the time not too long ago I called Larry Pratt Daniel Pratt. I have a horrible habit of transposing names.

April 2, 2007, 08:57 PM
i make an ass of myself on a daily basis. both on the internet and in real life. its learning experiences.

i DEFINATLY think Flash representation of modern designs would be a HUGE bonus.

im currently wondering what the real differance between long and short stroke is. and what "bang" operation is( a term iv recently come across alot as i move from bolt to semi arms)

April 2, 2007, 10:51 PM
Thanks for all the info, guys. Hopefully someday I'll be able to get something like this done (or someone else, that'd be cool too.)

Hell, I'd be happy just to get a grasp on things. It shall come...

April 2, 2007, 11:06 PM
I learned the majority of what I know about firearms from

I'll second that recommendation. Although perhaps not as useful to the absolute raw beginner, fellow THR member Max Popenker's website is the first place to go if you are wondering whether (insert firearm here) is double or single action, who designed it, when was introduced, does it fire from a closed or open bolt, what significant variants exist, what influenced it and what did it influence, and so on.

These following links are also very useful in conceptualization:

You'll get there. A few short years ago I recall wondering what on earth the double and single action modes on my USP were and how to switch between them, and how the gun "knew" the magazine was empty and locked the slide back. :rolleyes: You're at the right place to ask questions. :)

April 2, 2007, 11:12 PM
This ( is a great resource. I know a member of this board (or is it TFL) created that web page but I can't remember who it was.

Click here ( for an interactive illustrated pistol.

Click here ( for an interactive illustrated revolver.

April 2, 2007, 11:31 PM
Here's a very interactive Glock animation in operation. You can click all the aprts to make them transparent or disappear or whatever.

April 3, 2007, 08:15 AM
You'll learn alot over time.Of course I know people who've been gunnies for years and don't know teir ass from their elbow.Read books and magazines,go online,just remember online info is worth every penny you pay for it;)

April 3, 2007, 09:44 AM
Not a bad idea!

I'm kind of in the same boat as far as newer firearms are concerned. Twenty-five years ago (shuffle feet and look downward modestly) you could have called me an expert on just about all kinds of firearms, reloading, ballistics, etc. I even wrote a program for the ancient TI-99 computer to calculate trajectories. :modesty emoticon:

Then I took a long break from just about anything to do with guns except occasionally shooting the ones I had.

There were long periods in which I would not even read the Rifleman which came in the mail every month.

I got back into it about recently when I got my Concealed Carry License, and I know what I'm supposed to know in the CCW aspect of firearms by virtue of the training required. (Or at least I think/hope so!)

But in general newer technology and models are a kind of a fuzzy area for me and when I hear about uppers and lowers and "two or more of the following features," I get a little lost and I'd appreciate being able to review some of this information in compacted form without surfing one end of the net to the other. Example: my son had to advise me not to call a Glock XX a "Glock Model XX."

Which brings up something that occured to me while reading the original post.

Now this is rife with danger, since so many of the laws are "interpretable," but I wouldn't mind seeing a segment of a flash course on firearms laws in general.

Maybe for later, when the concept is established, but I'm sure it would be a boon to many who are starting out and those of us who are "re-starting out."

All in all, good thinking, Christianninja!

( You might add a segment in there about those darned Acronyms, too! :barf: )

April 3, 2007, 10:00 AM
I think that Hornady made them. They had life-size pics of most of the popular calibers form 22 short up to 50 BMG. On one side was a loaded round, and on the other was just the bullets that Hornady makes in that caliber. Seeing them in real size gives you a nice reference. You might try contacting Hornady to see if they still make that poster or if they have one laying around.

April 3, 2007, 10:19 AM
If you want some paper backup to the online info, I've found the GUN DIGEST book series very informative on models and makes. They also have many books on Disassembly/Assembly of different firearms.

I might also suggest finding some old gun maker's catalogs - these were always a good reference to see what production models looked like and what variations were offered.

April 3, 2007, 10:19 AM
Almost even more than gun and ammo terms and info I would be happy for something that decyphers all the abbreviations people use on here.

I have learned some and figured out some but everyday there are more that leave me shaking my head and asking what?????

April 3, 2007, 12:09 PM

(Well googling an acronym isn't that hard and you can usually find the definition in the blurbs that come up without actually going to the sites but it's still a pain in the patootie when people go acronym happy.)


April 4, 2007, 12:59 AM
ive learned quite a bit from this site, and learn something new just about everytime i look around and start reading stuff. you dont want to have to learn something about a firearm or ammo from the guy at the counter. he'll tell you bs everytime. id assume books are good, but the majority of stuff i learn is from this site or from my own personal experience. and also have taught me a few things

Black Knight
April 4, 2007, 09:23 AM
As far as books go read what you like. If you like shotguns read about shotguns. If you like rifles read about rifles. If you like handguns read about handguns. Other than that stick around people in the know. Go to gunshops, ranges and where ever gunners go. Take everything with a grain of salt. There are quite a few wild tales out there in the gun world. Turn your crap detector on high and pay attention. I have been handling guns for 28 years and there are things that I'm still learning about. No one can be an expert on every aspect of the gun world so don't beat yourself up about not knowing something. When the subject is firearms there is no stupid question, so ask away. If you thought of the question someone else has as well but hasn't asked it. Besides the question may keep you or someone else from getting hurt. Go and learn. We'll help you when we are able. Whatever the question someone here will most likely have the answer.

April 4, 2007, 02:31 PM
Buy a Ruger MkII. It's a great, useful, fun gun. After you get familiar with disassembly/assembly, it is quite easy, you will have gained great gun knowledge and can help others do it, and you will have new cuss words you didn't have before. Joe

April 4, 2007, 03:07 PM
Check out my username :D

April 4, 2007, 03:40 PM
And the start of the flash presentation should have the words
"DON'T PANIC" in large, friendly, letters on the cover :D

April 4, 2007, 04:23 PM
Yeah...people talk about carrying thier pistols, extra mags, back up guns, knives, etc., but the whole time I'm thinking....none of that's any good if you don't have your towel.

April 4, 2007, 04:40 PM
Don't feel bad, we have all been there, and done just what you are going through at one point or another. It's a long learning process, and at some point you learn enough about one (or two, or five, or ten) firearms to be able to speak somewhat knowledgably on the subject. Sometimes, you just need to chip off a small piece of the iceberg to cool your ice tea, the whole berg won't fit in the glass.

April 4, 2007, 06:48 PM
First off, I think your idea of the flash tool would be a great learning aid.

My way of learning over the years has been to read any and everything I could get my hands on, and listen to people who know of what they speak.
Listen more...speak less.
Read (lurk) less.

Like I said above, that has been my way, and is not an attempt to advise you how to achieve your goal. I do not claim to be a gun know-it-all, but I have learned a lot especially since the advent of the internet, and boards like this one.
Good luck!

James T Thomas
April 4, 2007, 07:30 PM
I think you are far too harsh on your assesment of yourself.

An "idiot" would be classified with an inteligence quotient of 25; below moron or imbecile. An equivalent of a two year old!

Just your entry here on THR places you above that level.

My father once told me; he was a brilliant man, that -the more he learned, the more he realized just how much he did not know. And an similarly smart old teacher in our gradeschool { we were blessed to have these dedicated and loving elderly and matriarch type of teachers in the early fifties} corrected all us children when she said "There is no such thing as a 'stupid' question."

Sorry, but I'm not aware of any flash card type of teaching aid for firearm knowledge, but enjoy them and the culture as most of us do here, and you will absorb the knowledge as your life passes on. That is the beauty of it.
There are always new things to learn, and unlearn too.

Don't degrade youself for not knowing what has taken most of us part of our lifetime to get familiar with. You are just part of mankind as we all are.

Perhaps, begin with the simple 22 rifle and handgun and progress from there.

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