1st Handgun, what classes are recommended?


July 18, 2003, 12:02 PM
Not sure if this is where to post this but here goes.

Yesterday, I purchased my first handgun (Springfield Armory XD in .40sw for $388 +tax.) Now I am not sure what to do; so this is a two part question.

1.) What type of handgun and/or safety classes should I take, this being my first pistol?

2.) I live in San Marcos Texas so if anyone on this board from this area knows where to go for said classes I would appreciate the info.

Money is a problem for me, I am a full time college student, working a full time job, with almost no financial aid, so it took me 4 months just to save up the $400 that I needed for the gun. I just want to be absolutely safe when dealing with my weapons. Already I own a Shotgun and Rifle but the pistol I feel requires more training (IMHO). Eventually I wish to save up and get a CCW but that will be way down the road.

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Nathaniel Firethorn
July 18, 2003, 12:43 PM
NRA Basic or First Steps Pistol. Should be an instructor in your area. First Steps focuses on one specific gun and is shorter and less expensive.

Here are some links:

About Basic Pistol:

Course locator:

(The NRA's page says that the closest one to you is Houston. I really find that very hard to believe, though! Check the phone book and see if any gun shops or clubs in your area offer NRA certified instruction.)

Congrats! Keep safe, and don't forget to practice.

- pdmoderator

July 18, 2003, 02:03 PM
Before you even go to class:

1) Memorize the 4 rules
2) Read the manual
3) Live the 4 rules
4) Refuse to be a dumbass. If you think it might be dangerous, it probably is. ;)

July 18, 2003, 07:54 PM
As pdmoderator said, phone book is a good starting point. Should look up in the "guns" section of the yellow pages. If none in San Marcos, then plenty of places in San Antonio or Austin. One such place in Austin is over at Red's in the South Austin area (that's where I took my NRA Basic Pistol course). KR training is a bit further away (located in Austin but their shooting range is about 45 minutes east of Austin). Good luck!

July 19, 2003, 09:05 AM
I tend to think that there is only one rule, with corollaries to it.

-Always treat your handgun as if it were loaded.

This being the case:

-Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
-Never point the gun at something you aren't ready to kill/destroy.
-Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction.

These are the actual four rules they are talking about. At least, I think they are, for me there is only the one rule and all of the others are common sense to me.

In addition, if you read the book on your gun, you've learned most of what you need to know about how to operate a firearm. I'd still recommend lessons though if you don't feel confident in handling your gun. Checking your local shooting range can be a good place to find information on training as well.

As silly as it sounds, don't be afraid of or intimidated by your gun. My dad told me something once that I still remember when it comes to guns... "You only get to be wrong once."

July 19, 2003, 09:20 AM
Congratulations on your purchase. Welcome to the fraternity of handgun owners.

I sincerely commend you for taking the time to ask your questions. Getting formal instruction is a great way to begin.

Congrats again.

July 19, 2003, 09:25 AM
Forgot to mention...

Know what is beyond the target you're shooting at.

uh oh, I'm in trouble now, that's 5 rules. Better safe than sorry though.

July 19, 2003, 11:49 AM
The NRA has a qualification program that can be self-administered in the early stages.
It has Practical and Bullseye components. My son is going to start on the Practical quals the next time we go to the range. Safety is stressed throughout the booklet.

You can get the booklet from
National Rifle Association
Education and Training Division
11250 Waples Mill Rd.
Fairfax, VA 22030

or info can be found at the website at: www.mynra.com.

I have shot pistol competition and hunted with handguns over the years and was impressed with the program the NRA has set up.

July 19, 2003, 11:56 AM
Speaking as an NRA-certified instructor, I would strongly reccomend the Basic Pistol Course. Check the NRA website given by pdmoderator. And btw, when we list the rules for safe gun handling, I like to point out that, while people will express them is varying order and with variations on a theme, they are MEANT TO BE REDUNDANT - that is, you want to have ALL of them operating simultaneously:


1. keep the muzzle pointed in the safest direction;
2. keep your finger OFF the trigger (and out of the trigger guard) until your target is acquired; and,
3. keep the gun unloaded until ready to shoot/ positively ascertain that any firearm you hand to someone else, or take from someone, or pick up has the action open, and is "cleared" both visually and by touch.

As I said, when you are handling firearms, these rules are all operative simultaneously and triple redundantly, so if one "system" fails, the others are there for backup.

There are many other rules, but a good NRA course which emphasizes safety above all else, should cover the bases for you.

July 19, 2003, 12:18 PM
Thank you everyone for the replies. Seems the NRA classes are the way to go according to everyone.

Thanks for the responses; I will just have to suck it up save another $100 for the safety classes. I have some experience with guns, so some of the rules are natural. Whenever I hand my gun to someone or get someone’s gun I eject the mag, and check the chamber. But it never hurts to go somewhere and hear it all again, and things like that will allow me to become a better shot eventually. (Getting completely comfortable with the gun, being safe with it, will relax me and let me not worry if I am doing something wrong..etc.)

July 27, 2003, 10:59 PM

You live in San Marcos! That makes it very easy!
(Mrs Doc & the little docs & I were just in San Marcos)

First, call 830.640.3138, ask for Diane or Heidi
and explain what you stated above,
"What...classes should I take... I live in San Marcos Texas...
"if someone knows where to go for said classes ..."

Make a reservation for a class, I recommend Defensive Handgun (http://www.thunderranchinc.com/schedule.htm).

Then take TS 46 West to Boerne,
to I-10 West to exit #490,
turn left take TS 41 exactly 27.3 miles,
the TR (http://www.thunderranchinc.com) gate is on the right

Tell 'em Doc sent you.

If you have any questions, PM me, or my wife, or El Tejon, or...

4v50 Gary
July 28, 2003, 01:09 AM
Anudder vote for the NRA Basic Pistol class. You learn safety first and gun handling second. Afterwards, take it from there.

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