List the TYPES of guns a newbie should try first ...


September 30, 2003, 12:28 AM
Okay, here's the thing. I've got a friend-of-a-friend who is looking at getting her first gun. She wants to try out 'several' guns before she buys anything, so I'm trying to round up a pretty good collection for her to try.

I'm also trying to make a list of the TYPES of guns for a newbie to try as they are looking for their first purchase.

I'm not looking for specific guns (eg, a Glock 19 or a Kimber Ultra Carry), but for TYPES of guns (eg, a DAO or a 1911 or a J frame revolver) that would be helpful to the new shooter as she is learning the mechanics of how guns work.

So, what types of guns do y'all think I should try to round up for her?


If you enjoyed reading about "List the TYPES of guns a newbie should try first ..." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
September 30, 2003, 12:42 AM

It allows you to graphically demonstrate the difference between DA and SA, complete with a hammer that you can watch go forwards and backwards. Also, it is very simple. Simple is good.


September 30, 2003, 12:44 AM
For handguns I'd say start with a .22, then move to a "defense caliber" auto and/or revolver.

Next a shotgun, then a bolt-action rifle in a caliber not greater then .308 or .30-06 (not a good idea to make your own "Accurate Reloading" videos with newbies) and then if you have it an AR-15 or other "evil black rifle" (if you have an AR-15 or other .223 rifle, maybe move it before the shotgun since the recoil is so mild).

Thats a pretty well rounded introduction to shooting (and would be a real fun afternoon .:neener: )

September 30, 2003, 12:44 AM
...and...I just realized, this is in autoloaders.



Mike ;)

September 30, 2003, 12:49 AM
And I just realized, this ain't in 'handguns: general.'

Moving it there now.

Sheesh. :o


Route 66
September 30, 2003, 12:49 AM
Don't forget to have her try some pistol caliber carbines such as the Hi Point or Marlin Camp Carbine or even the M1 carbine (some would argue that is really a pistol round). IMHO ;)

Mike Irwin
September 30, 2003, 12:58 AM
Quite simply, all of them, or as many of them as you can get your hands on.

September 30, 2003, 01:04 AM
My first shot was just a few months ago, from an ancient, single-shot .22 rifle. This was at a $5 small-bore class at a nearby range.

It was a very gentle introduction and it's kept me coming back.

September 30, 2003, 01:14 AM
Hey pax, when I assisted I/we :

Start with revolvers in 22 lr ( model 18) then move to 38 spl. (model 10) I'm biased but this is a good thing :)

Then with semi in 22lr explain this is SA, transition to a BHP in 9mm, then 1911 style.

Glocks in 9mm for DAO ( different sizes due to difference in hand size, primary or BUG, ability to conceal , etc...19, 17,and 26 used)

Beretta 92 and Smith 3913 for DA/SA

Of course what happens is they want two guns, a 22lr and whatever else that fits . Which I totally support.

As a rule I didn't start with snub guns like J frames, if they brought one, we waited till after the other guns shot first. We used quite a few K frames , model 10 with 4" bbl...we had different grips on the same gun essentially, really made a difference. We felt the K frame with its weight, size, etc. one of the best teaching / learning / fun guns to shoot (bias shows again ;))

Oh, on the snub guns I may get chastised, but I/we wanted shooters to learn, learn safely and have a good experince. I took Dr. Scholls moleskin and either applied to trigger hand social finger or back of trigger guard. The ladies appreciated this and learned with the target WC loads...typical of men...being macho and all, well...they couldn't use that finger, quit shooting when the gals outshot them...and couldn't be 'socialble' for a few days ;)

September 30, 2003, 08:19 AM
S&W k22. or whatever 22 you can get your hands on.

September 30, 2003, 01:23 PM
Dedicated .22LR like a Ruger MkII, Browning Buckmark, etc. I'm partial to the Ruger 22/45 myself.

K-frame sized, 4" barreled 38 special. My mom has a really sweet K-15 and shoots it regularly. She has weak hands, but loves this revolver (it wears Pachmyre decelerator grips).

Full size 9mm autoloader like a CZ-75, Beretta 92FS, etc.

Any of those(except the .22s) would make a fine home defense pistols. Once she can proficiently shoot one or all of those, she might be ready to try something fancier or concealable.

September 30, 2003, 02:17 PM
I would recommend a DA revolver w/ a smooth trigger, in 22lr to allow for LOTS o' practice. The DA trigger will teach you trigger control, the 22lr is cheap to shoot to build your skills & the revolver will slow you down enough so that you can concentrate on all the basics.

September 30, 2003, 02:48 PM
Girls point of view:

I would definitely go with a .22lr, either semi-auto pistol or revolver. Cheap to buy, cheap to shoot, no bad flinching habits up front from too much recoil. Plus they are more fun if you can be relatively accurate from the get-go, and the .22 makes that possible for someone with not a lot of technique. The magazines on .22 pistols are also easier to load than say, my 9mm's which have much stiffer magazine springs. I like the idea that somebody mentioned earlier, that the revolver is a good way to teach the difference between SA and DA, etc. I would also like to point out that it seems a bit easier to me to visually check for loaded/unloaded status on a revolver (which is the same reason I like break action over and under shotguns vs. semi autos or pumps).

One drawback on semi-autos is that some women don't have a lot of hand strength to pull the slide back. Just make sure you teach her to push-pull frame and slide at the same time, instead of just trying to pull back the slide alone.

I bought my daughter a Browning Buckmark .22 pistol for her birthday after she told me how much she liked shooting mine. I guess that would have been a different reaction if I had plopped a .45 ACP or say, a .44 magnum in her hands (which I love to shoot, but would have hated my first time out).

Now, there is the "sexy" factor. My daughter's new Buckmark is one of those with the anodized forest-green colored frame and she just plain likes the look of it. She won't even let me change the grips because she thinks the green/black combo is cool looking. My girlfriend likes revolvers for whatever ambiguous reasons she has, and reasons that don't have a lot to do with mechanics, accuracy, etc. Maybe it's because they fit her cowboy-boot casual image, or whatever. Heck, she always buys a certain brand of cartridge because the gray casings match the grayed/stainless look of her gun (!) I have my own set of similar "sexy-factor" ambiguous reasons for loving my 9mm Hi Power in addition to the more concrete ones. So ultimately, get her what she likes to look at, likes the feel of, likes the operation of, because the more she likes it, the more she'll shoot it.

Just my 2 cents.

September 30, 2003, 03:55 PM
There are 4 handguns that I think a newbie should be exposed to if they want to try a variety of types.

A .22 in both pistol and revolver format and something big enough to get a hold of.

A .38 special in a medium framed gun preferably with a 4" barrel.

A 9mm in a medium sized package.

I have found that with new shooters these allow them the experience and feel of both basic types of guns and they can see the difference in going from a rimfire to a centerfire round in terms of recoil without being abused.

It is surprising how, with just these 4 guns, a newbie will gravitate to a certain type. From there it is usually just a matter of finding the right gun within that style that fits and appeals to them.

For someone that has never shot a handgun before I would make sure they shoot a .22 first to get use to the whole firing process without the shock value that comes from larger calibers. For those of us that have been shooting for some time even a .357 or .44 magnum may not seem that intimidating but to a newbie even a mild .38 can be quite a handful. I remember the first handgun I ever shot was a .38 and my initial reaction was "this thing really kicks". Today, a .38 is as low as I want to go for shooting fun but I did learn how to shoot with a .22. Good luck, Mike

Black Snowman
September 30, 2003, 04:15 PM
For learning nothing is much better than a single shot 22 rifle. Much less to go wrong than other guns. It's overkill for someone of maturity. Simple is good starting out. When I was shopping for my 1st handgun this is one of the things that attracted me to my Glock. I understood saftey was mostly between the ears and not in the switches.

The important thing is that she's comfortable with the gun. Good starting handguns have already been mentioned. Revolvers, 22s, simple autos, etc . . .

September 30, 2003, 04:27 PM
As a female who was a newby at one time (long ago!):) , I would like to add my two cents....

I started with a .22 pistol, then rifle. Then once I got the hang of it, my then fiance (now spousal unit) let me shoot his S&W .357 with .38 Specials in it.

The combination of trying out the smaller calibers, getting used to the feel and then the sheer rush (!) of shooting the larger caliber quite simpley hooked me on shooting.

Then I "graduated" to owning my own (current favorite and has been for several years is my Browning Hi-Power 9mm--loveit!).

(And whatever DH--echo23tc--says, I'm not nearly as mean as he lets on!!)

September 30, 2003, 06:21 PM
You can't go wrong with a heavy .357 shooting .38 target loads. A .22 is great, but introduction to a "real" pistol at the same time can be a little more interesting.

September 30, 2003, 07:25 PM
For a beginner a revolver is best. Some of the same reasons that Coronach gave in the first post on the thread. Also, there are fewer possibilities for an accident due to the gun's simplicity. Personally, I'd prefer a .38 or .357 due to the variety in .38 rounds (cheap practice ammo for tons of practice and easy recoilling introduction to shooting through good strong +P defensive ammo).

9mm SA/DA pistol. Also helps a bit towards understanding the difference between a DA and SA shot (decock between every shot to demonstrate DA, cock the hammer for the first shot to demonstrate SA). Also versatile from cheap practice ammo that is easy on a new shooter in recoil through good strong +Ps.

.22 pistol or revolver. Cheap and easy on recoil.

Those are the primary guns I'd concentrate on with a new shooter and those are the guns that I'd suggest for a new shooter looking to buy.

October 1, 2003, 12:35 AM
Women tend to have smaller hands than men so a medium to small frame gun seems smart. Revovlers are nice because you can get grips that fit most hands. Kahr makes guns that fit most women and so does Bersa, Makarov (not a maker but a model), Beretta, Star, Browning, CZ etc.

DAO in semi or a revovler.

October 1, 2003, 08:06 AM
Since this is in handguns, my suggestion would be a well-used (for the smooth action) medium-frame .22 LR revolver, a .22 LR semi-auto target pistol (or a 1911 with a .22 LR conversion kit), a medium-frame .357 Magnum revolver, and a 9x19 1911. The first allows the basics to be learned and has the advantage of low recoil and little muzzle blast. Hopefully, this helps dispel the myths about recoil and makes the new shooter comfortable. Next is learning about semi-auto pistols, once again with a .22. The basics of semi-autos can be learned with the same cartridge used in the revolver.

Once the lessons from the .22's are learned, the .357 Magnum revolver stoked with .38 Specials can be used. From there, the 9x19 1911 comes into play. With four guns, the basics are all there, and all of these guns are suitable for smaller hands. The new shooter is not battered by recoil and hopefully has a lot of fun with the different firearms.

October 1, 2003, 09:27 AM
my first firearm was the Winchester mod 60 .22LR single shot rifle that I learned on at age 7. My first pistol was a Stoeger .22LR Luger replica.
Do you see a pattern here? Yup. The .22LR platform is the ideal place to begin learning the shooting arts for practically anyone.

I got my first experiences with all the larger calibers at my old range because everyone near me wanted to shoot my Stoeger. (a really cool-looking Luger, blued with wood stocks.) I got to shoot, in exchange, revolvers and autoloaders of many types.

I graduated to .38 spcl, 9mm, and .357 mag.....a nice transition.

I would begin a novice with a .22LR revolver, then transition to a .38 spcl with a 4" or longer barrel, and finally introduce autoloaders in 9mm. From there, the sky's the limit.

October 1, 2003, 01:51 PM
.22 semi-auto, any kind
.38sp revolver, SA/DA
SA/DA 9mm semi-auto
1911 SA if you feel adventurous

That would give them the basics.


October 1, 2003, 05:06 PM
Pax, if I were in your shoes, I'd get .22 handguns WITH DEFENSIVE HANDGUN MANUALS OF ARMS...

Like an S&W .22, 1911 with .22 conversion, Beretta with .22 conversion, CZ with Kadet .22 conversion, Glock .22 conversion...etc.

That way they understand the differences between say a Glock and 1911...My new shooters, most of them inexperienced with firearms, get overwhelmed when I give them a target pistol then move them over to a service pistol, whole new thing to learn.

October 5, 2003, 04:28 AM
I would tend seperate first gun from first shots. If possible, I like to introduce people to handguns with a .22. But when it comes down to first purchase, I think medium frame .357 magnum is the best.


If you enjoyed reading about "List the TYPES of guns a newbie should try first ..." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!