Advice For Future Gun Users


February 1, 2003, 02:14 AM
I've been recently playing around with a few gas powered air soft pistols, and started getting into it pretty good. I've never owned a real gun before, but thought about getting into it in case I'll ever need to use one in my lifetime.

"It's better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it."

Anyone have any advice, website links, etc, etc.?


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February 1, 2003, 09:04 AM
What type of advice were you looking for? Tons of advice here for the type of gun you would want to get.

To see pictures and prices:

Information on why you should and lots of other info:

Research and ask questions here before you buy.

February 1, 2003, 09:13 AM
We get your type question on a regular basis.

Since is takes a baseline knowledge just to ask a meaningful question, I'd suggest doing a search on the word "newbie". Since this forum is young, cruise over to and do the same search.

I'm not putting you off. Its just firearm ownership and use is and incredibly wide subject the question field has to be answered.

Alot of your potential questions have already been asked.

February 1, 2003, 09:59 AM
Know by heart these four rules of guns safety:





Then you'll be ok to go.. ;)

February 1, 2003, 11:25 AM
Strongly consider a .22 for a first gun- low recoil, lower noise, and very low ammo cost will let you practice a whole lot more. It's not practical for self-defense, but it is fun and will increase your marksmanship.

I own a ruger mk2 pistol, which I like a lot- frustrating re-assembly is the only part about the gun I don't like. Browning buckmarks are popular .22 pistols, though I don't know much about them. Before you buy any gun, research the model heavily on this forum or on the old TFL archives.

My "self defense" pistol is a makarov, which you may want to look into, esp if you don't have lots of disposable income. One should cost well under $200, and has an excellent reputation for reliablity. It is also very easy to strip and maintain. It is fairly compact as well, though somewhat low powered. FMJ practice ammo (russian) is inexpensive as well (~10 cents a round). Look at for more info if interested.

Others should be able to give you advice about other firearms...

Wear good hearing protection- plugs plus muffs- every single time you shoot- hearing damage is cumulative, and all gunshots are loud enough to cause permanant hearing damage.

February 1, 2003, 09:05 PM
Gonna look into it all that info.

February 1, 2003, 09:45 PM
A good place to start is with a decent .22lr rifle.

A long gun is a good tool to start learning the basics of gun safety and marksmanship. It is also easier to keep up your awareness of where the muzzle is pointed (something that a lot of newbies make mistakes with). A side benefit is that a .22 rifle can be pretty cheap- my Marlin 60 (my favorite) was about $100, a Ruger 10/22 (a common 1st .22) runs about $150, the Remington 597 runs about the same, a cheaper Savage semi-auto or bolt rifle will be just under $100 and should provide you with reliable and accurate service. The ammo is incredibly cheap- if your gun can handle the cheap 500rnd bricks at discount and sporting goods stores you are talking $10 for 500 rounds (but many autos have trouble with these), even better quality ammo isn't more than $2-3 for 50 rounds.

After that I'd go with a .38spl or .357mag medium framed revolver. With .38 ammo you can have some pretty cheap practice and there is good .38 and .38+P defensive ammo. A .357magnum can shoot .38spl and also powerful magnum ammo. The mag is better (since it is more versatile since it can shoot both calibers) IF you can be disciplined enough to avoid using magnum ammo until you are more experienced. Using high powered ammo too early can cause you to develop a flinch from the recoil and blast- if you think you'd go to magnum ammo too early get the .38spl. You can get some good used .38spl or .357mag revolvers for about $250 easily and with some real looking you can get a good one for about $200, new you can buy a Taurus for under $300 in .38 and for just over $300 in .357mag.

If you are an auto guy get a 9mm. This chambering has some of the cheapest centerfire practice ammo available and with good quality ammo is quite effective for defensive purposes as well.

I'd go with a centerfire pistol before the .22 pistol for defensive reasons. Using 9mm or .38spl ammo you will have cheap enough choices to get a lot of practice yet, unlike .22lr, it will be effective for self defense purposes as well. After you have an effective defensive gun get yourself a .22 pistol.

Whatever you do you really should take a safety course or two, or three... Safety and marksmanship courses really are worth much more than their cost and the time involved. Also, if you take one first you will have a better idea of what you like and what you may want. In fact, some courses geared towards beginners actually have information on gun selection as part of the course.

February 1, 2003, 11:08 PM

...and what's beyond it.

February 1, 2003, 11:14 PM
Get a Glock.

(well someone had to say it. :p)

In all seriousness, given that you're saying "in case I'll ever have to use it" I presume you're talking about a defensive pistol. In that case... the best thing you can do is find a local mentor who'll show you the ropes. NRA safety courses are a good bet, and if you post your location someone here may be able to help you as well.

In addition to the all-important safety aspects, this lets you fondle a whole bunch of different weapons with someone standing over your shoulder giving you a (hopefully knowledgeable) commentary on the advantages and disadvanges of each. That'll give you a MUCH better idea of what you want than any of us can tell you over a keyboard.

That said... :)

I'm going to presume from your airsoft use that you're into the military stuff. Since you're a new shooter, I'd be first tempted to say take a look at a Berretta 92FS / M9. My reasoning is thus:

1 -- you have airsofts for trigger control and sight lineup practice and all that, so your need for a .22 off the bat isn't quite as critical.. though still get one at some point. I'm presuming you're on a limited budget here though, so get the real thing and work backwards.

2 -- it's army issue, and since I'm guessing you're into army stuff, you'll like that.

3 -- they're cheap police tradeins in some places, 9mm no longer being the flavor of the month. If you can't find the real thing, the Taurus knockoff is at least as good a gun from what I've been told.

4 -- It's 9mm -- as already mentioned, cheap, plentiful, not too much of a handful, especially out of a big gun.

That said... your hands might not fit it, you might not like it.... no way for us to know. So just get out there and take a class, fondle the real thing, and get back to us! :D


February 1, 2003, 11:52 PM
What state are you from? State ownership, carry and justifyable (sp?) homicide laws vary greatly from state to state.

I may only be 4 hours from Arizona but it's like being in another country, literally.

February 2, 2003, 01:25 AM
Yup, that would be my advice to a person making this transition too.

You're not popping pellets around in the basement anymore.

You have to know the laws. They are very specific. It's called look before you leap. Otherwise you can land in jail.

A good place to obtain links to all the various state's gun laws is

February 2, 2003, 01:52 AM
In my opinion, you can not beat the Ruger Bearcat as your first handgun. Great for "newbies" and still fun for "oldies" like me. It is a fun gun that will last you a lifetime. If any of you "oldies" don't have one, you are missing one of lifes simple pleasures.

Kahr carrier
February 2, 2003, 02:29 AM
Lots of good Advise,you might want to take a gun safety class.:)

Jim March
February 2, 2003, 04:05 AM
There's a difference between "gun ownership" and "the mental preparation for legal and moral self defense".

The latter doesn't necessarily mean guns - as a California resident who isn't a major campaign contributor I can't (yet) get a permit to legally street-carry a gun. And since I'm so politically active on the subject, I can't risk packing illegally.

But I know my state's knife laws, I've dabbled in enough cutlery-related martial arts to have some clue what I'm doing, and I pack pretty decent steel. Daily carry is a concealed folder with a 5.45" blade.

I also know my state's rules on legal use of deadly force inside and out. In California, the legal standard for legally using deadly force is "are you in reasonable fear of losing your life from criminal attack, suffering great bodily injury from criminal attack, or is any innocent person similarly threatened?". The assailant must have both the ability and intent to deliver such a threat. California lacks a requirement that you retreat if that is at all possible without increasing your risk - other states DO have a "duty to retreat".

The best "general work" on the subject of legal use of force is lawyer Massad Ayoob's "In The Gravest Extreme". Very good stuff, but should be supplemented with the appropriate chapter of a good book on your state's (or nation's) gun rules, which will cover the legal use of force among other things. In California, John Machtinger's "How To Own A Gun And Stay Out Of Jail" (updated every year or two as the law changes) is highly WA State, Dave Workman's book is the equivelent. There's one for every state.

Next, I personally feel that there's another step: you should examine in your own head, AFTER understanding the law, under what circumstances you would be morally willing (or unwilling) to kill. Now, that sounds harsh, but there's a good reason for it: it will allow you to "act faster" without "standing around pondering morality" when the balloon goes up. Follow? The good news is, when you can respond instantly and decisively, the odds that the bad guy will just run like a bunny and you won't have to use deadly force goes way up. I've watched street crooks run away twice's pretty cool, saves legal bills and such.

I am NOT talking about a "bluff". On the contrary, it ain't your weapon they're running from, it's your determination, it's that look on your face that says "you - have - screwed - UP".

Odd thing is, it works on dogs too...been there, done that.

None of this is about "turning into a commando" or "going through life macho". It's about having a quiet self confidence that will allow you to ignore idiots and drunks, having less fear and a greater ability to help others either in danger, or just stopping to help some lady fix a tire knowing that if it's an ambush, you're not screwed like a sheep.

February 2, 2003, 05:21 AM
Man, my eyes are getting sore from reading, then off searching through links for more reading... and guess what? There's more reading. :)

I live in Seattle, Washington. Price really isn't that much of an issue, but it's not like I want to go out and buy a bunch of stuff and make the FBI start wondering if I'm trying to start a war or something.


I'll keep looking into it and keep things posted. It'd be nice to log each step I took so I can remember to tell other people what they should do.

February 2, 2003, 09:22 AM
Remington has a good list of the rules.

February 2, 2003, 09:42 AM
Good advice above.

Oh, and don't worry about the FBI getting wierded out if you buy a bunch of stuff; there're a bunch of people here who'd have to get disappeared first. ;)

February 2, 2003, 10:28 AM
Good advice above. Let the "Four Rules" become a part of your life when handling and shooting firearms. Range and gun store etiquette is another subject. It's all about the safety of you and those around you. Being safe and others being confident in your being safe.

Find a range in your area that rents guns and rent a variety. Over time you will gravitate to one or two that you shoot well. It may be a Glock, it may be a S&W revolver, if you're lucky it will be a 1911 style :) Get a good foundation of knowledge and you won't waste too much time and money by buying guns you don't really shoot well.

February 2, 2003, 10:51 AM
Know by heart these four rules of guns safety:




RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET Buy a nice gun or ten, enjoy it/them, come back here socialize, get advice, give advice, but the above four rules should be first and foremost *always*. Even practice them with your Airsoft pistols to get in the habit. Please don't be the guy on the news.

Any questions on the above? Don't hesitate a second to ask.

February 2, 2003, 01:38 PM
I will echo the above advice to buy a .22 as your first gun. When I bought my first gun, I bought an ubertactical .40.

Guess what?
I didn't shoot all that often, and therefore couldn't hit anything with any sort of accuracy.

Then, a few years later I joined a shooting club and started shooting .22 pistols weekly. Shooting a .22 did more to give me a firm understanding of technique than anything else.

Resist the urge to buy what the Gun Shop Commandos tell you to buy. Start with a .22, get the basics down, then get a centerfire. I know it sounds all weenie, but in retrospect, it's what I wish I'd done.

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