Gun newbie, what else do I need?


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BeachGeek
March 9, 2004, 11:59 PM
Hi y’all, I’ve been lurking around here for a few weeks doing a lot of reading and research, but now I’m getting close to actually spending some $$ so here’s my first (of what I’m sure will be many) questions.

I have decided to purchase my first firearm later this week and since I’m on a pretty tight budget ($600-700 for the initial “outfitting”), I figure I’d better start thinking about the other “basic gun stuff” needed for cleaning, storage, transportation, etc. I am pretty much a complete newbie when it comes to owning guns but have always been interested in them, so I am starting from scratch here.

Since y’all probably need to know a bit about me to make reasonable recommendations, here it goes, The BeachGeek Primer: 26, male, live in Florida, 1BR apt w/ just me and my cat, reasonably safe neighborhood (‘bout midway between the “bad” part of town and one of the “nice” areas). I’m a computer geek, so I do have a number of tools for working on PCs so I have plenty of screwdrivers and a few other basic tools.

I’ve decided on a 9mm semi-auto, either the Springfield XD-9 or Glock 17. It’ll mostly be for punching paper at the range to develop my shooting skills & provide some basic HD. I’ll probably get my CCW in the next few months but I’m not planning on carrying in the immediate future so I think I’ll end up getting another dedicated carry piece at that point.

I figured out the gun, magazines, & ammo part of the initial purchase (GO ME! :D ) but would like some recommendations as far as the other “gun owner necessities” go.

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only1asterisk
March 10, 2004, 12:27 AM
A mentor and training, lots of good training.

David

The_Antibubba
March 10, 2004, 12:28 AM
A membership with the NRA! :cool:

Trebor
March 10, 2004, 12:31 AM
I started a thread on this subject a few months ago. Do a member search on my name and it will come up. There were a lot of good reccomendations in that thread.

The first thing I'd reccomend is that you get some good training on firearms safety and basic marksmanship. The NRA Basic Pistol class is a good place to start and is relatively inexpensive. After that, train as much as your budget and interest allows and practice, practices, practice.

Both of your choices for your first gun have good reputations, but I still reccomend you consider a .22 pistol for your first handgun. The mild recoil of the .22 allows you to more easily perfect your shooting technique and the low cost of the ammo allows you to practice more. If you've got your heart set on a 9mm, there are aftermarket .22 conversion kits out there for the Glock pistol, but I'm not aware of anyone making one for the XD. (Btw, try out a Glock 19 as well as the 17. Some people find that the 19 fits their hand better, while other's prefer the full size 17. The 19 would be a little easier to carry once you get your license as well)

As far as accessories, here's a list of things off the top of my head:

Gun case - I like the plastic "Dokskil" brand single pistol cases for $5 to $10.

Combo lock for gun case to use when transporting the pistol in the car.

Ear muffs - get the highest DB rating you can find.

Ear plugs - Buy a bunch of these as well. I reccomend you use BOTH plugs and muffs, especially at indoor ranges. One trick I like is to stash a couple pairs of plugs under the foam of the pistol case. That way, if you forget your muffs, you still have some hearing protection to use.

Eye protection - Get a couple inexpensive sets of shooting glasses. You'll want a second pair to loan out for when you take someone else shooting (which will happen sooner or later).

Staple gun - to staple up targets at outdoor ranges

Masking tape - to paste holes in targets or put up targets when you forget your staple gun.

Gun cleaning supplies - I don't want to start any holy wars here. There are a lot of products on the market and some people feel very strongly about the "best" way to clean and lube a handun. There are what I've tried and found that work for me.

Hoppe's #9 Powder Solvent - The old standard. Works well and is very aggressive, but some people have bad reactions to the smell. use only in well ventilated ares.

Hoppe's Copper Solvent - A companion to the above if you use a lot of copper jacketed bullets.

Gun Oil - The final piece you need if you go the "traditional" route.

Breakfree CLP - The first of the "all in one" products for cleaning, lubricating and protection.

MPRO 7 - This is a "non smell" product that works well when you have to clean guns indoors. It's not a lube through.

Tetra Gun Grease - I use grease to lube slide rails on pistols. I like Tetra Grease, but some people reccomend a good quality silicone auto grease. Of course, there are those who don't reccomend the use of grease at all.

FP 10 - This is another CLP. It's sold through gun shops as "Shooter's Choice FP 10." I've only been using it for a few months, but so far I like it very well.

You'll also need a pistol cleaning rod. I like one piece rods, other's prefer the jointed rods. With the jointed rods you'll thread on the brush or slotted jag. Bronze brushes work fine, unless you use copper solvent, in which case you'll also need a nylon brush. Get the rod/brush/jag made for your caliber. Avoid the cheap aluminum rods. These are often packaged together with solvent, brushes, etc as a complete kit, but the aluminium rods don't hold up well.

Buy a big bag of cotten patches.

You'll also need a small range bag to carry all this stuff in. Get one a little bigger then you need right now (don't go nuts though) because you'll keep adding stuff to it as you go.

Hollow Ground Gunsmith's Screwdrivers - You can get these at a good price from Brownells or Midway. Some gunshops carry them as well. DON'T use normal screwdrivers on guns because you'll bugger the screws up.

Pin Punch set and punch hammer

I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can think of right now.

ArMa
March 10, 2004, 12:42 AM
Well let’s start out with cleaning that’s very important… you’ll want to get a good cleaning kit from Hoppe’s (http://www.hoppes.com/), or at least that’s what I recommend… I use their Boresnakes (http://www.hoppes.com/catfeatures.asp?catky=9946092&subcatky1=4548784) I think they work great as far as getting the barrel nice and clean, however some people still like the rods (http://www.hoppes.com/adtemplate.asp?invky=9008754&catky=9946092&subcatky1=4548797&subcatky2=2000168) that comes with the Hoppes lube but another great choice is Brake-Free CLP (http://www.break-free.com/index.htm) they have some really great products like foaming bore cleaner, bore paste, powder blast and some other goodies. Hoppe’s makes a good product, but I prefer brake-free.

As for storage well that depends… how much do you want to spend? How safe do you want to keep it? Do you plan on getting more guns in the future? If you want a good pistol safe then I’d get this (https://www.gunvault.com/ministandard.asp).
Hmm transportation… I’m not familiar with the laws in Florida but im sure that if you had your Glock, (assuming you get the Glock, more on that later…), in the GunVault and the GunVault in the trunk, you’ll be fine. Flying with you weapon is a different story, and not one I know much about :/

NRA! That is a great investment, I cant emphasise enough on that subject so I’ll spare you, just trust us… join :D

Get involved with the local clubs, go to the ranges get to know people most will be more than happy to get you on your feet with the basic know how, or inform you of an instructor (NRA instructors are the best).

Ear/eye protection, that’s a must..

sharpie613
March 10, 2004, 12:49 AM
Add an old toothbrush and dental picks(or similarly shaped objects) to your cleaning kit, especially if you get a .22.

Jerry the Geek
March 10, 2004, 01:38 AM
Excuse me?

What do you intend to use your gun for?

I'm not clear on that, and it sounds as if you're not only asking 'what else do I need?' (which has been covered fairly well) but are also not sure what kind of pistol you should buy.

Since you have mentioned both the Springfield XD and the Glock, and also mentioned a limited budget, one assumes that you are probably not terribly open to the idea of buying in inexpensive, but reliable .22 in order to teach yourself basic gun-handling and shooting skills.

That would have been the ideal approach, I think, for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which is economy of use .. .22 ammo is really really cheap, compared to factory loaded larger-caliber ammunition. You don't want to pass up a trip to the range because you really can't afford to shoot up $20 worth of 9mm.

But let's assume that you're already committed to having a 'niner'.

First, you will want to shop for ammunition. Factory good-stuff ammunition can easily cost you $10 a box of 50, which works out to $200/thousand. Not cheap, and if you shoot a lot (as you should, it's The American Way!) you'll run through your first thousand rounds quickly. Assuming you're planning to shoot at a local indoor range, talk to the guys there and see what they recommend in the way of remanufactured ammunition. You can probably cut 25% off your ammunition costs that way, if you're lucky.

Sure you can reload for a lot (a LOT!) less but you don't want to get into that right now. Just setting up to reload will cost you much more than a thousand rounds, and you don't even know if this is something you're going to still be enthused enough next month to justify the expense.

While you're at the range, see if someone there will work with you for a couple of hours to teach you the rudiments of safe gun-handling. The basic principles are the same, whether you're shooting rifle or handgun, but shooting a pistol requires a little more situational awareness because, well, the barrel is shorter and it's real easy to forget where the muzzle is pointing.

Okay, enough said to make the point that you want TRAINING, if only not to embarass yourself.

Ileaning stuff: good to know, but of secondary importance. if you don't know how to field-strip your new pistol, you won't be able to clean it. We're back to TRAINING again. Staying with that concept for another couple of minutes, treat your trainer good. Show him that you are sincere about wanting to shoot a pistol, and that you don't have such a monumental ego that you aren't willing to listen to good advice. In return, your trainer will help you with all of the OTHER questions that you are sure to have ... most of which may not have occured to you yet.

I don't want to discourage you, I just want you to join the ranks of people who are good pistol-shooting companions. Which is to say, both safe and reliable.

Shooting is fun. Everybody here enjoys it, most of us have made some terrible mistakes (I almost blew my father's leg off with a .257 Roberts when I was 12 years old ... can you say "unclear on the concept of finger-off-the trigger when unloading?") With a good TRAINER you may avoid the embarrasing experiences between right now, and when you ALWAYS, INSTINCTIVELY handle a firearm safely under all circumstances.

Jerry the (This is a consumation much to be desired) Geek

only1asterisk
March 10, 2004, 03:06 AM
BeachGeek,

It seems that you have made some very wise choices. When a new shooter such as you wants useful defensive handgun as their first gun, a full size 9mm is a great choice. The medium frame .357 magnum revolvers have some advantages and often recommended. Most people buy accessory items as an afterthought. Including them in your initial budget is another wise move.

Several people have mentioned getting a .22 first. I think this is a valid suggestion. If you really want to develop skill with a handgun, a good .22 is a wise investment. Not that you can’t learn the basics with a 9mm, it will just take longer and cost more (while providing you a means of defense in the interim).

Since you don’t really intend to carry this gun, you may want to reconsider a steel framed 9mm. It will weigh 8-10 ounces more than a Glock or XD. The extra weight will help dampen the recoil sensation. The S&W 5906 can be in the form of police trade ins for around $300 and the CZ-75 can be had new for $375. Both these pistols have a slightly more complex manual of arms than the Glock or XD, but are no less accurate or reliable. The CZ has the advantage of an available factory .22 conversion kit. Either will save you enough of your budget for a case of ammunition.

I have a suggestion that may save you even more. If you want, I’m sure there are a dozen HighRoaders in your area that will take you to the range and let you try various handguns. Nothing like getting to try before you buy.



David

Black Majik
March 10, 2004, 03:32 AM
Quick suggestion also is to read the manual front to back. Simple thing to do, but reason I bring it up is because it shows the owner how to strip the gun to clean.

Furthermore, it also explains the 4 main rules in all gun manual's I've seen.

After proper training, have fun! :)

gunsmith
March 10, 2004, 04:20 AM
but they are not forgiving of mistakes.
get yourself a Ruger GP100 in .357 (I heard they have them in 9mm as well.)
Personally I feel you would do best with the Ruger GP100 .357.
It's accurate so you could have fun at the range. it can shoot .38's which are cheap and have light recoil.
It's an all around terrific,target and self defense pistol.
The tendency for "newbies" to put the finger on the trigger is incredible.
You can't afford to make that mistake with a semi auto,safeties do fail,the trigger pull on an uncocked GP100 is pretty good protection.

Preacherman
March 10, 2004, 07:18 AM
Welcome to the shooting world! I second the recommendation of others to get a good .22 pistol for initial training, as the ammo is dirt cheap: however, 9mm. ammo is pretty low-cost too, and it's much, much more effective for defence, so I agree that starting with a 9mm. is a GOOD THING.

As to your choice of weapons: I'm a Glock fan and carry one daily, but I'd have to say that in your shoes, I'd go for the Springfield XD. Both are very good, very reliable weapons, but there are two reasons why the XD seems better for you. One is that it's about $100 cheaper than the Glock, and given your limited budget, that's a lot of accessories! Second, it has the HUGE advantage that legal high-capacity magazines are very cheap - just buy some of the 10-round .40 S&W magazines for that caliber of XD, and you'll find they hold (and reliably feed) 14-15 rounds of 9mm. in your XD. To get a Glock hi-cap magazine, you'll pay through the nose.

As for ammunition: to begin with, try the Winchester white-box specials at Wal-Mart. They're pretty cost-effective, and freely available. Also, Wal-Mart stocks Winchester jacketed hollow-point rounds, a bit more expensive, but loaded to similar velocities. Get a few boxes of the round-nose practice ammo, and one or two of the hollow-poinit for defensive use, and you'll be well equipped. You can get into the esoterica of Bonded Golden Sabers or Hydra-Shoks or Great Googly-Moogly Plasma Disintegrators later! :D

Tropical Z
March 10, 2004, 10:16 AM
Im gonna go against the grain here and say this.If YOU like the XD and the Glock go ahead and get one.Both are well made guns that im sure youll have a blast with.9mm is a great all around choice.Youll have plenty of time to get a .357 mag revolver or a .22lr pistol (id recommend a Beretta Neos) if YOU want one.Ive seen too many people get discouraged and not get anything because somebody told them they were nuts if they didnt get something else.Swing by Wal-Mart and pick up some ammo,hearing and vision protection and an Outers cleaning kit and youll be all set at least initially.Dont make it harder than it needs to be.;)
Make sure the gun can breathe in Florida-you dont want your new gun to rust.And i would DEFINITELY buy NEW for this purchase.

.45Ruger
March 10, 2004, 10:42 AM
I would also recomend getting some training, the training that is called for to get your Florida CCW is a good place to start and you kill two birds with one stone since you get the training and the class to qualify for your CCW. I would also recommend some kind of inexpensive lock box just so you have the option of locking up your gun in case you have visitors over and your not sure about having them around your guns.

Skunkabilly
March 10, 2004, 10:44 AM
In this order:

0. SAFETY!!!!
1. A few rds of ammo (40 rounds or so) in case you need it in a pinch
1.5: SAFETY!!!
2. 2 more mags is a good start, at least 6 is your goal for now; Thunder Ranch and Gunsite recommend you bring 6 to school. Soon as you get these....
2.5: SAFETY!!!
3. A holster. Yeah, you'll be shocked at the price of even plastic ones but they are worth it and at least one extra magpouch. You don't need a bunch of doubles--a single and using the rest in your butt pocket will do for now.
3.5: BE SAFE!!!!
4. GO TO SCHOOL! An hour of instruction beats months of screwing around alone reading gun mags and us BS about 9mm vs 45!!! Book a class NOW and get more ammo (cheap and good practice ammo from Walmart) before your class. Supply is kinda thin at times so try to get it a month before school and get 50% more than what you need.
5. Finally, HAVE FUN, BE SAFE and STAY ALERT!!!

We can debate irrelevancies such as your bullet choice and whether you should have gotten an SKS instead of a Mini-14 later :D

MrAcheson
March 10, 2004, 10:56 AM
Ok I'm gonna go against the grain too. When I was first learning to shoot, this is what I did.

Find a good range near you that rents guns. Get a membership there that includes free/discount rentals. Shoot through what they have until you find something you like. Buy that when you have the money. Keep in mind that range prices on ammo and targets tend to be a little high so if you can buy stuff cheaper elsewhere, do so. The range guys won't like not making bigger profit off of you, but screw 'em.

I also suggest a .22lr for a first handgun, but if necessary you can rent the .22 and own the 9mm. .22 rental guns tend to suck though because they get very dirty very fast and the range probably doesn't clean them often enough. .22 isn't glamorous, but going from $10-15 a range visit down to $5 (or less) and getting to shoot more at the same time is worth it.

sturmruger
March 10, 2004, 11:07 AM
If you are willing to spend $700 you should be able to get a XD and a nice .22 pistol. After I have purcased a whole bunch of handguns I have decided that the one thing I am missing is a couple of good .22 handguns. I am planning on picking up a few .22s at the next gun show in St Paul.

Waitone
March 10, 2004, 11:37 AM
Since you start with a clean sheet of paper:

Schedule an NRA Basic Pistol Course--don't buy you gun first.

Do purchase hearing protection. Highest NRR for muffs and highest NRR for plugs. Then use them both at all times. Get yourself at least one pair of ballistic grade glasses and don't even think of shooting without wearing them.

Attend the Basic Pistol Course.

Find a range with a good rental board. Your experience with the basic pistol course will help you get through the board quickly. At this point you have sufficient experience with various handguns to make an intelligent decision. You will have found by then that how a handgun feels in the hand is more important than caliber. I personally can not stand the feel of a Glock. . . . I don't care how accurate it shoots or how pretty it looks.

Spend time looking at prices of ammo. The cost of acquisition of a handgun is not the same as the cost of ownership.

Bottomline? Don't dismiss out of hand the idea of purchasing a used .22LR first along with your hearing protection and safety glasses. The more time you spend on the basics the better a marksman you will be.

Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

sm
March 10, 2004, 12:27 PM
I agree with Waitone.

We had a variety of guns for students to learn with during the First Safety Course. Students had a chance to Try many guns in a variety of platforms and calibers. This allowed for students see what FIT them best before buying first gun.

If student did not have , or not access to a 22.lr handgun was usually one of the first purchases. As stated before affords a LOT of shooting for little money to learn trigger control, sight aqusition, follow through...etc.

9mm also is priced to allow a lot of shooting for the money as well.

Had a bunch of folks buy used police trade-in Model 10 revolvers for $200-$250,( model 64 is the stainless version for a bit more) , .38spl guns that were used for CCW. Allowed monies for more training, ammo, no mags required, but could easily obtain speedloaders, Holsters, belts, ...even a .22 pistol if had a budget like yours.

A Kleenbore ,or Otis cleaning kit, toss in pipe cleaners, long wooden Q-tips, and a Jar of RIG ( Rust Inhibiting Grease) and in our hot humid summers, RIG will protect the gun. CRC Brakleen from NAPA is the same as Gun Scrubber for a lot less money.

Good Luck, Have fun, Safety Always.

GigaBuist
March 10, 2004, 01:11 PM
Q-tips... definately Q-tips.

If you do buy a Glock you'll get a nylon brush and cleaning rod with it. I'm not saying they're great, but good enough for your first few cleanings.

The Glock case sucks though. It's tupperware. Pick up a decent pistol case while you're there. If you see one with a lock: Screw it. Last thing you want to do is lock your brand new gun in a case because you forgot where you put the key. Get a locking one later. Buy cheap for now.

Some sort of cleaner and solvent. Hoppes #9 brings back fond memories from childhood, so I like it. Apparently you're not to <b>supposed</b> to scent your residence with it. Sheesh.

Typhoon
March 10, 2004, 01:28 PM
Welcome.

I'm going to disagree with the recommendation that you start with a .22. They are pretty worthless for anything but punching holes in paper, and if you are on a tight budget, the money spent on the .22 can buy a decent amount of 9mm ammo. And, you are going to want to buy LOTS of 9mm ammo...

Although a .22 is a good starter pistol to learn SAFETY, sight picture, trigger control, etc., a 9mm is gentle enough for a beginner. I especially can say that because I'm a girl...(and I had a handy friend that I could buy his 9mm Beretta from...)

Alas, that all ended when I was converted to the Church of the .45 by Uncle Scotty Reitz...

Andrea

tommytrauma
March 10, 2004, 01:30 PM
Couple of notes;

If you get a XD-9, it'll come with a nice hard case that can be locked. If you have smallish hands like I do, you might find that the XD-9 sub compact fits you well as a range gun while also being quite functional as a carry piece. Cleaning the XD is also a very simple task, one that my 12 year old learned from watching me do it once.

Wally world sells winchester white box 9mm at ten bucks for a hundred, so practice is fairly cheap.

To echo others here, seek professional training.

BeachGeek
March 10, 2004, 02:54 PM
Wow! THANK YOU to everyone for all the advice so far.
I guess I should have mentioned that training is defiantly one thing I’m planning to do. I’m getting paid this week for a networking job I did for a friend of a friend and from that I have already “reserved” $100 that is going towards training (not part of the $6-700 for the gun and “stuff”). The indoor pistol range which is about 15 min from my apt. has a CCW class every Wed. night and the teacher is a NRA Instructor who also does other training. A co-worker of mine is also getting his first pistol (but unlike me, his family already has a number of long arms and pistols) so we’re planning to do the CCW class and some additional training together in the coming weeks.

My family is 99% anti-gun Democrats (vs. my own Heinlein-influenced libertarian views) but I know 4 guys at work, all around my age, who shoot and have taken my to the range a few times recently. I also have the advantage that the former CEO of the tech startup I worked for a couple years ago and who I am still friendly with is a Class III dealer with a gun shop about 30 min away. He told me last week to come in once I was ready and he’d “hook me up” with a good deal on whatever I was interested in. :D
His recommendation was for a Glock which is one of the reasons it is high on my list.

So far I have shot:
.22 rifle (make unknown) - when I was ~12 at summer camp.
Walther P22, Ruger MKI , Glock 17, HK USP .40S&W – co-workers’ guns, 30-50 rounds though each
Browning Hi-Power and S&W Model 60 – another guy at the range let me try a few shots from these (both .38 Special & .357 Mag from the S&W)
Springfield XD-9 and Glock 23 – rentals, put 50 rounds through the Glock last week and 100 through the Springfield the week before. (I have smallish hands and the Springfield felt very nice, just waiting to handle the Glock 17/19/26 some more before I really make up my mind) On my last magazine through the Springfield I put all 10 rounds in the "5X" circle of the police silhouette target at 7yrds, with 4 of them dead center between the 5 and the X.

I think a .22 is going to be my 2nd gun but the defensive advantage (like Preacherman mentioned) of the 9mm convinced me to go with it first. I feel like I’ve got a better handle on the other gun “necessities” I need to get, but feel free to offer any other suggestions you guys (and gals) come up with.

Andrew Rothman
March 10, 2004, 06:43 PM
Keep it simple.

Carry what you practice with.

I say, one gun, 9mm, concealable.

With a SmartCarry (www.smartcarry.com) holster, anything is concealable. :) Even with a good IWB holster, a full sized semiauto can be concealed.

A Glock 19 is a great gun and moderately sized.

A Kahr 9mm pistol can be both tiny and comfortable to shoot. Worth a look! I am drooling over one now.

I carry a full-sized Ruger KP95DC with a spare full-capacity magazine. That's 31 rounds! No one has ever spotted it.

Rugers are, by the way, utterly reliable and darned inexpensive (I paid about $350 new). The worst I've heard said about them is that they are ugly. Oh, and if you're left-handed, holster choice is a bit limited.

Hmmmm. Maybe guns look like their owners... :)

Anyway, it looks pretty enough to me!

Cheap Winchester White Box ammo at Wal-Mart is great for practice!

Good luck!

BryanP
March 10, 2004, 07:13 PM
Welcome BeachGeek. You've been given some great advice in here already, but the one person who nailed it in one is Preacherman. Go back and re-read his advice. If the XD-9 fits your hands well then that's what I'd go for. Of course I'm prejudiced - I don't own either a Glock or an XD-9 but I want an XD-9 and have no desire to for a Glock, so take my advice for what you will.

Later on a nice Ruger 22/45 (if you get the XD-9) or Ruger Mk. II (if you get the Glock) will give you an affordable .22lr practice pistol with grip angles closely approximating your main weapon.

If you were going to go the revolver route I would suggest a Ruger GP-100 in .357 magnum and maybe a Ruger SP-101 or Taurus 94 in .22lr for cheap practice.

harpethriver
March 11, 2004, 09:50 AM
A friend who can be objective and have your best interests at heart. It would help if said friend had guns for you to try out. We can sit here and type all the recommendations in the world but what fits best in my hand and I am comfortable shooting may not-make that probably won't feel right to you. Research all you can before making a purchase of any gun or accessories. Get feedback from others if possible. Try out anything you can before purchasing. Your budget is tight-you can't afford mistakes!

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