Tips and terminology for a gun newb?


May 30, 2004, 12:13 AM
I'm turning 18 in a few months and am interested in buying my first gun. I'd like some suggestions as to that. Also, after browsing this forum a bit, I've noticed that I understand almost zero of the terms for guns, ammo, etc. So I'd be nice to have a little more knowledge in that respect.

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buy guns
May 30, 2004, 12:26 AM
welcome. i was this way too when i came here a couple months ago. read the board everyday and you will learn quick. sorry i cant help you out with any sites though.

May 30, 2004, 12:29 AM
Good for you. :)

I'd recommend taking an NRA gun safety course ( It will give you a good understanding of the basics.

As for terms, you'll learn as you go, mostly. Here is ( a glossary of common terms related to firearms and the shooting sports.

May 30, 2004, 12:32 AM
For buying a handgun you should go to your dealers or gunshows and handle as many models as possible to find what feels good in your hand. The fit of the handgun to your hand is probably the single most important part of good shooting. After you determine what feels good then come back and ask questions about the models you have selected.
You can check the library here for references answering your questions on gun terms. General ammo questions can take a long time answering. If you specify the questions as to caliber, bullet type, and so forth then we can help a lot easier.

May 30, 2004, 12:41 AM
Well, I've liked the Mateba 8 3/8 for awhile but I figure I should start out with something a little smaller (or at least cheaper). Maybe a Colt .45...

May 30, 2004, 01:14 AM
Smaller as in what, the barrel length? The Mateba is a medium bore handgun while the .45 Colt is a large bore necessating a larger frame.
If I may ask have you learned to shoot yet? I only ask as you are seeking very basic information. Large calibers don't make for the best learning tools. Recomendations should be based on your level of experience with shooting handguns.

May 30, 2004, 01:22 AM
If I may ask have you learned to shoot yet?

Not *cough*

May 30, 2004, 01:47 AM
Nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone has to start somewhere.
My recommendation to first time shooters is to start with some type of .22lr revolver. Some others will most likely come and recommend other things, but the .22lr revolver is very safe, simple to operate, and the low recoil/noise will allow you to master the basics of shooting much quicker. The extremely low price of the .22lr ammo will allow you to practice a lot more for very little money. Once you have learned the required skills then you can move up in caliber and probably have a more inform idea of what you may then want. If at all possible keep the .22lr handgun. It will provide hours of enjoyment at a low cost plus you can go back to it for practice if little shooting problems creep up on you.
Many people have started out with the harder recoiling handguns only to learn bad habits. These habits takes longer to get rid of than it did to aquire them in the first place. Learn with the little cartridge, then when the time is right transfer these skills to a larger caliber handgun. It's better to be able to tear out the bullseye of the target than to just look cool at the range.

May 30, 2004, 02:10 AM
That sounds like pretty good advice.

*checks around*

Damn, you weren't kidding! .22lr revolvers are cheap.

May 30, 2004, 02:51 AM
For instance it was years befor I knew what the acp in front of my first gun
Raven .25acp stood for.
(automatic colt pistol) a glock in .45acp is not really the same as glock in .45gap but it's close,you can shoot a .45 out of a revolver if you have moon clips but a .357sig will not shoot .357mag...ok?
Personally I say get a Ruger GP100 in .357mag great for self defense with the magnums and cheap to shoot with the 38's in it...Not the 380's-not the 380's!!.

Though if you get a Ruger single action .22lr you will have a cool looking cowboy revolver that is cheap to shoot,accurate and you can give it to your grandchildren...

No I don't work for Ruger,I love their revolvers...

May 30, 2004, 02:55 AM
Hummm ?

I was under the impression one had to be 21 to purchase handguns ? Am I wrong ?

A 22 RF rifle would make a nice starting gun. :D

May 30, 2004, 03:10 AM
I was under the impression one had to be 21 to purchase handguns ? Am I wrong ?

According to Indiana gun laws: "It is generally unlawful to sell or otherwise transfer possession of a handgun to a person under 18 except if the gun comes from the juvenile`s parent or guardian."

May 30, 2004, 07:17 AM
If you're in Indiana, where are you at??

I'd suggest a .22 rifle for the 1st. Handguns have the "cool" factor but aren't as practical IMO. If you haven't shot before, it's easier to control a rifle.

Most important rule is never point it at anyone, intentional or unintentional. Too easy to swing a pistol around in an unsafe manner. Trust me, I work at a gun shop and see people do it all the time, even experienced shooters.

Mil Novecientos Once
May 30, 2004, 10:17 AM
The Firing Line's Abbreviation Primer (

May 30, 2004, 07:00 PM
Welcome to THR, ZeroX. I think you may find my website (a work in progress) useful. Just click on the link in my signature, below.


Jim March
May 30, 2004, 11:58 PM
Hi ZeroX:

The three primary gun "disciplines" are the rifle, shotgun and handgun. Each is for different sorts of things, and each in turn can be divided between "sporting interest" and personal/community defense.

The latter are NOT "inherently evil". Don't let anybody try and convince you otherwise.

I'm going to assume for a sec you're interested in the defensive side.

First, let's talk morality a sec.

Go here, and look up the polling data:

Note the high percentage of Libertarians around here...and many others who aren't registered with the actual political party "lean that way", myself included.

There's a reason for this. The core "Libertarian" belief is that the only crime (or "sin") is to initiate force against another person. "Force" includes murder, assault, rape, theft, fraud, etc. Someone committed to this "zero aggression principle" will RESPOND to violence but never initiate it...a genuine follower of this code is extremely trustworthy with weapons.

Next, you also have to understand your state's laws on the use of deadly force. The exact rules vary a bit between states. In my state, California, you can use deadly force to defend yourself or others from criminal assault if someone's life is in danger or they're in danger of suffering "great bodily injury". That part is pretty common. Some states have a "duty to retreat where possible" clause, which sometimes only applies on the street or can even apply inside your own home.

You need to know these rules. Any better gun shop in your state will have handbooks on sale specific to your state's gun laws AND "deadly force laws". You *need* that book, BAD. OK?

'Cuz the consequences for screwing this up are really seriously out-there bad.


Right, 'nuff o' that.

Revolvers have some basic advantages over semi-autos. They're more accurate for the money spent (except in 22LR caliber), and more reliable.

All "calibers" are actually a complete specification for a bullet. "22LR" is short for "22 Long Rifle". "22" is the width of the bullet while "long rifle" is the particular type...which means a certain size case and a certain maximum power. Which considering the spec dates back to the late 1800s isn't real hot at all (despite the "fierce" name). The more modern "22Magnum" is much hotter, for example...but 22LR ammo is DIRT cheap. About $12 gets you 500 rounds. Some of the cheapest "serious ammo" you can get, 9mm or 38Special, will still run about $8 a box o' 50.

So a lot of us will have a 22LR handgun laying around for cheap practice even if we use hotter stuff for everything else.

Revolvers are sorta mechanically complex, and can get screwed up sometimes. There's a HUGE discussion thread going on how to pick out a good used specimen over here:

If you enjoyed reading about "Tips and terminology for a gun newb?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!