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I'm a newbie to guns, with some questions.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Akira13, Jun 26, 2005.

  1. Akira13

    Akira13 Active Member

    Hey. I'm new here, and to firearms in general. I've got two questions that I was wondering if someone could answer for me? The first one was, I've browsed through several gun forums before, and often have I seen people chewed out for confusing clips and magazines. I'd like to know what the difference is, so that I could avoid making that mistake. My second question was: I've never actually used a gun before, but I'd like to, and I know from using toy/airsoft/water guns in the past that I'm far more comfortable shooting with my left hand. I know that left handed guns are made, but I've also heard there aren't very many of them, so I was wondering whether or not it was actually possible for a lefty like me to fire normal right handed weapons at all? Thanks for your time.
  2. Alex45ACP

    Alex45ACP Well-Known Member

    This is a clip:


    This is a magazine:

  3. Benjamin

    Benjamin Well-Known Member


    I'm left handed. I'm an NRA instructor for Rifle and Pistol.

    Short version - you will be able to shoot most firearms w/o any particular problems. Reloading takes an extra half second or so most of the time.
  4. Akira13

    Akira13 Active Member

    Thanks both of you. Now, I know what sort of gun would use magazines, but what sort would use clips?
  5. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    There are some truly left-handed guns available. Mirror image bolt action centerfire rifles and pump or auto shotguns are pretty common. And a double barrel doesn't matter much except that it might be a little less convenient for you to push the opening lever than for me to pull it. I don't know offhand of a lefthanded auto rifle and there have been very few lefthanded .22 rifles of any action type. You just have to depend on the ejected empties not hitting you in the nose... they won't.

    There are very few actual lefthanded pistols, although there are a good many with ambidextrous controls and most southpaws manage very well.

    The main firearms using clips (as opposed to detachable magazines) are military weapons, from 19th century Mausers through the WW II standard M1 Garand. To complicate matters further, there are two types of clip: the stripper clip, from which cartridges are slid into the gun's magazine like a Mauser bolt action or an SKS semi-automatic; and the en-bloc clip which is loaded into the gun, like a Garand or some old Steyr bolt actions. Even worse, the M16 takes detachable magazines, which are commonly loaded off of stripper clips.

    Don't worry too much about the jargon police. I got a big laugh out of the "expert" who carefully explained the difference between "clip" and "magazine" and then said he had to go get some *bullets* to load in his magazine. ---- The bullet is the projectile, the whole package is a "cartridge" (or a "round" if you want to sound "tactical.")
  6. GRB

    GRB member

    Welcome to the shooting world. Loads of fun as long as you do it safely. Learn the safety rules, get a lesson or two in shooting, then have a great time at your local range.
  7. Eskimo Jim

    Eskimo Jim Well-Known Member

    Alex nailed it with pictures.

    Typically a clip holds bullets for you to strip into a gun's internal or detachable magazine. Some guns, like the M1 Garand, actually take the clip into its magazine with the bullets. The M1 Garand will then eject the empty magazine when the last round has been fired.

    On a TV show, they demonstrated the difference between a clip and a magazine by taking a paper clip and inserting it into a newstand magazine. this showed how a clip puts the bullets into a magazine and the magazine goes into the gun or is already in a gun.

    Left handed rifles are available. They are tough to find but most shops will probably order you one if you'd like it. I wouldn't expect to pay very much more for a left handed bolt action rifle than a right handed bolt action. My wife is a lefty but does well with a regular right handed bolt action rifle.


    PS welcome to the high road!! there is a lot of good, interesting and entertaining information on here.
  8. Akira13

    Akira13 Active Member

    Alright, thanks everyone.
  9. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Well-Known Member

    Question one was answered pretty well by illustration. As you can note the clip is a device to hold the base of the shells in such a manor as to stack them for loading into a magazine. The magazine is a cartridge container that has a spring loaded follower that feeds the cartridges into the guns action.

    As far as shooting a firearm that is not specifically made for a lefty, it is done all the time. That includes bolt action rifles , and it is just a matter of ergonomics that fosters the manufacturing of specificaly left hand models in some firearms.
    Many left handed shooters learn to handle the functions of a "standard" firearm. They don't make left hand M-16's for the military for example. (at least not that I am aware of )

    You must also establish wether you are right or left eye dominant which will make a difference in shooting style.

    edit ps: Firearms with non-detachable magazines use clips. Such as the SKS , and military bolt action rifles.
  10. Azrael256

    Azrael256 Well-Known Member

    With a great many pistols, you won't really need to worry about right or left handedness. Most of them are symmetrical as far as the grip and trigger goes. You'll have to work on loading a revolver, but many automatics come with ambidextrous safties and magazine releases. I'm making myself a little sick by saying this... but go down to the local gun shop and look at a Glock. Ambidextrous or not, you can train yourself to operate the controls of the pistol with either hand.

    As for rifles, some of them are going to be more difficult. A lever-action rifle is going to operate the same way in either hand. A pump or automatic shotgun is pretty much the same way. When it comes to autoloaders and bolt guns, you're really going to have to work on it. Operating a bolt action won't be easy at first, but I have seen it done a great many times. You will learn it just fine if you practice. Many semiautos, including anything in the AR line, are going to be kinda exciting. Supposedly the AR-15 (and the M-16 as well) are designed to keep the ejecting brass from going straight up your nose in a lefty grip. I'll believe that one when I see it. As for the controls on such a rifle, you will have no problem at all. Keep your left hand on the pistol grip, and operate the controls with your right hand.

    If you're completely new to this sort of thing, I recommend taking a class or two. Go find a range with an instructor who will teach you how to use a firearm left-handed. He'll probably have a good number of tips and tricks that will make it much easier for you.
  11. CentralTexas

    CentralTexas Well-Known Member

    Bart says

    98% of the time what they call a clip isn't...

    Attached Files:

  12. shotgunner

    shotgunner member

    Before you buy a gun, please learn the 4 main rules of firearms safety. MAKE SURE YOU APPLY THOSE RULES CONSTANTLY. For your safety, but more importantly, others around you, family and friends.

    If you want a starter gun, I highly recommend a 12 or a 20 gauge pump action shotgun. Shotguns are a great all-around firearm. From hunting, to defense, to target practice. Shotguns can pretty much do anything except be used as a sniper past 100 yards. You can pick up a brand new Mossberg 500 or a Remington 870 really cheap. A lot of times for around 200 dollars. You'll probably like the Mossberg better because of the safety's location, on the top of the weapon instead of the right side like the Remingtons. Get a Mossberg 500A Persuader, 7 shot capacity. I have one and am thouroughly pleased.

    Get a shotgun.

    Rifled slugs (Hunting & Defense)
    00 Buckshot (Defense, some hunting)
    #7 1/2 shot (Some bird hunting, mostly just for fun practice)

    Pick up about 50 rounds of each of the first two, at walmart I bought 100 rounds of 7 1/2 shot for 15 bucks.

    The slugs could be used as a defensive weapon to shoot through car doors, stuff like that but you'd most likely be using 00buck for defense. So the 00buck will most likely be used in a defense scenario unless the perp is 50+ yards or behind a car/house door.

    You should be set for a while now. Good Luck, and shoot safely.
  13. Akira13

    Akira13 Active Member

    One more thing: I sort of...... live in Canada. I realize this changes things. I've read up on our gun laws, types of guns allowed and what one must do before owning a gun, but I haven't quite made sense of them. Does anyone happen to know our gun laws, and be willing to give me a basic explanation of what I'd need to do?
  14. Alex45ACP

    Alex45ACP Well-Known Member

  15. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Well-Known Member

    I am left handed, but I learned to shoot right handed. I have played with shooting my semi-auto pistols left handed with no problem, but don't do it often enough to be comfortable. As long as they don't sling the brass straight backword, it shouldn't be a problem.

    Now that I think of it, I have never tried to shoot a rifle left handed. Might have to work on that. :)

    I would also say to find a class or instructor so you can make sure and learn good habits early.
  16. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

    I'm a lefty too.

    For the _most_ part, even though gun designs are biased towards righties, they aren't hostile to lefties.

    A general rundown:

    Revolvers: Not particularly hostile. The speedload technique has an extra step in it, but with practice, you can reload as fast as a mag fed semi.

    Bolt action rifles: Slightly lefty hostile, but usable. The trick is to rotate the gun 90 degrees to your left before actuating the bolt. A lefty rifle isn't a must, but it does make a bit of difference.

    AR type rifles: Not hostile at all. Actuate the safety with your trigger finger knuckle.

    Garand/M1A/AK types: Not particularly hostile. The manual of arms differs a bit, but perfectly usable.

    Autoloading Handguns: Highly variable.

    Sigs/Glocks/H&K: Not hostile at all. Sig mag releases are reversible, which is worth doing just for the amusement value when your right handed friends shoot them.

    1911: Ambisafety is a must on a serious, working gun.

    Ruger, S&W, and other models with slide mounted rotating controls: Fairly hostile.

    Anyway, that'll give you an idea.
  17. Snookay

    Snookay Active Member

    Thread Jack!!!!

    well i would like to jack your thread Akira, hope its not a problem. Figure my 3 questions could help you out as well.

    Are Promag magazines as good as they claim? They have a 10 round clip I want for my gun.

    What are good Concealment holsters? I think i'd like to put mine in the small of my back or on the back right side of my body.

    Bullets - whats a good cheap brand to play around with. Whats the best anti personel .380 bullet? Personally I plan on buying el cheapos for range/wood time and 7 of the most dangerous shells available for my bersa during my non play times.

    Do you plan on getting a CCW Akira ?
  18. heypete

    heypete Well-Known Member


    A very common firearm that accepts clips is the SKS. I've attached a picture taken by Oleg (one of the guys who runs this site) of someone loading an SKS from the clip. After one strips the rounds from the clip, one removes the clip from the top of the rifle, then closes the bolt. This type of clip is commonly called a "stripper clip".

    Another common firearm that takes clips is the M1 Garand, the main infantry rifle for the United States during World War II. Rather than having all the rounds in a straight line, the Garand clip holds eight rounds in a staggered arrangement. This clip is not removed prior to loading. Instead, the rifle holds the clip in the action until it is empty, whereby it ejects it with a distinctive "PING!" sound. This particular type is called an "en bloc clip".



    Magazine, not clip. :) As for their quality, I don't know. Never used them.

    I like Galco holsters, and have a small-of-the-back one. I also have an inside-the-waistband one that I prefer, simply because it has a retention strap and doesn't print as much.

    Winchester White Box, which is available at most Wal-Marts, is quite good. Price is quite reasonable. Also, if you're going to buy online, look at Outdoor Marksman and look to see if there's any Miwall ammunition in .380. Their stuff is of high quality, made in the USA, and performs quite well. Wolf ammunition, which is made in Russia, is also a good range ammo, though it burns a little dirtier and smells somewhat odd. Any ammunition made by any major manufacturer should have no problems in terms of reliability.

    As for carry ammunition, I like Speer Gold Dots for 9mm. I believe they have them in .380, and it would be worth checking out. Any big-name manufacturer (Federal, CCI/Speer, Remington, Winchester, etc.) should have good hollowpoints. Avoid some of the more...esoteric brands like "Extreme Shock" and so forth. They're overpriced and don't have any sort of history behind them. You may consider calling your local police department and asking what ammunition they use in their firearms. My local PD was quite cheerful and responsive.

    Attached Files:

  19. bogie

    bogie Well-Known Member

    And if someone jumps all over someone else over the whole clip/magazine thing, then they're too darn tightly wrapped.

    It's a dang bullet holder. Not that big a deal.
  20. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus


    Promags: I've not had good experience with them. The spring on the 245 mags weren't tuned right, resulting in bizarre ejection characteristics, and the brass cut my forehead. The first time, I thought it was a freak accident. The second time, I tossed the mags. The mag for my wife's 9mm was poorly formed, and would not insert cleanly without manipulating the mag release.

    That was enough problems for me.

    Concealment holsters: Long topic, there is no "best". Long story short, you've got to try them, because every _body_ is different, and interacts differently with differently shaped armaments. Incidentally, small of back carry isn't considered a "best practice", because you can damage your spine on your sidearm if you take a fall, and 99.9% of people end up pointing their sidearm at themselves during the draw stroke. It's not generally recommended. Take a look at Don Rosen and Milt Sparks for high quality leather for starters. The more or less "standard" method of carriage is a strongside IWB (in waist band) holster which is positioned around 4 o'clock for a rightie. ( 8 o'clockish for a lefty)

    .380 Cartridges: Not my bailiwick. Sorry. It's generally accepted that in any caliber, quality hollow points made by reputable manufacterers (Federal, Remington, etc) is the way to go for defensive purposes.

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