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My first time ever handling a gun

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by runningfast, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. runningfast

    runningfast Active Member

    So, I thought I'd report in. :neener:

    I wasn't raised in a gun friendly environment. My guardians weren't especially 'against' guns, but I live in one of the country's biggest cities and no one in my family hunts or is in the military or owns 'open' property, etc. So, no one in my family is comfortable with guns and thus I was never exposed to them.

    Fast forward a while and I'm 22 and I'm suddenly interested. I've been doing research online for a good while and I've decided that I want a semi-automatic pistol, and eventually when I feel comfortable and safe enough with it (probably not for a good while), I'd like to carry it on my person. With all of that considered, today I went to the shop...

    The model I'm most interested in (based solely on things like reputation, feature list, aesthetics, price, et cetera- obviously 'how natural it feels in my hand' is something important but something I haven't tested yet, either) is the Springfield XDm, 9mm. I handed over my identification and I got to fiddle with one.

    My impressions, as a first time gun toucher!...

    this thing is heavy!

    this thing is mechanical and powerful!

    this thing does not 'ease' in any direction!

    The magazine release buttons easily popped out the magazines, but two things in particular that I found surprising: actuating the slide, and flipping up the disassembly lever. Intellectually, I'm glad that they don't move at a feather's touch, but I guess that growing up as someone who thought that guns fired when you looked at them... I didn't expect the resistance.

    I'm healthy and able of body, and so I wasn't actually 'unable' to work the slide or anything, but I was definitely surprised by the resistance (and yes, I know to depress the grip safety). Just in general I thought "man, I'd be astonished if any little kid could easily rack the slide on this weapon".

    I'd read the entire manual for the XDm so I was easily able to field strip it and reassemble it (I asked the worker at the counter if that was okay, not knowing the etiquette... he said that was fine). Everything is so heavy duty and solidly built!... something ya'll might find amusing: after freezing the slide with the slide stop, I let it slam back home for the first time and it did so with such quickness and power that I jumped a little bit and almost dropped the weapon. The guy at the counter was cracking up.

    This post isn't about the XDm- just semi-auto pistols in general. I imagine any of the big polymer, striker-based semi-autos would leave similar impressions upon me as a newcomer.

    From here, my next step is signing up for a class (nomenclature, safety rules, actual shooting, etc.) with a few of the ranges in my area. I'm going to take the total 'intro' class at both, just in case either instructor handles a topic the other neglects. I'm also a member of a regional forum for guns in my state... and a few of those guys are very friendly and I think will volunteer to show me some things. I'm excited about the entire process and I'm very aware that versus some people (especially people who grew up plinking cans and hunting and such) I'm a decade+ behind on fundamental safety awareness and everything, and I don't plan to rush the process. I am very eager to learn, though.


    I don't know how many of you are like me (complete newbies to guns), but I thought those of you who grew up with them would find this interesting.
  2. Patriotme

    Patriotme Well-Known Member

    Good for you. I'm glad to see that you are signing up for classes.
    I've got an XDM (9mm) and it's been a very good gun. A friend was impressed enough with mine that she went out and bought her own last year. I've got no complaints about the XDM but I do wish they had included a leather or nylon holster in the kit. If you plan on using the holster that they supply then I suggest that you get the stainless XDM. The plastic holster will wear the blueing (or whatever Springfield is calling it) off of your slide.
  3. Golden_006

    Golden_006 Well-Known Member

    You might find it easier to pick a different gun. The first one I ever shot was a magnum in college on a lark I went with my roommate who did not know much bout guns. We Went to the range; I basically just put bullets in the magnum revolver and shot it. Ah how I miss gun friendly AZ (if I only knew how well I had it given their laws)
  4. fireman 9731

    fireman 9731 Well-Known Member

    Just wait til you get to actually shoot one for the first time:D!
  5. bhinks

    bhinks Member

    I think I speak for everyone when I say, welcome, both to the forum and (soon enough anyway) to the gun-owning community! I started out in your position not too long ago: I'm 23 now and from CT, a fairly gun-hostile state, family is by no means anti- but nobody really owned guns or shot, so I had to pretty much figure everything out on my own. The thing that struck me has been the overwhelmingly positive and inviting attitude of other gun owners. There's a certain amount of elitism and looking down noses at new people in any hobby, and shooting is no exception, but it's MUCH less frequent and much less pervasive.

    Secondly, it sounds like you have an absolutely fantastic attitude. From you post it sounds like you have a great balance of respect vs. comfort with pistols, you know your limits and aren't going to get rushed into anything you're not comfortable with, but also not too timid. You seem prepared- I've never heard of anyone who read the entire manual and showed up knowing how to field strip the firearm the first time they just handled one in a shop! And seeking training is absolutely your next move- in fact, most would urge you to never stop seeking training. There's always the next level of proficiency to strive for and professional training is not only the best way to improve your skills but is also an absolute blast!

    If you have any questions, at any point and about anything, their's a wealth of knowledge on this forum and if all else fails- don't hesitate to shoot me a PM. I may not be able to answer you, but I'll definitely point you in the right direction.

    It's always an absolute joy to welcome somebody new to something you love, so I'll say it again: welcome, welcome welcome! You're in for a major lifestyle improvement and tons of fun!
  6. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Well-Known Member

    I grew up in a similar environment. My mom finally acquiesced to my getting my hands on my stepdad's .22 rifle when it became clear I was dead set on becoming a cop one day (I was 18.) He sold me the gun, which I then gave to his son a year later when my stepdad died. I bought another pretty quickly, and had also acquired a single-shot shotgun.
    My first handgun was a .357 Magnum revolver, bought the day after I turned 21 (in 1987.) It didn't take me long to learn that this thing was going to be both tricky and expensive to shoot, even with .38 Special ammunition. So, about three weeks after I bought it, I was back in the sporting goods store to pick up a .22 Ruger Mk-II pistol..
    Welcome aboard.
  7. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member


    I didn't like the XD myself & never got to try the XDM because it was a larger pistol then I was looking for so I ended up with a Taurus 24/7 sub compact which is back to the company being "adjusted". I am glad you found one you like. I have been through several in my life & still haven't found the perfect one.

    As you start enjoying your new hobby you might find that your taste change for comfort & convince. At that time you might think about something smaller framed or even different angle of frame. For now though I would suggest shoot often & get very good with the one you have chosen.

    I still shoot better with my first gun(or others of the same frame P89, P90, & so on) then any of the others I have ever had.


    HGUNHNTR Well-Known Member

    Congrats, bravo for signing up for classes.
    Don't let the slide slam on an empty chamber.

    Enjoy yourself, let others know about your new hobby, and be safe.
  9. runningfast

    runningfast Active Member

    Thanks for the warm reception, everyone.

    So when I do a visual inspection to guarantee my chamber is empty (or as a first step in disassembly) I should 'ease' the slide back with my hand?
  10. U-235

    U-235 Well-Known Member

    Great job in educating yourself about firearms and in not being afraid to ask questions. You will be glad you found "TheHighRoad", the amount of collective knowledge here is astounding.

    What state are you in by the way? I'm sure some if some fellow Highroaders were near you they would be more than happy to take you out and let you try some different weapons
  11. runningfast

    runningfast Active Member

    Thanks U-235.

    I live in Philadelphia.
  12. shenandoah

    shenandoah Well-Known Member

    I sell guns for a living and I would love to meet newbie with such a fantastic attitude and having done all the research you've done... at the shops where I work it usually falls to me to start to teach a new gun owner prospect. Good luck and be safe, you've really done your homework.
  13. Tim the student

    Tim the student Well-Known Member

    Dude - awesome. I love reading posts like this.

    So what are you going to get for your 2nd gun?
  14. runningfast

    runningfast Active Member

    Thanks. :)

    Woah now- I still haven't decided on the XDm. :D

    I need to actually shoot some rounds before I'm comfortable saying either way. Also, it seems a little unfair to only fire a gun with a 4.5" barrel and make my decision... since I would like to carry at some point (hopefully soon! dropping off my application in the next few days, so it'll be ready and waiting), so I want to look at shorter, lighter guns, too- and ones with shorter grips.

    At this point, though, I think I'm pretty well settled on one of the polymer, striker pistols... so for my second gun, maybe change it up a bit. Who knows... 1911? :D Something totally different, I think. That's a ways off.
  15. shockwave

    shockwave Well-Known Member

    Bravo. Exactly what you should do. There's a reason so many people here are giving you kudos. Even if you know everything you have to know, passing the course will certify your knowledge.
  16. JeffDilla

    JeffDilla Well-Known Member

    Welcome. Sounds like you're approaching everything in exactly the right way. Be sure to keep us updated and good luck!

    ETA: Wait until you discover revolvers! :)
  17. essayons21

    essayons21 Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the wonderful world of (soon to be) gun ownership!

    The XD is a good choice for a first handgun. If you plan on using it for self-defense I would suggest shooting both the 9mm and the .40 versions. I think you will find not much difference in controllability.

    You should definitely go back to your local gun shop and fondle a full-sized steel-framed 1911. Talk about a hefty piece of machinery. I started out with a 1911 as my first handgun, and have been spoiled by them. I keep almost buying a XD(m) in .40, but I can't get over the fact that its not a 1911. I guess I'll keep saving up until I can afford a STI double-stack .40 1911.
  18. DaveBeal

    DaveBeal Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the club, runningfast! I was in your place a little more than two years ago. I waited until I was 50 years old to do it, but I've done a decent job of making up for lost time: I now own five handguns, two .22LR rifles and I reload 9mm and .45ACP. My son just bought a Glock 19, and we go to the range every weekend. Be careful, or you might catch it this bad. :D
  19. LeontheProfessional

    LeontheProfessional Well-Known Member

    +1 on the .40s&w. Not to mention it is a little easier to find right now. I am glad to see you are getting into firearms. I did not start really getting into firearms until I was 21. Except, unlike you, I grew up around guns but they did not really interest me until later in life. Now I am addicted to them.
  20. Shadow Man

    Shadow Man Well-Known Member

    Great attitude, you are approaching this in a fantastic way. Remember, you can always keep learning; the moment you think you know it all is the moment you make mistakes. Keep up the good work!

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