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Some very newbie questions

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Illyria, Feb 24, 2011.

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  1. Illyria

    Illyria Member

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    Hi everyone!

    Let me first say that I never thought I would be posting in a firearms forum as I have honestly been very afraid of them for most of my life.

    I recently have realized that I would, if nothing else, learn how to load/shoot/unload a basic semi-automatic handgun. My main question might sound dumb, but where can I do this? Do I need a license in order to go to a range and take some kind of class? I would ask at a shop, but from reviews I've read, most in my area are very degrading to people who don't already have a good grasp of firearms.

    Also, it probably doesn't help that I'm a relatively young (22) and soft-spoken woman.

    Anyway, I just wanted to get a little advice from everyone here. Thanks for any feedback! :)
     
  2. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    Go to this website... http://www.nrainstructors.org/searchcourse.aspx
    Check the box next to NRA FIRST Steps Pistol Orientation and NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course. Enter your zip code.
    A driver's license, probably. No other license that I would assume though, just ID, and maybe not even that is required.
    That's a shame, and not too uncommon. Just find an NRA course near you, especially if one has a women's only class and/or good reviews.
    Poppycock!!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2011
  3. il_10

    il_10 Member

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    First off, congratulations on taking the first step!

    Let me first clear up a few common misconceptions. In almost all states, you don't need any license to handle, fire, or own firearms. With only a small few exceptions, there are no registration requirement for firearms. In most states, they are tools and private property no different than any other.

    I'm also pleased to hear that you're interested in getting proper training before you jump in. Let us know where you live and I'm sure we can provide some information on a place or two near you where you can get this training. As far as online information, this forum is a wealth of information, and http://corneredcat.com/ is a wonderful source for women shooters written by women shooters.

    Lastly, don't let anyone tell you that you can't do anything based solely on the fact that you're a woman. Gun shop chauvinism can run pretty deep, but all the women I've worked with learn to shoot far better and far faster than I did. Handle and fire as many different guns as you can. Find what fits you before you consider purchasing. You may find that the ultra-lightweight snub nosed revolver many gun stores would try to sell you to be far and away a poor choice!
     
  4. springfield30-06

    springfield30-06 Member

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    What state are you located in?
     
  5. Illyria

    Illyria Member

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    I'm in the Southern Connecticut area.
     
  6. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    The best advice, and I promise you this is REALLY GOOD ADVICE that will benefit you for years to come, is (after some basic familiarization) to buy a .22 handgun.

    The best .22's are by Ruger and Browning, though any .22 will serve.

    If you start out with a .22, you will find because of its low recoil and very cheap ammo ($15 for 500 rounds!) that you will become very, very good, very, very fast.

    After you've shot thousands of .22 rounds and are a very proficient and safe shooter, then (and only then) begin looking at "serious" handguns. Don't let some guy talk you into going out and buying a Glock or 1911 (or whatever) before you've mastered handgun shooting.

    On every range there is a guy (or gal) shooting 7 yard groups the size of a trash can lid and flinching with every shot. Don't be that guy (or gal)... There is a name for those people, that name is: "People who didn't start with a .22". Centerfire ammo costs between $15 and $25 for a box of 50 rounds. .22 ammo costs $15 for a carton of 500 rounds. It takes between 5000 and 10,000 rounds to become truly safe and proficient with a handgun. Between the cost of the ammo and the low recoil, a .22 is the most cost efficient and effective way to get into shooting.

    My 2 cents...
     
  7. 2ndAmFan

    2ndAmFan Member

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    +1 to what other posters have said, and welcome to THR. Do be especially careful of what clerks in gun stores will tell you and try to sell you. You have to try out various guns yourself and find what works best for you, and a lot of ranges will rent guns so you can do that. I'd be curious to learn what you try out and what you settle on buying if you want to keep us posted.
     
  8. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    While Kodiak is correct in saying that a .22 handgun is fantastic for learning how to shoot and become proficient with firearms, definitely attend a safety/familiarization course before jumping in with both feet!

    As others have said, pretty much any gun shop will either have an introductory course for new shooters, or be able to point you towards one. Just ask around, and you should find something that will work for you.

    Good luck, welcome to THR, and enjoy your new interest in firearms! Newbie questions are fine, by the way - especially when it concerns asking for help learning how to be safe and responsible with guns. :)
     
  9. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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  10. speaksoftly

    speaksoftly Member

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    +1 Welcome
     
  11. Uteridge

    Uteridge Member

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    I would either go to an NRA first steps pistol orientation or take a course from a respected firearms academy. I am a big fan of Gunsite in Arizona and would highly recommend the Gunsite 150 course out in Arizona or one of their courses in Indiana. LFI run by Massad Ayoob is another well known firearms academy that offers courses in the Northeast including New Hampshire and Connecticut.
     
  12. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    +1. Buy the .22 AFTER taking a basic safety course.
     
  13. kayak-man

    kayak-man Member

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    Welcome to the THR!

    I would recomend taking some form of gunsafety orientation. If you're shooting at a rental range, there may be a brief safety lecture that you are required to go through (5-10min) or there may not.

    They will probably tell you this at the range/gunshop, but when you do find a place try shooting, bring safetyglasses and hearing protection. If you can, use both the earmuff type noise dampening things and earplugs. Could you get away with just using one? Probably, especially since the .22 pistols aren't that loud (compared to some of the bigger guns out there). On the other hand, its very possible that something else might be shooting something bigger and louder.

    I can't say this enough, use ear and eye protection.

    OK, rant over.

    Let us know what you do decide on, and how it all goes. Good Luck!

    Actually, I prefer to be refered to as "the guy who's first handgun was an Airweight J-Frame" :D

    Chris "the Kayak-Man" Johnson
     
  14. blume357@bellsouth.net

    blume357@bellsouth.net Member

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    As above, find a good course.. probably a basic handgun course from an NRA instructor would be best... but often you can find a woman's only course in many areas if you would be more comfortable with that.

    Sadly, after you take the class you will be so much better informed and trained than the average male gun owner it is scary.
     
  15. ForumSurfer

    ForumSurfer Member

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    Given today's economy, I can agree with that. A 22 (or a 22 conversion) is great aide in becoming efficient.

    However, you don't need to start with a 22 if one doesn't want too. I started out on 38/357 revolvers and 1911 45's. With some proper instruction and lots of practice, it doesn't matter what caliber you choose so long as you can make whatever weapon system you choos work.
     
  16. Uteridge

    Uteridge Member

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    Just about any gun is fine to learn on as long as you are not shooting a gun that is small for the caliber. I taught my little sister on a 9mm XD service model, I taught my wife on a 6 inch .357 loaded up with .38 specials and I have taught several of my wife's friends with a 9mm Beretta 92 (as well as countless Marines on the Beretta). A .38 is a great gun to learn on but if you try to learn on a 2 inch snubnose you will probably not shoot very much because it isn't much fun. A .22 is good but depending on what you intend to use it for is not adequate to be the only gun you own. If you are new to shooting and only plan on getting one gun you should go with a medium sized (K Frame or larger) .38 or a Compact or larger 9mm (not a subcompact). I learned to shoot on a .45 Government Model 1911 when I was very young but a full sized steel frame 1911 is enough to tame the .45 so it was not a bad gun to learn on. I would never hand a new shooter a subcompact .45 or .40 and expect them to enjoy shooting because they don't know how to control recoil yet.
     
  17. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    There are some restrictive gun laws in Connecticut.
    See the NRA summary at:
    http://www.nraila.org/statelawpdfs/CTSL.pdf

    Don't be intimidated; I have shot at the national championship level with a 13 year old girl, our club pharmacist's daughter, and she was right in there with the big hairy men.
     
  18. danprkr

    danprkr Member

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  19. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    Welcome aboard.
    As has been said before, don't let someone convince you to buy a certain gun. Handle several and see what feels right to you. After you've become familiar with them, you could always fire a few at a range. Most rent firearms so you will know for sure whether or not you like them. Get what's comfortable to you.
     
  20. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Illyria

    Welcome to THR. New members are always welcome here.

    A number of years ago I taught my then 16 year old sister how to shoot semi-autos in one range session.

    Before we even went to the range I had her read several informational and firearms safety books that I had from the NRA. I reviewed the material with her and made sure she understood everything that was covered in them.

    Then I went over all the various aspects of the pistols she would be using, including how to handle malfunctions like failure to feed or failure to eject. I started her out with a .22LR target pistol, then a M1911 in 9mm., and finally finished with a SIG P220 in .45ACP. With each gun she used, I watched her progress and waited until she told me she was ready to move up to the next caliber gun.

    She liked the .22 the best, was quite good with the 9mm., and shot her best groups with the .45. Since then I have started my teenage daughter out the same way, though for now her .22 is still her favorite.
     
  21. Furncliff

    Furncliff Member

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    I'd link to add a link for you to visit. It's dedicated to women and shooting.

    http://www.corneredcat.com/


    Please don't desert us afterward:) We need all the feminine input we can get.
     
  22. welldoya

    welldoya Member

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    Jim Watson is correct, CT has some very restrictive laws about ownership. Best to be come familiar with them.
    I've got a female relative living up there and she said she would have well over $200 in a permit just to carry a gun in her car to the range.
     
  23. Illyria

    Illyria Member

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    Thanks for all the advice everyone. I found a few places that offer courses for around $120-$200, which I think is pretty reasonable? One of them says they don't book more than 5 people per class, which sounds great to me since I would want at least some personal attention.

    I just need to find one that has times that work with my work schedule.

    Also, thank you all for being so supportive. This seems like a great community so I will definitely be sticking around and keeping you all updated! I'll also make sure to ask someone about .22 caliber pistols since recoil is definitely a concern for me.
     
  24. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    You may not be interesting in cowboy style shooting, but you will never find a more sympathetic group of shooters for a person wanting to learn how to shoot.

    Here is a link to cowboy action shooting clubs in Connecticut. Go to one of their matches. Be honest with them. Tell them you want to find out where you can learn to shoot in your area. There will be women there. Talk to them. They will be tuned into the shops in your area that will serve your needs. You will find cowboy action shooters are interested in all kinds of guns, so you will learn a lot from these folks.

    This same link can be used to find clubs in neighboring states, in case they are closer to you.

    Don't buy anything until you have been trained and shot a variety of guns.

    Then join the NRA so we can all continue to enjoy our sport.

    http://www.sassnet.com/clubs/Clubs_list.php?state=Connecticut
     
  25. Uteridge

    Uteridge Member

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    J-Bar, great point. I forgot about mentioning cowboy shooters. They are a great bunch to hang around with and if you tell them you don't know how to shoot they will take you under their wings and spend hours teaching you and letting you shoot their guns (if they are anything like Missouri cowboy shooters) That way you can learn free of charge and get to really see what real gun owners are like. There are some shooting sports where people are really competitive and don't like to help young shooters but cowboy shooting is a great place to learn.

    J-Bar, do you know Lonesome Ryder or Ivory Jack?
     
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