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Thread: Beginner/Practical Use Handgun

  1. #1
    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Default Beginner/Practical Use Handgun

    GF wants to know how to shoot...and asked me if i would teach her.

    So what caliber would you suggest. The only practical use I can see is for self defense...but maybe I am wrong.

    She is a tough girl...but no way she can handle the .480; not to start off anyways.

    Tell me what you guys/gals think.
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

  2. #2
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKArcher View Post
    GF wants to know how to shoot...and asked me if i would teach her.

    So what caliber would you suggest. The only practical use I can see is for self defense...but maybe I am wrong.
    Look at the compact DAO revolvers in .357 Mag. You can deal with recoil by running all .38 Spc target loads for practice. I would consider the revolver to be the single best option for training a new shooter and works very well for self-defense carry.

    For a stupid-simple, basic self-defense semi-auto for a beginning shooter, my vote goes hands down to the Glock. For caliber, if recoil seems to be a real issue, go with the 9mm. If she can handle 9mm well, then consider a 45. If you can, start the training with borrowed guns so she can compare the fit and recoil of various models. I would stay away from the sharp recoil of 40S&W and especially 10mm with a new shooter.
    Winter is Coming...

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  3. #3

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    Nothing, absolutely nothing, beats a 22 for starting out and learning the mechanics. It's fun too, and she'll love it. That's not a sure thing with any other caliber.

    Pick a semi or revolver, depending on the kind of gun she'll be using with larger cals, but shoot LOTS with a 22 first. Then kind of work up the scale to the full defense round/gun she'll be using. If a revolver, I'd go 22, then 38 spec WCs, then 357, then whatever.

    But if you start her out with lots of noise and recoil, it's going to be a long, slow road to proficiency. And she's likely to give up and hate it long before she gets to where she needs to be.

    Start it out shooting for fun, and she'll always have fun doing it. Start it out by showing off what a big man you are by being able to shoot these loud painful guns, and she'll embarrass herself right off the bat, then probably never want to do it again.

  4. #4

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    G-17 in 9mm.

    Cheap for plinking, low recoil, and no hammers, safeties etc. to confuse a new shooter. Just insert mag, pull slide, shoot.....
    Hunting, camping & shooting goodies. http://www.laksupply.com

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    Member GITDEMBARS's Avatar
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    Default Glock

    I've been trying to turn my wife onto semi autos for years. She can't get the slide back on any of them. She likes to shoot them after I set it up for her. I brought home a Glock and she was able to get the slide back. Now I need to buy a second Glock.

  6. #6

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    I used to run the indoor range at my brother-in-law's gun store when I was stationed in Las Vegas. Remember, a beginner may get frustrated if you start them off with something "complicated", like a semi-auto. A good revolver is the best learning tool there is.

    I saw this time after time. A guy would bring in his girlfriend, wife, friend, kid or whoever, and start them out using a semi-auto. It got most of the new shooters so frustrated, they just gave up. To us that have been shooting for a while, a semi-auto is easy to master, because you already have your mechanics down. A beginner doesn't, and the added steps to operate, clear, change magazines, release the slide, etc., can be a daunting issue. I saw it too many times to count.
    A lot of times, I would see it and take one of the range guns in and if he would let me, I would let the beginner work with the revolver. It had a magical effect. Every one of them continued shooting and started liking it. Every one of them said the semi was "too complicated" and they were leary of it.

    If you want one gun for it all, and something the average female can easily handle, a small frame .38 revolver is the ticket. If she can handle the recoil without fearing the gun, a .357 is the best value. Only load and shoot target velocity ammo at first. Once she is comfortable with that level of noise and recoil, you can then load regular .38 ammo. This makes all the difference in the world to a beginner, especially a woman that never shot before.
    If you are not looking to buy one gun for it all, then as has been said, a .22 cannot be beat to teach the basics and allow them to learn without the worry of recoil. This deters more new shooters than anything.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

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    AKArcher,

    I think the caliber advise here is good. For a first timer the 38 spcl/9mm power range is about the limit. Certainly the 22 has a lot of appeal but would require a second purchase for "defensive purposes". What is this tool of "the only practical use.............for self defense" all about?


    I have found that most beginners do take to the "grab and shoot" lockwork of the Glocks, Kahrs and the various DAO's out there, as has been suggested. Anything with a lever or knob to be manipulated before the trigger can be pulled requires more complex training and technique. One of the very best pistols for any newby to learn to shoot well and enjoy is the Kahr T-9. A swiss watch kind of a gun with an outstanding reputation for reliability and accuracy. It is however made in New Hampshire. There is also a lot to be said for the good smaller frame double action revolver. A S&W K frame or Ruger security six family of revolvers are simple and rugged and easy to understand and to operate. By 'operate' I mean, load and unload, aim and shoot. Some semi-autos are difficult for some folks to operate.

    The main thing is that correct marksmanship training with a hand gun be given here. Don't take this wrong but I wonder what handgun you carry for defensive purposes and shoot regularly and what experience you have with one. It seems to me, no offense intended, but if you had to ask this question, you're probably not qualified to teach this subject. I'm sure you would be the preferred instructor and you may be more than qualified but if you aren't, the thing to do would be for the two of you to take a formal class together.

    Basic marksmanship with a handgun involves developing hand eye coordination with sights and trigger. It isn't about making noise. Oh, don't get me wrong, making noise is lots of fun but it ain't learning to shoot. It is also about learning the types of guns and the differences in lockwork and action type. It requires the utmost in interest and motivation and should not be taken casually. It also requires significant follow-up in practices and further teaching. This may seem as though you would be trying to turn her into GI Jane but for an individual to actually protect them self there is this necessity of proficiency with the chosen tools.

    Now, for you and your GF to go out to the local range together for some nice warm bonding time and smell the burning nitro cellulose and vent off some frustrations of life, this would be a good thing. It would be better after the two of you have attended a good basic class together. The two of you could also attend some advanced instruction and then maybe take a vacation down in Oregon and attend Clint Smith's school for even more fun and skill enhancement.

    The archives of this forum are full of people who ask what handgun should I get for for "protection" from bears & badguys. These questions are from folks who, for the most part, have never owned or even fired a handgun yet they assume they can shoot one so effectively as to be able to defend themselves from any perilous encounter. This the most difficult and demanding of all task with a gun and so very few of even the "experts" are able to do it. To learn to shoot a handgun well is a rewarding experience in and of itself. It requires no test of defending ones life to be enjoyable or even valid. Often the "defense of life and property" is given as the reason for buying or carrying a handgun though one isn't needed. Shooting is fun. Gaining skills with a gun is it's own reward. I think it is a mistake for some one to take a two day course and then actually believe they could defend their own life. I think the mistake would be bigger still if it were just a 30 minute range session with a friend.

    I don't say these things to roust your ire or to impune your ability to be both good friend and instructor, as I said you may be well qualified. I say these things, taking advantage of this opportunity since you have raised the question, to help others with similar questions. I just don't think the handgun should be taken so frivolously then asked to answer this call of the highest order for both gun and gunner in defense of life.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  8. #8

    Default Practically

    Start the process of training your GF with 22 lr pistol or revolver and let her shoot it several times maybe a 1000 rounds (ammo's cheap). Stress safety and sight picture. USE the KISS (keep it simple stupid) training theory; revolvers require only the pull of the trigger. No slide to operate, or really funky safetys to take off, no magazine to come out at an inappropriate time in her purse (causing the firearm to be inoperable).
    Then move up to a 38 revolver using 148 gr wadcutter ammo, low noise and low recoil (extremely accurate). Even if she wants to carry; a small J frame style revolver loaded with 148 grn. wadcutters it is still low recoil, in a small frame firearm. NO, bad guy is gonna say dang that's a wadcutter it didn't hurt.
    I taught my GF just shoot til it's out of bullets and drop the gun.
    2 reasons after 5 shots the bad guy's gonna be gone or have the gun. If it's unloaded the worst he can do is pick it up and hit you with it. And if you shoot enough the neighbors will call the cops.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

    On the road of life..... Pot holes keep things interesting !

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    Default Beginner/Practical Use Handgun-More advice

    AKArcher,

    I do hope you take Murphy's well-thought-out reply to heart, especially the part about taking a beginner's class together.

    Marital history is replete with stories of spouses who have tried to teach the other how to drive. Any teacher must be master of two arts (that of teaching and that skill being taught). To teach someone with whom one has a personal relationship requires at least two more, psychologist and diplomat. When my GF wanted to learn to SCUBA dive, I enrolled her in a dive class. I signed on as an assistant instructor just so she would have the company (and could complain TO me about the instructors instead of complaining ABOUT me as an instructor.)

    It is no reflection on your skill to bring in a professional. It is a testimony to your wisdom.

    One thing I have heard is that women taking marksmanship classes often to better than men. Presumably because they have no bad habits to unlearn and also have less ego to defend.

    One thing no one has mentioned is the possibility of using a carbine to start shooting with. I know Ruger makes (or used to make) a 9mm semi-auto carbine that takes the same magazines as their P-85 handgun. Recoil is negligible, the cartridge is decent and transitioning to the the handgun is pretty natural. Also, with a shoulder-fired weapon accuracy is much easier to master, which always makes shooting more personally rewarding, thus encouraging to the beginner.

    You mentioned the .480 cartridge. Ruger's 44 magnum carbine is a decent choice to start with if she is interested in power levels that high.

    If you want to shoot LOTS AND LOTS of bullets, 22 rimfire is great for practice. Ruger 10/22 or Remingtn Nylon 66 are both good investments.

    So, to summarize,

    1) Lots of practice and avoiding the development of flinch. Pick a .22 rimfire to learn with.

    2) Great amounts of encouraging 10-ring targets to feed your GF's self-esteem and encourage continuation. Start with shoulder-fired weapon.

    3) Want to impress your GF with your wisdom and maturity? Encourage her to take a professional class and TAKE THE CLASS WITH HER. Bonus points: NEVER CONTRADICT THE INSTRUCTORS. (If they are wrong, nod knowingly and discuss it outside of class as simply a "different point of view"). Trust me. She will respect you in the morning. Also, forgive me for volunteering relationship advice. I qualify as an expert because I am not married.

    Larry

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default NRA Women on Target

    Take $100 and send her to the range. There are two women pistol classes in Fairbanks next month. This is the absolute best option. She gets formal instruction from NRA certified instructors that is tuned to the female shooter. Here is the contact info...

    http://www.nrahq.org/women/isc/clinics.asp?State=AK

    This is money well spent and the NRA Women on Target program gets high marks from most all of the first-time-shooter women participants.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  11. #11

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    I want to throw something out here, not only for you and your girlfriend, but for anyone else who wants to improve their shooting.

    The biggest problems with learning to shoot a handgun is the long span between range sessions. Ideally you would shoot every day if you could.

    Well you can.

    I dry fire for 15 minutes a night, carefully aiming and squeezing of shots with particular attention to sight picture and followthrough.

    I also shoot 20 rounds a night through a single pump "target" air pistol. I got the Daisy 717 a long time ago for well under $100, but the best target on my 15' indoor range is to shoot at a blank sheet of paper, then shoot at the hole. If the hole gets bigger, it's your fault.

    This nightly practice does three things. It teaches technique and coordination. It builds muscle and endurance. It IMPROVES your performance between range sessions rather than allowing it to deteriorate.

    And best of all, no matter what you shoot at the range, all the noise and recoil doesn't seem nearly as bad when your mind and body already know what to do.

  12. #12
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Default

    Take JOAT's advice. Send her to a class. I've been happily married for 13 years now because I don't try and teach my wife anything In fact, spend money on a class for yourself, but seperately. I was amazed how much I learned in my first defensive pistol class...so much so that I attended more of them...it becomes addictive and expensive

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    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Default Thanks to all...

    I appreciate all the advise here... there is a ton of wisdom in this thread from those who are proficient with hand guns and those proficient in keeping the Mrs. happy and with ya.

    I have and will re-read every post, and put a little of each to use.

    Thanks again,
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

  14. #14
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default class and gun...

    JOAT told you some good advice. Take her to a NRA class. Buy her a NRA membership and then you can get her the womens NRA mag sent each month. Some useful stuff in it. I got it for my wife. Living in NC, we took the concealed carry class together. More important than anything, practice regularly so she will be confident/competent with the gun. As for the gun, I got my wife a S&W Ladysmith .357 for our 1 year anniversary. Got some jewely for her also for those laughing at the redneck. Perfect gun for a woman. Its pretty (stainless with rosewood), easy to hold (slim grip), and simple to use. Practice with .38 and load with .357. Make her load a round and shoot one at a time until she gets the operation down pat. No cocking the trigger. No good coming out of that. She wont be cocking the trigger if she needed to defend herself. If practicing that way, there is a good chance of her shooting over someone's head and to the right. Dont let her shoot too long of distances. Have her shooting a 3 ft circle at 5 yards. Then back up as she masters each distance. She will feel pressure to please you and if she does poorly it could make her not want to go back next weekend. Dont EVER shoot her gun. Make it clear that it is hers and hers alone. That, along with the other things will empower her. And empowerment is motivating. DO NOT get her an automatic. DO NOT buy her a gun if there is any chance of you two breaking up soon. DO NOT get her a gun if there is any chance of you running off with the Waffle House waitress. DO NOT get her a gun and watch movies like "Kill Bill". You picking up what I am laying down?
    Ha ha ha.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  15. #15

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    It sounds like everyone's already chimed in with excellent advice, but I'd like to add a link I found useful when talking to my gf about guns: http://www.corneredcat.com/
    It's a website written by a woman who advocates concealed carry. It's not quite the same application as carrying a gun in the wilderness (that's why you mentioned .480 ruger, right?), but it covers a lot of topics including the proper mindset & questions about ethics.

    To risk repeating everybody else, I'd reccommend 1) taking lessons together as others have mentioned, and 2) having her try different guns so she'll get the chance to find what she likes best. My gf had the opportunity to try several during the introductory course she took and ended up liking revolvers best.

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