One more suggestion:
- Join the NRA. They're helping to defend your right to own a gun.
I've been seeing a lot of the same questions from new shooters. So I'd ask the moderators to post this thread as a sticky.
I'm new to guns....Take an NRA approved Handgun Safety / Basic Handgun Course (your trainer can supply guns during the course)
What kind of handgun should I get?The best answer is always to get the gun that you can shoot the best. Just as we all come in different shapes and sizes, not all shooters have the same preferences.
Learn to shoot, take an NRA approved Handgun Safety / Basic Handgun Course
Figure out what kind of shooting you want to do (hunting, defensive, range, competition)
Then take whatever you've budgeted and subtract the cost of a safe.
Go to a range that rents guns and try out as many guns as you can in your price range to narrow your choices. Specifically,Semi-auto or revolverThen post on the forum asking for feedback on your short list, specifying how you want to use the gun.
Polymer or metal receiver
Full size, compact, sub-compact
Which handguns have less recoil?Felt recoil is dependent on propellant charge, barrel length, barrel weight and frame weight.
Larger caliber bullets have more recoil.
Overpressure ammunition (+P, +P+) have more recoil.
Longer barrelled handguns have less muzzle flip.
Heavier (longer, bull) barrels have less recoil
Heavier frames (metal) frames have less felt recoil
Compensated (ported) barrels have less muzzle flip, but muzzle flash is greater for shooter.
Slower cycling slides (either by weight, size or recoil spring) will have less felt recoil.
Rubber (over) grips distributes recoil over your hand but do not actually reduce recoil.
What caliber?A minimum of 9mm Luger is considered the standard for self defense.
.380 ACP / 9mm Kurz is considered marginal for self defense.
Any caliber is adequate for target shooting
What ammunition has the least recoil?More propellant, more recoil
Larger caliber ammo has more recoil.
Overpressure loads have more recoil (+P, +P+ rounds)
For a given caliber, standard loads with heavier bullets will be softer shooting.Semiauto handguns use chamber pressure for operation. Too much pressure and the gun will break, too little and the gun won't cycle. The inertia of a heavier bullet of a given caliber will cause chamber pressures to build more rapidly before the bullet exits the barrel. To keep chamber pressure under maximums, ammo manufacturers generally load less propellant for heavier bullets. SAAMI specifies the industry standard for cartridge pressure of a given caliber.
What ammo for defense?New stock, quality brand name Jacketed Hollow Point.
Brass cased, avoid steel and aluminum casing as they will swell when fired and are prone to jam.
In a practical sense, performance differences in brand and bullet weight are infinitismal compared to differences in caliber.
Gun for small hands?Small grip (circumference not length) and short reach to trigger
Single stack magazines
Avoid DAO actions due to longer trigger pull
Check strength to rack slide (longer slides generally have softer recoil springs)
Benefit of safety devices?Take an NRA approved Handgun Safety / Basic Handgun Course
Hopefully corrections and additions can be added to this thread
One more suggestion:
- Join the NRA. They're helping to defend your right to own a gun.
Hell, join the NRA even if just for the insurance. $1000 coverage is VERY nice.
A modest addition.
Q. What brand of pistol should I buy? I've heard <fill in brand name> is best for personal defense.
A. As long as you stick to the top brands (roughly $400 or more) you shouldn't go wrong. Visit lots of gun stores and find the one that fits you the best. If at all possible, do whatever it takes to test-fire the models you are most interested in. Some forumites spend weeks and more than $100 in rental fees to make sure. This is a good thing.
Q. Of commonly-available handguns, which are the best brands?
A. If you are looking at new pistols in the $400-$1,000 range, some brands that forumites have tried and like include: Beretta, Bersa, Česká zbrojovka a.s., Uherský Brod (CZ), FN Herstal (FN or FNH), Glock, Heckler and Koch, Kahr, Kel-Tec, Kimber, Ruger, Sig Sauer, Smith and Wesson, Springfield Armory, Taurus, and Walther. That’s a lot of good pistols to choose from. When you’ve tried holding and preferably shooting a few check back in here to get feedback on particular models.
Q. What size pistol should I get? Small, medium, large?
A. The size pistol you want should be determined by your intended use.
Auto-loaders in the most common calibers for personal defense (9mm, .40 caliber SW, and .45ACP) generally come with barrels from 3” to 5” long. Most of the “compact” pistols intended for concealed carry are shorter, and those intended for target and other sport shooting are usually longer. It’s not bad to assume that concealed carry guns will have 3” barrels, general-purpose pistols will be 4”, and sports or “tactical” barrels will be about 5”. Most military and law-enforcement autoloaders have barrels that are about 4” long. Generally, the longer the barrel, the easier the pistol will be to aim, but there are wide varieties and you should test fire whenever you can.
<can someone write a good revolver section?>
Q. What’s the difference between handguns, pistols, and revolvers?
A. Properly speaking, the terms “handgun” and “pistol” mean the same thing. In common use today, though, “pistol” has come to mean an auto-loading or “semi-automatic” handgun as opposed to a revolver.
I have taught, introduced to handgunning, and helped pick out their first gun 10 people within the couple of years. Coworkers, friends, and family alike.
There is 1 website I've found written specifically for new shooters that I have recommended to ALL of them. It is extremely well written and about as close to "handguns 101" as i've seen.
While it is written by a women mostly for women every article is spot on and it does a fantastic job of untangling the seemingly overwhelming amount of info for someone new to the sport and providing solid basics.
More important than 'which' gun to get, where do you store said firearm? Many states have laws regarding this, with stiff penalties should someone other than you find it etc....
Responsible gun ownership is key. Especially if you have little one's about.
Get a safe, there's a myriad of choices, sizes etc. Pick one. Don't be a stat the anti's can use as fuel.
Then- Take a course and get to know your needs, then wants.
Then- join the NRA.
Then- go from there on which bang floats yer boat (and enjoy the endorphine enduced buzz of a good session ).
My hat's up.
There are so many things that you said that are statically true. Nothing to argue about, but talk about. I love to talk about this stuff.
It would be so fun just to talk. I know in my bones that there are people here that are fifty times smarter than me and have been there/done that. They have already given me advice that made a difference. (Thank you for all of the gun smiting advice.)
Ballistics is like talking politics, they all work in their own way. Where are you in that day? It doesn't matter as much as you would think. They all work. And they are all nasty.
Bigger is better and I do agree. But if it were my CCW wife, she would have a .22LR pocket pistol. Only then will she always have it. I'm a big one on having the weapon. If it is not there, you can not use it. If it is very, very small, you might forget that you even have it. Should that ever, ever, happen, safety off point and shoot. A .22LR can be very, very nasty. They tend to bounce around and that is very bad.
If you don't have it, it can't help you. If you don't want to think about it, it had better be very, very small. Or, guess what? You won't have it.
At that point, .38, .40 or .45 will not help you. It just isn't there.
Availability far exceeds the caliber. If it was my wife, she would carry a Beretta Bobcat or something smaller.
But I'm single. (smile)
Wow, so much going on in this culture. I just got my first, a Beretta Nano 9 mm. Love it. Back from the range and
with all kinds of cleaning gear, patches, brushes, solution, oil....and too much information to digest. So, I have not cleaned
it after 100 rounds. I got the first part good, nice clusters around the bullseye. When to clean and how? Any tips, YouTube
is full of conflicting information.
There are people that would argue, but I hardly feel that .380 is marginal for self defense...you can make an awful lot of holes in a short time span.....
For a small, lightweight handgun, with ample stopping power I recommend the Charter Arms Bulldog .44.
Recoil is manageable. Price is reasonable.
A lot would depend on where the holes are located...PRACTICE...PRACTICE....PRACTICE.....JJ
Just started reading theCorneredCat web site and it is a great read. I am going to have my read it as well. But the stuff on there is not just for women, it is for everyone.
I have also started reading as well. It is quite good for anyone.
I see a section for "Small Hands" but how about "Large Hands"?
I don't think I want a gun that I can only get two fingers onto.