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Old 10-03-2008, 07:53 PM   #1
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Default Newbie here with some questions :)

So I am a complete newbie when it comes to firearms, but lately i have sparked an interest in firearms. Think it would be a fun hobby and skill to have. I've been doing a bunch of reading about what needs to be done, steps to take, things to consider, but still have some questions. I've kinda outlined what I've learned in regards to finding the right gun...

1. Determine the reason to buy a firearm
- Home/self defense, ccw, new activity, and use my second amendment of course!

2. Research the models/calibers
- Someone recommended starting with a .22 (Cheaper to practice)
- Possibly get a conversion kit if wanting to go to a .45
- Consider used for starter
- Need to have ambidextrious safety (I'm a lefty)

3. Before buying, take a safety class, and learn acuracy
- Safety: http://www.nrahq.org/education/training/find.asp
- Accuracy: i was told to search for The US Army Marksmanship Unit Manual

4. Go to a local range and rent a variety of models/calibers to see what feels most comfortable
- Located one in my area, check!

5. Then consider buying.
- Some brands I've seen mentioned are Beretta, Kimber, Springfield, S&W, Colt, Ruger, Marvel

And now for some questions...

Is it really recommended to start with a lower caliber? I was told that this is best because you'd be able to practice accuracy better since a .22 would have less feedback.

Are conversion kits worth it? Say its best to start with a .22, but in the end I'd rather have a .45. Would it be better to buy each separately?

I read that exposed hammers make the gun more reliable, true? I've been real interested in the 1911 because of its history to the USA, but read that glocks are more reliable?

What do you recommend for a starting gun? .22? .45? specific model? It would be nice to keep it as inexpensive as possible, since I'd rather not spend a huge dollar on something that I've never done and am not completely sure if it's my thing. (when renting and testing guns I should be able to figure out if its in my interest though...)

What do you think of these models, as far as quality, cost, worth its cost? These have either been suggested to me or I've seen mentioned a lot:
Ruger .22 rimfire auto pistol 5 1/2"
Marvel .22 top end conversion for 1911
Wilson Combat CQB 1911 .45 w/ ambi. safety
Kimber Compact II 1911 .45

Hopefully my rambling post make some sense here, haha! Please point out anything you think I may be overlooking, or maybe some facts you wish you knew when you were a newbie like me. Thanks for any input you can give!

Steve

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Old 10-03-2008, 08:23 PM   #2
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Well, that is quite a post there.

It would appear you have been given some good advice. Before you plan what you want to buy, you really do need to go to the range and rent a few guns. Only holding it and shooting it is going to tell you 1) If you like shooting, and 2) if that particular model is for you. Nobody on an internet forum board is going to know your hand size, your grip, what eye dominant you are, what kind of sights you are going to like and not like, etc. There are a lot of variables, so I would definitely go and rent the all day pass at the range, try as many guns as you think you can handle and see what you like...

Now, as for a starting caliber - I start everyone I train on shooting with a .22 cal. Both for rifle and for pistol. Shooting is something that can be very intimidating to someone who has never done it before. You are holding the infamous "gun" for the first time, and when you pull the trigger, if the damn thing wants to jump out of your hands, or kicks so hard into your shoulder you can taste blood in your mouth, that really isn't going to be fun.

.22 are cheap, ammo is cheap, you can shoot them all day and you won't break the bank. To this day, I still warm up with one or two mags through my little reliable .22 before I unleash my 1911's at the range. It's a great way to see if you have "it" today or not. Believe, even after years of shooting, there are still going to be days when sh!t just isn't playing out right for you. Your mind is off, you didn't get the best sleep, whatever - and your groups are going to suck... LOL

As for the 1911 vs. Glock and the whole "is it more reliable" arguement. Don't waste too much time with it because it's not an apples to apples comparison and really, there is no definite answer.

A striker fired pistol, like a Glock or an XD, in theory has less moving parts therefor is more reliable. There is less that can "go wrong". They also have long trigger pulls, have trigger safeties and tons of other things that some people, me included, don't like...

An external hammer pistol, like a 1911 or a revolver, has the supposed down side of "what if your coat get's caught on the hammer and you can't get it to engage?". Never seen it happen. Also the old "What if you drop it in the mud and it get's jammed up?" Punch that person in the face - you don't drop a weapon in the mud, and if you did, the 1911 would still run, as would the revolver.

A 1911 can be safely carried in Condition 1 ( a round in the chamber, hammer is back, safety is on - ready to rock ) because it has both internal and external safeties.

I believe the new generation XD's have that feature as well, and they have gone to an external, frame mounted safety.

A nice thing about a 1911 is that you can get a conversion kit and shoot both .45 and .22 out of the same gun. Then you are training with the same weapon you will be using, so therefor, you will be more familiar with the weapon and not breaking the bank on ammo.

Plastic/Polymer guns are cheaper - hands down. A good 1911 is going to cost, probably, 1.5x to 2x what a polymer gun is going to cost.

If cost is a factor, the 1911 is probably not for you...

Most 1911's are single stacked magazines. That means they have a narrow grip.

Most of the polymer offerings have a double stacked magazine, so they hold more ammo, but they have a wider grip.

There are a couple of 1911's that now come with double stacked magazines. I personally never felt the need for one, but that is just me....

Ambi safety is not a problem in either model. The Glock/XD styles are grip safety ( some ) and trigger safety ( all ). The 1911's are grip safety and you can get an ambi safety model.

Kimber makes a great product and you can order from them, their own drop in .22 conversion kit to fit your gun, so you have one stop shopping.

Personally? I have shot just about every handgun out there. I own (4) 1911's, two revolvers for special purpose use and a Sig that never sees the light of day anymore.

What do you think I would suggest you look at?

JD

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Old 10-03-2008, 09:24 PM   #3
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As for the 1911 vs. Glock and the whole "is it more reliable" argument. Don't waste too much time with it because it's not an apples to apples comparison and really, there is no definite answer.
If you're an intelligent , honest person there is so much to consider in this comparison it is one that's completely impossible unless you restrict it to only those weapons made in the same years and by the finest of 1911 makers and magazines .

The 1911 has been around for so long and manufactured by so many companies some under license from Colt and many not the quality control is all over the place .

The 1911 has also lived through many improvements in metallurgy over the years , bullet design changes , and major changes in the mass production process and the basic elements and processes used to make various parts .

Glock didn't live through the introduction of using less expensive casting from forged for the slide and frame , Colt and the 1911 did . Glock didn't live through the switch from using all metal components to plastics for the magazines like the floor plates , the 1911 did . Glocks standard magazines haven't gone through an industry inspired redesign of accepting more rounds as the 1911 did with going from a standard 7 to a more modern 8 or more the 1911 has .

To put it mildly if it wasn't for the genius of John Browning and his 1911 and P-35 designs I doubt the Glock would be here today .
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Old 10-03-2008, 10:20 PM   #4
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+1 on that well thought out and historical post BigO - Those are some very good points. Very well stated.

I personally don't think that John Browning was human - I think he was placed here by the All Father himself to advance the world of firearms.

There are so many firearms that wouldn't EVEN EXIST today if it wasn't for the 100+ patents of the great John Browning.

Every auto loading pistol in the world owes a tip of the their collective hat to John Browning.

For me, there is one GodFather of Modern Firearms and that is John Moses Browning.

JD

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Old 10-04-2008, 06:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
Well, that is quite a post there.

It would appear you have been given some good advice. Before you plan what you want to buy, you really do need to go to the range and rent a few guns. Only holding it and shooting it is going to tell you 1) If you like shooting, and 2) if that particular model is for you. Nobody on an internet forum board is going to know your hand size, your grip, what eye dominant you are, what kind of sights you are going to like and not like, etc. There are a lot of variables, so I would definitely go and rent the all day pass at the range, try as many guns as you think you can handle and see what you like...

Now, as for a starting caliber - I start everyone I train on shooting with a .22 cal. Both for rifle and for pistol. Shooting is something that can be very intimidating to someone who has never done it before. You are holding the infamous "gun" for the first time, and when you pull the trigger, if the damn thing wants to jump out of your hands, or kicks so hard into your shoulder you can taste blood in your mouth, that really isn't going to be fun.

.22 are cheap, ammo is cheap, you can shoot them all day and you won't break the bank. To this day, I still warm up with one or two mags through my little reliable .22 before I unleash my 1911's at the range. It's a great way to see if you have "it" today or not. Believe, even after years of shooting, there are still going to be days when sh!t just isn't playing out right for you. Your mind is off, you didn't get the best sleep, whatever - and your groups are going to suck... LOL

As for the 1911 vs. Glock and the whole "is it more reliable" arguement. Don't waste too much time with it because it's not an apples to apples comparison and really, there is no definite answer.

A striker fired pistol, like a Glock or an XD, in theory has less moving parts therefor is more reliable. There is less that can "go wrong". They also have long trigger pulls, have trigger safeties and tons of other things that some people, me included, don't like...

An external hammer pistol, like a 1911 or a revolver, has the supposed down side of "what if your coat get's caught on the hammer and you can't get it to engage?". Never seen it happen. Also the old "What if you drop it in the mud and it get's jammed up?" Punch that person in the face - you don't drop a weapon in the mud, and if you did, the 1911 would still run, as would the revolver.

A 1911 can be safely carried in Condition 1 ( a round in the chamber, hammer is back, safety is on - ready to rock ) because it has both internal and external safeties.

I believe the new generation XD's have that feature as well, and they have gone to an external, frame mounted safety.

A nice thing about a 1911 is that you can get a conversion kit and shoot both .45 and .22 out of the same gun. Then you are training with the same weapon you will be using, so therefor, you will be more familiar with the weapon and not breaking the bank on ammo.

Plastic/Polymer guns are cheaper - hands down. A good 1911 is going to cost, probably, 1.5x to 2x what a polymer gun is going to cost.

If cost is a factor, the 1911 is probably not for you...

Most 1911's are single stacked magazines. That means they have a narrow grip.

Most of the polymer offerings have a double stacked magazine, so they hold more ammo, but they have a wider grip.

There are a couple of 1911's that now come with double stacked magazines. I personally never felt the need for one, but that is just me....

Ambi safety is not a problem in either model. The Glock/XD styles are grip safety ( some ) and trigger safety ( all ). The 1911's are grip safety and you can get an ambi safety model.

Kimber makes a great product and you can order from them, their own drop in .22 conversion kit to fit your gun, so you have one stop shopping.

Personally? I have shot just about every handgun out there. I own (4) 1911's, two revolvers for special purpose use and a Sig that never sees the light of day anymore.

What do you think I would suggest you look at?

JD
Dillinger,

Thank you for the response. Good to hear some of the advice I've been hearing is good!

I bet you'd suggest I look at a 1911!

I've never held a pistol before, but right now with everything you said, I think I am going to save up for a 1911. Even though they are the expensive range, I always think you pay for what you get.

And also consider getting a .22 conversion kit. I'm looking at the sti .22 caliber conversion kit, listed for $350
http://www.stiguns.com/Products/index.php?pid=182

And the springfield armory .45
http://www.springfield-armory.com/armory.php?version=3

This is all before even shooting a .22 or .45 at a range.
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Old 10-04-2008, 07:35 PM   #6
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Well, I would have to say that you really need to go and shoot a few pistols before you make any real "decision" on what you want to purchase.

The .22 conversions you listed appear to have adjustable sights on them, which is a waste of money for a feature you are probably not going to use, to be honest. If you were a real, outdoor competitor, maybe, but for your average indoor range, shoot a couple of boxes on a Saturday type of shooter, you won't need them. Look for a conversion that is a little cheaper by finding one that is a drop in with regular sights. Just a thought.

I will say this, jumping right into a 1911 in .45ACP without ever shooting is going to be like throwing the keys to your '67 Shelby Mustang big block to your 16 year old who just his license. We are talking about a lot gun, a lot of expense upfront for a really good one, in the hands of a brand new user. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as the user is willing to put in the work, do the right amount of practice and go at it with the mindset of learning all you can about the weapon and it's abilities.

It's not a final solution for you, it's a key feature, but it will still require you to do more than your "fair share" up front to get up to speed and make the most of it.

JD

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Old 10-04-2008, 08:15 PM   #7
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infiniteloop as much as I dearly love the 1911 anyone who says they haven't even held a pistol before isn't ready to buy one or honestly to even shoot one especially a brand new one .

I always suggest a 4-6 inch barreled 357 magnum revolver for a new handgun owner now let me explain why .

I've seen to many new folks with autos that are distracted by the moving slide and ejecting brass , and if they have an empty get tossed down the front of their shirt or if it lands on the rim of their safety glasses this only magnifies the problem tremendously .And don't scoff at this I've had it happen to me and seen it happen to several others with many different autos .

It takes experience and discipline to not jump around unsafely with a loaded gun in your hand with a hot brass down your shirt especially if it is tucked in and can't fall through quickly .

The basics of pistol craft can be learned on a revolver and used on an auto if you can't it is a failing of yours to learn the basics not a failing of the type of weapon you were trying to learn on .

Starting out with a 357 with 38 loads is perfect for any adult as the 357 makes for an ideal home defense round once you have acquired the skill to use them .

I've never once heard of a home defense shooting where the homeowner needed to reload .

When you've gained some skill and maturity with the revolving handgun then consider a 1911 with the knowledge of the basics and if the slide movement or empties flying distracts you you will be able to understand and identify the problem and not proclaim the 1911 a "Difficult" gun to shoot .

Understand that I said getting hit with ejecting brass is common but I never said it is normal a 1911 with erratic ejection needs a minor tweak done to the extractor and the problem will be solved .

I've had to have this done to a gun and when done correctly your ejected brass will all land in a fairly small pile making retrieval for reloading easy .

If you're on a tight budget when ready and want a quality 1911 I suggest the Armscor RIAs and then the Taurus PT 1911 both come with after market features that cost extra as standard on their guns , and come with excellent customer service on their products .

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Old 10-05-2008, 08:53 PM   #8
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I will agree that a 1911 in 45acp is not a beginners pistol. I have to agree with BigO01

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Old 10-07-2008, 11:39 AM   #9
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You are a "beginner" only once, and that's for about an hour, give or take. So, if you LEARN to shoot the pistol you "really" intend to carry or shoot, then you are miles ahead! Don't waist money or time on a pea-shooter. I'm sorry, but starting with a 22 or similar and then working your way up to a bigger caliber is a bunch of CRAP.

I taught my 14 year old daughter how to shoot pistols using a .357 Magnum. In about two hours she was shooting my CZ75B (40 cal), and my S&W 629 44 Magnum. She is now a pistol fanatic, having her own Conceal Carry.
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Old 10-08-2008, 12:16 AM   #10
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This past year I bought a S&W 22A for practice, and a RIA 1911. I shoot both regularly. It may seem that a .22lr does nothing for shooting large caliber but I know it helps me. Fine tuning stances and mechanics are one area shooting a larger framed 'peashooter' has helped me.

For the record, I would carry my RAI 1911 anywhere, it's never missed a beat. I may buy another, more refined 1911 in the future, probably Colt or Kimber, but my budget gun shoots fine.

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