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songbird 10-02-2010 02:05 AM

Recommendations for a first gun
Hello all,

I just joined because I am interested in purchasing a fire arm, but I have no idea where to start. Can anyone help me out with maybe a model or caliber that you would recommend to someone that has never even held a real gun? I have done some research into the steps I need to take to purchase a gun in California but would you also recommend a gun class or something? Anything is helpful.


Dillinger 10-02-2010 02:14 AM

First, welcome to the FTF Community. Some of the members like to see new members stop by the Introduction section and tell us a little about yourself. That is your choice moving forward.

Being as you are in Kalifornia, there is a specific list of weapons that are allowed in your home state.

As you have "never even held a gun before" the first, and most important thing I can recommend is for you to visit an indoor shooting range near you and get a feel for the place. '

If it doesn't creep you out and you feel "at ease" I would HIGHLY suggest signing up for Kalifornia's mandatory pistol class that precludes getting a carry permit. This class, last I looked, was availabe for a couple of (1) or (2) day weekend days and they spend time both in the classroom and on the range.

With this training you will learn a lot about pistols, safety and also the law surrounding the choice to carry or own in your state.

Outside of that, I do not think that I can safely recommend a pistol for you without first recommending some training and some instruction.

The state that you live in is, uh, less than forgiving when it comes to citizens LEGALLY owning a firearm.

Best of luck.


songbird 10-02-2010 02:25 AM

Thanks. Ill look into that. I was under the impression than unless you are in law enforcement you couldn't even get a cc permit in my state. So I take it one of these classes will provide me a gun to use during range instruction?

Dillinger 10-02-2010 02:29 AM

You would have to check with the range in question. I was last in your State and looking into this around 2002 and the range just north of Redding had a twice monthly class.

The class was (2) 8 hr days for two consecutive weekends and the range did supply range weapons for use if the shooter did not have a weapon.

I do not know about the current state of the things there behind the Liberal curtain, but a simple trip to a local range/gunshop would be able to get you as much information as you can process.

I would recommend a flip through the yellow pages and a car ride to see if the place "feels" right to you.


ScottA 10-02-2010 03:30 AM

Most ranges will also let you rent various guns. Going through the class will give you a much better understanding of what you'll want to look for. With that information in hand, you can start trying various models. That's the best process for figuring out what you want.

CHLChris 10-02-2010 03:32 AM

With such a huge question like, "which firearm would be best for me," the range of possible answers is really wide. To answer you with a specific suggestion would be folly.

-Do you want a first gun that would be comfortable (physically and financially) to fire thousands of rounds at a range to strengthen your skills?
-Do you want a gun, instead, that would basically sit beside your bed and rarely be fired, existing mainly for peace of mind?
-Since most of CA isn't too supportive of carrying, you probably won't be carrying it daily. However, does the size matter for you? If carrying isn't a concern would you feel more comfortable with a larger gun?

Basically, there is a process:
-What am I going to use the gun for? And that answer might help you determine which caliber to narrow the search to.
-How large do I want the gun to be? And that answer might help narrow it down to a range of guns.
-What is the price range? And that would narrow it even more.

songbird 10-02-2010 03:46 AM

Thanks guys I am looking into classes in the SF Bay Area. Anything I should watch out for as a general rule of thumb. I have heard things about the philipines and bad foreign ammo.

By the way, I am an avid guitar player and am active on guitar forums. I get that I am a noob asking questions that really have no answers like whats best, whats bad, whats good. I won't take anything as bible truth, I am more looking to wet my whistle on all this gun jibber jabber.


danf_fl 10-02-2010 07:28 AM

Welcome to the forum.

NRA has a listing of individuals who are certified by them as instructors. Contacting them to see if there is an instructor in your area may also be an option.

CHLChris 10-02-2010 03:30 PM

Cool, if you're willing to wade through jibber jabber then I'll jump in, too.

I've heard that .22lr is a good place to start because you can practice for very little money (cuz the ammo is really cheap). But you'll still have range fees. And if a bad guy breaks in your house before you buy a more powerful gun, you'll just have pea-shooters.

My suggestion is a full-size 9mm semi-automatic pistol. 9mm is a great self-defense round--there are others that are even better, but 9mm is SOLID. It is also one of the least expensive rounds in the class of "good SD calibers."

You could go with a polymer pistol (some around here love 'em, some hate 'em). Glock 17 or 19, Springfield Armory XD9, are 2 good places to at least start looking.

I would suggest a steel pistol. The Browning Hi-Power is a proven design by one of the most iconic firearm designers in history, John Moses Browning. This pistol was designed for the 9mm round and has an external safety. With steel, you barely even feel recoil. It isn't always considered "COOL" but it sure gets the job done and has for decades. The gun isn't old, just the design. You can still buy them new.

You asked...and I feel like everyone has a right to my opinion.

songbird 10-02-2010 04:42 PM

Thanks guys,

Just want to throw out there that I understand the importance of safety. I will not be making any purchases until I receive some training and feel comfortable handling a firearm safely. Here is what I am thinking for my first gun...
1) Something I can afford to learn how to shoot, I want to become a good shot
2) Something to defend against the bad guys (I pray I never need to, but just in case)
3) Something I won't need to replace, but can still be a useful part of a collection down the road
4) This may sound weird or at least people in Kalifornia (thats what you guys call it right?) think its weird. In case "the war every comes to america" I would like something that is still useful.

Am I right in my understanding that anything smaller than a 9mm is not considered a self defense round? I have been doing some reading and while I like idea of larger rounds and how cool it feels to say "it's a 45" I think a 9mm might make sense for its afforability, and reduced recoil which is probably good for learning while still allowing me to defend my wife, myself and my home.

Thanks again guys,

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