Taking the Plunge

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Old 10-16-14, 05:31 PM
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Taking the Plunge

Alright, after thinking about it for most of my life, I am attending private lessons on firearms tomorrow morning in advance of my first purchase. Stopped by today and looked at a bunch of semi-automatics. Forgive me the names all run together. Tried to say, show me something other than a Glock. So we looked at Rugers, Berretas, Sigs. And a comfortable one was what ever is the standard military issue 9mm right now which I will test in the morning. I should have spent more time making notes (which I will tomorrow) but was picking up the firearm and holding it with my eyes closed to find the most comfortable one. The one I picked happened to be twice the price of every other one, go figure- so I nixed that one.

I seem to prefer at this stage one that would have 3 reference points for the sight as opposed to 2. Seemed easier to aim quickly (I'm an retentive "everything needs to be in a straight line" type of guy). I also think that a clip is cooler than a revolver. I read through the thread you guys had with Larry for his wife and I appreciate that heads up. I may have my wife follow in my footsteps as well.

My best client has a multi million dollar collection of WWII era German Firearms. I sit there when working on their house and look, but don't appreciate (and of course don't touch). I figured it is about time I educated myself at least enough to have a conversation with him about his collection.
 
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Old 10-16-14, 05:53 PM
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It's good that you are doing what you are doing. The purchase is a big step moneywise, so if you don't like it, you are sort of stuck with it. Add to your list Walther PK series, Taurus, Smith and Wesson, so you can expand the data base. The "feel" is most important. If you can't aim it easily, or if your hands don't fit the grip well (my case, fat hands with a pocket pistol don't mix). Number of rounds in the magazine is important, too. Some locales have limitations. My Taurus has a 12 shot mag, making the grip a little wider and longer, fitting my hands better.

Size of round is important.....9mm versus .380, versus .45, etc. It's a personal choice, of course.
 
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Old 10-16-14, 06:07 PM
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Yep, the caliber is something to be considered first as well as what you're doing with it - carrying it in a bag to the range versus carrying it on your person can make a big difference in your choice.

You also have to look at things like action - do you want a single action like a Colt Government/1911 or a double action only or the most common double action when not cocked (often the first trigger pull) and single action thereafter.

I like Sig Sauers personally but they don't have safeties and that doesn't work for some people. H&K is probably my second choice. Note that these are also a couple of the more expensive brands.

That said, a Ruger .22 target pistol is not a bad choice for a first gun while you get used to shooting and handling other weapons to figure out what you really like.
 
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Old 10-16-14, 06:17 PM
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Something someone told me a long time ago...grip the pistol...do a test alignment of the sights, close your eyes and bring the weapon back up to what you believe is a firing position. If the grip feels good and your sight picture seems right...that could be a keeper. On a range, you can even fire it and see where it lands.

Anyone ANYONE...including here, that says, oh that is crap, this is what you need...walk away.

I don't like Glocks..Larry really likes them. His hands, his experience. Some say S&W are very good but I haven't shot them. I spent 24 yrs shooting Colt 1911's or clones and though I've owned Beretta and Browning clones...I was never able to shoot them that well. Same with a S&W 586. Could have been sights or trigger or grip frame...I dunno. All I know is that when I got my first good 1911, I shot 2" at 25 yds. Luck...probably, but I still shoot it the best 20 yrs later.

Either adjustable or replaceable sights, interchangeable grip frames for the newer plastic types...those would be important to me. You won't shoot my guns the same way I do.

Have to shoot it before buying...if not..pass.

Oh...and usage is the most important thing in the world. Do you plan on carrying, or just having something around the house.

If it's just to talk to the owner...heck ask him! Never met a collector who didn't like to share info. If all he does is talk age and price...he's an a$$ and not worth talking to.

Damn I love posts about handguns.
 
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Old 10-16-14, 06:22 PM
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I'm a Colt guy, but own and appreciate others as well. There are a lot of options, and many of them feel totally different in your hand, but you're a tool guy, someone who knows when a circular saw, screwdriver, or whatever feels right, and you will know when you've found the right one. And I agree in that I prefer auto's to revolvers, but would not rule the latter out, because revolvers can be more reliable and less finicky than automatics. And don't rule out size on your initial experience. For example, a .45 Colt auto can kick less than some smaller lighter weight handguns of smaller caliber. Take your time, and enjoy, because shooting, in my opinion, is a lot of fun. And they're magazines, by the way. Magazines are used and reused, whereas clips are the metal disposable pieces that you see in the movies, popping out the top when the magazine of a Garand is empty.
 
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Old 10-16-14, 06:32 PM
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Oh Ohh Ohhhhh...who said clips when they meant magazines!? That is one of my pet peeves that will throw me seriously over the edge.

Or was it just a lesson?
 
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Old 10-16-14, 06:37 PM
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He mentioned that he thought that "a clip is cooler than a revolver". It was subtle, so I had meant to be relatively subtle as well, and help him with the correct lingo.
 
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Old 10-16-14, 06:44 PM
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What a hoot, I'm getting excited... The collector can be an a$$, but he hires me every year to keep his house in order, so in my book, the investment in knowledge has a payout. And Pedro, you are correct, I am a touchy feely sort and if it feels right, I will know it (which is why I gravitated to the most expensive model they had on display). I do eventually want to carry, and the first Glock the guy showed me (42?) could fit in the palm of my hand and felt more like a toy than a gun. Granted, there was no ammo which would have added weight, but still, needed some sort of "feel" that was more substantial.

Also want to comment on the community - at the gun store/range. Multiple individuals coming in to used the range stopped to offer some advice. One even pulled out a pair of his prize 45's from his bag as the store was sold out, just so I could see then. I think 45's are too big caliber wise, but time will tell. The shop has a variety of rentals in all calibers for me to play with. As a total stranger, I felt like I was a part of a group.


Clip, clip, clip.......magazine......
 

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Old 10-16-14, 07:20 PM
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Or was it just a lesson?
Just so everyone knows - I consider School to be open, correct as needed. Everybody has to start somewhere.
 
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Old 10-16-14, 08:01 PM
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Personally, I like S&W. Their M&P shield and bodyguard models are sweet.
I recently saw a chart showing that .380, 9mm, and 40 caliber all do essentially the same job of providing the stopping or defensive power needed.
 
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Old 10-16-14, 08:38 PM
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Well, I would suggest that you ask around about some of the guys that said Hi and check with the staff. Sometimes someone who comes off as an expert doesn't really know chit about newer stuff. Anyone with a strong opinion on how to do something or what to buy is normally a little prejudice about what works for them.

I'm a pistol shooting/target/personal defense guy...some of the others are rifle and hunting guys. Remember..opinions are like...uhhh blow holes..every whale has one.

There are also some good online forums...and when I get a chance I'll relay them.
 
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Old 10-16-14, 10:01 PM
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Czizzi, there used to be a darn good gunshop/parts supplier in Yorktown. If I can find my receipts, I'll get back to you with the name.

Hmm may have been in Gloucester. Let you know what I find.
 
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Old 10-17-14, 04:36 AM
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Contrary to what Vic said, I am not a fan of Glock. Wifey is. She picked it out. The grip, as you saw felt too small. Hey, it's a pocket pistol, just like the Bodyguard. It has its purpose. I prefer to fill my hands with the grip, and the Taurus G2 does that pretty well with a 12 round whatever they are called

Getting into guns is like getting into tools, as you well know. One leads to another, and another, better, badder...... I have my carry pistols and my range, fun, house protection weapons, so each has a purpose, and I enjoy them all. Unlike tools that attrition out, guns generally will appreciate over time, so it is a good investment.
 
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Old 10-17-14, 05:44 AM
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Gotta find the sweet spot - don't want to be the guy who invested and bought his first motorcycle only to outgrow it in the first month and wish he had bought a bigger hog. Already know that the Glock 42 is too small and a couple of the Berettas were a bit top heavy and did not fit my hand well.

Vic - are you talking about Winfree's? They are the big guy in Yorktown, but don't have a range to test things. I will probably visit when purchase time comes, but need to test and play a little under the supervision of someone who can teach me right from the start. That way, I don't have any bad habits to un-learn. Lost a buddy to an self inflicted head wound several years ago, to the back of the head investigation said it was an accident. He had no experience, was his girlfriends gun, was alone at the time, just checking it out........RIP Will never know for sure. But rumors are that I guess some former Ex of the girl had done some modifications on the weapon.
 
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Old 10-17-14, 10:19 AM
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I am not a fan of Glock.
Oops...my bad. Memory is going faster than my knees. Though I have to disagree with the guns appreciating thing. Certain guns can, but it normally takes many years for that to happen. Would you pay the same or more for a 15 y/o used Ruger Redhawk as you would for a new one? My Dads Fox shotgun...sure...it's worth $3500 or more...but it cost several hundred back in 1920 when it was new.

Czizzi...sorry about your friend. That really makes no sense does it? I have to say, I've never had an AD with any of my own weapons, but I almost got kicked off the firing line during quals in the Navy. Over anticipating the "Fire" command...twice. Once with the .45's and once with the shotgun. Safe direction and all, but I've never been so embarrassed in my life.

Regarding the Berettas, if they were the doublestack mags, I had the same feeling. Never understood how a Browning Hi-Power could feel so good, but a similar capacity Beretta just never did. I really need to check out some of the new S&W models. I hear good things about the M&P. Like I need another pistol. I don't get to the range nearly as often as I should anyway. I wish I lived in the country...
 
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Old 10-17-14, 10:40 AM
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Oh...I forgot to say...

When it comes to caliber if you are just starting out...I absolutely agree with Mitch. Something in .22 is ideal. A Ruger .22/45 has controls and grip angle very similar to most modern pistols. The MkIII is their most diverse line and you can get it in any number of configurations from plinking to hunting to target. A Ruger Standard was the first gun I bought on my own. I still have 3 Ruger .22s and always take one of them when I go shoot.

You can always test fire range guns to get an idea of what you like.

The same caliber can feel very different in different guns. A .45 in a compact defensive pistol can be a handful, but in a full size steel model, seems pretty tame. Then put it in a lightweight polymer frame of the same size and it feels different again. Same with 9mm. I would stay away initially from a .40. Very sharp recoil in anything I ever shot.

By the way, here's another little tidbit to go with the magazine/clip thing. Pistols normally refer to semi-automatics, revolvers are...well...revolvers. They are both guns or handguns, but some people get ticked when you call a revolver a pistol. That's kinda changing to mean anything that can be held in one hand and fired is a pistol...at least in common usage. Kinda funny since back in the day fast good shots were called "pistolero's" or "pistoleer" and all they had were revolvers.
 
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Old 10-17-14, 11:07 AM
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Alright, you can smell the burned powder emanating from my person - what a rush. Thankfully there was only one other guy at the range during my lesson. He was on the long range shooting at about 7 meters. Anyway, after my classroom instruction, we headed off to a simulator that used modified Glock 17's hooked up to a computer and laser sights to practice. Took 6 shots and the instructor said I was wasting time as I had almost perfect shots. So he ushered me into the range. Rather than confuse, I told him I wanted to shoot the same Glock 17 that I had practiced loading, unloading, and firing etc. We also added a double action military issue all steel Berreta for comparison. While the Beretta was smoother, it was also I think too heavy for a beginner, even though I am a strong guy.

I was consistently low and to the left, however, the grouping was good with a couple of errant shots. One he said I specifically pushed down when I fired, and another when there were more rounds than I anticipated. He said he was going to load 6 in each magazine and then he snuck 9 in. So when I shot the 6th and the gun did not open up, it threw me and I had to set up all over again. Then re-check and reset after each shot - so that group was all over the place.

Also of note is that I shot better with both eyes open. I could focus one eye on the sights and the other on the target and they meshed together which really helped my shot. However, mastering a double focus (different in each eye) will take some time. However, on the final 6 shots, I nailed it (one through the X) when I had the double focus working. Its kind of like partially looking cross-eyed until you can adjust each eye. Instructor says 90% of people only shoot with one eye. It just is the artistic side of me showing through (I have a 3 dimensional brain). In home improvements, I visualize each and every step in the process in advance, and know what the finished product will look like before I even start the project.

Instructor said I shot better than a lot of the law enforcement people that have to come in to do their re-certification. Made me feel good.
 
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Old 10-17-14, 11:12 AM
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Yeah, I try to shoot with both eyes open - seems like closing an eye in a life or death situation wouldn't be a good thing to do.
 
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Old 10-17-14, 11:36 AM
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It's a hard thing to learn...both eyes open I mean. I do it, always have, except when using a scope. Sometimes a slight squint in the off eye helps. Of course this is more defensive shooting, not target. Some of those guys wear patches over the off eye IIRC.
 
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Old 10-17-14, 12:24 PM
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It's something that I struggle with myself sometimes, but yes, both eyes open is a good thing, so good for you. As for caliber, I started to add something this morning, then got interrupted, so glad that Vic covered it. My wife, for example, refuses to shoot anything in .45 ACP, but has handled a variety of .357's with ease, in fact that is her preferred caliber, so a lot of it is perspective. But a lot of it is also frame size and weight, which goes back to finding the pistol that fits, as well as the caliber of choice. One of the things about guns is that safe handling, hand/eye coordination, awareness, etc. are common to all, so unlike an under-powered motorcycle, table saw, or whatever, that first gun, no matter what others follow, will never go unused or unforgotten. And if you think there are a lot of choices in guns, you'll really have fun when it comes to deciding on holsters!
 
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Old 10-17-14, 04:14 PM
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Wifey asked me about eyes open or closed. Told her, hey, it don't matter, you're legally blind in the right eye anyway!! Gee. She shoots right with the left eye. Bad guys had better watch out
 
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Old 10-17-14, 04:40 PM
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For those reading about the "both eyes" and "double focus", you can demonstrate this yourself. Hold your arm out at full length and hold up your thumb. Train your thumb on an object and try to switch the focal point between your thumb in focus and then the object behind in focus. Look long enough and the two will meld together and both be in focus. You will see the thumb and also see the object behind at the same time. Your thumb will do a transparent act and allow you to see through it.
 
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Old 10-26-14, 04:46 PM
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Just wanted to share with you - you only get a first time to shoot once.

Couple of errant "how the h3LL did I shoot down there, but I think I got more comfortable as I shot more.

I've been trying to research most popular models. You guys have offered a tremendous amount of information on your favorites. One survey stated the most popular gun to be a CZ 75 SP-01. Any comments, I'm starting to better understand now that I have fired a couple.
 
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