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Sir Humpsalot

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So, I got my FOID card, but I'm not really into guns. I do have a track record of indulging in risky hobbies with a perfect safety record. I've raced cars (wish I could afford to do more), I ride crotch rockets 12 months a year, I have flown airplanes. I tend to approach things from a very analytical viewpoint and with a healthy respect for consequences. I feel this is something that can be done safely with proper training. I am not getting one explicitly for self-defense, if somebody wants my stuff, ok, that's what insurance is for, I can replace it all. I don't have kids, I live alone, I'll be taking a safety course and probably trying out a couple guns before buying anything. I just think it'd be interesting to see what this gun thing is all about. I wasn't raised around guns and my experience is minimal. But life's too short not to experience cool ****.

Of course, if I had several grand burning a hole in my pocket, I have a few ideas on how I'd spend it, but I'm just looking to get into it on the cheap, a few hundred, a gun worth keeping for awhile, something to shoot a few rounds through and see how I feel about it. And since I live in a fairly urban environment and neither my car nor my motorcycle are large enough to carry a rifle, and since I'm just getting my feet wet, I'm focusing on handguns.

At first I just wanted something chambered in .22LR. The cheap ammo is a huge plus. But realistically, I'm not going to be going to the range every week, so the cost of ammo shouldn't be a huge issue; if I'm going to the range enough to really feel the sting of ammo costs, well then, I guess that justifies buying another gun. And although it's not a huge concern with me at this moment, I suppose a 22 isn't worth much beyond plinking. On the other hand, it seems to me like having a .22 in the arsenal could never be a bad decision. I figure there's nothing wrong with having one around, no matter where the hobby takes you. It's like a 500cc street bike... if you've got a spare, someone will be happy to have fun with it, no matter what they have back at home or have ridden/shot before...

I could afford something nice, I suppose, but being realistic with myself, I just want something cheap and decent, that I can get into it a little bit, as a first gun, to see what I think. I don't want to go much over $350 or so. Substantially less would be substantially better. Anybody have any suggestions? or insights? Either specific or general? Links? Articles for newbs? Whatever? ANY (helpful) advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

jetmac

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Most indoor gun ranges have guns you can rent on their shooting range. I recommend a compact 9mm. I would stay away from Kel-Tec. (IMHO)

If you want to shoot competatively I recommend joining the Glock shooting club. You can get a discount on a gun. GSSF

Or you can participate in steel matches with a nice .22 Ruger MK III

A couple of places to buy weapons and ammo (or at least get an idea of price) Cheaper Than Dirt GUN Broker Lucky Gunner Guns America

Also look for gun shows in your area.

Guns are not risky. The person behind the gun can be.

Self defense is not about protecting your stuff, it's about protecting a life that is being threatened by the person wanting to take your stuff.

Let them have your coffee maker
 
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Sir Humpsalot

Sir Humpsalot

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Let them have your coffee maker
Thanks for that. I appreciate the insight. But obviously you have never seen my coffee maker!!! LOL I'm an espresso fiend!!!! Gaggia, FTW!!!!! Haha. Seriously though, I see your point. it's a whole philosophical thing relating to gun ownership and use. I find that interesting as well. Thanks for bringing that up. I have considered those issues, but I suppose I have not come to definite terms with them yet. I do have some thinking to do.

Guns are not risky. The person behind the gun can be.
I say the same thing about motorcycles and private planes. Most problems come down to operator error. Regimen, consistently safe habits drilled into your brain so deep as to become automatic and unquestionable... is needed in any such hobby. I'm sure I'll get there quickly with guns, as I have with other endeavors... I just need to first learn which way to point it!

I'm going to check out those links. Thanks.

And yeah.. The Ruger Mk III really does speak to me. I keep looking at that danged thing, thinking, "Man, that's cool...." But I don't really know where I'm going with this. Am I going to be a single gun around for home defense? Am I going to choose to get competitive to the nth degree? Is it going to be a social thing for me (I do have many friends who shoot). I just don't know. It's all new and different. For now, I'm just taking opinions and deciding which path to take.
 

Rigger103

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If you are going to get a hand gun don't start out with a Glock or Glock like pistol I suggest a 22 rim fire pistol such as a Ruger 22 or a Browning 22 or even a revolver. 22S are cheap to shoot and are easy to learn with. I used to own and operate a gunsmith shop and Ill never forget a young kid came in with a Glock 10mm and he was scared to death of it. His hands were shaking like a hooker at confession. He wanted to install adjustable sights because it was inaccurate. I took him out on my range and watched him shoot. I then shot it myself with the inevitable result I expected to see. It shot like 99.9% of the rest of the Glock line up dead on at 20 yards. I was military trained to shoot and before that had guns since about 8 My first "Red Rider" bb gun was a 22 rifle that I kept in my room with ammo. My mom taught me how to hunt. That's right MY MOM. When I was in high school every Friday we took our shotguns to school on the school bus with as much ammo as we could carry to shoot skeet at our school during club period (Last hour of the day) I built a flint lock in shop class. Guns and hunting here in rural PA was a part of growing up in my youth (Im almost 50)
I am glad you want to learn and just remember 2 rules: Always treat a gun as if it were loaded and never point it at anything you don't want to destroy! Perhaps a third rule never take a gun in your house without the action open
 

lhommedieu

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I would advise getting some training before worrying about what kind of gun you want. Go beyond the NRA safety course. Even though a CCW course is not required by your state, I'd take one given by a recognized instructor, like John Farnam, for example. He/she doesn't have to be a "big" name: Your NRA safety course officer can point you in the right direction for your area.

That said, I like the .22 caliber platform for learning responsible gun handing skills, because it takes literally thousands of rounds to build the skill level you want to have. Think about how much time you spent learning how to fly a plane; guns are no different. Personally I like Rugers but that's just me.
 

BrewerBear

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The Ruger Mk II is a great pistol,so is the Browning Buckmark. If you go with a .22 you may also consider a good quality revolver maybe a Smith and Wesson. Not to hard to fing a decent used gun to save a few bucks up front.
 

jetmac

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just remember 2 rules: Always treat a gun as if it were loaded and never point it at anything you don't want to destroy!
If i could add to that, a very important rule I stress is never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

Perhaps a third rule never take a gun in your house without the action open
.....and if, as you approach your home, it looks to be broken in to, do not enter, call the police and wait outside. Give them your description so when they arrive they recognize you as the home owner/renter
 

Frige

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22s are cool and all but I would get a 38 police special. They are readily available and the ammo is cheap. I have a colt that my mom gave me when she retired and it is a sweet little gun.
 

Frige

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Aks are a lot of fun too. This is my mall ninja gun. I slapped it together a few years ago. The ammo is cheap and it keeps the zombies away.
 

krackin

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Start with training basics and learn to be proficient in all aspects of longarm handling before going handgun. Handguns are way over rated, but then again, I use Quigley's reasoning in "I never had much use for one." If you have seen the movie you know what I mean.
 

Zuljin

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Ruger, Smith and Wesson and Glock are good brands I've owned or shot. Really, most brands are at least okay, and you can buy an old gun that'll still preform like it's fresh off the line. Guns are some of the most durable goods out there.

Just stay away from anything that looks and feels chincy. Davis and Lorcin come to mind. And it's not a gun snob thing. I have inexpensive, not commonly heard of brands of gun, and they're fine. But, Davis, Lorcin, Raven, Star, FIE, Hi-Point (even if they do have a cult like following); you can do much better for not a lot more money. And you may find people who had one of those or some other supposed notorious POS gun that has worked flawless for years. It happens. Those are rare gems though. Real exceptions to the rule.

As for caliber, you're full grown and have experiences. Go for it. A .454 or .500 might be a bit much, but those are hand cannons anyway. For medium size "regular" size, I'd go 9mm, 10mm, .38 or .357. You can get light loads for them too. You don't have to shoot hot magnum every time. And get one with some barrel on it. Short barrel "snubnose" guns are the hardest to control/be accurate with in their respective caliber. But anyway, even the .4s aint that bad.

Semi auto or revolver? It's personal preference. Either way, the bulk of your operation will be squeezing the trigger. Some people say revolvers are more accurate. I think that comes from revolvers typically being operated slower. Trick shooters aside, a six shot single action wheel gun isn't going to be shot as fast as a 16 shot bottom feeder. It's like anything. Taking your time yields better results than flying through it. Then, some say semis are more powerful than revolvers because not as much gas escapes from the chamber. I don't know. I doubt a paper target can tell the difference, and you pop the right size pill into something, it'll be just as dead. Despite my seeming preference to wheel guns, all things considered, I'd say the bottom feeders do have some advantages. Higher capacity, faster reloading by use of magazines (though you can get speed loaders for revolvers), internal hammers don't get snagged (also available on some revolvers, like the S&W Air Weight), faster, easier to work action. Regardless their specific action, all semis are keep squeezing. A single action revolver will require you to manually cock the hammer before each shot. You can get double action, just keep squeezing, revolvers, too. They're quite common.

Happy shooting :mug:
 

boscobeans

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A decent revolver chambered for .357 magnum ammunition is always a good place to start.
With a 4 inch barrel it can serve you well at the range as well as being a good defense firearm.

A Ruger will be about the most reliable in my opinion and can be had anywhere, either new or used.

A handgun chambered in .357 magnum will also accept .38 special ammunition, and there are so many choices in that caliber that you will be able to use very light "wadcutter" loads for practice at a low price point. You will also be able to go to the more powerful .357 magnum cartridges as your skills progress.

OMO

bosco
 

jerrodm

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The Ruger Mk II is a great pistol,so is the Browning Buckmark. If you go with a .22 you may also consider a good quality revolver maybe a Smith and Wesson. Not to hard to fing a decent used gun to save a few bucks up front.
I agree with the revolver idea--the mechanism is super straight forward, and you can get a nice reasonably chambered (like a .38) gun for cheap, where the ammo isn't super expensive and fun to shoot. Or, you can buy a .357 and start out shooting .38, and then when you feel like blowing off some big boys buy an occasional box of .357.
 

Bensiff

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Well, start off with the universal firearms rules, not just the two mentioned earlier.

All guns are always loaded
Never point a guna at anything you are not willing to kill or destroy
Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on site and on target
Be aware of your target and what is behind and beyond

If you follow these four rules all the time you will handle your gun safely. I refuse to train anyone until they can recite these and any good instructor should do the same...even though it still takes plenty of training to make it a habit. Next, get quality instruction, not someone who has been around guns all his life so "he knows what he's doing." Then, worry about getting a gun...just don't waste your time listening to all the BS out there. A 9mm is a great round as is a .45 or a .40 for that matter. Try shooting steel framed and plastic guns to see what you like and then try shooting different grip styles as well, don't let someone tell you what you should shoot only let your experience dictate that.

If your intent is to have a gun to learn on and not double as a defensive weapon the .22 is a great choice as it will take thousands of rounds to become proficient so it saves not only money on ammo you can train longer as it is less fatiguing to shoot.
 

DeafSmith

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Lots of good advice above. I would recommend a revolver as a first handgun due to reliability and ease of use. I have had to do a little gunsmith work on too many of my semi-autos to make them operate totally reliably. A revolver should work right out of the box. I wouldn't worry about capacity, even for self defense - most such confrontations result in only a few rounds fired, so a 5 or 6 shot revolver should be plenty.

A 357 Magnum would be an excellent choice - as someone has already said, you can shoot the less powerful 38 Special loads (actual caliber of a 38 Special is .357 despite the name). The size and weight of the gun will depend on how you use it - for concealed carry you want something light, but otherwise a heavy gun is better because it soaks up recoil better and will be easier to shoot well.

It's been a long time since I've bought a gun, but to add to previous recommendations, I have heard that Taurus is a good brand - reliable and relatively inexpensive. For concealed carry you might want a concealed hammer which will not snag on clothing as it is drawn - otherwise get a regular exposed hammer revolver to give you the capability for single action (cock the hammer with your thumb, then the trigger just fires the gun) as well as double action (pulling the trigger both cocks the gun and then fires it).
 

J8D

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-Enroll in a firearm handling course via the NRA or a local range.
-Don't buy a weapon yet but instead rent/borrow various weapons in various calibers to figure out what you can shoot well. Yes, folks can recommend a weapon based on personal preference (i.e. "buy a Glock") but you need to buy the weapon/caliber YOU shoot well.
-Once you have your choices narrowed down, figure out what you want out of exercising your 2nd Amendment rights (hunting, hobby, home defense, removing annoying cats, etc...)
-Based on what your goals are, this will narrow your firearm selection. A .22 is great for plinking and does kill quite a few folks each year. Yet if you decide self/home defense is your goal, then you will want to step it up a bit.
-Joint the NRA.
-Exercise responsible firearm ownership. IMO it is great that we as Americans can bear arms and, if we desire and aren't felons or mentally ill, get a permit that allows us to carry a weapon concealed. However, it is WAY to easy to go knock out a four hour course that gives a certificate saying you are "trained" and can now get a CCP. Yes there are some really great courses out there. Yet, even the best course can't ensure the person being awarded a certificate is mature, responsible, calm, and has common sense, discipline, and courage to make drawing your weapon in self defense your very LAST option.
-Never sell your firearm to anyone without paying the money to have an FFL holder run a check on them. Good Americans are selling guns to bad Americans.
-Never sell a firearm unless you are doing so to buy another firearm.
-If you do decide to sell your firearm, I call dibs.

Good luck and shoot straight. Feel free to PM me if you have more questions.

Hog #5.jpg
 

Golddiggie

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Lots of good advice above. I would recommend a revolver as a first handgun due to reliability and ease of use. I have had to do a little gunsmith work on too many of my semi-autos to make them operate totally reliably. A revolver should work right out of the box. I wouldn't worry about capacity, even for self defense - most such confrontations result in only a few rounds fired, so a 5 or 6 shot revolver should be plenty.

A 357 Magnum would be an excellent choice - as someone has already said, you can shoot the less powerful 38 Special loads (actual caliber of a 38 Special is .357 despite the name). The size and weight of the gun will depend on how you use it - for concealed carry you want something light, but otherwise a heavy gun is better because it soaks up recoil better and will be easier to shoot well.

It's been a long time since I've bought a gun, but to add to previous recommendations, I have heard that Taurus is a good brand - reliable and relatively inexpensive. For concealed carry you might want a concealed hammer which will not snag on clothing as it is drawn - otherwise get a regular exposed hammer revolver to give you the capability for single action (cock the hammer with your thumb, then the trigger just fires the gun) as well as double action (pulling the trigger both cocks the gun and then fires it).
Never had a reliability issue with my Para-Ordnance P14-45. :D Worked right out of the box just fine. Used it in competition shooting for a few years, upgrading parts as I wished (extended releases, ambi's, etc.) until it reached it's current state. Looked at what they offer now and damn if I don't want one of the new ones. They now have the mount for a light on the frame. Wish that was available in the mid-90's when I got mine. :(
 

PapsD

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You said FOID, are you in Hellinoise?

I'd recommend taking the hunter safety course, free from the IDNR BTW. Or an NRA course.

If you're in the Chicago area check out Gat Guns in West Dundee. You can rent a gun and try before you buy. I'm sure they can help you out if you let them know it's your first time.

I also recommend a .22 revolver if you have to have a handgun. I'd recommend a shotgun for your first gun though.
 

J8D

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J8D, what's you get the pig with? That case looks a little long for a handgun :p
It was a hand gun...two hand gun that is. The magical 870 Tactical Express. If you ever want a DEADLY all around game killing, home defense, straight shooting gun, I would recommend it. I can hold a 6" group at 100 yards with cheap remington rifled slugs out of an 18.5 inch smooth barrel using ghost ring sights. Again it is the 870 Tactical Express NOT the 870 Express Tactical. :)
 

bscott1011

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A training course is a great idea. If you are new to firearms i would suggest a bolt action .22 rifle to start with. The gun will force you to slow down which should help you learn marksmanship instead of spraying rounds quickly. I would also go for a 4 inch .357 in a steel frame for your first handgun. Start with .38 standard loads, the weight of the gun will help you control recoil and again you can focus on marksmanship. That will also be a good home defense gun loaded with +p or mag rounds.
 

Airplanedoc

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The Ruger Mk II is a great pistol,so is the Browning Buckmark. If you go with a .22 you may also consider a good quality revolver maybe a Smith and Wesson. Not to hard to fing a decent used gun to save a few bucks up front.
I have several Ruger Mk2's They are a great gun but a PITA to clean. Make sure you get a stainless one if you go that route.

My advise is go to a gun range and see what they have to rent, shoot a bunch of different stuff, then decide what you want to buy. I almost never buy with out having shot that make and model before.

Nothing worse than buying and finding out you don't like something afterward. You wouldn't buy a motorcycle helmet with out trying it on first.
 

Joeywhat

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Assuming you do want to start with a rimfire (which is a good decision IMO), a good new bolt .22 is a Savage MKII. For something a bit "higher class", go for a CZ 452. They'll both work about the same, but you might squeeze a little more accuracy out of the CZ, and they have great wood stocks and are overall very well built guns. The same recommendations go if you would like a .22 Magnum. If a semi auto more suits your fancy, a Ruger 10/22 is a good choice.

If you look at used guns, there are some FANTASTIC deals out there. A lot of "Sears" and "JC Higgins" .22's are actually made by Marlin and other reputable manufacturers...and they go for under $100 in many cases. There are also a lot of more expensive older guns, if you'd like something with more collector value.

I'm a firearms dealer, and firearms are my hobby (and life). I've been really into rimfires the past couple years, so hit me up if you'd like any help with specific guns.
 

Zuljin

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Marlin, Mossberg and Remington offer some good guns for not a lot of money. I've an old Marlin model 60 that'll plink all day.
 

lhommedieu

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+1 re. Marlin .22's. When I taught my daughter to shoot I used a Marlin 99 single shot, bolt action rifle. Much easier to build a safety routine that way with an open bolt.
 

Rigger103

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My handgun of choice is the Colt 1911, Its not a sexy gun like a Glock or a HK but it is a proven platform, easy to take apart and put back together. It is still one of the most duplicated and most modified handguns there is. And I like a nearly 1/2 inch hole it punches. Also you can buy a 22 long rifle conversion kit for it. I have a Ciener 22 conversion kit that I bought years ago it gives you the ability to shoot a 45 weighted gun with 22 ammo. It shoots very accurate for plinking purposes and is reliable. You can shoot 5 or 6 shots and have the empty cases all hanging in the air at once. Only drawback is mag capacity but to be honest if your a good shot you don't need a full magazine.
 

Punity

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Rigger103 said:
My handgun of choice is the Colt 1911, Its not a sexy gun like a Glock or a HK but it is a proven platform, easy to take apart and put back together. It is still one of the most duplicated and most modified handguns there is. And I like a nearly 1/2 inch hole it punches. Also you can buy a 22 long rifle conversion kit for it. I have a Ciener 22 conversion kit that I bought years ago it gives you the ability to shoot a 45 weighted gun with 22 ammo. It shoots very accurate for plinking purposes and is reliable. You can shoot 5 or 6 shots and have the empty cases all hanging in the air at once. Only drawback is mag capacity but to be honest if your a good shot you don't need a full magazine.
How dare you a 1911 is the sexiest of gun platforms....oooh I'm excited now.
 

krackin

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Hmmmmm.The more I think about it are you another ATFE troll?
 
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