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Thread: I know nothing about guns. I want to carry.

  1. #1
    jermaine justice
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    Being a pro-liberty minded individual for a few years now (ever since I left high school) I've thought about owning a weapon for self defense and to actively show that good people with guns can work out just fine.

    I need to choose a gun. I know nothing about guns, really. I don't really care to know everything about all guns ...just the normal stuff like safety, operation, and all other proper knowledge that goes into owning a gun. Is anyone able to point me to the direction of some resources or tips on what to look for when selecting a gun and all the variations there are to carry the weapon?

    I live in Pennsylvania (unfortunately, hopefully to New Hampshire sooner than later) I do plan on doing some open carry (no permit needed) and concealed carry (yes permit needed) along with driving with the weapon.

    I'm looking for lower cost, comfort (while carrying), and safety... but I guess those things aren't all that odd, besides maybe the low cost thing. Anyway, any help would be appreciated while I'm learning about possibly owning a firearm.

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    The best thing is to go togun shop that has a range and try out some. There are lots of comapnies that make excellent guns.

    What part of PA are you from?

    My carry weapon is either a Ruger P345 or a Taurus PT745 Millinium Pro, both at .45acp.

    Probably be best to begin your search for a 9mm, lots of comapnies make excellent ones, hence the gun shop. You want to find something that feels good in your hand. I think something with a 4" barrel would be best, a little harder to conceal while carrying, but shoots easy as well.

    For safety a Taurus 24/7 in 9mm can't be beat, comes with a keyed slide lock that prevents the slide from being operated, with three kids here at home that was a plus for me.

    I don't know if you have friends who shoot, they could help as well, maybe check out the PA gun owners site as well www.pafoa.org/forum/ It's a excellent site



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    Welcome to the forum!

    Ultimately there is a lot to know, but here's a start.



    Gun Safety:

    Ultimately, the most important aspects of firearm safety are the following principles:

    1. Never point the muzzle towards anything you are unwilling to destroy.

    2. Always assume all guns are loaded, even if you KNOW they are not.

    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.

    4. Know what is behind your target.

    The first principle is most important. If these principles are strictly followed, a mistake with terrible consequences would be very unlikely. These principles MUST be strictly followed at all times.

    Also,it couldn't hurt totake a gun safety class. Also if you know someone who shoots that would be willing to take you shooting and give you instrunction it may be the best option.

    Be sure to read the manual that comes with any gun you choose to have, and store them out of the reach of children (on your hip is good, or in a safe... they sell quick-access safes for $100-150 that you punch in a quick combo to open)

    Also, when shooting a gun be sure to wear proper ear protection.Permanant hearing loss can result from shooting if you are not wearing ear plugs or muffs.Safety glasses are also a good idea.

    Proficiency:

    Before you carry a firearm, make sure you know how to use it. Take it to the shooting range first and make sure you can reliably hit a target. It may take some considerable practice, learning trigger control and sight alignment first. (Generally lining up a front post between two rear posts.) If you can't reliably aim a firearm there is the danger of hitting unintended targets

    Choosing a gun:

    For a carry gun, I would recommend something in a medium caliber which is effective and also has controllable recoil.The gun needs to be reliable too. You should select one that fits your hand well too.

    There are a lot of good calibers to choose from. Just a few good calibers that a lot of guns are in include: 9mm Luger, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .45 ACP, and .40 S&W. There are plenty of other choices too, but those are some of the most common. If you really want to know about terminal ballistics here is probably the best guide, written by the FBI: http://www.firearmstactical.com/hwfe.htm. The most important thing is hitting a target in the right place, and having enough penetration to hit major organs.

    Of course, a lot of these calibers can be quite expensive to shoot, so you might want to consider a gun in .22lr (which is by far the cheapest caliber to shoot) in addition to your carry gun just to get some practice and learn how to shoot. It's worth spending the extra money on a .22 in my opinion. (Shooting by the way is also extremely fun. I love plinking aluminum cans in the desert with .22s.)

    As far as the carry gun itself, if you are going to open carry the gun (as opposed to concealed carry) it allows you to carry guns that areof a pretty decent sizeand thus easier to use than the tiny guns sold specifically for concealed carry. Unless you are going for concealed carry, I would get a handgun that has a barrel at least 3" long, preferably 4 or 5" long, with acapacity of at least 6rounds. Check out a gun store and look at their selection of semi-automatic handguns and revolvers. My personal favorite in each flavor is the Beretta 92FS in 9mm and full-size S&W revolvers in .357 magnum [which would also be able to shoot the much more mildly recoiling .38 special], but there are a LOT of good guns out there to choose from. Most of thetypical handguns I can think of are in the $400-700 price range but if you are on a limited budget you can find perfectly good guns as well.I can think of many firearms in the $90-400 that are pretty good.

    Almost as important as the gun is a good holster which fits the gun.If you'll carry it a lot you need to find a comfortable one, and be comfortable with the weight of the gun etc. An external belt holster is ideal for open carry.

    For concealed carry, the full-size guns may be more difficult to conceal, depending on how you dress. Common holsters used for concealed carry are inside the waistband holsters. Relatively big guns can easily be concealed under a jacket.Concealed carry though often calls formore compact guns. In the case of those, shorter barrel lengths, smaller magazinecapacities, and smaller calibers may be deemed necessary. Some small guns can even be concealed in pockets (Use a pocket holster for safety).

    Some really popular CCW guns include 5 shot snub-nosed revolvers and a wide variety of semi-autos (PPK's and much more!). Virtually every company makes some sub-compacts. Depending on how small you want them, tiny guns like the Ruger LCPand even tiny.25 autos and mini-revolversexist, but keep in mind that the smaller the gun the less usable they generally are. However, a gun is only useful if you have it with you, so a gun that issmall enough and light enough to carryall the time is much better thana bigheavy gun that you leave at home because its too cumbersome to carry.


    Gun Cleaning

    Also, you'll have to maintain your gun. You'll need some cleaning supplies, likegun oil and copper solvent, and maybe some slide grease. You'll also need a cleaning rod for the barrel and some patches.

    Basically, maintaining a gun comes down to cleaning it (which includes running the rod down thebarrel with alternating patches covered insolvent),oiling allmoving parts,and for semi-autos usually putting a small amount of grease on the surfaces thatrub against each other during recoil.

    Some firearms are moresensitive toproper lubrication and cleaning than others, butmost guns shouldbe cleaned afterfiring afew hundred rounds through themorreliability could suffer and you could encounter jams.

    It might be wise to clean and lubricate your firearm even when you firstget it new out of the box to remove anyanti-rust gunk (especially common withmilitary surplus)andensure proper lubrication (sometimes new guns aren't lubricated before you get them.) I once got a gun from the factory that was bone dry.










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    Of any number of things you will have to consider one very important item is practice. You should be out at the range at the very least once a month (once a week would be better) until you feel comfortable handling and shooting your pistol.

    If you ever run into a situation where you will need to draw and use your weapon it will not come with advance notice or alarm bells. You will have to unholster, un-safe, aim, and be ready to fire - all as second nature without conscious thought and under stress. To get to this level will take lots of practice.

    Focus less on speed an more on doing everything correctly. Be aware of what your muzzle is covering and what is beyond your target.

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    Regular Member MetalChris's Avatar
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    Get yourself a Service model Springfield XD. They're available in 9mm, .40 cal, .45 cal, and .357 Sig. They're similar to Glocks, only less expensive and more safe (did I mention they look better too? )

    Of course before you get a gun you should go to a range that lets you rent guns and test fire a few.

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    MetalChris wrote:
    Get yourself a Service model Springfield XD. They're available in 9mm, .40 cal, .45 cal, and .357 Sig. They're similar to Glocks, only less expensive and more safe (did I mention they look better too? )

    Of course before you get a gun you should go to a range that lets you rent guns and test fire a few.
    I was going to say either a Glock or a Springfield XD. Either of these are great for new people because they're easy to use (just rack the slide and its ready to carry) and there are no manual safetys there to give the owner a false sense of security (a person who is used to a manual safety will sometimes forget the "gun safety rules" because they think they can just put the safety on and then not follow the other gun handling rules).

    I have an XD myself (.45ACP Tactical) and I love it. I only chose it over a Glock 21 because I got a great deal on the XD, and I preferred the grip angle as it more closely matched the guns I already have (Browning designed).

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    Regular Member WARCHILD's Avatar
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    I would have to voice my concerns here; while all the info above is very usefull and needed, these are the steps I would suggest you take immediately, before you even consider buying or using a firearm of any kind. You admit you are not familiar with them, GET FAMILIAR FIRST! I would suggest finding a family member or friend that you trust who IS familiar with guns and have them "Train" with you. Reading the info is good and needed, but nothing explains or replaces hands on experience. Start with a small caliber, .22, is what I trained my kids with to start. You can learn the aspects of safe handling, gun control, aiming, and shooting; without a lot of recoil to have to contend with while getting used to doing it the safe way. Then as you become more comfortable with the gun, start shooting larger calibers and pick which is right FOR YOU. All of us own and carry many different kinds of guns, by personal choice and prefference to caliber and manufacturer. We have our own likes and dislikes, from experience with them. These likes and dislikes will also have to be made by Your experiences. The advice, opinions, and recomendations by the forum will help you with known facts about this subject but it is still up to you to make your own choice.

    Just my nickels worth

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    Regular Member MetalChris's Avatar
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    WARCHILD wrote:
    I would have to voice my concerns here; while all the info above is very usefull and needed, these are the steps I would suggest you take immediately, before you even consider buying or using a firearm of any kind. You admit you are not familiar with them, GET FAMILIAR FIRST!
    Absolutely. The only reason I didn't mention that is I assume (wrongly) that people will realize the importance of getting familiar with guns.

    So yeah, take a couple of gun safety classes, and remember the real safety is the one between your ears. :P

  9. #9
    jermaine justice
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    Original poster here. To answer a few questions:

    I am currently in Greensburg, PA but am soon moving to the Lehigh Valley area (between Allentown and Reading) to where I used to live.

    I do not have a gun yet, but I have always been aware of gun safety. Kind of funny, but Penn & Teller with their bullet-catch magic trick (I saw when I was WAY younger) taught me a lot about what NOT to do with a firearm (basically the main rules posted earlier) but I would definitely be planning on taking a gun safety class before I did anything.

    And to WARCHILD, I think that's probably a good idea. I know a couple of my uncles took me once or twice in my life to shoot, but I guess before I purchase one for myself, I should at least train and become somewhat familiar with what I am buying.

    But yeah, all in all I am currently reading up on things, and deciding which direction I want to go, but I will get to know about guns BEFORE I purchase my own.

    But I thank you all for the advice, and any future advice I'll keep an eye on the posts.

    P.S. What about holsters? I'm going to guess it's another personal choice of comfort, but are there any universal and obvious negatives when choosing between strong-side draw vs. cross-draw?

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    Regular Member WARCHILD's Avatar
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    P.S. What about holsters? I'm going to guess it's another personal choice of comfort, but are there any universal and obvious negatives when choosing between strong-side draw vs. cross-draw?

    Now there's a can of worms, talk about personal prefference--- I am definately for crossdraw-- I use Don Hume style holsters for my auto's and the cheaper, Uncle Mike's for my wheel guns. Again personal choice; comfort, retention, and access.

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    jermaine justice wrote:
    P.S. What about holsters? I'm going to guess it's another personal choice of comfort, but are there any universal and obvious negatives when choosing between strong-side draw vs. cross-draw?
    Here is an article I found on that subject.

    http://www.gunweek.com/2005/feature0101.html

  12. #12
    jermaine justice
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    So I went from considering cross-draw... then after seeing the difference I thought it would be practical to go with strong-side.... now I think I'l just going to have to mix it up. I'll plan on getting 2 holsters, haha.

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    When I was a kid I was around guns a lot, but they were all hunting rifles, shotguns and revolvers. I used to read a lot of gun magazines (I was a night manager at a quick shop for 2 years in college and read every gun magazine we had for those 2 years) so I had a lot of intellectual knowledge, but it was most all more than a decade old.

    Before choosing my XD I probably held nearly 100 different pistols to compare ergonomics. Once I got the ergonomic issues settled down to 2-3 choices, I then went to the internet to research safety and reliability issues. I finally chose an XD45 compact service as my carry firearm as it met all my criteria. That was an intellectual, practical decision as I didn't have the knowledge or experience to have any emotional opinion on the matter and I do not regret the decision.

    For the OP, as a new gun owner I would suggest a similar course of action. Go to several gun shops and handle as many pistols as you can. See how they fit your hand. When you hold it naturally do the sights line up (vertically and horizontally) or do you have to adjust your grip? Can you easily reach the magazine release (if you are looking at semi-automaticas rather than a revolver). When you hold it naturally and drop your arm straight down, is the slide/barrel in a direct line with your forearm?

    This is not about what other people like. Choosing a firearm is a very personal decision and just because a certain handgun is liked by a lot of people or a certain gun magazine does not mean that it is right for you. For example, the angle of the grip on Glocks does not give me a natural point and shoot aim. I do not like USP mag releases and have yet to hold one which where I didn't have to change my grip to release the magazine. Both are excellent pistols beloved by many people, however, their ergonomics do not fit my body. You have to hold a lot of pistols to start feeling those fine differences. You will find yourself handling the same few pistols over and over again at the gun shop testing the balance and ergonomics to make that final decision. Remember though, that this is your body, your preference and your life that is going to be effected by this decision. Do not let other people's preferences make your decision for you.

    Edit: As far as the manner of carry (strong side, cross-draw, etc) I generally hear it recommended for new shooters to start out with strong side carry. It is the most natural draw and the least likely to lead to sweeping the barrel across something you do not wish to shoot accidentally and I would guess that strong side carry is the most common manner even among experienced, trained shooters.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    I didn't read all the replys so it was probably already said... But my suggestion would be to find a range that offers basic hand gun safety courses. They typically have you shoot multiple hand guns just as part of the class, and than you will feel more comfortable about renting other ones at the range you might be interested in.

  15. #15
    jermaine justice
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    deepdiver wrote:
    This is not about what other people like.
    I never really had intended it to be about what other people like. I was just diving into the subject and wished to get out exactly what you provided. I wanted resources and tips to give me a start in gun knowledge; to know what I'm looking for for when I choose my own firearm as an inexperienced individual. (and after reading, I now realize it's more than just price and size... unlike buying a car as a novice, it matters)

    So far the advice is awesome, I plan to try out all different sorts of handguns. I thought it would take less time to pick one out to purchase but as I see much DOES matter and now I have reconsidered to make a much wiser decision with this. Thanks.

    David.Car wrote:
    my suggestion would be to find a range that offers basic hand gun safety courses.
    YES, this is what I am going to do first before anything. I'm trying to invite my mom or my sister along, but even if they don't care to go I'll have fun on my own. I want to get the basics out of the way first and ask around some more to see if I will take some of the longer courses (which I most likely will end up taking) and then once I know what I'm doing when I pick up a gun, I will feel around for different types.

    This is just my first step into the world of knowing firearms and I'm quite excited to learn, now. It just might be slightly longer process than I thought.

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    Regular Member Eeyore's Avatar
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    jermaine justice wrote:
    I need to choose a gun. I know nothing about guns, really. I don't really care to know everything about all guns ...just the normal stuff like safety, operation, and all other proper knowledge that goes into owning a gun. Is anyone able to point me to the direction of some resources or tips on what to look for when selecting a gun and all the variations there are to carry the weapon?
    This is awork-in-progress of something I've been working on (for no particular purpose). Let me know if you find it helpful. The "gun stuff" starts on page 4.

    [Edited to attach updated draft document.]
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Guns don't kill people. Drivers on cell phones do.

  17. #17
    jermaine justice
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    Eeyore wrote:
    jermaine justice wrote:
    I need to choose a gun. I know nothing about guns, really. I don't really care to know everything about all guns ...just the normal stuff like safety, operation, and all other proper knowledge that goes into owning a gun. Is anyone able to point me to the direction of some resources or tips on what to look for when selecting a gun and all the variations there are to carry the weapon?
    This is a*work-in-progress of something I've been working on (for no particular purpose).* Let me know if you find it helpful.* The "gun stff" starts on page 4.
    Just as a point of reference, I started reading the beginning, liked how it looked, skipped to the gun part, and read the basics and stopped before it got in detail because I'm out of time at the moment.

    But the document pretty much wraps up what I got out of researching information online and asking people on forums for my first time interest in guns. Looks clean, good information and all in one place. I like it and will definitely read more to learn more in detail about hand guns. I guess it helps that I agree with it, too, but it also factors into it that carrying a gun is a political statement. A+ on self defense.

    Thanks.

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    You might consider some kind of hunter education/safety course available through the wildlife management division of the state you live in. They often have these available on DVD for a few bucks (they're free for residents in Ohio). These are pretty basic, and a good primer before you go to actually handle a firearm (they won't necessarily emphasize handguns, but the principles of safe handling apply the same). Learning safety "on the fly" is not a good idea in any case.

    Once basic principles are covered, you can get somerange time in - preferably under the guidance of someone experienced. This will help considerably in your choice of a suitable firearm when you decide to purchase your own. You can worry about the tactical combat simulations/competitive shooting stufflater. It's not that long a journey, and I never found it hard to maintain interest, even though I'm usually impatient and want to "cut to the chase" in most situations.

    Welcome to the forum.

    -ljp

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    I think before you start looking at sidearms and suddenly deciding that you want to carry, you should really stop and take a long look at yourself.
    Carrying a sidearm whether it be OC or CC, bears great responsibility. You really need to be honest with yourself and ask if you are truly willing to carry this mantle of responsibility. Carrying a sidearm is NOT about exercising your right to do so, it's about protecting yourself and your family. Its about being a reponsible American citizen. It's about doing the right thing when all hell breaks loose and innocent life is at risk.
    When I decided to take on the true responsibility of defensive carry, I sat for two weeks asking myself if I could do what it takes if the time ever arose. Could I take a life? Its a tough question to ask yourself, trust me.
    If you're truly ready to carry and be the Sheepdog, then go forth and gather your tools.

    I suggest that you read this.
    http://www.killology.com/sheep_dog.htm

  20. #20
    jermaine justice
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    Evil Ernie wrote:
    I think before you start looking at sidearms and suddenly deciding that you want to carry, you should really stop and take a long look at yourself.
    Quite dramatic.

    I have my beliefs, I'm sure no one else is interested (so no detail needed), but I feel very comfortable that I know what I'm doing.

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    Just so you know. I wasn't trying to offend or turn you away, but with the Revolution of OC, (and CC for that matter), there are those that now want to strap on a piece without thinking. I just want you to be sure about yourself, thats all.
    Out of all the folks that I discuss OC/CC with, I get a few that think its cool and badass to carry a sidearm without really seeing the responsibility and possible consequences. Granted, there is a certain coolness factor, albeit small, but thats the only reason these particular people want to carry: to show off and act like a cop or something.
    Your tag line for the original posting: "I know nothing about guns, I want to carry" can speak volumes to those who are veteran carriers about what your frame of mind is currently.
    As I said before, I don't wish to offend you and hope that you have great success in your carry endeavor.

  22. #22
    jermaine justice
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    Evil Ernie wrote:
    Just so you know. I wasn't trying to offend or turn you away, but with the Revolution of OC, (and CC for that matter), there are those that now want to strap on a piece without thinking. I just want you to be sure about yourself, thats all.
    Out of all the folks that I discuss OC/CC with, I get a few that think its cool and badass to carry a sidearm without really seeing the responsibility and possible consequences. Granted, there is a certain coolness factor, albeit small, but thats the only reason these particular people want to carry: to show off and act like a cop or something.
    Your tag line for the original posting: "I know nothing about guns, I want to carry" can speak volumes to those who are veteran carriers about what your frame of mind is currently.
    As I said before, I don't wish to offend you and hope that you have great success in your carry endeavor.
    I got the impression that's what you meant and I know you weren't trying to turn me away. I guess I gave that impression maybe with the thread title (I really am bad at conversing over internet forums) but I assure you all that I've already thought about all of this.

    What I say to all of this is: there's not much a BBS could do to stray me away from wanting to learn how to defend myself with a firearm. Again, I don't think it really matters to anyone else my philosophy on self defense and human rights, so I'll spare the long dialogue.

    What I truly am is a person who is starting with no knowledge of how to use a gun, but knows everything about what self defense is (consequences, responsibility, etc...). So maybe if that better describes me?

    No offense taken.

    P.S. I also understand these similar things in other aspects of life. Example: driving a car is definitely hazardous and I take care and responsibility when driving all the time. I guess I just assumed almost everyone who is interested in self-defense and actually getting a gun would already be exposed to the idea of consequences and responsibility of ACTUALLY getting a firearm just by the whole vibe of it?

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    Good to hear that you're of the correct mindset. Now quit dillydallying and go get a freakin gun for cryin out loud!!! Sheesh....
    Oh, and I suggest the 1911 pattern pistol.

  24. #24
    jermaine justice
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    Evil Ernie wrote:
    Good to hear that you're of the correct mindset. Now quit dillydallying and go get a freakin gun for cryin out loud!!! Sheesh....
    Oh, and I suggest the 1911 pattern pistol.
    Haha, you're awesome.

  25. #25
    Regular Member Eeyore's Avatar
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    So once you answer those questions I sent you, let us know what type/purpose of gun you want, and everybody will pile on with their opinions on what would best meet your needs. All those opinions will conflict, and you'll be just as confused as when you started.
    Guns don't kill people. Drivers on cell phones do.

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