Saw a comment you made over at women of caliber comparing pistol types. My roommate hates wheelguns and when she skimmed through the comments and began railing against the revolver fans I got yanked into the discussion. The first good ol boy at the range talked down to her and now she hates the guys at the range and wheelguns too.
I’m also dealing with another female novice shooter and she’s completely freaked out by the media’s propaganda about semi-automatic and automatic weapons so this particular terminology is kind of fresh in my brain.
Anyway, I don’t usually nit-pick other comments but I was wondering if you meant to use “automatic” or if you meant to use “semi-automatic” in your comparison.
Either you have a typo and I agree with you or I have to disagree with your statement: “To say it takes a whole lot more practice to shoot an auto isn’t accurate.” ‘cuz shooting auto is a whole different type of shooting and I would never recommend an auto pistol for a novice.
Not trying to be a prick. Probably failing….I figured better to ask direct than derail the thread
TOR says: Howdy back Mulligan,
No worries about how anything looks. You had a valid if slightly English Teacher like question [of course you CAN go to the bathroom but MAY you go to the bathroom]. I meant to say automatic just the same way that I often refer to my 1911 as a .45 automatic. I do not always use proper terminology and am pretty OK with that. Almost without exception what I mean can be figured out through context. Do not think that Glock 18 or a Beretta 93R would be good choices for beginner handguns. The image of some gal pulling a Mac-10 out of her purse and a Goblin with a knife shitting his pants amuses me but like the above mentioned pistols it would probably not be a great choice either.
As for hand guns for beginners in general and specifically women. I think the point Kellene was trying to make is that women shouldn't let themselves get caught up in a 'beginners gun'. [that gun they are going to use till they figure out how to use guns then get a different gun which is more suited to 'experienced' people] This is often a frusterating experience from both training and financial perspectives. I think there is a reasonably high % of women who get poorly advised (by gun shop folks, friends or well intentioned but misguided individuals) and end up with a weapon which will not suit their needs well. [Typically this weapon will be a snub nosed .38 special or some sort of a very small semi automatic pistol. I am not bashing any of these weapons but they do not suit the needs of every individual.] Now they spent a bunch of money on some gun they can't shoot well and at this point the odds are 50/50 they will load it, put it in the nightstand and that is their firearms experience.
There are basically two ways to give advice to individuals about firearms or really anything else.
The first is to have a blanket answer which you give to that question every single time. A gun shop worker who tells everyone that asks to buy a full sized Kimber 1911 or a Glock 19 or a Smith 686 or whatever is consistent. He might not be right but even a broken clock is right twice a day. He is saying this because he believes it is the best pistol out there and wants people to be well equipped. The guy who preaches 1911's may be a broken record but he is not sexist/ whatever.
The second way would be to ask an individual some questions and try to come up with an answer that fits the individual. If they answer ABCD then a Glock 17 is the right gun, if they answer BDEC then a Ruger SP101 could be the right gun. This is often where assumptions and sexism come into play. If nothing else even the most well intentioned guy working a counter at a gun shop can only do so much if the place is packed and he just has a minute.
The advice to shoot as many guns as possible prior to buying is very wise. Maybe you have a friend (or friends) who have a gaggle of guns they will let you shoot. Most decent sized towns have a gun range with some loaner/ rental pistols. Narrowing your choices down to 2-3 different pistols and then shooting them all would be money well spent. You are probably looking at a $60-100 day repending on gas, ammo, rental fees, etc but in the grand scheme of things I would look at it as saving $400-600 by not buying the wrong gun. Often taking a basic pistol class may give some exposure to a couple different types of handguns. In any case handling and shooting these guns is essential. If the book/ internet/ experts say it is a great gun but it feels like crap in your hand and you can't hit anything with it then tis probably not for you. Who can shoot what gun well (or poorly) is a very individual matter that escapes rhyme or reason.
Choosing the right gun isn't about how the gun performs it is about how well it will perform your needs. I hesitate to say there is one right answer even for a fairly narrow group such as women who are beginners. There are many potential factors which can affect choices including: physical size (frame and hand), carry or house gun, budget, and training goals/ plans.
Lets take a step back from this caliber or that style and look at basic characteristics. Someone who needs a handgun should get one that is small enough they can carry it, that they can (given appropriate instruction) shoot with reasonable accuracy, is utterly reliable and simple to operate. In all fairness I would give this advice to anyone regardless of their experience level. Having a gun that is more complicated because you are so highly trained you can use it would be stupid.
Take these basic guidelines, throw in individual factors and the wildcard of 'personal preference' and reasonable choices can be made.
Both revolvers and semi automatics have strengths and weaknesses. Revolvers are super simple and there is no worry about clearing a jam/failure but they hold relatively few bullets and are slow to reload. Automatics hold a lot more bullets and some people tend to find them easier to shoot well but they are more prone to failure. Get the experience necessary to weigh these for your individual situation and the odds are high your first pistol will fit your needs.
For the sake of full disclosure I own more revolvers than semi automatic pistols. I love their simplicity, ease of use and reliability. On the semi automatic side I am a huge fan of Glocks, particularly compact 9mm Glock 19.