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  #1  
Old 11-11-2011, 02:35 PM
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Default What type of gun is better for self defense in a beginner: a revolver or a semi-auto?

I have rephrased the parameters of this question. We are talk a beginner. A person that has never worked with guns or had a gun before. My preference is the revolver because you don't have to worry about jamming as much, a round being in the chamber, and/or the safety being on. It is a point and shoot set setup where the ease of use in an emergency situation will benefit the potential victim.
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Old 11-11-2011, 02:42 PM
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That's some pretty good thinking you have right there, and I think you'll find the majority of the fellas (and ladies) with lots of experience here will tell you its what FEELS GOOD TO YOU! ..... I could go on and on about the benefits of both, and what detracts from both... but my own opinion on YOUR case would be this ..

You already like the revolvers, and thats a great firearm to have if its your first or your 1000th .... and in a SD situation, I feel just as confident with my 5 round 360pd, as most of these situations dont' require a 21+ magazine to get you to safety.

Now, don't get me wrong, both of these 'machines' as I like to call them have parts that will go 'sproingoingoingoingoing' as they fly across your living room never to be found again ... but the relative simplicity of a wheel gun is a huge advantage to not fully understanding your striker fire or DA semi auto....

Don't get me wrong though, you're going to end up buying a ton of both of them and will own more holsters than you do underwear at some point ... so get in where ya fit in!!!!

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Old 11-11-2011, 03:35 PM
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It comes down to the individual, beginner or no. A beginner may find a revolver easier to use...a revolver doesn't have a safety to worry about and doesn't require a firm grip to function (i.e., limp wristing.) However, a revolver in DA mode may not be as pleasant to shoot nor as accurate for a beginner...especially not a small revolver, whose recoil might even be unpleasant.

I think the best thing to do is have the beginner take a class, where they can be exposed to a variety of handguns, and learn safety and shooting techniques. Then, take them to a range that rents handguns, and let them shoot various makes/models until they find the one that fits best, and functions the best for them.
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Old 11-11-2011, 04:26 PM
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Revolvers are probably slightly easier for the complete beginner to get going but after five minutes of training the guy that started with the auto(I'm talking about a good modern auto design like Glock or M&P) is going to be ahead of the guy who started with the revolver.

Excluding pocket guns. J Frames have a lot going for them v the baby autos.

Last edited by hatt; 11-11-2011 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 11-11-2011, 04:57 PM
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HAS to be a semi auto with a 150 round mag, laser, scope, and coffee maker.
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Old 11-11-2011, 04:58 PM
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My 8 year old kids prefer a semi-auto. How beginner do you want to get?
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:47 PM
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As long as its got the ninja knife on the rail, yer good to go.
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:15 PM
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For a person with no training, a double action revolver is a much better choice.
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:26 PM
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If I were working with a beginner, and I do from time to time, I would start with my K22 Masterpiece and move on to my High Standard Victor .22 semi-auto so that they gain experience with both types.

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Old 11-11-2011, 06:30 PM
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I like my semi autos, but you don't need to rack the slide on a revolver.
I had never given this much thought until a neighbor asked me to help her learn about her new Glock. She could not rack the slide and get the first round chambered. We worked a way that she would simultaneously push with both hands in opposite directions, but it took her everything she had. She will not admit defeat, but I believe she is unhappy with her choice.

Also, if you reload, you don't lose revolver brass in front of the firing line or in the grass.
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:58 PM
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I think the revolver has a slight edge when it comes to a beginner's first gun like many others have posted, but I think the best choice is the one the beginner likes. I believe that if beginners choose a gun that they like and enjoy handling the more likely they are to practice with it.

For example, I owned a Glock 23 for a few years and managed to put around 400 rounds through it before I sold it. On the other hand, I've had my 642 for about 10 months and I've put over 1k rounds through it in that time. I just enjoy the revolver more. Someone else may enjoy the semi-auto more.

I think the most important concerns are choosing a good quality gun in a reasonable caliber (.500 Magnum is probably not a good choice for a beginner) and how well the beginner can manipulate the gun (i.e., revolver DA trigger pulls may be diffcult for some but they can rack the slide of a semi-auto with much less difficulty, or vice versa). Getting some good, basic training and being able to try a variety of guns is the best way to work this out, IMO.
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:06 PM
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I started with a revolver myself and now don't own any, the 1911 became an addiction once I tried one

That said as everyone here has more or less said, to each his own and you may be better off going to a range and rent some revolvers and semiautos and see what works best.

I liked learning on the revolver as they are a little more forgiving about some mistakes, that I made as a beginner.

Also you can skip load the chambers to help with your practice to see if you are jerking or slapping the trigger or anticipating recoil.

So even being a semiauto guy now, if I started over I would start with a revolver.

Hope you enjoy your new firearm and the start of your collection!!! Yes you will buy more, many, many more
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1 old 0311 View Post
HAS to be a semi auto with a 150 round mag, laser, scope, and coffee maker.
No bayonet, scope, or bi-pod? Forget it dude. You arn't even tacti cool!
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:56 PM
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The second case for a revolver is how we must keep the semi-auto to make sure it isn't misfired or for safety. We don't want a round in the chamber so if the gun is dropped and it doesn't have a safety against firing it doesn't go off. In addition we now have double action and single action pistols. Generally a safe way to keep your gun is no round in the chamber. The safety may even be kept on for safety. How well do people think when they have the life or death circumstance facing them? The answer is they don't think very well and it is hard to concentrate. You are in the fight or flight mode and the blood has gone to your muscles.

Will the beginner be able to remember to pull the slide back to load a shell in the chamber, will they remember to take off the safety on the pistol, and we still don't know if the gun could jam. Dislodging a jam could take some time especially when you are a beginner. Imagine a man with a knife at 15 feet away. Studies with police officers have shown an optimal distance of approximately 25 feet to draw a weapon and being able to fire in time before the assailant hits the officer and kills him with his knife. Imagine shooting and having a problem from the beginning. Is the beginner going to be able to fix that problem before the criminal gets to them. Handling a pistol requires repeated training and practice over and over again to move the slide and get the safety off to shoot in time. Your actions must be fast. The actions must be second nature or you could be dead especially if the person has a knife and is rushing you. Repeated practice over and over again so the action becomes second nature so you don't have to think about the action you just do it. This is the reason a revolver is so good for a beginner. They just have to point and shoot.

Any action forgotten or a mishap could delay the firing of the weapon. Time is critical here and you don't have minutes to decide if your gun won't fire whether a round is in the chamber, you forgot to load your gun, you forgot to take off the safety. We are talking about seconds and not minutes here. If you aren't ready to fire at that critical moment the consequences could be death. If you are more advanced you may be more ready to handle the chambering of the round, safety off, know that your magazine is loaded, and therefore respond with split second timing to get a round off.

For a beginner to get to the level where he or she has split second timing with a pistol could be awhile. My opinion here and the whys of my opinion. One more aspect not discussed here is the accuracy of the beginner because if he or she misses they could injure or kill someone else.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:20 PM
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How much have you had to drink?
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Old 11-12-2011, 01:38 AM
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I remember being a beginner. Learning with a revolver gets you over the noob hump quicker. I think they are inherently safer on which to teach and to learn. Easier to learn how to handle, how to clean, how to check for loaded condition, how many bullets left, and so on. Once you learn proper handling and range etiquette, and you get over the fear that 'I can handle this and load this and shoot this and I won't kill myself or someone else' part, then any gun after that becomes just a new gun you need to get familar with, not another unknown entity.

At first a noob will have a million things going through their minds as they try to take in all that is being taught, and a revolver has an openness to it, everything is right there in sight, not hidden away or possible confusing like a semi-auto - is the chamber loaded; is the safety this way or that way? - that sort of thing.

Not to say a noob can't learn a semi as a first weapon, I am sure some folks learned on semi's and had no problems.

Well, as I said, I remember my first time.
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Old 11-12-2011, 02:17 AM
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Well I think beginner or not it depends on the person. My wife for instance cannot consistantly rack the slide on any auto she has tried so we got her a S&W airweight with a crimson trace laser grip. She can load unload and fire the little Smith with no issue. However she is far more accurate with my glock 19 than the smith due to the trigger pulls. I plan on trying a reduced power recoil spring in my glock 19 with standard pressure ammo to see if she can work the slide if not I'm going to have to get a trigger job done on the j frame to help her be more accurate.

I got a little off topic there but it will always depend on the person, their physical ability and gross motor skill with the firearm. Revolvers are easier to learn as far as manipulation goes but still may not be the answer. Try a lot of weapons find the one with the least amount of compromises and train, train, train.

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Old 11-12-2011, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirrduke2010 View Post
The second case for a revolver is how we must keep the semi-auto to make sure it isn't misfired or for safety. We don't want a round in the chamber so if the gun is dropped and it doesn't have a safety against firing it doesn't go off. In addition we now have double action and single action pistols. Generally a safe way to keep your gun is no round in the chamber. The safety may even be kept on for safety. How well do people think when they have the life or death circumstance facing them? The answer is they don't think very well and it is hard to concentrate. You are in the fight or flight mode and the blood has gone to your muscles.

Will the beginner be able to remember to pull the slide back to load a shell in the chamber, will they remember to take off the safety on the pistol, and we still don't know if the gun could jam. Dislodging a jam could take some time especially when you are a beginner. Imagine a man with a knife at 15 feet away. Studies with police officers have shown an optimal distance of approximately 25 feet to draw a weapon and being able to fire in time before the assailant hits the officer and kills him with his knife. Imagine shooting and having a problem from the beginning. Is the beginner going to be able to fix that problem before the criminal gets to them. Handling a pistol requires repeated training and practice over and over again to move the slide and get the safety off to shoot in time. Your actions must be fast. The actions must be second nature or you could be dead especially if the person has a knife and is rushing you. Repeated practice over and over again so the action becomes second nature so you don't have to think about the action you just do it. This is the reason a revolver is so good for a beginner. They just have to point and shoot.

Any action forgotten or a mishap could delay the firing of the weapon. Time is critical here and you don't have minutes to decide if your gun won't fire whether a round is in the chamber, you forgot to load your gun, you forgot to take off the safety. We are talking about seconds and not minutes here. If you aren't ready to fire at that critical moment the consequences could be death. If you are more advanced you may be more ready to handle the chambering of the round, safety off, know that your magazine is loaded, and therefore respond with split second timing to get a round off.

For a beginner to get to the level where he or she has split second timing with a pistol could be awhile. My opinion here and the whys of my opinion. One more aspect not discussed here is the accuracy of the beginner because if he or she misses they could injure or kill someone else.
LMAO!!

I think when he wakes up and reads this he is going to laugh too!!

Hey, can we start a thread on which is better for women, a revolver or a semi-auto???
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Old 11-12-2011, 11:50 AM
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I'd think that the military services deal with a great number of beginners.
so I guess with that example we should start em off with an M16 ....
seriously though, auto or revolver, compact variants should be avoided as the skills needed to shoot them well are better grafted onto the basics learned on a full size
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:13 PM
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Semi autos are great and they are fine for a new shooter IF the shooter is going to dedicate time and money to learning how to handle the gun. Too many people walk into a store, buy a semi auto (very often a Glock. Don't get me started on that choice for a new shooter), fire a box or two (if that) and put it in the sock drawer. Semi autos require more general maintenance to keep running reliably, and TOO MANY people forget the gun is still loaded if you take the mag out. A good friend of mine left his XD with the mag out and a round chambered for over 2 years, thinking if his daughter found it (in his sock drawer), that it was unloaded. I know for a fact that when we transistioned rom revolvers to semi autos, there were WAY more ND's reported (and God knows how many weren't reported), and these are from cops who have at least had a rudimentary training session.

Yeah, yeah. I know. :"Learn how to handle a gun" and "my safety is between my ears". Unfortunately, many people are totally incompetent with guns, and a revolver is more forgiving of mishandling.

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Old 11-12-2011, 12:38 PM
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I prefer to use a .22LR bolt action rifle with beginners....

If it has to be a handgun, then a Model 63 kit gun is what I start 'em on. The few new shooters I've started on handguns have been women - who were lacking in upper body strength to safely rack the semiauto.
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:46 PM
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Smile Experience can make one more intense.

Nothing like experience of being in a violent situation to fuel my intenseness or passion about what I think. I might sound over-zealous but from the information I have learned about equipment, knowing how to use it well, being able to use it quickly, being aware how fast a violent situation can take place, and the experience of being there have all affected how I talk about it. Yes a beginner could use an automatic and if everything works perfect it can work for them but there is a lot more to go wrong with a semi auto than a revolver when using it in an emergency situation. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. As Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Actually I won't defend to the death your right to say it but it sounded fitting in this situation. LOL
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Old 11-12-2011, 03:57 PM
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For home defense a K frame or L frame revolver make great choices and are great range choices.

If carry is the idea... J frames take almost a religious conversion to master. Accuracy takes alot of rounds. Shooting Airweights are uncomfortable for many. A Model 60, 640, or 649 would be my choice for a dual purpose role.

If you go the revolver route I would buy both a K frame and J frame. A 4 inch K frame for the range. A Jframe for occasional range time and carry.

I wouldn't look much beyond a Glock 26 or Glock 27 in the auto. Great all around Home defense/carry.

Another thing not to overlook is the expense of ammunition and training. I shoot at least a hundred rounds almost every trip with my Model 17. 1000's of rounds on a .22 caliber revolver will do wonders for trigger control and accuarcy.
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Old 11-12-2011, 04:08 PM
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this honestly is a tough one.
on one hand you have the revolver ... sure and simple as they come, DA trigger control not withstanding.
then you have autos, which hold more universal lessons such as clearing the chamber proper and safeties common to most all rifles, shotguns and pistols be they auto, bolt, pump or even break open.
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Old 11-12-2011, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirrduke2010 View Post
I have rephrased the parameters of this question. We are talk a beginner. A person that has never worked with guns or had a gun before. My preference is the revolver because you don't have to worry about jamming as much, a round being in the chamber, and/or the safety being on. It is a point and shoot set setup where the ease of use in an emergency situation will benefit the potential victim.
A lot of good answers have already been offered, but I would begin by asking to know more about the person who is the beginner. Are we talking my 80 year old Mother who has limited upper body strength, or are we talking a healthy 17 year old young man, or about a 36 year old woman in average health and strength? Is the person in good health, or are they in a wheel chair, or have other disability which might impact their ability to use both hands?

For most of the above, a good K frame .38 special would be a fine place to start for a self defense gun. The J Frame is just a little harsh with the recoil, and would not be as much fun to shoot for the beginner. In order for them to become comfortable, it needs to be fun at some level and perceived as easy, i.e. shooting a silhouette at 3 yards.

For the semi auto I'd prefer a Glock 17/19 or M&P in 9mm as there are no manual safeties to complicate things. The semi auto might require more time training off the range without ammunition becoming familiar with the operation of the gun and practicing dry firing and clearing malfunctions using dummy rounds.

Both of these guns will work well if there is sincere interest on the part of the beginner. They have to want to learn to shoot, and once they get a few rounds down range and the shooting bug bites, then they can experiment with other guns and find one that they like.
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirrduke2010 View Post
I have rephrased the parameters of this question. We are talk a beginner. A person that has never worked with guns or had a gun before. My preference is the revolver because you don't have to worry about jamming as much, a round being in the chamber, and/or the safety being on. It is a point and shoot set setup where the ease of use in an emergency situation will benefit the potential victim.


in my humble opinion, beginning shooters or those who do not understand guns well in how to take them apart and clean them and how to clear jams, failures to eject and or feed need to keep it simple and there is not much more simple than pull the trigger and as the cylinder rotates the gun goes bang 99.9% of the time.. Misfires in revolvers (quality ones) are rare and when they do happen it's usually with bad ammo. A 2" .38 is a great defensive gun....as you gain confidence in shooting you can move up to a .357......but a revolver is my number one choice for beginners.....its my number one choice to carry for me and Im not a beginner....I just love revolvers and how they shoot and the simplicity of them.
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:54 PM
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You can take another variable out of the equation if you load your revolver with ammo from 2 different sources or manufacturers. That would cover for ammo that might have been produced with some bad primers.
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Old 11-12-2011, 07:30 PM
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Think about this for a while.

EVERYBODY is a beginner once. Now we are talking about Army Rangers and Navy Seals who parachute down into enemy territory and fight for their lives. You think they carry a semi-auto because that's what they first trained with in boot camp?
If there was ANY ADVANTAGE to carry a wheel gun, these guys would be carrying one.

The learning curve for a semi-auto is short and easy to master. Four hours ago I handed my ten year old my 9mm and watched him run through three magazines of ammo and he loved it.
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
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Think about this for a while.

EVERYBODY is a beginner once. Now we are talking about Army Rangers and Navy Seals who parachute down into enemy territory and fight for their lives. You think they carry a semi-auto because that's what they first trained with in boot camp?
If there was ANY ADVANTAGE to carry a wheel gun, these guys would be carrying one.

The learning curve for a semi-auto is short and easy to master. Four hours ago I handed my ten year old my 9mm and watched him run through three magazines of ammo and he loved it.
revolvers have three distinct advantages that cannot be overlooked.
Revolvers as a platform, can provide far more power than an auto.
revolvers are typically more accurate out of the box
Revolvers earned the phrase "six for sure"
its these three traits that keep them in production.
that said Autos have advantages as well.
easy to reload under pressure
greater capacity
easy to overhaul
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
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Autos have advantages as well.
easy to reload under pressure
greater capacity
easy to overhaul
However if one has to reload under pressure, they are already in a place they do not need to be and doing something they ought not be doing.

You are correct though. Each type gun has it's advantages and disadvantages.
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:49 PM
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However if one has to reload under pressure, they are already in a place they do not need to be and doing something they ought not be doing.

You are correct though. Each type gun has it's advantages and disadvantages.
from a civilian standpoint ... yup if a high pucker factor reload is required .. you probably did something wrong ... probably.
the first two are always the response the rest should be cover as needed to retreat if the first two didnt take care of business.
retreat is not always possible.
Military and sometimes law enforcement perspective, retreat is not always an option ... even this should be spent retreating to a long arm to be used for a more effective advance.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:11 AM
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A beginner should not be carrying. Period. S/he should be training in order to come to a place of mind-set and proficiency that carrying is prudent for the gun owner, their family, and the public.

If I were buying my adult daughter a defensive weapon, I'd probably get her a Glock Model 19, and spend at least four times that on training. If I were buying my son in the Army a defensive weapon, probably a Glock Model 21 given his existing and extensive training (a Wilson 1911 CQB Elite if money were no object), unless he wanted to take the time to be proficient in Double Action with a revolver, then it'd be a S&W UDR PC 627 (what I carry by the way).

Finally, a beginner generally being an adult must take safe gun storage in to account. How do you absolutely deny access to people/children who should never be around your weapon unsupervised. In my case, I had my master closet door and door frame replaced with steel and solid wood, along with a kick plate and electronic dead bolt lock - that or other solutions such as a high end car safe bolted down in your trunk should be part of your gun budget. Depending on the study you read, weapons purchased for personal defense are around four hundred percent more likely to be used accidentally against another family member (e.g. confusing a family member with an intruder) than to be used in personal defense; and, seven hundred percent more likely to be used in a crime (for various reasons). Anyway, the point is be careful, intentional, and train extensively.

Last edited by dwever; 11-13-2011 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:59 AM
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Some sage advice here: http://www.keepandbeararms.com/Puckett/firstgun.pdf

The snub revolver is the place to begin one's self-defense arsenal! With modern ammunition developments, it isn't the poor choice, that it was back in the day. (When I was a kid, we were counciled to avoid them completely.) Later, if one hopefully chooses to advance to other firearms, the snub revolver becomes the perfect backup gun! If one chooses not to advance any further, then they will still be reasonably well armed.

One note....it would however be a mistake to try to 'learn to shoot' on a snub! I start beginners out on a .22, like the excelent new Ruger SP101. Then, some light loads on something medium frame with a 4" barrel like a GP100 or 686, eventually working up to some hot .357's. From there, we now begin to downsize to the relatively heavy .38/.357 SP101, and on to the Ruger LCR with its excellent recoil absorbing grips, then the steel J-frames and on to the lighter alloy J's. If the student decides the guns are getting to hard to handle as we downsize, they can stop anywhere they like along the progression and settle on a gun they can shoot reasonably well.

Next, we will tackle the autos using a similar progression (Ruger 22/45, Glock 19 then 23, Glock 26 then 27, etc.), if they so choose....

Last edited by off road; 11-13-2011 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 11-13-2011, 06:30 PM
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Cetainly an argument can be made either way. However, it is my opinion that a revlover is a simpler method of operation over a semi-auto.

Which is the right choice for for the beginner? Depends on the beginner. If the new shooter is willing to take instruction and work on fundamentals, a semi auto can be a good choice.
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Old 11-13-2011, 09:44 PM
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I have to agree with those who say it depends upon the student. Some people will just do better with one or the other, and some will have physical limitations that prevent them from using one or the other. Example; my wife's friend has tiny hands with short fingers and almost zero finger strength. Not only can she not reach the trigger of a K-frame without holding the gun awkwardly, she doesn't have the finger strength to pull the trigger (or most DA triggers for that matter). She also has great difficulty in racking the slides of many compact autos, even using the proper techniques. She does well with my Browning Hi-Power, can handle an XD9/40, and has recently fallen in love with my 3913 due to the thin grip, but with her poor hand/wrist/arm strength she will start limp-wristing the guns after about 50-75 rounds as she fatigues.
If a revolver is suitable for the student, then by all means use a revolver to instruct them. Shooting DA revolvers improved my ability to shoot semi-autos, and they are great for learning trigger control. But if your student is my wife's friend, the revolver won't work for her.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:49 PM
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I had a thought. A J frame is smaller than a K frame and with rounded grips is a lot smaller weapon than the K frame Smith.

One last thought on this yes a semi-auto would be a good self defense gun but I would practice a lot on using it in an emergency situation. Being this is emergency gun watching out for reloads which can gum up your gun and void your manufacturer warranty. I think the practice required to use an auto should be a lot so that a beginners movements with the gun are automatic. I would use factory only loads for self defense as well as cleaning it after every shoot because you can't afford to have the gun jam or malfunction in an emergency. I know I am going to get some flack about this but if this is your emergency gun be very careful about the reloads you use. Personally I wouldn't practice with reloads myself with the emergency gun. Practice turning off the safety and pulling the slide back to get a round in the chamber. I will say the amount of practice required to be able to use a gun in an emergency is more with a semi-auto than a revolver because before you shoot you have to be concerned about a round being in the chamber, the safety being turned off, the ammo you are using, your gun jamming, and the forgetting of one step could cause your gun not to fire in an emergency. When your life is threatened you aren't going to be thinking very straight and it can become difficult to remember things when in the fight or flight response to danger. The other thing assumed by a lot of people is that the attacker is a blithering idiot that knows nothing about guns. Don't assume. Psychopaths are know to be extremely intelligent and often have a very high IQs.

Last edited by sirrduke2010; 11-13-2011 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:57 PM
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A recommend a 4" 38 caliber K-frame revolver. It is such a good gun that even more experienced shooters choice this handgun for self defense.
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirrduke2010 View Post
Being this is emergency gun watching out for reloads which can gum up your gun and void your manufacturer warranty.

I would use factory only loads for self defense as well as cleaning it after every shoot because you can't afford to have the gun jam or malfunction in an emergency. I know I am going to get some flack about this but if this is your emergency gun be very careful about the reloads you use. Personally I wouldn't practice with reloads myself with the emergency gun.
Let me guess.... You don't reload do you?

I began reloading to improve the reliability of my ammo. I can guarantee every round that comes off my reloading bench is MUCH better than any round you can purchase in a store.

Do you think the factory that pumps out 200,000 rounds a minute is weighing each bullet and culling them into groups depending on the balance of the bullet? Do you think they weigh their powder down to the individual flake? Do you think they set each primer by hand and insure the primer hole is clean and true?

I'll trust the shells I produce long before I'll trust the factory shells.
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Old 11-14-2011, 05:47 PM
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My very reluctant wife started with a myriad of .22 caliber rentals from the case and from what we currently owned.

She feared my 6inch Model 17 and really wanted to shoot the tiny Beretta 21a.

It didn't take long for her to change her mind after a few hotter .22 cal loads.

Flying (hot) brass can be disconcerting. A stiff trigger from a Jframe Taurus revolver turned her off.

Eventually she found a comfort zone and was plinking away confidently and safely with her favorites. A Ruger Mark II and a Walther P22.

After a few more sessions I pushed her into .38 Special factory loads. Nervous at first, she settled in first with the L frame, then the K frame, then finally to a steel J frame.

Your preconceptions and desires will likely be altered drastically over time. My advice is to spend money renting and shooting as many different calibers as are available. Spend money on good instruction.

You'll figure it out...
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Old 11-14-2011, 06:42 PM
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I'm with all the others who recomend training first. Newbies who aren't properly trained can develop a lot of bad and unsafe habits and the only way to prevent this is with good sound training.

As for a Home Defense gun, I cannot think of anything better than a 4 inch K frame in 38 spl. As for why, it's a relatively quiet caliber that is easy to master. I also learned that mastering a double action revolver resulted in my becoming a much better shooter with every type of firearm.
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Old 11-15-2011, 01:55 AM
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I don't reload but if you use good technique to put together reloads don't use inferior parts or powder according to accepted safe specifications than I think that reloads can be good but still the gun manufacturers can void your warranty if they find evidence of using reloads. Here is the problem many companies make cheap inexpensive reloads with inferior components. These reloads have been found to make a semi auto and/or a carbine type of rifle jam. The powder may be inferior and be insufficient in energy to blow the slide back. Some reloaders like to push the envelopes and use powder that is inappropriate to the load making the round too hot or not hot enough. A poor choice in components and powder can result in dirtier rounds which can gum up your gun or make it malfunction. My thoughts if you are a responsible reloader that uses the proper powder and the proper components than your rounds can be just as good as the factory rounds. Cutting corners with improper or cheap components is another element which I have seen in the industry. It depends on the reloader. Buyer cheaper components, cheaper powder, cutting corners, not loading to recommended specs, etc. can all lead to gun problems, malfunctions, misfires, gun explosions, severe injuries and/or death of the shooter. I have seen the results of poor reloads making guns harder to clean, greater residue buildup, damaging cylinders in revolvers because the loads were made to hot, one cylinder I saw had a hole between the chamber and the outside of the cylinder from a round that was too hot, etc. I think reloads can be made well but it depends on the person making them on how ethical and responsible they want to be. Reloading is an area where you've got to be very careful about pushing the envelope and making rounds improperly. The results of making them improperly can be serious for the person that uses that ammunition.

Last edited by sirrduke2010; 11-15-2011 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:46 AM
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I don't reload but would like to learn. Howver, even if i did, I would not use reloads for carry ammo. God forbid something goes wrong in a self defense encounter. I'd rather have a big company to lay the blame on then myself. I bought a box of Ultramax reload for my .38, and while it worked, it was the flitiest ammo I have ever fired. Every shot fired would produce a big cloud of stinky, greasy smoke. The revolver was literally covred in greasy black residue. Oncethe box is gone, I'll never buy it again.
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