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The Top Five Mistakes New Gun Owners Make

It may seem like a daunting task to get through the pre-work in buying a first gun; it can feel like an overwhelming process.  But there is a way to keep the task at hand to a pleasurable experience so you understand what you’re getting and manage to avoid excess work in the process. Ideally, you will want to look at a few variables:

  • What is the purpose for the gun?
  • What will it take to keep it running?
  • How will you store it?
  • What will it take to become proficient with the firearm?

With those questions on the table, the below information should serve as a basic reference for a first time gun purchase. Definitely don’t hesitate to get some additional research in. The more you know and the better the variety of sources the better off you’ll be in the end.

Here are five mistakes new gun owners often make:

1. Picking the wrong caliber

What is the catalyst for the purchase and what will you want to be using the firearm for after the purchase? Are you sure you have enough of a gun for the primary purpose? Are you sure you haven’t overbought for the plans you have?  The problem most first time gun buyers run into is that they look for too little or too much gun, when just a bit more understanding will yield them an appropriate result.

A self-defense choice may be better suited to a larger caliber than, say, a person looking for cheap family shooting. You might consider a 9mm or a .45 for home defense, whereas those cartridges are significantly more expensive and difficult to keep shooting all day long when out with the kids. For that, you might consider a .22 LR. Trying to pack some major heat in a concealed carry weapon as a first purchase, like a very large framed weapon (say a K-frame Smith and Wesson .44 with a 6”+ barrel or a desert Eagle or Wildey) is obvious overkill for all but the largest, more experienced shooters.

Ultimate Tactical Self-Defense And Hunting Weapon That Doesn’t Require A Firearms License!

It’s important to know what the reasonable norms are with a given class of firearms and adjust for personal preference after that.  When hunting small deer, it’s not necessary to be looking for a .338 Lapua. Perhaps a better round might be the .270 or maybe as high as a .308 if you’re willing to adjust the loads down. A small shotgun may be too weak for 25 lb. turkeys; you will want to see what others are using, those who are doing the things you want to do.

2. Paying too much

gun shop buying first gun

image credit foxbus

Often times new gun owners get fooled into believing that if they don’t buy the highest ticket item in a specific class, that they will somehow be failing in the gun game, or won’t have the item they need as a result.  Often times, great bargains can be found when you know what your minimum requirements are, and can adjust up or down based on what you are seeing in the process. It’s not in the salesman’s best interest to be down-selling you, the customer, on a lesser priced weapon.  It’s not always the situation, but it’s not the exception either: look for something that you need, not something someone wants to see you purchase.

There is a premium to be paid for the name brand weapons, when they aren’t necessarily the only firearms that can produce the required results.  That said: it’s important to find a high quality firearm, and make a relative comparison to see where you want to end up.

Luckily, there have been so many excellent improvements in the materials and manufacturing processes over the last decade that even the inexpensive guns, which some might call Saturday night specials (or throw-aways), are actually fairly reliable compared to their counterparts from years back.

Looking for a value isn’t as difficult as it once was, as the major makers compete for consumer dollars and as the retail shops are willing to clear inventory for fresh product. It doesn’t take thousands of dollars to find a quality defensive weapon, and it shouldn’t costs thousands to properly outfit yourself with a hunting firearm.

3. Not getting trained

Training is an incredibly important component of the process. Don’t be that new gun owner who thinks it’s ok to load a gun and store it away and then doesn’t know what to do with it when something happens that requires it’s retrieval from the place they’ve stored it.

It’s important that we have the right to own firearms, and it’s okey by me to see guns go into the safe and not get touched, but we have a certain level of responsibility to other citizens and to the protectors of our freedoms to learn the proper usage techniques and know how to handle them in a wide range of situations. The point of training is to prevent accidents and to understand the importance of proper handling, storage, and mindset.  But it doesn’t hurt to learn what the professionals have to teach. It’s worth the extra expenditure to get some specific and high quality training.

4. Choosing the wrong ammo

Knowing how to feed your new family member is important too: it’s all about understanding what you are getting with the different varieties of ammunition and how to use them in the proper scenarios.

gun_cleaning2FMJ ammunition is excellent for target shooting and learning the gun, but you may be able to get better results in terminal ballistics with hollow-points of defense specific loads. You will also want to assess your situation for ammunition suitability. Slugs might be good for shotgun hunting, but they could cause over-penetration in a home defense setting. The same is true for buckshot loads depending on your home’s construction and what sleeps in the bed behind the bedroom walls.

There is a lot of discussion between different shooters about what makes sense for defensive shotgun loads, or which types of ammunition are better than others.  Some may say 8 shot will bounce off of attackers, while others may over-penetrate.  Ask a few questions, and determine what level of concern you have for over- or under-penetration, and make a choice based on your specific situation.

Hollow-point ammunition is an excellent fit for a defensive weapon.  FMJ will work, but it’s not a matter of minimums, but rather what is important to accomplish: stopping a threat, comes to mind.

Make sure you aren’t putting the wrong ammunition in the weapon, and try to match the age and condition of the gun to the proper loads to avoid over-pressure issues. A 10-gauge antique shotgun made with thin-walled barrels is probably not the best choice to feed high-end magnum shells. Maybe it’s best to hang it over the mantle.

5. Not maintaning the gun

Cleaning a firearm is essential to the best performance.  They are finely tuned machines; they do require cleaning, but it isn’t something you have to be crazy about.  Every time you shoot a few hundred rounds through a gun, you should detail clean the internals that you can reasonably reach, and each time you shoot, you should be cleaning the barrel and chamber, and removing powder residue and fouling from the basic components that are visible with field stripping.

Use good quality ammunition, and don’t over-oil.  Don’t be afraid to clean, but don’t feel like the new firearm is finicky if you don’t baby it.  The modern firearm is built to function, so use it.

A final note:

Learn what you can from the resources you have available, but remember, you must always gauge for yourself what will make sense for you.  Just because someone is knowledgeable or the Internet copy sounds great, doesn’t mean it’s a magic bullet for you to trust your life with.  Get your hands dirty: handle guns, see things in person, and take some shots before you make a final decision.  The best thing you can do: ask why.  Not the generic version of the question, rather the real hard-to-answer questions. If someone tells you the only gun for you is a 1911, then find out why. And try to understand why not.

Combine the aforementioned information with your willingness to find a winner, and you will.

© Off the Grid News

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  1. This is very good and dependable information.
    Jesse Stewart

  2. Great advice, you have covered the basics. I would only add that everyone in the home learn all the weapons you own and that you go to your local range and practice, practice, practice using them. Don’t forget here that protective safety gear for your eyes and ears are a must all though in a intruder situation that might not be something you can get to so be prepaired for very loud in fact ear ringing noise (since you will be in your Home and the inclosed area will make it very loud. Thanks for being on the front line even though you are OFF THE GRID

  3. When I decided that I wanted to be able to protect myself I took a class on how to handle and shoot a gun. Then over the next three months I went to the range to practice what I was taught, then I took the test to get my CHL.
    I received my CHL but I know I am know where ready to carry a gun without more training.
    Think of it this way, they don’t just hand a gun over to a new hired policeman/ woman and tell to go out and protect the citizens. They go through a lot of training and they go to the course to keep up their training.
    As for chosing a gun that can be made easy, most gun ranges have guns you can rent for 10.00. My husbands guns don’t fit me, he likes the 45 cal where I am more comfrontable with a 9 or 380 cal. Also have a 38 revolver that I feel is the best fitting for me cause it’s easy to fire but it has a hair trigger once the hammer is puller back, which is not a bad thing you just have to remember always keep your finger off the trigger till ready to shoot.
    Now as for renting a gun to see if it fits your needs or if it’s a good gun, it is well worth the money. I rented one and it spilt power back into my face. Being new to shooting guns I didn’t know what was going on but my husband shot it and told me what was happening.
    My husband is retired from the military and he could have taught me how to shoot and handle a gun but I felt it was like learning to drive a car who best to teach you than a teacher. One reason is that the instructors are use to teaching and go step by step where my husband would not have gone through as much detail.
    I am glad that I can now protect myself at home if I ever need to, I know how to handle a gun. My next class will be on self defense.

    • Don`t know where you live, but what an outrage that you must take a test in order to carry a weapon. My feeling is that when the government can mandate an arbitrary test, then something isn`t a right, but insted becomes a privilige granted by the government.

      • We’re I live we have to test to carry on our body but not for home protection or to carry in our car. I can surely understand safety issues, they want to make sure you can hit the target and not be just shooting wildly and end up hurting or killing someone because you can’t aim.

      • You must take a drivers test before you get a license to drive. Yeah, it’s an outrage, we should let anyone drive that wants to drive. The logic is the same for gun owners. Here in NYS (not NYC) it takes about three months to get a permit to own a handgun. You’ll need a clear record, three character witnesses, proof you have taken a gun safety course, and all this goes before an approval committee and when they approve you take your permit to a Federal Firearms licensed store and select your gun. The paper work is submitted to the store and they do a back ground check on you via a communication system and when you get approved they sign the ownership of the handgun to you after you pay for the handgun. You take the paper work back to where you got your application and they process it and record it giving you ownership of the handgun. Then you go back to the store and they carry your handgun to the door of the store and give it to you as you leave the store. Now you are qualified to own that handgun and you must never let anyone have possession of it. Simple, huh?

        • There is a difference between owning a gun and driving a car. There is no specific right in the Constitution to driving a car, it is a privilege given by the state governments. There is a specifically designed right in the Constitution, that citizens can keep and bear arms. I always get upset when people confuse the privilege to drive a car with the right to own a gun.

        • well in my state we go to the gun store, pick the gun we want, pay for it, walk out the door, drive to liquor store, pay for our 4 cases of beer and a half gallon of wild turkey, go to walmart, buy ammo thats on sale hopefully, stop at the pot dealers house n get a sack of killer, go out in the woods n blow beer cans and sattelite dishes away. Awesome huh. God bless america.

  4. The only thing I disagree with is the recommendation to use 4 to 7 shot in your shotgun. Using such small shot against a human target tends to just flay the skin and get the perp really ticked off, rather than putting him down for the count. Even worse, if the bad guy is wearing a heavy winter coat, number 6 or 7 shot may not even penetrate all the way to his body. There is a documented case of a pizza delivery guy being saved from such small shot by a pizza box! (With a pizza in it, of course.) If you’re worried about over-penetration with 00 or 000 buck shot, I recommend using number 4 buckshot in summer and number 1 buckshot in winter.

    • I DO worry about 00 or 000 going through a wall and injuring a family member. I keep my 870 loaded with #4 and #2 Buckshot but I also have 00, 000, and rifled slugs in my 50 round ammo belt. (In case I have the chance to lob one into the car of the driver who dropped the recently deceased off at my door!) 🙂

      • A strong suggestion from an experienced survivor and combat instructor: For a shotgun dedicated to home defense (12 ga.)- first two rounds to come out of the weapon should be #7 or #8 shot….this is to prevent killing anyone with stray pellets on the other side of the dry wall. Two rounds of #7 or #8 from a 12 ga. WILL put an intruder down; may not kill, but will definitely hurt, at close range.
        Next two rounds we have always suggested to be 00 or 000 buckshot.
        Lastly, follow up with a slug….just to make sure.
        This is a “just woke up to the sounds of an intruder” scenario…the first two rounds are to alert the household while providing a bit of “get back” power to the intruder.
        If, however, you are in “Search and destroy”, simply jack out the frist two rounds and replace with suitable
        rounds for stopping power.

        Happy Hunting.

        • Nail on the head Rambuff. First couple rounds for safety (of your family), next few for lethality when it makes sense.
          If an intruder wakes you up, you may not be the only family member up and checking out the situation. Shooting down a hallway, a stray shot with buckshot or slugs could go through the wall and penetrate into a room/person unintended. but at 6-15 feet, the expansion and spread of a 4-8 won’t be as dramatic, and when it is, the pellets may not pack enough punch to be lethal if they over penetrate.

      • I’m kind of with you KIDDing, when I get through you just need the coroner, not an ambulance, and COPS would just stop me from doing what I know how to do without their expertise….. I’ve tended to get a lot less sporting in my old age. They always said that you know? Mess with young big guys cause they will just beat you up, old guys will just kill you.
        The Col

  5. I agree with all of this information except one. BUYTHE HIGHER PRICED FIREARM! I worked in an indoor range for years and we kept some of the “less expensive” models in. Guns that were in the 300 to 400 price range instead of the 500-600 price range… These guns had more issues in metallurgy, relibablity, and accuracy, than did the higher quality models. I’ve seen several models of a lesser brand break right out of the box. Guns are like any other manufactured item… you get what you pay for it!

    • I think what he’s saying is that you don’t need to spend the $1K on an H&K or FNP45 when a Glock will do wonders. I’ve never paid more than $500 for a Glock and I love ’em. The H&Ks, Sigs and FNP45s are great guns but I don’t have $1K to spend, well I do, but I like to make it stretch… I’ve got two Glocks, two S&W M&P9s, Beretta 92FS (M9), and two Taurus revolvers (.44 Rem Mag). All great weapons, granted I got the Glocks, S&Ws and Beretta and LE/Mil prices so about $150 of retail.

  6. There is mostly good, useful information in this piece, but I disagree with several points, mostly about not using FMJ for self-defense. Many, many of the “old-timers” use, and reccomend 230 grain ball ammo in their .45`s, and I agree. I wouldn`t consider ball ammo for self-defense in a small caliber, like my .380 for example, but in the .45, I believe it would do very well, since the .45 round travels so slowly.

    • Actually those old timers may be shooting old 1911s that don’t seem to feed hollow points well. They would be better served by finding some soft-tips and verifying they slide into the chamber reliably. Hollow points don’t penetrate as far as ball which is why they are better stoppers. Two 230gr rounds w/ the same powder behind them are going to carry the same amount of kinetic energy. The difference is where that energy is left. Either in the bad guy’s torso or in the wall behind him. Less penetration is safer if you miss and more effective when you hit. As for hollow points in .380. Don’t. Gun Tests Magazine tested .380 rounds and found ball only penetrated ~13″ in water vs. hollow points that barely made it into the jugs. .380 hollow points are too weak to penetrate a leather jacket or a chubby bad guy. Over-penetration is not an issue w/ .380.

  7. Charliebravo is right about cheap guns, but I’ve had trouble with some of the highest prices pistols as well. I won’t name any of these losers, but I will say that I have NEVER had the slightest trouble with a Glock, and I have owned several.

  8. Excellent article for neo gun owners.

  9. The Pilsner Prophet

    I own a book called “Armed and Female,” by Paxton Quigley. It’s a great introduction to firearms and self defense. I take a lot of people shooting who have never touched a firearm before, and people call me for advice on what type of firearm they should by first. I always tell them two things- get the book, and read it several times, and forget ALL the crap they see about guns on TV and in the movies. The great thing about the book and its author is that she used to be quite the liberal, and even helped write and then pass the ’68 gun control act, something she truley regrets. So, in the book, you get the insipid gun control arguments and its racict origins. Then she explains how common sense took over and she became an advocate of the ENTIRE Constitution. Google her.

  10. Guns are like anything else-you get what you pay for-and cheap guns are just that-cheap guns-made cheaply,designed cheaply,and they also have more malfunctions,more parts wear out or break,and accuracy is normally way better in better quality,higher priced guns.
    There are a few exceptions-such as the Mosin Nagant surplus rifles-put a better trigger on one,and glass bed the barrel,and you get a very accurate rifle for under $500.00 ( about $100.00 for the rifle-the rest is for the new trigger,glass bedding etc.) Add a few hundred more for a decent scope-and you get a rifle that will shoot as good as one that costs $1,000.00-without a scope.
    With handguns-you can get a cheap Taurus 1911 .45, or spend more and get a Kimer, a Springfield Armory,a Colt etc. that will perform way better than the Taurus.

    • I beg to differ with you about Taurus…I own a .357 Revolver, have for over thirty years, and it has NEVER failed, shot it extensively, and it still fires first time, every time!. And, it still looks as nice and clean as the day I bought it…

    • Sir,
      I’m sure you are correct on most of your post. I will tell you… Not all brand names perform well. Twice I have had the beretta 92 in combat, and the only way you could kill a guy with that piece of shit would be to pistol whip him to death. I have used 24 different pistols in the desert conditions and they all performed very poorly. I would say that if you are planning on purchasing a certain firearm, check the reviews. When checking the reviews, try and get a good idea behind the guy writing it & their experience level. I bought the Walther P22 based off reviews from guys with little experience. I believe they liked the way it looked. I paid for my mistake, as it is not rugged, and does not like many types of ammo. It is not real accurate either. I bought it because the barrel was pre-threaded for the gemtec can. Better off with the rugged mkII or III. These were combat tested in the wet jungles of Vietnam by SOG as an assassination tool.

  11. All of the above is food for thought. I think the MOST important thing is “know your gun”. I do not consider a semi-auto reliable until I have put 100 plus rounds through it with no glitches. I prefer the effect of hollow points and use them exclusively in all my revolvers from .22’s to .454 Casull’s, BUT I must say that the hollow point rounds are more prone to hangups or FTF in semi-autos in my experience. If I load one of my semi-auto’s with hollow points, I atleast have the “first” one up to be a hardball so I’m a little more confident it will hand feed the first time you rack the slide. Cold hands, loose grip, nervousness under fire, can all work against you at exactly the wrong time. Using the same train of thought, I usually alternate hardball and hollow point which also seems to allow for more penetration when I need it and yet the next round is a real stopper. For my concealed carry use I use the Glock 29 (10 MM) for two reasons. It’s ugly and nobody wants to steal it, and it just plain works ! It’s alot of firepower in a small pkg. I have some Kel-Tec’s and a Diamondback in a .380 but I just don’t have the confidence in the .380 round. The pistols are fine, and the .380 might stop a dog sized opponent but I’d hate to draw down on 4-5 biker dudes with baseball bats with one knowing they’d all have to be headshots. For the novice and pro alike, when it hits the fan, I think a good ole double action revolver in .357 or bigger w/hollow points is hard to beat. Great discussion, and I think all points made are valid and it just goes to show ya’ that there are many things to consider and when you need to think most clearly is when your life (or a loved one’s) is on the line. Sad to say, that’s when you have no excess time and you go into autopilot. If you pre-programmed your “autopilot” well, you’ll most likely be the last man standing. If you didn’t , ????????????

  12. How do you feel about hi-point firearms?

    • High point firearms are by and large not fit for “duty” I am a gunsmith of over 15 years, with a ton of experience in the industry and with training. You can check my credentials in my articles listed under my name in the Self Defense section here on (other sections as well).

      If you are on a budget, you may consider getting a used revolver with a tight cylinder, or perhaps a used police trade in weapon. Most of the major manufacturers can be had for under 350$ if you look hard enough (with a police trade).

    • All the reviews I read rated them VERY poorly, so I counseled my son against hi-points… he didn’t listen to Dad, and when he went with them (because of price)- HE REALLY REGRETTED IT— he was only able to get 1 type of ammo to work with the high point [out of 3 or 4 brands] the rest jammed— not exactly what you want when the chips are down… he then sold the high point after only 1 range session at the next gun show!!! Glock man myself… NEVER had trouble with factory loaded ammo… but if you shoot reloads [ALL the reloading specifically recommends not to especially with 40 S & W], and if those reloads have lead for the bullet {the part of the cartridge that exits the barrel for you newbies}, then you must use an after market barrel (like the wolf brand) reason: the rifling inside the Glocks loads up quickly with lead bullets, causing dangerously high pressures in the barrel… Kudos for making a responsible decision for self defense for yourself and your loved ones… if you plan to carry, like others have said— you need training, and you need to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE… also if I might suggest, if you need to draw your gun (even to brandish & not fire it, you need to have a cell phone AND USE IT to call 911 (even if you don’t fire it) when you draw and/ or fire it, YOU CAN BE SURE the bad guys will use their cell phones to finger YOU as the bad guy… one VERY IMPORTANT final piece of advice: drawing a gun in a life threatening situation is a life changing event— I STRONGLY encourage all here who carry to consider insurance for legal defense… if you have to use your gun to protect yourself or your loved ones, you don’t want to bankrupt yourself in legal expenses- or worse go to prison if you can’t afford good representation… a good source for that insurance is United States Concealed Carry Association, on the web at:… (I am a member but have NO FINANCIAL INTEREST in them)

      • Important note: USconcealedcarry ONLY pays after you are proven innocent (meaning you fired only in self defense, after a real and true life threat presented itself) and found to have handled yourself in a manner in line will all laws. While each of us would think we could and would do that, it may not be the case in an increasingly gun frightened society. It is a reimbursement amount for legal fees already incurred, and cannot be used to pay for defense attorneys up front.

        Nothing against the man running the site/company, he is a nice guy, but his insurance is underwritten as part of an association by a major insurance carrier, and thus, does not provide quite the level of protection you might want for such an occurrence. Major insurers do not have the appetite for gun toting citizens.

        You do point out some other incredibly important information in your post that many people should be reading and understanding too.

  13. I have to disagree with you about the frangible pistol ammo. There have been some tests run that do not show them to be very effective. I’d much rather have some good old hollow points or ball ammo in my home defense weapon.

    • The point was made to explain the over penetration issues in CQB settings without getting too far into rhetoric. You are correct. Frangibles don’t have as much stopping power as other rounds, but they have infinitely more containment within a thin walled home at very close ranges. You make an excellent point for those who would consider multiple types of ammunition for defense: that is frangibles do not have the same stopping power.

  14. Try to avoid any double action only firearms, new shooters will find it virtually impossible to hit accurately due to the long pull. I watched a lady shoot 15 shots at a paper plate at 17 feet and didn’t hit it! I let her try my wife’s S&W and she was hitting every shot single action, and she traded for a different gun the next day.


    All great comments espically to get the higher priced (higher quality) firearm.

    If you devide the amount of years of use it will provide for you and your family (ie. great great grand children etc…) and equate it as life insurance the price is inexpensive per year.

    I know I have seen and shot 100 year old S&W .38 special revolvers that are in better shape than some brand new ones that I would bet my life on.


    My CCW Class is comming up at Lake Clarke Shores Town Hall, on January 20, 2012 @ 1700 hours (5:PM) – 2200 hours (10:PM).

    It is $75.00 for the GENERAL PUBLIC if you need it.

    BUTTTTT if you alrerady have your permit or proof of training and you want a rerfresher, or feel you have sub standard or completely inadiquate training, it is only $25.00, AND if you feel you did not benefit from the class, it is FREE!

    Most of the CCW training classes are embarassing and lacking (to say the least) and I have had almost every student that has already taken the class that has returrned for mine has been suprised and pleased that they took it.

    My class is a great keep out of jail class and SOME of it covers: safety, weapons selection, ammo selection, holster selection, cleaning, reasonable man doctorine (stand your ground laws), some out of state and traveling issues, and use of force laws to name a few of the topics.

    5 Hours of the real deal!


    • Yes, I am a fan of expensive weapons, but having run a range and been a gunsmith for many years, I find negligible differences in reliability after 10k rounds by guns from $500-$1500 (the point at which many tolerances loosen enough to make an even playing field).

      More often than not, the more expensive guns have higher tolerances than that of the lesser priced guns, and specifically the myth is that one must have the best to be defended well.

      That is simply not the case. In MANY cases, a gun that costs $250 but is comfortable and easy to understand will do better in the hands of a first time gun buyer, than will a $1200+ gun which must be cleaned more often, and be understood much better to use effectively.

      I have guns that are $2k+ and must be paid attention to (raceguns I have built, etc.) and I would hands down use a $400 glock or a $650 HK PSP P7 trade in over the expensive fancy gun for duty any day.

      I also use a HK USP for carry quite often, and while it approaches $1k in price, it serves me no better than the above two other options.

      It’s nice to have an expensive show piece or the best in technology, but I would rather see a new gun owner be a gun owner instead of wait to own a gun until they can pay top dollar for a gun they may not even understand or become comfortable with. Buying a first defense weapon doesn’t have to be a chore or an expensive mistake, but it will always be a learning experience.

  16. To Grizzly907 : Don’t know if the question was addressed to me, but I do have some input on the subject of the Hi-Point firearms in a limited capacity. I live in the woods about 30 miles south of St. Louis on a little mini-farm. I’m fortunate to be able to walk out my back door 100 yards or so to my makeshift shooting range. We shoot at spinner targets, cans, shoot n’ see and once in awhile some Tannerite exploding targets with the rifles. My 3 sons and all their buddies come out here to shoot. One of my son’s friends brought out his new Hi-Point .45 to shoot one time. My opinion of Hi-Point firearms was not too good. They are huge for the caliber, cheaply made, and not very reliable ! Well, that WAS my opinion before I shot the thing. I do maintain that they are large for any given caliber, but I was very very suprised at how accurate (no, it wasn’t a tack driver) it was, and how the large slide was actually kinda nice to get a firm grip on. The large size and therefore weight of the gun helped to keep the muzzle rise down and also take a little of the recoil out of firing it. I think he payed $175.00 for it, and he hit about as many targets as anyone else did with the fancy $6-900 guns. I have since shot a High-Point 9mm and .40 cal. and had very similar results. So I have a different impression of Hi-Point now. If you are on a limited budget (who ain’t nowadays-thank you very much mr. O.) and you need a semi-auto for anything other than concealed carry in a jockstrap, Hi-Point is actually one of the guns I’d look at or recommend first. I’d much rather have a Hi-Point on me than a Colt Gold Cup Trophy Match that’s still in layaway waiting for the last 10 payments to be made! I would also recommend a used Glock in the 275-350 as they are simple and they work. I convinced some buddies that Glocks are indeed more than OK. I put Lone Wolf barrels ($150) in Glock models 20 + 29 (10mm) and a model 24 (40cal converted to .357 Sig) and they are some of the most accurate guns I have. They’ll shoot with my 3 Colt Gold Cups, 2-Kimbers, and a Delta Elite, for 1/2 the price or less, so spending big money ain’t always the answer. Maybe the Les Baers and Dan Wessons and Wilson Combats will out shoot anything I have, but I’ll never know because I can’t afford those guns anyway. I love the exchange of ideas this forum provides! Bill

    • Bill,
      I like your post. I have also used the colts & kimbers. They cost too much. If you want a 1911, the Taurus PT1911 is just as smooth as the kimbers or Wison combat models and cost well under $500. I currently use the Glock 22 and ruger p85. I can hit a fellow at 100 yards, respectively, in the kneeling position with the Glock.

  17. Everything looks good. The article says don’t use FMJ for self defense. Yes, Franconia or hollow point works well, but I have fought with the U.S. Marines in every war & conflict since 1984. All the ammo I used (except shotgun & 40mm grenade) was FMJ. It works pretty good when killing a fellow. I’m pretty sure it worked well in WWI, WWII, Korea, & Vietnam as well.
    Semper Fi!

  18. To Gunny, One of the fella’s that comes out here to shoot has a Taurus PT-1911. It seems to shoot fairly well and he has had no issues with it that I can recall. If I came across a deal on one, Id buy it! I do like the Glock M-22’s. Two of my son’s got G22’s for Christmas this year and the other (not so mechanically inclined) son got a nice Model 15-2 W/6″ Bbl Dan Wesson revolver. The DW’s have the smoothest double action trigger pull of any revolver. Smoother than my Smith’s or Colt’s, that’s for sure. Franconia ? I think I went out with her once or twice. How’s she doin’ ? I’ve used the frangible .223 in my AR15 and my Kel-Tec PLR 223 in the back yard range for good reason. I have thousands of trees around my little range, and I figure if one gets away from me the trees would stop it. I don’t think I could make a straight shot through my woods far enough to hit a neighbor. I don’t know any ballistic numbers for the frangible ammo. If you believe advertising, the DRT (dead right there) ammo is supposed to be devastating. They claim something to the effect that you can take out a wild boar at 50? yards with a 9 MM pistol in ONE SHOT. Not sure I believe that one. I THINK the DRT ammo is a frangible type that according to the ad makes multiple wound channels and has the effect of a “deadblow” hammer. I’m staying open minded on this one, as I just plain don’t have any first hand info. or actual experience with frangible ammo other than I do know you can’t dig frangible .223 ammo out of a tree. Take care, and come on Nov 2012 ! Bill

    • I bought a M1911 made by Norinco, same 1911 pattern, same performance, parts are interchangeable. I am hard on it, and do not baby it, and it never ceases to function. It was cheap too, $250. Norinco had some problems with importation in the 1990’s and was not invited back. But these can still be found for aroun $300 and tricked out with beavertails, better barrels and triggers. Works for me!
      the Col

  19. Hey, great discussion and entertaining also. I never thought about loading my mags w/every other round–ball–hollowpoint–ball—-etc.—Duh! Thanks for the forum.

  20. Good piece. On the question of oil for a firearm, I’m quite sure we should specify.

    On three occasions during my hunting life, I have been with guys who had goo chances on game, but failed to make the shot. They had lined up and squeezed the trigger — but all they got was “click.”

    You see, they had cleaned and oiled their rifles in the summer time, using ordinary oil. In November, with freezing weather, the oil had congealed.

    We should be sure to use a gun oil that won’t stiffen up in the cold. My favourite is G-96 (which can also be used for cleaning). I think that Remington also has a good oil.

    Cheers //jmb

    • I am trying a new oil called gunzilla seems good doesnt leave a film like CLP and doesnt eat my hands up…….But I have not used it very long so the jury is still out.
      the Col

  21. sells a frangible ammo that will stop a intruder in their tracks even if you are using a .380 caliber hand gun. Dynamic Research Technolg (DRT). This ammo is not legal to use in all States.
    It does’t work well in all wepons.

  22. Over all I thought it was a good article but there was one very important aspect that was missing. The Law! I think it is imperitive that a new gun owner be cognizant of the firearms laws in his/her state especially where it pertains to self defense. It only makes sense that if a person is going to purchase a handgun or any firearm for self defense then they had better know what the law is as it pertains to self defense.

  23. Unfortunately much of these replies are just rehashed wives-tales. Masad Ayoob has HIS new magazine (100% HIS) on the newstand now and his is opinions that can be trusted.

    Food for thought: Walls are 80% hollow and NOTHING gets slowed down or mushroomed through 2 layers of sheetrock. A 12 ga. with any shot is pretty much just a slug at 10 feet.

    Magic bullets aren’t.

    Laws are very important, especially if YOU live through the encounter.

    An eyeball hit with a 22rf is better than a loud miss with a 44 magnum.

    • Follow who ever you want. If folks want to talk let them. Nothing Ayoob has said is any different that what they say here. I’ll trust my own “Wives tales” they have gotten me this far. Ayoob is just another guy.
      The Col

  24. To jmbell: Good food for thought! I actually knew that temp affects oil viscosity, but tend to forget or apply it to firearms. I imagine if you have an old gun with weak springs the effect is amplified. I’ve talked to the other guys here at Browning in St. Louis (Arnold, Mo.) and I’ve come up with a hairbrained scheme that is working out rather well so far. I figured if Slick 50 worked well on car engines, it may be of use for firearms. So I bought a bottle of Slick 50 for high mileage vehicles at Walmart for $14. That’s a lifetime supply. What I do is heat the barrels up with a hairdryer and run a soaking wet mop full of the Slick 50 through it and let it cool off. Then I repeat that several times, heat, mop, cool until I’ve saturated that barrel all I can. Then I mop it with a dry mop followed by some patches. You can then go back to your normal lube. It really seems like it seals off the pores in the bore of the barrel and makes future cleaning easier and can be renewed every once in awhile. I would NOT leave a big heavy film of it in the barrel as I think pressures may get out of hand, especially on rifle ammo ! I must say so far that I think I’m on to something. Friends have tried it and gotten the same results. If you try it and don’t like it, put it in your car. Bill

  25. Personally I prefer revolvers over automatics for self defense. A .32 magnum is a great caliber, it has more power than a .38 but a lot less kick than a .357.

  26. I really like my .357 caliber revolver with hollow point ammo for self defense because it’s got plenty of stopping power. For practice, the wife and I use .38 caliber ball nose rounds at the range – if you buy in bulk, it’s a lot less money than the .357 ammo AND the recoil is considerably less. Most newbies don’t know that you can use either caliber in a .357. Or, if you want to really complicate things, you can use the .38 +P ammo (recoil and stopping power somewhere between the .38 and the .357). And if you have a modern .38 revolver like my wife, you can then use the .38 +P hollow point for your self defense load. For us it’s the perfect combination. Low cost and reasonable recoil at the range and rock solid stopping power for self-defense.

  27. Very true Craig. I agree w/all you say. They even have a ” +P+ ” ammo to give even more options. The only thing I don’t like about shooting .38 in a .357 is the carbon at the end of the cylinder from the shorter .38 rounds. If followed up by the .357 mags, they stick and can be really hard to eject. Same thing happens to my .454 Raging Bull when I shoot .45 Long Colts in it first. Just a note; have you tried Double Tap Ammo ? If not , try a box as everything they make is really really good. They’re really fast and hard hitting. They even make a hollow point that splits up into two buckshot like projectiles. Atleast they do for my 10 MM. Not sure if they do for the .38/.357. It’s about the hottest of any ammo I’ve come across, but it ain’t cheap. It puts the 10 MM up into the 41 Mag range and is waaay better than the watered down versions by Rem + Winchester and others. Check them out on the net, and no, I’m not a salesman for them. When it comes to self defense loads I want the best I can get at just about any cost. As best as I can recall the 10MM and .357 SIG (different from .357 MAG) was about $36-37.oo for 50 rounds. Bill

  28. Mark, I was shot with #6 bird shot and disagree with you. I had on Woolrich pants, a pair of cordoray pants, and long john underware. I was hit with 22 pellets from a ricohet off a rock at about 30 yds from the shooter, and then 30 yds back to me. We used a pocket knife to dig out all the pellets. they all drew blood. I helped autopsy a man shot at about 20 feet with #7 shot. The hole in his back was big enough to put both fists in. Both rounds, his and mine were lowbrass field loads.

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  44. Yes, I found this article helpful, but you have to love this sentence:
    “A self-defense choice may be better suited to a larger caliber than, say, a person looking for cheap family shooting.”

  45. I think it’s easy for people to think they know what they’re doing with guns and know how to be safe, but I think that means they underestimate them. I think getting the proper training would be crucial when owning a firearm. I also think maintenance is important. For the sake of safety and longevity, I’m sure it’s crucial to know how to take care of it.

  46. Thanks for the tips for getting a gun. I have wanted a gun for my home for a while, and it’s nice to know what I need to do. I will definitely look at different places and sights to make sure I don’t pay too much.

  47. I like that you said that it is important to have the right to have firearms. If it wasn’t legal for someone I knew that owned firearms then I wouldn’t feel safe. It might be a good idea to prepare for it and to keep it locked up unless you are using it.

  48. I liked when you talked about the importance of providing the proper maintenance to your gun. It makes sense that getting the best materials and accessories to keep your toy well maintained and oiled can help you avoid accidents and have fun with it. I would want to make sure I find a store that sells the items I need and that give me tips and advice on how to improve my weapon and be safe when using it.

  49. The Top Five Mistakes New Gun Owners Make,It’s too good and great.

  50. It’s great to know how to buy a good first gun. I don’t know anything about the different calibers; I just want one that can serve as a home defense weapon. After reading this, now I know I need to look for a 9mm or .45 caliber.

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