Handgun Class

General discussion of firearms, ammunition, hunting and related topics
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brentbba
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Handgun Class

#1

Post by brentbba » Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:08 am

Ok,

Not a lot of activity on the board or this section for quite awhile outside the thread on CCW here in OC and SD. Let's get a topic going here:

I signed up for Basic Handgun class at On Target Shooting Range in Laguna Niguel on the 9th. Been thinking long and hard about gun ownership and have finally decided to make the leap. Class is 3-3 1/2 hours covering gun safety, handling, etc. and a brief intro to shooting on the range. What finally got me going was all the time spent in remote locations, especially the Anza Borrego area. Need for safety and self defense in addition to Obuma and Governer Moonbeam chiping away and isolating 2nd amendment rights have me interested in ownership. Will be interesting to see what it's like to shoot a handgun. My total experience to date has been 22 rifles on a Boy Scout range as an adult leader. I've sat through way too many safety, range lectures with the boys and there's nothing wrong with repetition when it comes to gun safety. I've never, ever shot a handgun...even tho someone generously offered at Desert Rendezvous (AAV outing) a couple of years ago at the Split Mountain BLM location. I did wander over to the range that had been set up and watched, ear protection on (!) for awhile.

I've been talking with a few folks and am becoming familiar with different handguns, caliber, etc. Opinions range as widely as politics and religion. Feel free to chime in with thoughts, opinions, advice, etc.

I plan on doing it right, learning the safety and proper use first and foremost. I know about the handgun certificate test required in the PRK. I've already read the handbook on that and passed all the 'practice' tests in the book no problem. Damn near as easy as the ham radio test! CCW, maybe. We'll see what the wait time is like. I've heard it's out to at least November at this point. Read with interest the thread on the topic in this forum section. Good info.

TIA for any wisdom getting into this.

I guess what's surprised/not surprised me is finding out how many of you carry! There's only one person I knew that carried that concerned me and he's not on this board. The rest of you that I know, and now know you carry, I'd trust with safe handling (well maybe not Larry with that .500!...from 2008 post!). I've read most of the relevant (to me) threads, most a little old, here, on AAV and Expo Portal. Great info all three places. Lots to learn and practice...all assuming I enjoy the intro class and handgun shooting.

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DaveK
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Re: Handgun Class

#2

Post by DaveK » Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:28 pm

Brent

That is an excellent way to get into shooting. There are plenty of very good classes on safety and proper handling of firearms (handguns) and if you have never shot before that is a very responsible way to get started.

If I were to make any recommendations, they would be as follows (with regards to handguns).

1. take your safety and handling courses first
2. find a mentor (elmer, for firearms) that you can trust and seek his guidance.
3. If you want to become proficient with handguns, DO NOT start with any magnum or heavy caliber. You will prolong the time necessary to shoot well by the time needed to overcome the flinch that the heavy calibers induce. The number of people who purchased magnums and never learned to shoot well, because of flinch, is huge. Start by shooting a .22 and work your way up.
4. Many ranges allow you to rent a variety of handguns so you can get an idea of which one feels right and shoots well (for you).
5. Once you settle on a firearm, shoot, shoot, shoot and then shoot some more.
6. Look into some courses like Gunsite, in Arizona (http://www.gunsite.com).

Good luck and congrats on a wise way to get into handgun shooting!!!!
DaveK
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Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

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brentbba
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Re: Handgun Class

#3

Post by brentbba » Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:05 am

Thanks for the advice!

First course does have intro shooting with a 22. No plans for a huge handgun - 9mm or a 40 will be about it.
Local range has a 2nd class to further the safety, handling and shooting and allows you to shoot any of the handguns in their rental stock.
Couple of guys close are being my 'elmer' and pretty much all of you have mentioned to some degree or another that the gun must feel right in your hand and to practice, practice, practice.

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DaveK
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Re: Handgun Class

#4

Post by DaveK » Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:38 pm

Brent

Please keep us posted on your progress.

Sorry we will miss you this year at Summer Fest. Tom is especially going to miss your poppy seed chicken.

Good luck!
DaveK
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brentbba
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Re: Handgun Class

#5

Post by brentbba » Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:53 am

DaveK wrote:Brent

Please keep us posted on your progress.

Sorry we will miss you this year at Summer Fest. Tom is especially going to miss your poppy seed chicken.

Good luck!
I 'might' be a last minute add. Work has approached me about staying now until Sept 19. If they do officially, I may be able to come up. Problem is space for trailer in that limited group area. If I can make it, I may look at nabbing one of those spots just above the group area and pay that separately.

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Re: Handgun Class

#6

Post by toms » Tue Jun 10, 2014 4:19 pm

What! no poppy seed chicken? That is totally unacceptable.
See you on the Trail!
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brentbba
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Re: Handgun Class

#7

Post by brentbba » Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:05 pm

Update - did a full day class from AllSafe Defense In Orange. 2 hours in class that covered pretty much the same thing that On Target did - same instructor which is how I learned about him. Then went out to Burro Canyon Gun range in Azuza. From 10 until almost 4 we were on range. Got to shoot several handguns and a couple hundred rounds. Started with a Ruger (I think) 22. We all had to do that to show a good grouping before moving on to a good range of other handguns he had for the class. One 5 round grouping was good enough for me with the 22 to move on. Guess I did learn something at the intro class at On Target!

Went on to shoot 3 9mm - Glock, Smith&Wesson, Sig Sauer. Of those 3 9mm's, I liked the Glock the best. 8-round revolver next - 4 rounds 38 special and 4 rounds 357. Damn the 357 was powerful. Then on to a Smith&Wesson 40 with 10 round mag. Someone that had his own gun had the same caliber S&W with the 7 round mag. Liked the larger grip size of the 10 round better. Then on to a S&W 45. I liked the weight of that and with 5 rounds did a very nice grouping. As good as the 40. Did go back and shoot the Glock 9mm again after the 40 and preferred the 40.

Once we'd all tried what we wanted to for practice, they set up 5 skills challenges and scored us. I chose to use the 40 even thou I liked the weight of the 45 a little bit better. 45 was just too much gun for a beginner like me.

Got to like the 40, but wouldn't mind it being just a little bigger weight wise, like something between the 40 I shot and the 45 or the 9mm's. It was very nice on the last challenge where we moved to targets (both cardboard dummies and steel targets). Scored 392 which put me in the upper half of the class that included some more experienced shooters and the instructors as well. They said any score above 250 would be considered intermediate. Don't know if that was BS or not. Only really messed up on first challenge shooting 10 rounds (5 at a time then reload) into a pie tin size target in 5 seconds for each 5 rounds. I was better not rushing shots. Only hit 6 of 10 on that one. I did get better at siting on the front site as the day went on. Several of his guns had the sites with a white dot front and rear sites, which I could see and line up level much easier than other sites he had. The 40 was one with the white dots. I know you can change sites on guns.

Cost wasn't bad. $100 for the class, range and use of all his handguns. Ammo at his cost for the whole day was only $20, so I think it was a pretty good deal and enjoyed it. More I used the 40 the better I did end up liking the size but will at least look at some a little bigger. Recoil wasn't bad, but didn't feel much less than the 45 I shot. Worst recoil was the 357 in the revolver to me.

Any more specific thoughts or recommendations to look at on the 40 given this feedback? Sig will be out of my price range!

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Re: Handgun Class

#8

Post by DaveK » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:24 pm

Brent:

I don't think I could add any suggestions to your path to selecting a handgun. The steps you have taken are a model of good judgment and responsibility!!!

As you have discovered, the selection of a personal defense weapon is a highly personal choice and the correct approach requires the steps you have taken. If you settle on the S&W 40, you will find it a capable firearm, easy to reload, easy to find factory ammo, easy to shoot and best of all, there are plenty of manufacturers who make quality, reasonably priced guns, including Ruger, Smith & Wesson, and Glock. Sig does make fine handguns, although a little higher in price. If I were to make any suggestion on the manufacturer of a firearm, I would steer you to one that has a history of good management and one who has the best warranty. Some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty, such as Springfield, and this may be a factor in helping you make a decision.

Congratulations!!
DaveK
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Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
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ssc
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Re: Handgun Class

#9

Post by ssc » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:24 pm

Don't come here much anymore, but saw this thread. Best advice regarding a 40 is buy a 9mm. There is a reason the FBI and many departments are going back to the 9. There is very little difference in terminal ballistics between the two with modern bullets. The 9mm is generally easy to shoot with quicker follow up. Most people will find their splits quicker. The guns last longer with less parts breakage. For self defense, you must become proficient with strong hand and weak hand shooting. Did you run drills in your class with weak hand shooting? Also, What models did you shoot? Compact, sub-compact or full size guns? That will make a huge difference. Lastly, what rounds were you shooting? Were they minor puff reloads or standard duty loads? This will make a huge difference in your perception of the feel and recoil. As a general proposition, I think the 9 has an edge in reliability over the 40 in glocks. Can't speak as to the Smith, plus I have no clue which model guns you were shooting.

Cheers, Steve
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brentbba
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Re: Handgun Class

#10

Post by brentbba » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:28 pm

I'll try to recollect what I can.

Basic class, so did not shoot weak hand.

Pretty sure all the rounds trying the different handguns I mentioned were reloads. I know for sure the rounds we purchased for the 'events' were reloads.
All three 9mm's were physically larger than the 40 I shot. I liked the size of all three 9mm's and the 45 better than the 40 but shot better with the 40 than any of the 9mm's and just about the same with the 45. From what little reading/research subsequent, I'd say the 40 was the Smith & Wesson M&P compact (10 round magazine).

I've read a lot on the great debate between the 9mm and 40, being rather close in size. Frankly I could go either way for my intended purchase - self defense. I chose the 40 to shoot the 5 events at the class because my groupings were better with the 40 than all three of the 9mm's. Of those three 9mm's, I did prefer the Glock and actually went back to try the 9mm Glock right after the 40 and preferred the 40. As I said, the 45 is just more gun than I need, especially as a beginner.

I've got someone here at work that preferrs the 9mm too Steve. :-)

I think next step will be to stop by a local gun shop and take a look at compact vs full size in both a 40 and 9mm to see what 'fits' my hand the best. May, after that, go back to local range that rents guns and see if they've got my top 2 or 3 to shoot. I'm in no real hurry.

Read plenty of your threads here in this section and I do really appreciate the comments above too. Very helpful, just as DaveK has been. LEO friend posted a link to an article over on American Adventurist about the FBI 'revisiting' the 9mm and, in part, how it's reignighted the 9mm vs 40/45 debate of over 30 years! Reason for the revisit was due to better modern ammunition being available in the 9mm than years ago. Here's the link in case you are interested.

http://www.policeone.com/Officer-Safety ... liber-war/

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